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The Globe and Mail

Does Canada really need a reality show about Vancouver hipsters?

The Vancouver skyline

Albert Normandin/AP

Will the proposed new reality series The Real Hipsters of Vancouver spur a full hate-on for the gleaming West Coast city?

Being polite Canadians, we all stood idly by while Vancouver thumped its chest during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and then trashed and burned its downtown core during the Stanley Cup riots of 2011. Most Canadians were even willing to tolerate the arrival of The Real Housewives of Vancouver last year. But the plan to create a reality series glorifying the city's much-ballyhooed slacker subculture just doesn't make sense.

The scary part is how quickly Vancouverites have responded to the concept. Within days of posting a hipster callout on Craigslist–"for hip, fun attractive people under 40"–the show's creators had already received more than a hundred audition tapes and even several offers from other production companies willing to bankroll the show. All of which seems suspiciously industrious for a subculture that thrives on doing nothing.

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According to the creators, the applicants included a 24-year-old woman who lives in her van but has a daytime job and a man who describes his vocation as "professional partier." Right on, dude.

In the loosest terms, hipster is a term normally reserved to describe a person who is trendy in his or her own self-propagated manner. Very often the hipster sports an unorthodox hairstyle and clothing and holds obscure cultural tastes. On Seinfeld, the character of Kramer was frequently referred to as a "hipster doofus," which was not exactly a compliment.

Vancouver has always taken inordinate pride in nurturing the hipster lifestyle. It's the city where men wear Birkenstocks with business suits, after all.

But a show focusing on Vancouver hipsters would simply be dishonest, given the supposed tenets of the hipster lifestyle. Wouldn't somebody who takes part in a reality show about hipsters, presumably to be broadcast on mainstream television, actually be the diametric opposite of a hipster?

Nobody ever said reality-TV shows had to be real, however. Would you watch a TV show about Vancouver hipsters?

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