“To say that the locker jokes are a ‘Laugh-In’ rip-off… that would be an understatement. The entire format and tone of this show hark directly back to the post-modern pop TV of the late ’60s. You ever realize that every single opening monologue is about how unfunny the jokes are? But we have gone beyond breaking the Fourth Wall as a joke and onto using self-reference as an apology, an excuse. Do you understand the negative impact we are having on kids everywhere? Not only in Canada but America. A whole generation growing up to think that things are ‘so bad, they are good.'”
I could have never imagined Ross would go off like this. He always seemed so lower middle-class in the comfort of my home television. Kind of like Schneider from “One Day at a Time.” And now, trying to make heads and tails of this… I was skipping school to be a cast member of this show. The last thing I needed was more book learning.
“Hey, you! New kid! Stand in the middle of the set. Now I am going to ask you one question: what in the world was I just talking about?” Ross was now barking directly at me. I moved to the middle of the stage, as directed.
“I don’t know.” Flinch.
But nothing happened!
“You see, you stupid brat. There’s no such thing as being slimed. It’s all special effects and gimmicks. Get out of my face.”
This was my Alice in Wonderland moment, where I eat the red pill and finally wake up from the spell of the evil witch. My eyes were open that day. No longer was Ottowa “my hometown” — it was the middle of the 20th century.
“All you kids come here, thinking you’ll be the next Alasdair, the next Christine, the last Lisa, eligible for placement on Hey Dude or Salute Your Shorts after your term expires. You’re lucky to come out of here with your pride intact.” The red-head kid to my left went on to become the older Pete from “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.”
Learning that Ross was, in fact, the actor Les Lye was also extremely difficult for me. Dipping my right foot out of childhood and into reality — it was not easy.
Now that I am in my forties, a writer published in several languages, several PhDs from several prestigious Canadian universities, I will admit: our show was not a very good television show. But you know what, we DID do that on television. And they said it could never be done. We showed them, Barth.