Monday, February 15, 2010

Why America Sucks Vol. 1

No, this isn't some anti-American Rant. I'm quite patriotic to a few nations. I love the US, but there are certain issues I take. Now before you get defensive, admit it, every country is great (except for 3, and you know who you are!) and every country sucks for its own reasons. It's my hope that by pointing them out, we can correct these things and become better. And President's Day seemed the perfect time to kick start a new column.

Today's Category: Television.

There are so many issues I have with American TV that I will just have to cover one at a time. Today I choose to focus on the lack of exchange. It's no secret that our biggest export is entertainment. We mass produce movies, music and television shows, on a level that only Bollywood could hope to compete with. Much of it sucks, but that doesn't matter, cause we're also very good at advertising. All over the world people flip on their TVs and watch our comedies and dramas, and form opinions about us based on this material.

But here in America we don't tend to see much from the rest of the world. Most of the time when something does make it here, it's because we've remade it. Of course after it's remade we do turn it right back around and ship it out to the same people who just got finished with their own version. Most of the time the quality is sorely lacking. I mean seriously TV execs, I understand you wish you'd thought of it, but you didn't, so why try to destroy it?

The closest we come to really seeing UK TV is with cable channels like BBC America. But this is a slim filter, that only allows through shows they think Americans will get. It's this logic that prevented them from even selling the DVDs for Armstrong and Miller's brilliant sketch show over here. To the credit of Cartoon Network, they've recently aired some shows; The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marengi's Dark Places and the original The Office. But this is just a dip in the pool of brilliance that is out there.

A few years back WGN started airing one of my favorite shows, and one of the best ever created, Corner Gas. It's a Canadian Sitcom that is brilliant, can be watched with or without the family, and guarantees you'll be laughing within seconds. At first they played a couple episodes every night around 11. Then it became one episode. Then they started pushing it out into the 3am death slot. By the time the final season aired, WGN no longer played it. I had to wait for it to be uploaded on Youtube.

It never had a chance because it was never given a real chance. And we're talking about Canada's #1 rated show. Well, here we are, and the brilliant mind behind Corner Gas has a new show coming out next month called 'Hiccups.' At this point it's unclear if any American distributors will pick it up. And even if they do, because of the lag from one country to the next, we might not see it till next year. Meanwhile Canada doesn't have the same kind of lag.

America shares its wealth of entertainment with the world, but asks nothing in return. And that's just one reason why it sucks.

Click to start watching the first episode of Corner Gas OR check out a very funny skit from Armstrong and Miller


  1. Well articulated. American entertainment is often neither American nor entertaining. When it is, it doesn't last because of stupid executive decisions.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog too. Now to just avoid thorny roses and non-entertaining entertainment.


  2. I think I caught a couple of episodes of that but it was always random and late at night. It was hilarious and I liked it... that's why it failed...

  3. They do the same thing now with 'Being Erica' - they never mention it being a Canadian show and credit for it's creation in freakin' ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY so they SHOULD know better.

    I am glad for bittorrent so I can download those shows that I love. I love their policy of doing only about a season's worth of shows then moving on. With 'Hiccups' the 'Corner Gas' crew can now go on to create something new and hopefully just as funny as Corner Gas.

    We all know America hates to be told they are anything BUT #1 and to graphically show them this fact with a funny 'foreign' show is akin to being a terrorist.

    There is room in this world for all shows to compete for my love. I refuse to give any crap my time and attention no matter where it comes from. Unfortunately most of it comes from the US.

    They invented the term 'jump the shark' but don't know when it's time to go after gasing up the motor boat.

    Not that the US ONLY does crap. That isn't fair. CBC and CTV are littered with the bones of shows that just never made the cut but you always see the EFFORT instead of the ENTITLEMENT especially with a show named after the star themselves.

  4. Well said Cal, and I plan on covering the jumping the shark aspect in a future entry. I've done some bittorrent myself, but for some reason it always slows down my computer.

  5. I let it run while I am sleeping. When you get a whole season to watch it's pretty sweet. I am loving my 'Lost' Marathon

  6. One thing that we can't seem to figure out here in the U.S. is quitting while you're on top.... Take the real (British) 'The Office' or 'Extras' or 'The Flight of The Conchords'....

    They all could have had another season or two in them, possibly horrible seasons.... But they decided to stop making the shows.... Now when people look back and think about those shows, they think 'Hey that was a really great show!' instead of 'That show hasn't been funny in three years.'

    The 'Family Guy' skit at the Emmy's was classic, when Stewie tells Brian the dog, 'The Office, huh? Six years in and they're still doing a documentary about that place?'

    Don't get me wrong, I still laugh when I watch the new Office, but how long can Michael Scott continue to be so uncomfortably bad?

  7. Touche, may I also add that instead of paying for the rights to great international shows instead American Television continues to produce inane and mind numbing reality shows because sadly, people actually watch them, and two they are cheap as hell to produce.

  8. Being from Canada, I must say that I would be bored out of my mind without American TV and movies.

    Most of Canadian tv is lacking in quality production. It's only recently we're actually funding a few shows properly.

  9. Camel, I'm not saying America doesn't produce some good TV, just that they don't import any of the quality TV the rest of the world produces.

    Think of it this way. You can flip on "The Daily Show," but I can't watch "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" unless I view clips online.

  10. Definitely agree it's a bummer we (the US) don't get more things coming in.

    And yeah, FAR too many shows go past the point of being worth anything. I figure if you're introducing a baby/marriage/etc late in the game, the writers are using that for ideas.
    Sometimes it may work. But I tend to be skeptical.

    (Also dig the Corner Gas plug - I favorited it to check it out later.)

  11. Should be right up your alley. Evidently, as an update to this post, the debut of the new show was tonight, and no word on American distribution.

  12. I've watched maybe the first 5 or 6 episodes of the first season and I'm enjoying it.

    The dad character cracks me up. Plus, I'm maybe a little in love with the restaurant girl (don't know her name)?

    Also this is a cool article:

  13. You mean Lacy, and yeah it's hard not to. lol

    I'll check out that article.

  14. America is a very stupid country. Most people here can't seem to figure out that it doesn't matter who you vote for or IF you vote because all the choices are completely controlled by the billionaires that pull the strings on both hardly dissimilar parties. Where's the party for the average non-wealthy American? I hear crickets chirping. Where's the party that will give us single payer health care? End the wars for energy resource dominance? Indict the war criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice for authorizing torture and for starting a war of aggression? Actually stand up to the Israeli government? Give basic civil rights to gay folks? Legalize whatever adults want to smoke in the privacy of their own homes? Turn the C.I.A. into strictly an intelligence analyzing organ instead of maintaining it as a covert operations terrorist group that acts in the interests of big businesses? Start paring down the number of comically redundant intelligence agencies in the U.S., now up to the total of sixteen if not more since I last checked? Abolish the Patriot Act? Abolish the Dept. of Fatherland Security? Give us a minimum wage that actually corresponds to the cost of living instead of being an insult to every working person? Give employees the right to easily unionize with the E.F.C.A.? Neither party, or I should say more accurately neither nearly-identical wing of the Big Business Billionaires' Party, is willing to do any of this. Voting in this country is such a waste of time and so artificial that it makes professional wrestling look authentic. Smart Americans save their money and move out of this cesspool of ignorance and boorishness to a more intelligent, more sane country. America sucks.


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