Do they cuss on Canadian TV? In fact, tell me about Canadian TV in general.

We’ve been watching Slings & Arrows on Netflix, which is totally the best TV show you’ve never heard of, and are kind of surprised that they swear. That nice young man from the Kids in the Hall says fuck! Don fucking Draper doesn’t say fuck! So I looked the show up on Wikipedia and saw it aired on “Movie Central” and “The Movie Network” in Canada.

So then I realized I know less than nothing about Canadian media. I mean, I assume they get a lot of shows from the media producing giant to the south, but I know the government hands out a lot of money to the arts up there too. And I’m vaugely aware that there’s the CBC, but I don’t know if that’s like the BBC or like PBS or what. And I have no idea what the standards are and how much original programming is produced in Canada. (I do know we shoot tons of our shows up there, of course.)

So - can you say “fuck” on a network show in Canada? Basic cable? High-channel cable? (“Art” channel cable?) Premium cable? To hear the “f-word” on American TV you pretty much have to go to premium cable (HBO, Showtime, etc.) Come to think of it, I don’t even know if Canada has the same kind of tiered programming that we do at all.

So what is Canadian TV like at all, and do Canadians hate our weirdly censored-for-sex-and-language-but-brains-on-the-wall media?

Corner Gas was excellent, and I’m slightly surprised that America didn’t acclaim it ( since if there is one thing Americans do very well, it’s comedic entertainment ). Mild swearing.

About rural idiocy, but Canada does dry humour very well.

The Movie Network is cable - more or less HBO (in fact several TMN offshoots turned into HBO a while back).

However, you can get away with cursing on broadcast TV, though not until later in the evening. Nudity, too. (Or, at least they used to have it…I haven’t paid much attention to broadcast networks in a while - almost everything I watch is on cable channels… Let’s just say, in the past decade, swearing and nudity on broadcast stations existed.)

Took me forever to figure out what you meant by ‘mild swearing’… You mean Oscar’s 'jackass’es, yes?

They seem to make all the children’s shows and Discovery/Science-type shows these days.


When I lived in North Dakota I got CKY and CBC on my cable package, so I watched my share of Canadian television. I don’t remember it being all that different from US television, just maybe a little bit less uptight. I remember a lot of sedate dramas (Degrassi Jr. High anyone?), and some standard daytime talk shows and game shows. The games shows tended to be more sedate too. No inane screaming and contrived tension, just getting on with the game (“Is there a zed, John?” “There are two zeds”).

I also remember something called the Alan Hamil show, which was a daytime, Merv Griffen type talk show starring Suzanne Somers’ husband. I always used to confuse him with Alan Thicke. Hamil’s show was sometimes mildly racy, perhaps more so than for American daytime talk shows, but nothing shocking.

We’re certainly nowhere near as uptight about swearing and nudity as the US. Cable TV has been here forever, and to be honest I’m not even sure what, if any, distinction is made between network, cable, and specialty channels. CBC, CTV, and Global are network stations, but we also have independent channels that are somehow affiliated with networks and independent ones which aren’t.

Janet Jackson’s boob wouldn’t have made anyone blink here.

There was a ton of cussin’ on Trailer Park Boys. But it was on Showcase which I think is like our Showtime.

There’s no cussin’ on Little Mosque on the Prairie, unless some of Babar’s Arabic interjections are swear words in some cultures :slight_smile:

I don’t think that the show has ever gotten wide play here. The only channel I’m aware of which carries it is (or at least was) WGN’s “superstation” feed (i.e., the version of WGN on cable / satellite, not the local Chicago feed, which usually has different programming). Even then, it seemed like WGN would run Corner Gas late at night.

I bet you’ve all seen a whole bunch of Canadian TV shows. I know I have. How many do you recognize from this list?

I myself followed:
1-800-Missing (renamed “Missing” for the 2nd & 3rd seasons)
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Instant Star
Kids in the Hall (of course)
The Outer Limits
Psi Factor
Wild Roses
Others like Forever Knight, Flashpoint, Due South, Lexx, Cash Cab, Blood Ties, Sanctuary, Once a Thief etc are probably familiar to a lot of US viewers too. I don’t like them myself, but I know others who do. It’s hard for US viewers who watch shows on Syfy, Lifetime or The N to not see Canadian shows.

Sorry, I’ve only seen Degrassi, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and Kids in the Hall out of that list. The only one I didn’t know was Canadian is Are You Afraid of the Dark, and I saw that one as a kid - if I saw it now I’d catch the accents.

You can see a lot of uncut movies on regular cable TV up here late at night.

I remember talking to a friend in San Diego while watching Dusk till Dawn. He was grousing that showing it on cable was useless because so much would be edited out. He was actually shocked when I mentioned that it’s not edited at all. F-bombs, boobies, people generally being nasty.

As I recall, we were more shocked over the American reaction to the boob, than the boob itself. “It’s a boob; what’s the big deal?” was a typical Canadian response. That said, we don’t normally show boobs or other overt nudity. But there have been exceptions, such as for one-off TV movies or documentaries. And one Toronto station did air softcore porn after midnight back in the 70s.

As for swearing, I think of shows with Chef Gordon Ramsay–we get them, bleeped, when they are originally shown on the originating American network. A few months or a year later, they are rerun on our Food Network, unbleeped. However, nobody goes on Canada AM (a nationwide morning news and talk show, much like NBC’s Today Show) to talk about their @#$% book or movie. Timing and demographics have a lot to do with it, I’d guess; but generally speaking, I’d say Canadian TV is a lot less uptight about a lot of things than American TV.

Ah–another Canadian show you may have seen without realizing it was Canadian: Night Heat, which aired on CBS back in the 80s. I don’t think it was in a great time slot, though; so I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody recognizes it.

…and the reaction was just the media stirring up shit. The vast majority of people only found it to be something to snicker at; the media went trawling flyover country trailer parks to find the handful of fringe god-botherers who were actually upset, then blew it up like the Hindenburg. Standard Operating Procedure.

ETA: If only Fergie had had a wardrobe malfunction at the last one… sigh…

Yeah, I think it was one of the shows which CBS ran in the late-night slot (11:30pm ET, after the late local news) in the 1980s and early 1990s, before Letterman jumped from NBC to CBS, and they started airing “Late Night” in that slot. ISTR that “Forever Knight” originally aired in the U.S. in the same time slot.

The typical Canadian original broadcast television program isn’t really any racier or more profane than a U.S. TV show. I’m sure that’s at least in part due to the desire to market them in the U.S. and other markets.

But when a movie is shown on TV, it’s generally less censored than you might see on a U.S. broadcast station, especially if it’s later at night. There’s no way that the word “goddamn” would be censored in a Canadian broadcast, for instance.

I’ve been watching Being Erica on SOAPnet, and am enjoying it quite a lot. I’m sure I’ve seen other Canadian series (and certainly plenty filmed in Vancouver but set in the US), but this is the first where it actually seemed like they were in Canada - mentioning actual Canadian locales, and calling money “Loonies”.

Also was very amused by the meta-episode of Supernatural recently where they take the place of their actors and make swarmy comments about being in Vancouver and having Canadian money.

Holmes on Homes is Canadian. Once in awhile they bleep him on the American, hgtv channel.

hgtv is odd anyhow. They bleep any profanity.

I didn’t know Slings & Arrows was Canadian when we sat down to watch it, but practically the first line was something about being unable to pay the hydro bill. I’d never actually heard that on TV that I could remember - only knew it from here! (No milk-in-a-bag sightings as of yet, but it’s about actors so they really only eat liquor.)