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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Saturday Morning - You Can't Do That On Television

From one Canadian blog entry to another!

I always loved You Can't Do That On Television.  Apparently a lot of people my age did in both Canada and the United States, where the show was a flagship show for the Nickelodeon channel for many years.  And why wouldn't they like it?  It was a show that was true to its name.  It got away with bathroom humour, poking fun at subjects some may deem controversial.  Basically all the things that your parents did not want you watching for fear that it would corrupt them.

I got news for you people...I watched the show for years, and I wasn't corrupted.


The show had a long shelf-life in itself.  Debuting in 1979 on CJOH-TV, the show didn't exactly start off the same way that most of us remember it.  Sure, you still had the locker jokes, the link set, and of course, the green slime.  There were also contest giveaways.  Live performances.  Music videos.  It was basically like MTV before MTV even existed.  Unfortunately, most of us probably never saw the 1979 episodes, as Nickelodeon didn't take them as part of the package for syndication purposes.  As a result, most of the tapes containing the 1979 episodes were erased.

(Though some people saved their Betamax recordings, and have posted some 1979 clips on YouTube, which you'll see in a little while)

The show took a brief hiatus and returned to the airwaves two years later in 1981, which is where the Nickelodeon package began.  For eight years (barring another brief hiatus in 1988), the show trucked along, making fun of such topics as pop culture, garbage, and even drug use, all while using dozens of cream pies and gallons of water and green slime.

I'll just go on the record to say that I loved this show so much.  Everything about the show was just awesome.

So awesome that I've decided to make this blog entry more like a top 25 list.  Because the show itself has a lot of trivia surrounding it that some of you probably know, but some of you don't.  I'm sure you want me to share some of these trivia bits with all of you right here, so without further adieu, here they are.

1.  In the course of the show's history, there have been hundreds of kids who have gotten slimed on the show.  But, which cast member holds the record for being slimed the most times on a single episode?  It happens to be Lisa Ruddy.  On the March 17, 1979 episode of You Can't Do That On Television, Lisa Ruddy was slimed SIX TIMES!  You can see some of these slimings in the clip below, as well as some bonus footage.  (You'll have to crank the volume up high to hear it)

2.  On the flipside, the one cast member who was NEVER slimed during any of the episodes she was featured in was Marjorie Silcoff, who appeared on the show from 1983-1985.  She got water dumped on her, but she was never slimed at all.  Not even once.  It was rumoured that on the show about Revenge, Marjorie was supposed to have gotten slimed, but the scene was cut from the episode when it aired.

3.  The 1987 episode 'Adoption' was an episode so controversial at the time that it only aired once in the United States before being banned.  I remember watching that episode, and maybe it was because I was young and didn't understand it, but I didn't find it overly bad.  You be the judge.

(Yes...that is the FULL episode.  I found it on YouTube.  You're welcome.)

4.  However, in Canada, the 'Adoption' episode still aired without problem.  The 1984 'Divorce' episode, somehow was left out of the YTV airings.

5.  1989 cast member Jill Stanley had trouble remembering her lines during rehearsals.  That became a running gag throughout the 1989/1990 season.

6.  Another running gag for that season was Ross purposely mixing up cast members Ted Wilson and Nick Belcourt.  It stemmed during another rehearsal sketch where Ted accidentally read Nick's lines.

7.  During the 1982 season, Christine McGlade dyed and cut her hair into a short punkish style, which contrasted severely from the look she sported in the 1981 season.  As a result, she was forced to wear a synthetic wig for the 1982 season until her hair grew back out.  She did wear one made from human hair in some scenes, but for scenes where she was watered or slimed, the synthetic wig was brought out.

8.  Christine McGlade happens to also hold a record for the show.  Aside from the late Les Lye and Abby Hagyard, she was the longest serving child actor on the series, acting in episodes from 1979-1986.

9.  The most common slime colour we've seen is obviously green slime.  But over the years, we've seen red, black, white, blue, yellow, and even striped slime!  See what I'm talking about here.

10.  The above clip appeared in the 1987 motion picture 'Fatal Attraction', starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.

11.  Want to attempt to make your own green slime at home?  Although there have been several recipes for the gooey green substance, the one that seems to be the formula used the most involves the following ingredients.  Water.  Green Jell-O.  Flour.  Baby Shampoo.  You can also add green food colouring to the mix if you want it REALLY green.  Just mix it in a bowl and chill it slightly, and voila.  Instant slime.

12.  A total of 143 episodes of You Can't Do That On Television were produced.

13.  Almost every episode of You Can't Do That On Television starts with a pre-empted program that was usually a spoof of a pop culture reference.  Other pre-empted shows include Rambo vs. The Librarian, Miss Piggy Eats Ham Sandwiches, and Pac-Man Eats General Hospital.

14.  Cast member Lisa Ruddy's nickname on the show was "Motormouth".  Can't possibly imagine where she'd get a name like that.

15.  There were three official hosts of You Can't Do That On Television.  Christine McGlade (1979-1986), Alasdair Grant (1985-1986), and Chris Bickford (1989-1990).

16.  Clearly, everyone knows that Alanis Morissette (1985-1986) was a cast member of the show who became a star.  Some other 'where are they now' moments include the following...
- Klea Scott and Vikram Sahay furthered their acting careers
- Justin Cammy is now a professor of Jewish studies
- Adam Reid and Kevin Kubusheskie ended up working behind the scenes of the show as writers
- Vanessa Lindores, Brodie Osome, and Marjorie Silcoff filmed a special one-off reunion video called 'Project 131', which was used in one of the SlimeCon gatherings.

17.  SlimeCon was a convention that took place in Ottawa, where the show was initially filmed, where fans of the show could meet their favourite cast members, talk about the show, and tour some of the old sets if they wished.  There were a total of three in '02, '04, and '09.  No word on whether another SlimeCon will ever take place.

18.  Les Lye (who passed away in 2009) played more characters than anybody else on the show.  His most constant role on the show was that of Ross, but he also played Lance Prevert, Mr. Schindler, the doctor, the dentist, the baseball coach, El Capitan, and probably my favourite character listed above.  Barth and his Barth burgers.

19.  Wanna know the real reason why Abby Hagyard always wore those yellow gloves in all of her scenes as the mother?  Apparently her hands were too 'elegant' for a dish-washing stay-at-home mom to have (it was the eighties after all), so she hid them with the gloves.

20.  Although water was always used in the show, it wasn't until 1983 that the word 'water' was the sole trigger for the shower of water that came flowing down.  Sometimes, it didn't even have to be in English!

21.  The 1985 'Fears, Worries, and Anxieties' episode had to be redubbed.  Initially, Alasdair Gillis was in a sketch where he had to talk about a bully named Killer Curtis.  The name was changed to Crusher Willis after producers discovered that there was a serial killer named Killer Curtis.

22.  The 1989 season holds the record for most slimings in a single year, with seventy-two.

23.  When You Can't Do That On Television ended the 1987 season, the show didn't come back until 1989.  Reason?  Roger Price, the creator of the show, moved to France, and CJOH didn't want to produce new episodes without him.

24.  When You Can't Do That On Television returned in 1989, only four cast members from the previous season returned.  Andrea Byrne, Amyas Godfrey, Rekha Shah, and James Tung.

25.  On the 1989 'Age' episode, Vanessa Lindores returned to the show for a one-off guest appearance.  There was an inside joke surrounding her return.  Because she was a main character in the banned 'Adoption' episode, she was asked to come back to the 'Age' episode to make up for it.  If you catch the end of the episode, you can spot cameo appearances by Christine McGlade, Lisa Ruddy, and others.

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