Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Saturtainment: You Can't Do That on Television (1979)

To its fans in its native Canada, You Can't Do That on Television was like a juvenile SCTV, but instead of parodies, the skits were mostly built around the inevitable moment where a cast member would be coated in green "slime" for simply saying, "I don't know". The "slime" was also a trademark of Nickelodeon, which picked up the series in 1981.

As you'll see shortly, the intro to the show has its roots with England's Monty Python's Flying Circus, simply in artistic form alone. Out a large cast of relative unknowns, only one performer went on to bigger and better things, well after leaving the show. Alanis Morrissette later became a million selling singer-songwriter, whose 1995 CD, "Jagged Little Pill", made her an international superstar. As memory serves, Nick put You Can't Do That on Television back on the schedule for a bit to capitalize on the success, as if they wanted to take credit for "discovering" Alanis.

At its peak, the series aired daily, including Saturdays, sometimes multiple times a day. Today, the "hot" show at Nick is SpongeBob SquarePants, and that's been a phenomenon for what seems like forever.

Following is a sample episode. I think you can detect the SCTV influence with the "cold open":

Silly fun. Too bad Nick won't bring it back out again.

Rating: B+.


Lionel Braithwaite said...

Unfortunately, from what I've heard, the original master tapes of the show have been burned up in a fire at the TV station where the show was filmed in Ottawa, Ontario.

hobbyfan said...

I'll have to do some research to verify your findings, Lionel. Thanks.