Articles - You Can't Do That on Television (Series) (1979-1990)

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You Can't Do That on Television

From The Newfoundland Herald TV Week, August 22, 1979.

(Whatever Turns You On was an early national version of You Can't Do That On Television.)

For Kids...

Ruth Buzzi, Les Lye star in Whatever Turns You On

Whatever Turns You On, a bright new comedy series for family viewing on CTV this fall, is a crazy fast moving romp of comedy sketches and situations loosely based around the adventures of a bunch of ordinary Canadian children attempting to make a television show. Th program is a cross between Laugh In, Mad Magazine and a rock concert, designed to entertain parents and children alike.

Hollywood comedienne Ruth Buzzi joins the cast to play a wide range of adult roles like mothers, teachers, mean old ladies, secretaries, canteen ladies, make-up girls, stage mothers, etc. -all of them kind of crazy. But then, what else if Ruth Buzzi is playing them.

Ottawa veteran Les Lye plays all of Ruth's equivalents such as fathers, school principals, bosses, camerman, director and a whole clutch of roles that appeal to all ages.

About ten Canadian youngsters, aged between ten and fifteen will play everything from spoiled brats to child prodigies.

The Philosophy

Many of the educational programs used for in-school viewing with a teacher on hand to answer questions and reinforce the lesson of the program are excellent and highly effective, but that the sugared-pill kind of educational program designed for out of school viewing is of questionable value.

There is some debate as to whether a program which tries to teach literacy, mathematics or other skills to a child watching alone can be very effective, and good reason to believe that children are put off by what they suspect are underhanded attempts to ram education down their throats during their out of school, off duty hours.

The real horror story of Canadian children's programming was to be seen, not so much in the programs themselves, as in the ratings. These shows quite definitely that the vast majority of Canadian children do not watch Canadian children's programs at all.

Therefore, there was a most urgent need was for a Canadian-made children's show which would draw young Canadians away from the U.S. Networks on Saturday morning, and scotch the myth that "nothing Canadian can be any good." We therefore choose to add to the stock of well-intentioned but largely unwatched semi-educational shows.

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For an in-depth look at CBC programs (1952-82),
Blaine Allan's directory