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March 09, 1992 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-09

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Monday, March 9,1992
Canucks don 't just puck around
The Great White North's CBC has more than just hosers nowadays,
with Louis the French-Canadian Muppet and Midday's Benmergui

by A. J. Hogg

I n these days of rabid buy-
Americanism, I hesitate to suggest
something to you that might appear
unpatriotic. But I'll do it anyway.
I'm going to ask you to venture to
cable no-man's-land midway be-
tween ESPN, and The Weather
Channel - Columbia Cable's chan-
nel 21.
It is, as the quick-witted viewer
will discover, something entirely un-
American, full of people who proba-
bly don't even know the words to
"The Star-Spangled Banner." But
it's not as bad as it may appear -
they're all Canadians, and channel
21 is Windsor 9, the local Canadian
Broadcasting Company (CBC) out-
let.
I know what you're thinking.
What does a little Canadian channel
have on such American behemoths
as CBS, NBC, and ABC? Isn't
Canadian television just PBS with
hockey?
Not at all. Granted, it's not
Beverly Hills 90210 (even though
Jason Priestly is Canadian), but is
that really that bad of a thing? Of
course, there is an awful lot of ice
hockey - Hockey Night in Canada,
with Don Cherry, is a favorite. And
you will manage to find a bunch of
British television shows that look a
lot like Upstairs Downstairs -
shows that you may have thought
could only be found on PBS. But if
you stick with it for a few hours
you'll discover a side of Canada you
never knew existed.
For example, a new comedy
show just debuted a few weeks ago.
Mysteriously titled Three Dead
Trolls in a Bag gie, it has that bizarre
BLISS
Continued from page 5
The plot follows the group,
which includes a devoted Grateful
Dead groupie, Craig, played by
Alexis Arquette (the brother of
:movie star Rosanna Arquette). Craig
provides comic relief for the oth-
erwise serious view into the woes of
these wealthy teenagers.
One memorable scene involves a
conversation between the spacy
Craig and a conservative older man
about politics and problems in
Nicaragua. Craig's mind can't han-

essence of SCTV and Kids in the
Hall. However, it seems to be more
daring. The first episode featured a
sketch with two men chatting in a
sauna, both with towels around their
necks in the traditional spa style.
The punch line came when one of
the men removed his towel and dis-
covered, much to his consternation,
that he had developed breasts. (On
which, incidentally, the props person
had done an admirable job. Even a
trained eye would have had diffi-
culty telling the difference.)
When asked how long he'd had
them, he replied "I'm not sure, but
the wife hasn't said anything yet."
Now, I'm not entirely sure on this,
but somehow I doubt that rebel Fox
would bare even fake breasts in
prime time.
Of course, if you watch CBC in
the afternoons, just like the Amer-
ican brand, you'll find the inevitable
soap operas. Most of CBC' s, how-
ever, are imported from Great
Britain and Australia. This makes
them a little different from the Port
Charles vintage.
The Aussie one is, of course, set
in the outback, with kangaroos, wal-
labies, and koalas. And the in-
evitable "G'day" and other Aussie
slang fill the airwaves. ("'ello mate,
can ah barrah yah jumpah?") The
British versions also have a wide ar-
ray of accents, from Cockney to the
Queen's.
But accents aren't the only way
to tell the difference between these
die the intensity of the discourse,
and he quickly switches the subject
to the Dead tour by responding,
"Man, I voted for Jerry!" Humo-
rously, the business man chimes in
as they collaborate for tickets to
some shows.
Although the plot moves slowly
at points, the film provides a realistic
view into what happens to kids with
too much money. The camera shots
are jumpy and gauzy when the kids
are drugged-up and the audience is
welcomed into the drug and sex in-
fested lifestyles the kids lead.
Even the sex scenes are surpris-

and the American brand. The easiest
way is to observe the characters. As
amazing as it may seem, and no mat-
ter how blasphemous- it is in
American soap-land, not everyone
on the CBC soaps is rich and power-
ful doctors/lawyers/politicians! This
is a crucial difference from typical
U.S. fare.
Can you imagine General
Hospital or Days of Our Lives with-
out the rich and powerful? Can you
imagine a soap opera about rela-
tively average folks? (Happy
Bundys, if you will.) The mind bog-
gles.
Regardless, where else (between
the commercials featuring the
Golden Arches with maple leaves)
can you work on your Aussie or
Cockney without renting Crocodile
Dundee or My Fair Lady ? I'm
tellin' ya, you'll never be able to
leave the telly again.
The other major PBS similarity is
Sesame Street. But this isn't the one
PBS viewers grew up on. If you miss
the opening credits (which give it
away as Canadian Sesame Street) it
may take a moment to realize that
it's different. After all, Bert, Ernie,
Oscar, Grover, and Big Bird are still
residents.
But when they start talking about
the letter "zed," and mention that
they are sponsored by the number
deux, one becomes suspicious. Then
a polar bear named Basil, and a
French-Canadian teddy bear named
Louis appear and start acting like
regulars. Then they start teaching
you French, instead of Spanish in
those mini-language segments. (Sur
I 'edphant. Dessous 1 'elphant.)
Sure, it's still Sesame Street, but this
one is tres chic.
ingly interesting. One takes place in
a darkened club in front of lava
lamps with only the sounds of run-
ning water and laughing accompany-
ing the action. Another scene in-
volves some play on a twister board
during a thunderstorm.
Terminal Bliss is 24-year-old
screenwriter Jordan Alan's directo-
rial debut. It's a serious outlook into
troubles wealthy teenagers face to-
day. Like Less Than Zero, there are
the good guys and girls, and the bad
guys and girls, and lots of drugs and
sex. But like 90210, there is the soap
opera plot to drive their sorry state.
This film is not going to win any
awards, but if you feel like appreci-
ating your station in life, check out
the predicaments of these kids.

There's fare for the intellect, too.
And not, happily, for an intellect that
takes itself too seriously. Take CBC
Midday. Naturally, in the first few
minutes, they switch to their national
news guy, a Walter Cronkite wanna-
be, who reads over the late breaking
headlines. But then, they switch
back to Valerie Pringle and Ralph
Benmergui, Midday anchors, who
take things into their own hands.
Both hosts seem to enjoy being
on the air. Not in a manner that sug-
gests that they enjoy it because it is a
great career move, but simply be-
cause they have a chance to talk to
all kinds of interesting folks. (i.e. a
man who builds bridges out of
spaghetti, or a group of people from
a small Canadian town named
Albertville that decided to have its
own winter Olympics.)
Pringle and Benmergui have a
rapport with each other that Detroit's
techno-news crews try, and fail, to
pull off. If Ralph manages to make a
particularly bad joke or comment,
Valerie has no qualms about rolling
her chair over to Ralph and playfully
hitting him in punishment.
These Canadians certainly aren't
as obsessed with image as the
American Today Show clones are.
Can you image Joan Lundon wield-
ing your common, everyday plastic
Bic pen on the air?
The best part of CBC Midday,

however, is the weekly entertain-
ment review. Every Friday Valerie
and Ralph, along with two other
regular critics, chat for 15 minutes or
so about what they saw in the past
week. The coverage ranges from
opening movies to new books to
commentary on the new lows to
which Geraldo has sunk. It appears
entirely unrehearsed and the actual
personalities of the people come
through. (When they totally forget
that they're on the air, they even be-
gin to end their sentences with,
ehT)
But perhaps the most fascinating
part of Canadian news is that the
U.S. takes a back seat on the news
lineup. Topics that receive little
coverage in the U.S. - like
Canada's constitutional struggle -

are lead stories, and the U.S. gets
tenth billing after all the current
Canadian news. It's indeed valuable
to realize that the rest of the world
isn't as hung up on America as
Americans are - even those folks
who live next door.
Great White North T.V. isn't a
great white screen of snow. CBC
produces up-to-the-moment, enter-
taining programs, and manages to
convey them in a way that seems
less institutional, and a little more
amiably, than here in the States.
But why would any American
couch potato be surprised that
Canada can produce quality T.V.?
After all, Peter Jennings, Alex
Trebek, and Paul Schaffer are all
Canadian.

K)
0

Skaters snow 'em at Yost Arena

Skate Michigan '92
Yost Ice Arena
Friday March 6, 1992
As a hockey writer disguised in
Arts clothing, I shunned my coat
and tie, opting instead for my black
Eurotrash turtleneck with black
jeans, and went to Yost Ice Arena
last Friday evening. There I saw
Jill Trenary, the 1990 National
Perfrmane rv
Women's Champion, and a young
group of the country's finest figure
skaters in the exhibition show
Skate Michigan '92.
Throughout the two-hour show
the fans in attendance were treated
to pairs skating, in addition to
some exceptional individual figure
skating.
Local favorite Lori Pinter from
Ypsilanti opened Act One of the
two-act show with a comparatively
unimpressive performance. Unable
to resist a partisan appeal, though,
the crowd enthusiastically cheered

Pinter's encore. Clad in a maize
and blue sweatshirt, and scored to
"The Victors," Pinter' s encore
foreshadowed the lighthearted na-
ture of the evening's entertain-
ment.
Ryan Hunka also pleased the
crowd with his theatrical interpre-
tation of '50s rock-n-roll, kicking
up his leg and playing air guitar.
The 1992 National Junior Men's
Champion skated to a medley of
tunes, including "Good Golly Miss
Molly." At the frenzied height of
the 16 year-old's routine, Hunka
pulled a relatively unorthodox
move - purposely sliding feet
first into the boards.
Michigan Skating Club member
and former competitive. skater
Debbie Wagner commented that
Hunka was a little out of control.
"He didn't do the harder jumps,"
Wagner said. "It -looked like he
wasn't into the ice."
The first of the two skating
pairs, Maxim Sebastianov and
Galit Chait, followed Hunka's act

Michigan Student Assembly
campus wide student government
Call for Candidates
Elections-Monday, March 30
and Tuesday, March 31
Positions open:
Presidential/Vce Presidential Slate
Seats open for Representatives of the following
schools and colleges:

with a Bavarian folk dance routine.
Rather than pair skating, as the act
was billed, their performance more
closely resembled pair dancing -
pair skating involves an emphasis
on jumps and lifts, whereas danc-
ing does not. While being a good
example of this art form, their skat-
ing was flat.
The most talented pair of the
evening was Todd Reynolds and
Karen Courtland. The two moved
effortlessly in performances that
were not only well-executed but
well-staged. Set to music from
"Miss Saigon," the duo creatively
interspersed individual skating into
their routine by liberally enacting
the plot within the lovesong.
As the headliner, Trenary per-
formed at the end of each act. Her
first routine was artistically strong,,
but her other performance empha-
sized her technical virtuosity as she
dazzled the crowd by performing a
triple sowkow.
But technical kudos for the
evening went to Aren Nielsen. His
triple lutz was by far the hardest
stunt seen in the first act. In his
second performance Nielsen did
not one, not even two, but three
back flips, A la Scott Hamilton.
-Rod Loewenthal
Labatt's
Night
Pitchers only $5.00
9 pm to close
Kitchen open
till midnight

TERMINAL BLISS is playing
Showcase Cinemas.

at

, '

WHAT'S
HAPPENING

Art ( 1)
Architecture (1)
Business (2)
Engineering (2)
Law (1)
LS&A (9)

Medicine (1)
Natural Resources
Nursing (1)
Pharmacy (1)
Rackham (4)

(1)

Candidate Packets available in MSA office:
3909 Michigan Union or call 763-3241
for further information.

Application Deadline is
March 9, 1992 at 5:00 pmt

RECREATIONAL SPORTS
Intramural Sports Program
VOLLEYBALL
Entries taken: Tuesday, March 10, 1992
11:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. IMSB
VOLLEYBALL OFFICIALS
Clinic Begins: Tomorrow, March 10, 1992
7:00 p.m. IMSB
CALL 763-3562 FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Thinking about applying
to Graduate School at
the University of Michigan
School of Education?
If YES, come to a meeting
Wednesday, March 11, 6 p.m.
Room 1322 (Tribute Room)
School of Education Building

dLonr51 5*
Paris $51 5*
Madrid $565*
Munich $515"
Zurich $565*
*Fares are roundtrip from Detroit. Low season
fares must depat. by March 31. Fares do not
include taxes. Restrictions apply.
CouncI 1rave
1220 S. University Avenue STE 208
Ann Abor, MI 48104
313-998-0200

21
Over

t *

r Don't just fall into any job.....
hO S -help acclimate new students
~h -meet exciting and diverse people
-gain practical experience

T T

for your career
-come back to school early!!
mass meetings
Sunday March 8, 4-6pm MLB lecture room i
Tuesday March 10. 5.7pm MLB lecture room 2
applicants must attend one of these mass meecings
quali fications
-enro~llment in Winter and Fall Terms 1992
-good academic standing * C

Faculty and staff will be available to

%_Qg1Y OF

/T NI~

sa2

JIL I 'PIf W

I .

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