Television

Pas de deux nations

GRAHAM FRASER April 18 1977
Television

Pas de deux nations

GRAHAM FRASER April 18 1977

Pas de deux nations

The show opens with what seems like dozens of dancers bounding about singing a rousing production number called Save The Country, while Don Harron and Yvon Deschamps, the most popular entertainers in English and French Canada respectively, pick their way awkwardly through the choreography. So soon after the CBC’S bilingual public affairs spectacular, An Uncertain CountryI Un Pays Incertain, viewers might think that this was the variety department’s turn to do its flossy bit for national unity (The Let’s Save Canada Hour, CBC, Sunday evening, April 17).

Yes and no. What follows the carefully overblown opening is the toughest satire to appear on Canadian TV in years—satire usually found only in the better moments of CBC radio’s Royal Canadian Air Farce. Harron quickly calls a halt to the initial tacky proceedings and deftly launches a spoof of the whole idea of using a television program to save the country. Take that, Jean Marchand. And that, Harry Boyle.

There are some delicious moments. A parody of A ll In The Family, a Deschamps monologue about the absurd ramifications of cable TV, and a skit taking off The Exorcist (called The Federalist), in which Harron brilliantly sends up John Turner, are high points. So is the superb mimicry by Quebec impressionist Jean-Guy Moreau, who does an uncanny René Lévesque and a stinging Laurier LaPierre.

If it helps people laugh—and it should —it will make the debate at least that much more sane.

GRAHAM FRASER