Friday, October 9, 2015

Canadian Nostalgia Sucks

Early last month, there were rumours that Nickelodeon was considering reviving such classic shows as CatDog, Doug, Adventures of Pete & Pete in some form or fashion and on Monday, The Splat premiered.  A programming block starting from 10pm to 5am on TeenNick of nothing but 90's shows most American millennials grew up on.  I'm Canadian so clearly I'm disappointed in this news.

Now this isn't the first time Nickelodeon has brought back shows from yesteryear, The 90's Are All That happened back in 2011 but from the outside looking in, this revival is a lot more interaction.  Nickelodeon is aware that the generation that watched Nickelodeon in the early days now have children who currently watch Nickelodeon.  I always commend Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network for their work on giving their past viewers a reason to tune in.  Boomerang started off as a block on Cartoon Network consisting of shows from the 60's and 70's, mainly from Hanna-Barbera studios such shows as Jonny Quest, The Flintstones and Tom and Jerry.  It soon converted into it's own channel which now airs shows from Time Warner's archives and current Cartoon Network shows.

Now seeing this from America's hat, I say to yourself: Hmm, I wonder if YTV will ever do this?

Jimmy Fallon recently brought back Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell in a Good Burger sketch on his late night talk show, after 18 years since the movie premiered.  There were reports that the two haven't even spoken to each other in years but somehow someway Fallon got them back together.  And it was simply magic seeing the duo together again.  The two were at one time the franchise players for Nickelodeon, starting on All That before getting their own show, Kenan & Kel that ran for four seasons.

Huh.  I wonder if YTV could get past hosts of The Zone to come together?

With the reunion of Kenan and Kel and Nickelodeon dedicating an entire block to their 90's shows, it proves one thing: Canadian nostalgia sucks.  Now before you rage, there was some really sharp, innovative Canadian content but the current providers lack of an attempt to remember the past sucks.

As I write this I'm having the urge to look up old YTV and Teletoon shows, bumpers, commercials and station IDs from the past and go down that rabbit hole of nostalgia.  Only problem with that is, I'm going to come up short.  Nostalgia brightens you up.  It instantly has you smiling thinking about simpler times.  It puts you in a feel good mood.  It's a drug.  The kind of drug that can be sprung up at anytime during a conversation with the phrase: "Hey, remember [name of show from childhood]" It's a drug that fades as soon as you go back to your regular programming and you want that feeling to last as long as you can.

When I was young, most of YTV's programming came from the US, Power Rangers, RugratsRocko's Modern Life, Bobby's World were all once apart of YTV's The Zone afternoon block.  YTV produced shows would normally air after The Zone ended at 6pm such as Yvon of the Yukon, Short Circuitz, Big Wolf On Campus and The Zack Files to name a few.  But there were three landmark shows that would come up often in the conversation of YTV nostalgia.  Student Bodies, Radio Active and System Crash were arguably the most notable YTV sitcoms they produced.  Honorable mentions to Breaker High and Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

A major crutch for Canadian programming is once it airs, that's it.  You probably won't see it again for a few or several years unless an international provider picks up a show.  For years you couldn't find Radio Active, a main stay at 7pm on Mondays for YTV, anywhere online outside of the opening theme (thanks to RetroJunk and Retrontario) until an Australian provider picked it up and even Nickelodeon.  Student Bodies got picked up by Showcase a few years ago and currently airs on MTV.  Breaker High has been on OutTV for several years.  System Crash unfortunately hasn't been picked up.  But if my memory serves me correctly, the show predicted almost everything today in human interaction vs. technology.

Now it sounds like I'm harping on YTV a bit too much but were almost the same age.  I give Teletoon some slack, Teletoon premiered in 1997 and their content didn't exactly stand up against YTV.  Teletoon also implemented rules for their programming that it all of their shows had to be bilingual because of the rules and restrictions with advertising in Quebec.  There was Teletoon Retro and it was great idea before shutting down at the end of August but the only problem was none of the shows were Canadian.

YTV can learn from The Splat.  One: nostalgia is in.  Digging into your vaults and opening up a block toward shows that made the network popular shouldn't be an issue.  Two: paying homage to the young actors and hosts that helped curate and mold YTV to what it once was.  Three, getting a channel for 90's CANADIAN content.  With all the channels currently on providers you're really telling me there isn't a free channel open for YTV Retro?

Now yes, a more popular show like Are You Afraid of the Dark? or Student Bodies are a click away online but think of it like this: After a long day at work, after you've finished streaming your Scandal or Modern Family, are you going to call it a night at 10pm or are you going to flip to YTV and watch, a block of television I'll call: The Weird?  Tuning into an old episode of Big Wolf On Campus, Beasties or The New Addams Family, every night a different lineup of shows you once loved (and The Adventures of Shirley Holmes for lawls).  So when you step into the workplace the following day mentioning how you came across System Crash on YTV and how it was great seeing how well it stood the test of time.  You look at your co-workers face in delight as you share this news, you hear the excitement in their voices reliving in all that maple syrupy nostalgia.  Then one of your co-workers says to you, fighting over others reminiscing: "Hey remember Student Bodies?  I used to love that show!"

Too bad the US is reliving in their nostalgia right now.  Just wondering when it's Canada's time.