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The Globe's John Doyle weighs in on the on-screen personalities that most grated over the past year

What a year, my dears. Are we jaded yet?

Trump and Brexit, terrorist attacks and death. The endless deaths. All those celebrities passing away and, well, in case somebody feels like fixating on that, the countless dead in wars, bombings and shootings as the viciousness of human hatred was on full display. A year of hackers, hotheads and liars.

So, what do we do? Spread hugs and cuddles because it's the holidays and people are weary of the year? Could do that, but our best is to maintain our sense of humour and just mock the minor irritants of the year.

Said it before and saying it again: Irritation springs eternal if you watch TV. You can seek escapism in your favourite comedy or your cozy British mysteries and believe you're distancing yourself from the riff-raff. But it's impossible to completely avoid the pompous, the pretentious and the attention-seeking army of doofus-types who want to tell us what to think and what's wrong with the world.

Here we do the annual chore and name the bothersome people, the irritants. The top 10 most irritating Canadians, TV-related. It's all very well to spread solace – knock yourself out. But you know you like this kind of list, too. Herewith, an attempt at listing the worst offenders. You can add more on your own time. Fun for the whole family, guaranteed.

10. The bosses at CBC’s Marketplace

Have you seen the new incarnation? I have and responded, “What fresh hell is this?” The camera work is now bonkers. Crazy, zippy angles from here, there and everywhere. You’re watching somebody interview the victim of some scam and suddenly you’re watching the interview from way, way up in the sky. Then sideways. Then upside-down. It’s like some 10-year-old on a sugar high was let loose on the cameras. Acid reflux and heartburn have nothing on the queasy feeling induced by this wildly irritating tomfoolery.

9. The Rogers exec who cancelled Sunnyside

Cast your mind back to the thing called the Canadian Screen Awards. Okay, it wasn’t that memorable. But one thing stuck out from the carnival of award-giving. Best Performance in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series went to Sunnyside, a nifty mix of sketch comedy and sitcom that aired on Rogers-owned City channels. It was splendid stuff that deftly satirized a gentrifying neighbourhood. Funny and original.
Rogers cancelled Sunnyside before the CSAs. The Rogers statement mentioned “fiercely original comedy,” “immense talent” and “this unique Canadian production.” This was the language of exultation about a great show. And yet the series was terminated. By incompetent numbskulls.

8. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Now perhaps more accurately called the Minister for Gibberish. The cash-for-access scandal should have put the government of sunny ways on the back foot; apologetic and remorseful. No such thing. There’s Justin the Good these days, all sad, pained face on the TV news as he listens to questions about ethics and rules being broken. His replies are gibberish. If he spent more time in the House of Commons he’d know that his MPs are starting to look uncomfortable about the issue. They know what sticks. He doesn’t.

7. The Bachelorette Canada

No, not just Jasmine, the actual Bachelorette, but everyone involved in the production. The makers spend money making the show and then get a whack of money back from a government program. Your money and mine. Yep, Canadian taxpayers are supporting this drivel airing on a highly successful commercial channel. Canadian TV is crying out for the kind of quality drama and documentaries that are sorely lacking here, and genuinely need financial support, while money is hoovered up by this twaddle. As for Jasmine – the drama queen cancelling all interviews after the final episode was actually a relief. We’d heard enough self-regarding babble.

6. Peter Mansbridge

Yes, I know you’re thinking, “Give him a break.” The traditional anchor position, which Mansbridge embodies in every scintilla in his on-air persona, is outdated and, essentially, redundant. But to lard pomposity onto it, and for Mansbridge to attach himself to CBC-TV’s coverage of Canada Day on the country’s 150th birthday, his final day with The National, is too much self-embellishing. And more than mildly irritating.

5. Canadian Tire’s Gary

All things must end. Recently, in a Christmas commercial there was a teeny-tiny hologram Gary peddling some Star Wars stuff. A Christmas ornament almost fell on him. Almost. Somebody did that deliberately, I’m thinking. No wonder.

4. Wendy Mesley

Ever get the impression Mesley doesn’t actually know what’s going on when anchoring the news? That it’s all like some Harry Potter story to her? Yeah, me too. Mesley e-mailed me this: “Just read your comments trashing CBC and celebrating CTV. Very disappointing. I didn’t think you were like that. No need to respond.” Mesley did that under the mistaken impression that there is some connection, business or otherwise, between The Globe and Mail and CTV. There isn’t and there hasn’t been one for a very, very long time. You’d think a senior CBC news person would know that. Not Mesley.

3. Kellie Leitch

Blah-blah. “Elites.” Blah-blah. “Kill the CBC.” Blah-bah. A well-off surgeon, academic, former cabinet minister and MBA is traipsing around drumming up support and media attention by attacking “the elites” in Canada. More fake than the most fake news story imaginable.

2. Tim & Sid on Sportsnet

Two guys talking sports. Phony set, phony talk, phony-baloney opinions. Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro are walking, talking lessons to men everywhere who are interested in sports. The lesson is – don’t do this, ever.

1. Kevin O’Leary

Wealthy guy and TV personality. Thinks he’s Trump. There he was on TV the other day. His natural environment. “Do I have a name-recognition problem? Don’t have that problem. Do I have a money problem? Don’t have that problem. What I have as a problem is too many people in the race. Why don’t I wait?” Step right up, doofus.