Friday, November 18, 2016

"The Goods", The Bads, The Uglies...My Perspective

I had lost my motivation to write further blogs. Despite having travelled to many places, having celebrated another birthday, and having experienced some wonderful things, blogging wasn't happening. A splash of photos and a couple of comments on Facebook were sufficient for me...until this past week that is.

Interesting how one event can inspire, by triggering memories, and invoking feelings.
Historical photo borrowed from:

Ye olde channel 6 test pattern
I grew up around the CBC. My dad was a long time employee, so, from a very young age, I was afforded opportunities to see the making of a variety of tv shows. I was a regular audience member at "Razzle Dazzle", and met the likes of Alan Hamel long before there was a Suzanne Somers. I was familiar with announcer Lloyd Robertson, long before there was CTV. At that time, the CBC was on Jarvis St. They had a broadcast tower that resembled a mini Eiffel. At 540 feet it was the tallest free standing structure in Toronto and a source of great pride for the city. Since it was also an easy to locate landmark,  I often met dad there and accompanied him home after work. I was an independent young kid who often explored downtown. Toronto was safe.

The process of creating any kind of broadcast programming still fascinates me. As it turns out, not much has changed. I've seen the occasional production during my adult years. Some have been good (see blog March 31, 2011 "Monday With Mona, Then Marilyn") and some have been bad eg. Caesar's Challenge, a game show produced briefly in Las Vegas in 1993.

Lots of advertising
A friend of mine, who now shares my retirement affliction, and I, are frequently in search of inexpensive yet fulfilling entertainment. I applied to several tv shows at the CBC, CTV, and City. We received a quick response with tickets for the new show "The Goods", at the CBC in downtown Toronto. It has been located at a spectacular new facility on Front St. since 1993. We attended on Monday for an episode to be aired on December 6th.

At the risk of never being allowed to set foot into the building again, I will describe our experience prior to, and during the making of the show. Our 1:45 arrival time was changed to 2:30. No problem. We amused ourselves by taking photos. (In hindsight, their free museum might have been a blast from the past and an entertaining time waster).
We've seen him in Newfoundland.
 He's not that tall.
Oft filmed in Cobourg...ooh...he's apparently
here again on the 21st and 22nd of November.

When the time came, we lined up as suggested along the wall. Although we were near the front, the ticket stated that it was not "first come first served". We wondered what that meant. We also heard people asking aloud whether anyone had ever seen the show. Uh oh.

After standing on our elderly feet for more than forty minutes our curiosity was allayed. The audience manager, organizer type person and her twelve year old sidekick collected all the best looking, youngest people, removed them from the queue, and escorted them to the 6th floor on the first elevator shuttle. Meanwhile, we made friends with a lovely couple from St. Catharines. The gentleman didn't really want to be there, but he bravely accompanied his wife on this expedition. He seemed to appreciate all our clowning and jokes.

When our group's turn finally came, we went up the elevator to the sixth floor into a warehouse type facility. Here, we were herded into a large group and stood for another forty five minutes. We did have a few Steven Sabados sightings but none were long enough to focus a camera in his direction.  My friend suggested that they might be trying to deter seniors from coming to their show with the endless standing, not a chair in sight. Meanwhile, I noted that the first "attractive" group was still segregated into a triangular shaped compound, also waiting. No  special privileges were noted as yet. We continued to joke with our new friends until it was finally time to enter the studio (almost 4 p.m. at this point). At least this long standing time helped us appreciate our seating arrangement.
Lovely audience co-ordinator and assistant
The hosts...Jessi Cruickshank, Steven Sabados, Andrea Bain, Shahir Massoud.
The studio was huge and impressive with laminate flooring, birch tree backgrounds, and three areas of seating. We were asked, "How many?" and immediately changed our answer of two, to four. After all, almost two hours of burning feet, gabbing and laughing with people creates somewhat of a bond. The first group was, as suspected, seated in the front row. We...well, we were hidden in the back but on the end...aisle seats and beside. Perfect for all of us, particularly the gentleman who hoped nobody back home would likely see him.

There's not much to report about the show which, as I mentioned can be seen on t.v. on December 6th. We practiced clapping because nobody had ever applauded before. Smattering of men first, with women joining in to the excitement a few seconds later. The stars came out, shook a few hands and sat on a beige sofa. Several scenes were "cut" and redone because of errors not noticeable to the average human eye. We were given a happiness test part way through the process and were encouraged to wave our papers in the air when asked. I don't remember doing this because by this point, I'm fairly certain I'd dozed off. Speaking of dozing off, there was a segment entitled "Beauty Sleep" were three hosts were in a bed while the fourth slathered the with an assortment of creamy goops. Appropriate daytime programming?
I was70% happy based on some really dumb questions.
I was snoozing during the show. It didn't help.

During commercial breaks we got to play games for fabulous prizes. In fact, the Toronto Star, Oct. 3, 2016 described it perfectly...

 "... between games of musical chairs, balloon toss, Hula Hoop and Who Am I,  you feel you’ve been trapped in Chuck E. Cheese for three hours." 

I know that the CBC has a limited budget, but I'd like to suggest they skip these wonderful opportunities to win one Hershey's kiss, a hair brush, a disposable razor, a cookbook, or a box of condoms. I got the sense that some staff were either cleaning their bathrooms or made a quick trip to the dollar store to provide these remarkable items. I suppose the big prize was the cat toilet trainer which fits atop of your human throne. Or perhaps, it was the one which I got....lucky #38 on the back of my chair...a pizza warmer.

Having said all this, we did have an entertaining day in the city. Lunch at Joe Badali's, the free show, and short armed me...carrying around a giant pizza box toward the GO train at rush hour.