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1979! The essence of YCDTOTV at its best!

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  • 1979! The essence of YCDTOTV at its best!

    Having watched some of the 1979 episodes I am very impressed with how YCDTOTV was really pushing the limits and going places never before explored on a kids show. Some pretty edgy stuff that you simply "can't do on television"! In no particular order I will provide examples of humor or simply things that are said that differentiates 1979 YCDTOTV from all of the subsequent incarnations.

    1) Let's get things started right off the bat with Episode 1. Tim Douglas gets "slimed". Well, not really. They didn't call it green slime or anything. You just hear a toilet flushing sound
    (which implies..........eeecccch) and "stuff" being dumped all over him. In today's gross-out world it may not seem like much. But wow! In 1979 that's pretty out there.

    2) Episode 1: DJ Jim Johnson is discussing Peter Frampton's career to Lisa when she exclaims Jim looks just like him and proceeds to throw herself on him. Jim quips: "If this keeps up I'll get arrested!".

    3) Episode 2: The intro with "Math Man". Marc Baillon belligerently tells Math Man, "Aw shut up you boring old idiot!". Back in the 1970s there was more respect and for a kid to talk to an adult like that was certainly a kind of sass that you wouldn't expect.

    4: Episode 2: Tim and Marc get the show rolling. When Tim speaks french, Marc responds with "So you don't speak frog, eh?". Cindy later mentions a frog and Christine says, "That's no way to speak of our French-Canadian cousins." WOAH! WOAH! WOAH! If you refer to a French person as a frog in Canada today you will be made to go on a national apology tour.

    There are more examples. I'm just getting started.
    Last edited by Count Floyd; January 20, 2014, 10:33 PM.

  • #2
    You'll definitely come across more. Another one that comes to mind is either episode 4 or 5 where a cast member walks up to Senator Prevert asking if he can take the car, and Prevert says "no. Why don't you take a girl instead?" The reply was in a feminine voice, "But daaaaad" with a hand gesture stereotypical for a homosexual guy.
    Mark

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    • #3
      Originally posted by slime2005 View Post
      You'll definitely come across more. Another one that comes to mind is either episode 4 or 5 where a cast member walks up to Senator Prevert asking if he can take the car, and Prevert says "no. Why don't you take a girl instead?" The reply was in a feminine voice, "But daaaaad" with a hand gesture stereotypical for a homosexual guy.
      Great find slime2005! That is truly a "you can't do that on television" moment. No way could a show get away with doing that these days.

      A few more:

      In general, YCDTOTV throws insults and pokes fun at the show "Kidstuff". Unfortunately, there are no episodes of Kidstuff available on YouTube. However, this is the intro:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glb_tHX5XYw
      I don't know what the rest of the show is like, but those opening credits give off the feeling that the show is sickeningly sweet and everyone is a well-behaved goody two-shoes..
      The tone and attitude of YCDTOTV seems deliberately created to serve as the antithesis of Kidstuff.

      Episode 3; Kevin talks about the records available to be won. Then he introduces a video by Tina Charles. But he also adds, "boy has she ever got fat since I last saw her". Another zinger.

      Episode 3; an uncomfortable moment. I actually think the show unacceptably crossed a line here. Poor Jonothan Gebert is made to take off all his clothes except his underwear.

      Episode 5; (Les is playing a character with multi-colored hair and speaks with a bit of a lisp). Elizabeth approaches Les and he enthusiastically asks, "Yes little boy, what do you want?". When Elizabeth informs him she's a girl, he completely loses interest in her.

      Episode 5: a singing group performs. The name of the group? Beaver Pie. Is that slang for something? I don't know if it is or isn't. But it just doesn't sound right.

      Episode 5: Towards the end of the show there is a contest. The prizes: Dinner and a disco date with Sarah for the guys and for the girls a date with Jim Johnson. That's gotta be awkward for Sarah having to go out on a date with a complete stranger.

      General observation: Les' "dad" character drinks lots of beer and has SO many cans lying around.
      Last edited by Count Floyd; January 22, 2014, 09:07 PM.

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      • #4
        also, like I've mentioned before, kids drinking coffee is even more prevalent than in later seasons. Particularly in the" backstage show" episode, where Christine is pouring coffee for everyone and drinking cups and cups of it herself. - though it has been pointed out that this may or may not have been a joke, as it's possible Canadian kids just drink more coffee than American ones, though I doubt this, because it's clear in one scene that -I think it's Jono-says "yuck' under his breath after he drinks the coffee.

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        • #5
          Some interesting trivia from Episode 11. Towards the end of the show, Marc Baillon notes that CJOH keeps a log of all the telephone calls made to CJOH about the shows. And one person always calls in and says that YCDTOTV is lousy. So Marc makes a plea to the fans of the show to call the main line 224-1313 so that they can provide their comments. 224 -1313 was the phone number for the CJOH offices/studios when they were located at 1500 Merivale Road. Unfortunately that's all gone now. The CJOH name also doesn't exist anymore as it was changed to CTV Ottawa. And due to the 1500 Merivale location no longer available, they moved to the Byward Market (right in downtown Ottawa). However, the CTV Ottawa phone number is STILL 224-1313!

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          • #6
            Wow that is interesting! The number thing. So in Canada now calling a Frenchman a frog would really get you into some hot water. Being an American I didn't know that.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ssjup81 View Post
              Wow that is interesting! The number thing. So in Canada now calling a Frenchman a frog would really get you into some hot water. Being an American I didn't know that.
              I don't know if it would get you in "hot water", but it's definitely frowned upon. It's worse than a northerner calling a southerner a "stinking reb" or a southerner calling a northerner a "damn yankee" but it's not as bad as a racial slur. Somewhere in the middle.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by slime2005 View Post
                You'll definitely come across more. Another one that comes to mind is either episode 4 or 5 where a cast member walks up to Senator Prevert asking if he can take the car, and Prevert says "no. Why don't you take a girl instead?" The reply was in a feminine voice, "But daaaaad" with a hand gesture stereotypical for a homosexual guy.
                I noticed that right off the bat. Later in that same episode, that same kid (Gordon Smith), in a dungeon skit, hears an
                "Avon Calling" salesman outside and gets all excited thinking maybe they'll have talcum powder. Makes me wonder if Gordon was actually "of that persuasion" in real life, knowing how much the comedy on YCDTOTV often reflected the kids' real lives.

                Another example is in episode 10 where the kids are talking about the couples-only disco dancing competition and Kevin Somers mentions that same-sex couples are welcome to participate as well, "if you're that way inclined" (or something like that). This gets a few giggles from the other kids too.

                Too bad there were no black kids on the show that first season, or there would have been some "edgy" racial humor too. There was some in later years, like Indian (First Nations or subcontinental?) Randi and black Angie talking about what race they would like to be, deciding they're happy as they are, and concluding that "It must be a real bummer to be white"; or as late as the "Chores" episode in 1989, when Ted makes a somewhat racially insensitive comment about the color of Carlos' skin and Carlos retaliates by smearing shoe polish on his face.

                As for "Kidstuff," I did a little research on that show and found out it was made at CFCF, the CTV station in Montreal, in 1975-76. Only 26 half-hour episodes were made but they were so popular and so acclaimed that CTV kept it on in reruns until late 1979. (One episode hints at this when Elizabeth Mitchell decides she wants to leave YCDTOTV and go to "Kidstuff" because their wardrobe is better, only to find out the show's in reruns.) It appears its time slot was either pushed back on CJOH to make room for YCDTOTV, or affiliates were free to schedule it when they wanted by 1979. Here's some more info on it:

                http://www.broadcasting-history.ca/i...%3Fstation%3D1

                Roger Price seemed to hint in an interview included with the posting of YCDTOTV episode 1 on YouTube that a lot of the badmouthing of "Kidstuff" might have been at least partly sour grapes, since the show obviously had a bigger budget and better production values than YCDTOTV. However, he also confirms that it was "adults' idea of what kids on television should be." It seems somewhat similar to a show on PBS about that same time called "Zoom," which was also referenced from time to time on "Don't Look Now!".

                One thing I really like about the 1979 season (and also the CJOH versions of the '81s) is the interactive element that was obviously taken away when the show was picked up for syndication (hence the reason for the short-lived "Something Else" in '82). Even in that aspect, YCDTOTV was the antithesis of "Kidstuff" - while "Kidstuff" was still showing three- or four-year-old reruns, YCDTOTV was fresh and new, and kids could interact with the show, whether by telling jokes or complaints to the Roving Camera (which, unlike in '82 or '83, was kids interviewing other Ottawa kids, as opposed to Christine traveling to interview kids in some American city) or participating in the phone-in giveaways. I actually learned quite a bit about Ottawa and the local culture by watching those episodes. And it was unapologetically Canadian, whereas the Canadian aspect was dumbed down once the show went international and the kids had to pretend to be American by referencing things like the Fourth of July. Hence, the 1979 season is probably the truest to Roger Price and Geoffrey Darby's original vision - to present Canadian kids with an alternative to the usual goody-two-shoes type of Canadian children's program (like "Kidstuff"). And it just so happened that along the line the vision expanded to include American kids as well. They brought the British ethos of children's television to North America, and it was a success.
                Last edited by ChrisInMI; March 17, 2014, 06:13 PM.

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                • #9
                  Isn't Beaver Pie the slang for the front of a woman's private bits amongst men of that era?

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                  • #10
                    Is it just me, or do the 1979 episodes even more openly rely on schadenfreunde then the later ones? The one episode I can remember in particular is the one where every kid seems to be trying to find a way to get one of the other kids slimed or pied or other various tortures. And of course the devious smile on Lisa's face after seeing Jim get slimed and saying "Just think Brandfield! That might do that to you someday!" with such glee.
                    the adults and people in charge of the show were also structuring every sketch to torture the kids..put them in dresses, pie them and the like. I actually have a question about the Christmas episode. Santa scrooge comes out and they sing to him, then he says something like "and now I'm going to give you a present like you've given me!" and Christine does one of her best ever "I'm doomed" moments -she groans an "Oh nooo" like she is realizing something bad is about to happen. Of course he pies them all. And I love how Christine just stands there with her eyes closed waiting for it to get her, like the escape is inevitable. I just don't get why that was supposed to be a present like the one they gave him. I mean, it wasn't a song. Was the implication that the singing was so bad he was going to do something as equally tortuous to them? Is that why she said "oh no"?

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                    • #11
                      At the beginning of the Christmas episode the kids gave Dime a present. They had him pied. Christine said "Oh no" because he said he was going to give him a present like they'd given him, which meant a pie to the face.

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                      • #12
                        I will just note that the thought of same sex couples being at the disco dance is played for LAUGHS by YCDTOTV. That wouldn’t fly today.

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