I am not interested in watching this new comedy on the CBC. It’s not the mixed reviews or the hysteria from some quarters about the supposed controversial subject matter; I simply do not have enough hours in the day to waste it watching yet another television program. I’ve selected my favourites and I’m going to stick with them. Indeed, later this month, I’m calling Rogers Cable and cancelling my account. Pulling the plug on the 500 channel universe means pulling the plug on a lot of junk television.
But to the tinfoil hat crowd that see this program as part of some sinister reverse-racist CBC agenda, I should point out that the CBC doesn’t make sitcoms anymore; they simply buy them from independent producers. Little Mosque on the Prairie is no different from Corner Gas in that the latter could have been a CBC television show if one CBC executive (who is probably now banging his or her head on the desk as we speak) had had the foresight to pick it up.
Indeed, one wonders just how much controversy there would be if Little Mosque… had been picked up by CTV or Canwest Global instead of the CBC? Indeed, flip the two shows: would a CBC Corner Gas be seen in some circles as a Liberal-financed attack on western Canadian rednecks while a CTV Little Mosque… called a quaint show about eastern multicultural fishes out of water? A big part of me suspects so.
If Little Mosque… bombs, it won’t be a big surprise. For Canada in general and the CBC in particular, successful sitcoms are the exception rather than the rule. Going back to The King of Kensington and coming forward to Corner Gas, the number of successful Canadian sitcoms can be counted on two hands, while the much-hyped failures litter the floor. I remember a CBC answer to Yes Minister which starred Shelly Peterson (wife of then Ontario premier David Petersen). It lasted about three episodes.
Little Mosque… may succeed; it will more likely fail. It won’t be the first, and it won’t be the last. And that’s about all the attention something as frivolous as a television sitcom deserves.
(Later): “Two Million See Little Mosque”.
Huh. Maybe not so much of a bomb, then. I guess it goes to show, controversy makes good publicity. However, it will be instructive to see how the ratings fare for episodes two and three.