Saturday, September 13, 2008

Weekend Rant - Some things are better in Canada

So you think you can dance? continued it's global domination with the latest version starting this week in Canada. Now before you get in a tizzy thinking about how hokey it could be, or that we are all dancing with snowshoes (or hockey skates or some other fricking Canadian stereotype) change your mind and if you have the chance to check it out I highly suggest it, the level of competition is pretty fierce.

Keeping true to it's formula, we started off with auditions in Toronto. Judging this round were Tre Armstrong, Luther Brown and keeping it real (and familiar) was none other than Mary Murphy. Mary is one of my favorite parts of the US version (and she knows her stuff) and I am as surprised as she is at the quality of the dancers during the first part of the auditions.

It's always heartwarming to hear some one you admire oohing and awwing at the great talent we have here in the Great White North (and not just the GTA for you Torontians). Rounding out the Judges are host Leah Miller and our Audition Tour Choreographer is none other than SYTYCD (US version) season one participant Blake McGrath. It's kind of nice to see how things come around full circle and he is still involved in the process.

I don't know the Canadian Judges, but there is this delicious tension between Tre and Mary. Tre is trying to mark her territory and that is such a non issue with Mary (Mary is just Mary and does what she wants) and you can feel the tension when they butt heads. The auditions were great and I have noticed a couple of distinct differences between the Canadian and American versions.

The first big difference is that the Canadian version is so much more "kinder and gentler" and it is so damn polite that it seems tame to the US version.I think it`s very interesting that there is a hell of lot of hugging going on, something that I never saw in the US version. There isn't the overall exploitation of those who can't dance and make idiots of themselves. Our way seems to be oriented more to seeing the good dancers and not the disasters and to me it 's more of what the show is about.

The other big difference is that the dance community here seems more seasoned (older if you need a more distinctive term) and that maturity is interesting to see in the auditions.I am not sure if that is the dynamic they will work with, but quite a few of the dancers chosen to go the the next round were more experienced. It will be something to follow.

I can hardly wait until we get to the auditions from Montréal, there is an amazing dance community here. I love having another edition of this show!

Test the Nation was back last week and it was the Canadian edition. It's always fun to do something interactive and I am always interested in trivia challenges ( I am a complete Jeopardy junkie and can't miss a week) and had fun. I got a good score also, and was surprised to see that the American Canadians did as well as they did until I realized how smart they were for moving to Canada. It's all good fun and games.

There hasn't been that many new show debuting so far on Canadian television, but I did catch the first episode of Les Parent, a sitcom playing on Radio-Canada. Take your nuclear Québécois family and spin it in a Malcolm in the Middle style and you get a pretty funny (and damn quick) show. It was a good laugh and the kids are so hilarious that it will probably be on the Watch List for this season.

InfoMan returned (finally) this week and got into Election mode right away. Luckily we had some a few fixes of Jean-René Dufort during the Olympics to tide us over this summer as his sense of humor and presentation style truly make him the french counterpart to Canadian Rick Mercer or American John Stewart. The guy is smart and so is the show and always a joy to watch.

Paquet Voleur returned for a second season with a slightly revamped game and a whole bunch of local talent playing for charity to start things off. It's pretty decent as far as local game shows go and hopefully the new rule changes will make it possible for players to leave with a bit of cash. Our game shows have pitiful pay outs compared to the big US ones, but isn't supposed to be more about playing than winning? That's very Canadian of me.