Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top Ten Canadian Characters

While I may be physically back from Canada, my mind wishes I was still there. Maybe it was the kind generosity that all Canadians tend to have, or perhaps it was from all the sugar in Tim Horton donuts, but Canada is just a great country. So it is to my surprise that there are very few Canadian creations in the media, despite the majority of Hollywood seemingly hailing from the Great North. But there are some fine ones out there, so grab your poutine and Neil Young records, here's the top ten Canadian characters.

 10. Dudley Do-Right (The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show)
While the show's eponymous moose and squirrel were actually from the southern half of International Falls, its Canada quota was filled with Dudley Do-Right, a dim-witted Mountie. I guess since there is so little crime in Canada, they don't need to hire the brightest. It was actually his trusty horse, Horse, who always managed to save the day, and this horse even managed to get the ladies. In the film Dudley Do-Right -- one of the biggest flops of all time finishing $60 million in the hole --  Dudley is played by real Canadian Brendan Fraser, and his horse loving maiden is played by Sarah Jessica Parker. Write your own joke for that one.

Dudley's biggest claim to fame? He now owns possibly the best amusement park ride ever with his Ripsaw Falls at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The ride was so awesome, they actually had to slow it down.

9. Scott Pilgrim (Scot Pilgrim Versus The World)
Before the sadly underappreciated movie starring real Canadian (that's a theme here) Michael Cera, Scott Pilgrim starred in an amazing little comic series. Scott Pilgrim's fictional Toronto is such a wonderful place. Video arcades are still culturally relevant, great indie music as well as chiptune legends Anamanaguchi rule the airwaves, Thomas Jane makes random cameos, and society won't look down on you if you are Asian, gay, or even a pedophile. Then that American slut Ramona had to ruin everything.

 8. Winnie The Pooh
Finding Pooh true nationality is a little tough, as seen by all the people who have (unsuccessfully) sued Disney over the bear's royalties. I can't blame them, his world wide gross is probably in the quadrillions by now. But we do know that the original Winnie The Pooh (pictured above) was a Canadian black bear named after the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Of course, Disney's Pooh is always gold, about as far away from black as you get (at least polar bears are black underneath their white fur), so who knows if the Pooh we all know is Canadian or not. Also, who knows where Hundred Acre Woods is, but something tells me that if a tiger and a kangaroo also live there, it is a little larger than a hundred acres.

7. People in Canadian Beer Commercials
Canadians love their beer, as seen in Michael Moore's Canadian Bacon, one of his few fictional works
(because a documentary on Canadians drinking beer would be too unbelievable). A lot of Canadian beer commercials actually have an ongoing "narrative", for lack of a better word. Most Americans may remember The Bear for Labatt Blue (fyi, it's just called Blue in Canada. They will laugh at you if you say Labatt), and Molson had some fun ones with people missing hockey during the NHL lockout. But none of them beat Bubba's Beer, a series of ads where a bunch of guys would go singing to the store, accompanied by nutshots and other cheap sexual jokes. These ads were so effective, they were actually banned because it made kids want to drink beer so badly. And that my friends is called successful advertising.

6. Seth Bullock (Deadwood)
While sheriff Bullock here is actually a historical figure, the show deviates from fact just enough from him to be included on this list. Bullock left his home of Etobicoke, Ontario (home of a great Marriott hotel) to travel to Deadwood, South Dakota, -- America's first great outpost of profanity -- where he opened up a hardware store (the Canadian dream). He is elected sheriff as he is one of the most honest men in town, but seeing how Deadwood is a den of lowlives, that only means killing some people and sleeping around just a little. Bullock was the perfect opposite of Al Swearengen, a dirty manipulative pimp (the American dream), and the two of them make what is perhaps North America's first buddy cop duo.

5. Bob and Doug McKenzie (Second City TV, Strange Brew)
Anytime you hear someone say "Eh", you can thank these two guys.The McKenzie brothers wrote the book on the Canadian stereotype with the accents, the dress code, the topical subjects, and of course the beer with  their Canadian news report The Great White North. The skit was performed, completely improvised, by real Canadians Rick "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" Moranis and Dave "I'm not the Wendy's guy" Thomas. SCTV gained two extra minutes when it moved to the CBC, and the network needed the show to be more Canuckified, so they threw together this act. It actually became the most popular skit in the show and spawned its own movie. All at the small expense of typecasting an entire nation.

4. Terrance and Phillip (Southpark)
The Canada depicted in Southpark is, hands down, the perfect version of the country. As the Denmark of North America, Canada and its floppy faced inhabitants may have some really weird rituals and only one road, but it does have the hit cartoon, The Terrance and Philip Show. The show was actually created as a joke. When Southpark first aired, people complained that it was nothing more than a "crudely animated show about farts." So creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone made a show within the show that was nothing but fart jokes, and had even less animation. In the Southpark movie, Terrance and Phillip again parodied themselves as the movie within the movie got the movie kids to cuss constantly, just like the movie got real kids to. It was so bad, American went to war over the show. Canada went to war because Americans made fun of their accents.

3. The Lumberjack (Monty Python's Flying Circus)
This is the song that defined a generation. It is the anthem that unites nerds, Canadians, and cross dressers all the same. The song is a masterpiece, the song is dangerously catchy, and most of all, the song is okay.

2. Wolverine (X-Men)
Much like the above reference, kids today may not get Wolverine. Now he just seems like a cliche ridden mascot with the powers to create money and shoehorn himself into any comic possible. However, he used to mean something. He was one of the first true anti-heroes, the rare super hero who wasn't afraid to use his claws. He was who all of us, Canadian or not, wished we could be when we had a bad day. He wasn't just dark and edgy before dark and edgy were cool, he made dark and edgy cool. The greatest moment in any of his comics was when he got beat, because you were assured he would return looking for blood. He also taught us unorthodox lessons in life, as his cruel demeanor served as a fatherly figure for his fellow X-Men. He was the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Actually, that was Canadian Bret "The Hitman" Hart, but Wolvy's saying goes something like that. Sadly, he broke the trend, as his movie counterpart was played by Australian actor Hugh Jackman. But his "brother" Deadpool was played the Canadian Ryan Reynolds. At least I think that was Deadpool in Origins.

1. Don Cherry (Hockey Night in Canada)
(But wait! Isn't Don Cherry a real person?) Don Cherry is the most surreal person in history. He straddles fact and fiction and is the kind of person found in folk legends. Despite playing one game in the major leagues, and getting fired from coaching for a rookie blunder late in a Game 7, he is one of the biggest names in Hockey history. Known by his trademark suits which can be seen from outer space, Cherry is a Canadian national hero. The foul mouthed, European hating, military loving sports analyst came to fame with his detailed oriented and controversial half time show, Coach's Corner. He actually began as a color commentator, but was notorious for openly cheering for a side. In his segment, he and his multi-colored dreamcoats steal all of the attention as he talks about his good old Canadian boys, those wussy European girls, and somehow makes a segway from hockey to the troops in Afghanistan. CBC has tried to censor him, leading to nationwide outcries, so the worst they could give was a seven second tape delay. Cherry and his pet bull terrier are as big  of a part in Canadian culture as "Eh" itself. And with him nearing 80-years-old, he may actually be immortal (immortality is also what a Don Cherry pat on the back grants any young hockey player). He has appeared in several films and TV shows, always as himself, because if he was anyone else he would be too unbelievable. But he is real. He is the man, the myth, and the legend, and the spirit of Canada (not counting those sissies from Quebec) himself.

Also, he does what any good character does: crossovers.


  1. Great list. Absolutely great. Everyone loves Canada...except Vancouver of course (too soon or too late?). I always get Don Cherry confused (stupidly) with Jimmy the Greek so I always assume he's racist, which is very wrong. White guys yelling is all they have in common. Canadian Bacon wasn't a documentary?!?!

  2. lol great list!
    never heard of Don Cherry before

  3. Don Cherry is getting harder and harder to understand as he gets older. And his outfits are getting louder and louder.

    I would have had The Kids in the Hall on that list... but maybe they're TOO Canadian... and wierd.

    I also would have added the Trailer Park Boys. Especially Bubbles... he's a national treasure!

  4. Canadians, eh?
    South Park have truly nailed the Canadian spirit with their depiction of Terence and Philip.

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