Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Um... WOW

I meant to post this yesterday but time got away from me. I read the most jaw-dropping column in yesterday's National Post, concerning an incident that happened on Radio-Canada, the French-language version of Canada's national radio service, the CBC (if you're an American, NPR is probably the closest equivalent). He was talking about the New Year's Eve show that was put on by Veronique Cloutier and her husband, Louis Morrisette. Apparently every year it's pretty risque, but this year they went just a little bit further.

Okay, a LOT further.

They opened with a little racism (in the year of Obama, how could you NOT? Sigh). And some sexism. But it was the bit on Nathalie Simard where things went too far. Moore explains that Simard is a Quebec pop star who's always had a difficult life, who's had her share of bad media experiences, with culture vultures wondering why she's such a disaster. Easy target? Maybe... unless you know what's happened to her. Which, apparently, everyone in Quebec does. To quote Moore:

But the evening’s most noxious moment came in a parody of former pop idol Nathalie Simard. The show mocked her for giving interviews in spite of having quit Quebec some time ago, insisting that she was seeking anonymity. The concept might have been funny had not Simard left the province after she finally broke her silence about the man who serially raped her when she was a teenager. It gets worse. That man is Guy Cloutier: the father of Véronique Cloutier, who produced the TV show.

Wow. Wow wow wow. I honestly have no words. Cloutier and her vile husband (shown above... aren't they adorable little pieces of shit?) gave a press conference where they "apologized" because of the uproar throughout the province, and during their mea culpa, as Moore explains, "Vero, as she is popularly known, insisted she didn’t think people connected her to the sins of her father. Really, Vero? Do you honestly think you can attack your sex offender father’s victim on television and no one is going to draw a link?"

The mind boggles. Their show should be banned, they should be fired, and chased from the country with pitchforks and torches. (Again, for the Americans reading, this is still a common practice in Canada. Of course, occasionally the torches melt our igloos, but that's a risk we all have to take.)

You can read Moore's entire column here.


Anonymous said...

Hey Nikki,

I was in Quebec at the time and was subjected to the Bye Bye broadcast. There were a number of sins: sexism, racism, and being patently unfunny.

There was one good skit, involving Patrick Roy and his violent family. And in reading the papers in Quebec, some fans were deriding the show for showing Patrick in a violent light (apparently they forgot the alleged breaking-down-door, threatening wife incident from a few years back).

Some context though. Bye Bye is a Quebecois institution, which every year is handled by some comedy team. The last three years have been terrible -- beyond terrible. So the team that was doing the show was turfed in the summer, and Vero and her "chum" jumped in. The show doesn't need to be cancelled, but they shouldn't be allowed near it again.

Fortunately, both the English and the French press pounded on the pair. In fact, I was in Montreal until the 11th and there were still front-page stories on le Journal de Montreal criticising their actions.

I'm of the opinion that Bye Bye should go -- but that's because it's been terrible for so long. Shows like Tout le monde en parle seem to be doing a better job with their year end than Bye Bye is.

Finally, you know me. I'm not one for political correctness, but this show went beyond any sense of a line to be crossed. Saying putting a black man in the white house is smart because he's a better target? Referring to "des plan nègres"? The humongous error in judgment that saw Cloutier imitate her father's victim? All unforgivable and they should be banned from the CBC forever (even though Vero was good on her earlier shows.)

Bad judgment, terrible content (again, though, she did a pretty good Celine Dion impersonation -- and Rene Charles coming out looking like Cousin It did draw a laugh from me), and hugely inappropriate behaviour: this wasn't a year-end satire. It was like watching a bunch of 14 year old boys making jokes about bodily functions, sexuality, and race. At least a kid you can forgive for not really understanding. The same can't be said for Morrissette and Cloutier.

Thought you'd like to hear from one who was there! All the best,


Nikki Stafford said...

Wow, thanks for the context, Jay! I've been searching around for something else to add to this, since I'm basing my entire opinion on one person's column and not the show itself, but everything seemed to be in the Quebecois papers, and, um... my French ain't what it used to be. :)

Anonymous said...

My wife (French Canadian) introduced me to Bye Bye a few years back (I've always been a Dick Clark guy... sorry, The Show Still Nominally Hosted by Dick Clark, But In Reality Is More About That Hosting Vulture Ryan Seacrest Circling The Poor Guy Before He's Even Died New Year's Non-Offensive Rockin' Eve), explaining how good it was.

I'm still waiting for a return to the glory days. Moore's article's pretty good and he knows his way around Montreal (he was still on local radio back when I was living there) -- it's a pretty fair assessment of the Quebecois feeling.

Cloutier used to be well loved by the tabloids and the fans... it'll be interesting to see what happens now. Her husband? He's just riding on her coattails.

Anonymous said...

Oh... and here's a link to The Montreal Gazette's review of the show:

Just noticed a Cousin Itt reference in it too (I was reading le jounal... surprisingly french-Canadian Adams Family [or was it the Munsters, I get confused] are few and far between. Anglos get it... even if I can't spell Itt.)