More Of That Sweet, Sweet Canada-Bashing


I still have no idea when or if Fox will burn off the remaining King of the Hill episodes (the show has been canceled, but will end this season with a bunch of episodes unaired), but I’m kind of looking forward to the plot of this season’s finale:

KING OF THE HILL (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT) “Uh-Oh Canada” Season Finale

When Boomhauer swaps homes with a Canadian family for the summer, Hank and the guys have to deal with the less-than-agreeable visitors.

This kind of Canada joke is all in good fun (sometimes these jokes can be lame, like that Simpsons episode where they went to Toronto, but lame doesn’t equal offensive); but does it seem to you that there have been more Canada jokes on U.S. TV in the last decade or so than there used to be? I always got the impression that American television wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of Canada unless it had to, and when they did acknowledge Canada, the country was usually portrayed as, basically, England lite. Now jokes about Mounties, back bacon, tuques and so on are part of the regular TV arsenal. I don’t know what changed… maybe South Park, and particularly the South Park movie, opened the floodgates.

Of course, there’s Bob and Doug Mackenzie, who are the inspiration for most of the U.S. TV stereotypes of Canadians. But they were Canadians bashing themselves (even if they were partly doing it for the benefit of a U.S. audience) and they weren’t immediately followed by a lot of similar characters in U.S.-based shows. It took a while for the Bob & Doug stereotype to become, shall we say, naturalized.

Filed under:

More Of That Sweet, Sweet Canada-Bashing

  1. Maybe it’s just Fox, not just TV since Fox Searchlight’s Supertroopers actually has a poutine joke in the first five minutes.

    • And they refer to a jean jacket, jean shirt and pants as a Canadian tuxedo.

  2. That’s because the kids who grew up watching SCTV and Bob and Doug are now writing for series like King of the Hill et al.

  3. Apropos of toques, did you know that in North Carolina, knitted caps are called canoes?


    • When I spent some time in NC, they were called toboggans.

      In general, the name for this particular item of clothing is totally inconsistent outside of Canada – off the top of my head I’ve heard Americans call them beanies, toboggans, knit caps, wool hats, and I’m sure there are other terms i’m forgetting right now. One thing they definitely *don’t* call it is a tuque, though.

      • The term “watch cap” is also used among the sea-going. But a watch cap never has a pompom.

  4. 30 Rock has had a steady stream of Canadian jokes, but at least they’ve been somewhat novel ones – like Steve Martin’s reclusive millionaire describing Toronto as “just like New York, but without all the stuff” and Jack Donaghy talking about “ironically viewing some Canadian pornography”.

    • My favourite scene is when Donaghy explains GE’s corporate structure, and shows Tracy how the show is actually owned by Winnipeg Ironworks through an North Korean shell.

  5. That’d be Sunday, May 17 for those who, like me, immediately thought of setting their computers (or TiVos, or DVRs or DVD Recorders, or whatever….) to “tape” it.

Sign in to comment.