Recently social media sites have been abuzz about a new show slated to hit Canadian TV screens. Titled Lake Shore it’s been labeled as Canada’s answer to America’s Jersey Shore. However, the show has stirred a lot of controversy and critics have complained that it exploits ethnic backgrounds. With this in mind YouNxt brings you an opinion piece by guest blogger Magda Sulzycka.
We’re curious to know what you think – have the show’s creators gone too far or should we all just lighten up a bit? Drop us a note in the comments section or shoot us a post on our Facebook page. Here’s Magda’s piece:
At What Point Does Pushing the Envelope Cross the Line?
By Guest Blogger: Magda Sulzycka
Television and film producers have always been known to challenge taboos and force people out of their comfort zones. Films like Crash, Remember the Titans and Milk and television shows like Modern Family force us to question our stance on a variety of relevant social issues facing the North American community, all the while managing to be quite entertaining in their own ways.
A new show, Lake Shore, by Canadian producer Maryam Rahimi, is about to take challenging our understanding of what it is to be ethnic in Canada to a whole new level. At first, Lake Shore seems like yet another cheap attempt at shocking the viewing public; nothing more than the usual “no thinking required” prime-time fun. Yet beyond the flashy lights, big hair and tight t-shirts, hides an ugly truth: this show is entirely based on exposing and exploiting cultural divide and animosity. The characters, Canadians of ethnic origin, do very little in the way of doing their communities justice. They take the very worst, most stereotypical traits often associated with their ethnic group, and amplify them, all the while re-branding the city of Toronto as Canada’s Jersey Shore.
As harmless as it seems, Lake Shore is Pandora’s Box in small-screen form; you need only to watch the trailer to realize this. It does little to promote a healthy, cooperative Canadian society. In the trailer alone, there are already questionable, shocking statements made that can arguably be likened to the Canadian Criminal Code’s definition of “Public Incitement of Hatred” (Sec 319 (1)(2)).
I’ve been so desensitized by this type of programming that it wasn’t until I saw the last few minutes of the trailer that I realized how great an impact airing this show could have on every community targeted in this program. I’m particularly biased as our community, the Polish-Canadian community, has as its ambassador a most unsavoury representative. Polish-Canadians have worked very hard over the last 50 years to address and correct the negative stereotypes associated with our community. It will only take someone 5 minutes of fame to unravel all those years of dedicated work we’ve put towards disassociating ourselves from our former selves: the Polaks.
The funny thing is, is that out of all of the above-mentioned points, there’s one thing that bothers me the most, and it has nothing to do with the content. Rahimi’s managed to remind us that, for the most part, recent Canadian television programs are nothing more than reproductions American hit shows, but made with cheaper equipment and less funding. So not only are we being degraded as Polish-Canadians and ethnic Canadians, Lake Shore will also effectively put us back in our rightful place as the copy-cat little brother of the USA.
So what is there left to say but:
Hooray Rahimi! You’ve really managed to create…errr…re-create quite something! Let’s just hope that our Canadian broadcasters have the good sense to make sure that this something never hits the airwaves.
And that’s a wrap.