On the show the other day, we talked about SCTV, in particular the suggestion that’s recently been made that maybe we should honour this relic of Edmonton’s cultural past with a monument of some sort. There’s even a petition, doncha know.
Who knew that an idea so well-intentioned and benign would create such controversy? Battle lines have been drawn, mostly between generations – doddering oldsters who live in the past because that’s where they find their better days vs. young whippersnappers who don’t know the first goddamn thing about our heritage.
It’s not surprising that the young’uns don’t know or care what the hell the old folks are on about here. While the Second City troupe’s origins aren’t even Canadian, to take it even further, the SCTV gang weren’t Edmontonians, weren’t here for very long and rarely come back to visit (though the same could be said of Wayne Gretzky). And, there are few things that younger people tolerate less than their elders talking about the olden days. If something didn’t occur as part of one’s own personal experience, in particular the chunk of one’s lifetime that will one day trigger their most pathetically embarassing bouts of nostalgia, then it couldn’t possibly have happened at all, or it just plain doesn’t matter that it did. Besides, who wants it pointed out that this is what will eventually become of their own existence?
But oh please, you kids, hear us out on this, okay? In our more lucid moments, we decrepits know it’s not entirely your fault that you’re so stupid and self-centered. SCTV is remembered fondly for reasons both simple and complicated.
First off, it was insanely hilarious, and highly influential to just about everyone who’s come along since who thought they might like to make a living being funny. Yes, the cast and the show itself were originally from Toronto, but the show had been cancelled in Toronto and would have ceased to be a going concern had Charles Allard not offered them all the resources they needed to resurrect SCTV, on the condition that it be produced in Edmonton.
From there, Edmonton – both physical place and state of mind – insinuated itself into SCTV, which in turn was broadcasted into the brains of all the Edmontonians watching, especially the young kids, revealing our own city – Fort Edmonton, the McCauley neighbourhood, Old Strathcona, etc. – to us as a place where we could live, explore, and make our own fun.
While the 68Comeback Special is largely indifferent to the official outcome of the petition, if it should ever come to pass that Edmonton makes a permanent symbolic tribute to SCTV, we would like to go on the record as saying we support the multiple commemorative plaque approach as the best way to go. Plaques everywhere, we say, celebrating the site of Johnny LaRue’s crane shot in Polynesiantown, Mrs. Falbo’s domicile, the vacant lot where the Uzbeks danced around a fire, the rock in Hawrelak Park that Tom Monroe put his foot up on in Turning Japanese, and so on, and so forth.
We could have Segway tours in the summertime. It’d be fun.