TQS, the self-proclaimed ‘Mouton Noir de la télé’, has long been a bit of a running gag in this here province. Founded in 1986, the channel has rarely, if ever, made any money and for a long time has been a black sheep in name only. Its signature show used to be Blue Nuit, a Friday night parade of softcore porn. Today, it is perhaps better known for sleeping with its sponsors: RPM, its car show, is sponsored by Canadian Tire; its sport show by Loto-Québec; Loft Story, a Big Brother-style romp that manages to be even less classy than the show on which it is modeled, if only because it is sponsored, indirectly, by… the Hells Angels. The current owners literally made their money by selling garbage. You can’t make this stuff up.
Still, enough is enough. As if its reputation wasn’t already in the toilette, Le Journal de Montréal wrote a story shaming the network for not being in trouble. The tabloid, apparently short on copy these days after locking out its staff, has apparently taken to ginning up non-stories in the hopes of creating a hot-button language scandal. Here is the lede of a recent story, translated for your protection: “Wipeout, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Lipstick Jungle, Californication. These English titles are multiplying at TQS, which doesn’t contravene any laws.”
The journalist in question, Dany Bouchard, even called l’Office québécoise de la langue française, apparently in search of some mouth-breathing outrage. He didn’t get it. “Because these are cultural products, the French language charter doesn’t apply,” said the OQLF flack. You mean a television station has done something entirely legal, and hasn’t raised the ire of the easily excitable folks at l’Office québécoise de la langue française? For Christ sake, stop the presses!
Still, I love TQS’s reaction to why, when dubbing the shows in question, they can’t change the titles. “We don’t have time to do it,” is what the TQS flack says. Oh no? How’s this for the above-mentioned shows: Dérapage, Mort et enterré, L’argent sale et sexy, Jungle rouge. For the record, that took me 49 seconds.
Garbage in, garbage out, I guess.