The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

The place to get the latest news on what’s coming up on #Gtonight. Find out what Canada’s boyfriend is up to. Share stories, pictures, favourite tv and radio episodes.

CBC TV & Radio shows plus HNIC

His work with Artists for Peace and Justice

UN Ambassadorship for The World Food Programme

Thursday, March 22, 2007

In Which Two of Us Bid You Farewell

Promoting healthy discussion on the latest issues” – that is the stated mandate of the Stroumboulopouli and I think it’s a very laudable intention. Of course, in order to encourage discussion of the issues, one must have an understanding of the issues. I no longer do.

When the members of the Stroumboulopouli started this blog, I felt compelled to write about a variety of issues that had arisen on the program, issues that enticed me to explore them further, and I immensely enjoyed having many subsequent discussions with you.

That all changed with the start of this season. What began as disappointment with the new schedule conflicting with my own, continued as disillusionment with the new format of the program. The few times I was able to watch The Hour, I found the addition of the audience to be distracting, both to the television viewer and quite obviously to George, as he focussed on their presence rather than on the cameras or, more importantly, on the issues. I don’t know if my disillusionment coloured my perception of the quality of the program, but I felt it had become fractured, that it was no longer playing to its strengths as an informative and in-your-face news program. It felt like a rather limpid talk show. Eventually I lost interest.

And this, of course, meant that I no longer had anything about which I felt compelled to contribute to the Stroumboulopouli. When I look back on the few posts that I have managed to produce this season, I see that they are overwhelmingly negative and critical. And while I think that criticism is a healthy thing, I also believe that it needs to be tempered with constructive possibilities. I no longer feel that I have anything to contribute to the discussion.

So it is with considerable regret that I say good-bye. I thank everyone who has ever entered into a discussion with me or with any of the other members of this blog. I have made some fine friendships through my involvement with this blog and with The Hour and for that I will be forever grateful. Thank you all.

Barbara B
---

My decision to leave has been in the making for quite some time. Unlike most, The Hour's new schedule was not a problem for me, I can still turn on the television at a variety of times to catch the show. However, what has changed, as Barbara has so eloquently outlined, is the format and the content being showcased on the show, and I no longer feel a passion to discuss the what is being represented.

Every time I have tuned into The Hour this season, the live audience format and inserting of 'stand-up-like' jokes has turned me off, and I find it distracting, but more importantly, taking time away from discussion which seemed to flow so readily in seasons past.

When we started this blog back in May, all members of the Stroumboulopouli, spread across this glorious country of ours, stated we wanted this not to become a fansite, we wanted to be about a discussion of the issues, and I feel that slipping. So why not write about the issues yourself, you might be thinking. Well, I would if I felt a connection to the show, but you simply cannot force creativity.

Like Barbara, I will always be forever grateful to The Hour, as it led me to not only the other members of this blog, but to you, the readers, who have made our comment sections some of the best talk out there. Thank you for your interest.

Allison

30 comments:

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

while i am saddened by the fact that you gals have chosen to leave, i respect the fact that you have.

i am glad to have been able to get to know you thru this site, and your own i will of course, continue to visit you there.

but i will miss you here.

Barbara said...

As will I.

I wish that you would sumbit a name of someone to take up your chair(s).

This way you have a say in the future of a blog you both helped to start and to grow. You may know someone who watches The Hour has stuff to say about it.

I will still see you around the blogosphere. Anywhere there is music or food posts I'll think of you both.

Allan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allan said...

Of all the critical things written about the Hour in the past six months, nothing has been so sobering and strangely heart-breaking than reading these two posts.
I realize we're talking about a silly TV show, but for some people I think The Hour has represented so much more - like the hope for a new generation of great broadcasters and even better stuff on the tube.
I too thought George was exceptional on MuchMusic.
When I tuned in on Oct. 9th last year I experienced real excitement during that show (with Belinda and the Google map on the screen) and even the second one, and Tragically Hip getting a special night.
It seemed like the possibilities were endless, and Canada was finally getting a real show with lively, daring and creative people behind it.
By the third show something was already wrong.
I told myself that the problem must be me. After all, they have the job, they have the cameras and microphones and someone has approved it all.
I'm nothing compared to these qualified people.
Yeah right.
It became worse and worse and worse.
Just running through as many pointless guests as possible, as if we are impressed because it's a name we've seen before.
It was insulting to imply that I should be impressed.
With what?
All these famous people, yet nothing of substance ever came out of it.

The jokes weren't funny.
And the boring topics seemed forced on me rather than being something that was obviously timely, relevant and cutting-edge.
I wondered "who's really in charge of this crap?"
I'm so fond of George, so why is he doing this to me? I thought he had a higher opinion of his viewers, his fans.
I tried to be heard, and was ignored.
I tried to have fun by making a video expressing my views, and George got all uptight.
Fans kept throwing tomatoes when I would point out the sub-standard intelligence and empty calories that each show comprised.
Reviewers at the NOW and EYE slammed the show, while I was still trying to encourage them to live up to their potential, and not be afraid of management and critics.
Still George and the producers seemed oblivious to anyone not on the same "boyfriend" page.
It was touching to see the Strombo group here treated so kindly when they would visit the studios.
But it did not make up for a show that was so beneath everyone involved - including those watching at home, looking for a ray of hope, from an historically smug and overly-expensive broadcaster.
And what the heck were they doing repeating a show at 4 AM when there are so many broadcasting students across the country looking for jobs?
I had misread George and overestimated both him and the CBC that I was so proud of.
They didn't seem to care, but rather seemed to take me and my friends, both young and old, for granted. And they seemed to think I was going to be impressed with all the big names they had on the show, and giving nothing from any of them.
Uuuhh, Oasis. Big deal!
Who did they think they were talking to?
And the answer was obvious - people who were dumber than them, or so they assumed. Teenyboppers who would be easily impressed with "stars".
Even George would show he was happiest sucking up to celebrities.
Aarrgh.
What an insulting disappointment.
Just like Strombo.com.
And now you know what would motivate someone to become the biggest pain in the butt those producers had ever seen.

Yet even with all my diatribes, bile, harsh words and silly jokes and jabs, there has been no more powerful indictment of the Hour than the two posts here.

Allan said...

Ouimet has chosen your story as a headline in her sidebar.

Todd said...

While I do not watch the show, I do find it sad to see you both go. I enjoyed popping in from time to time to see what you had to say about any number of issues.

Best wishes to you both - and thanks for the great posts. :)

Allison said...

Thank- you all for your comments.

Allan, you've highlighted most of my concerns with the show this season. Here's hoping it makes a turn around. I'll check back here from time to time to see if it has.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'd like to echo Allison in thanking you all for your thoughts. I will certainly be coming by on occasion to read everyone's impressions and learn about any developments.

Allan said...

Days later, the impact of this still lingers.
And I know I'm not alone in saying so.

When your biggest fans walk away then somebody's heart has been broken, if ever so slightly.
But I definitely don't expect any reaction from George or The Hour.
It's clear they're committed to the banal path they've chosen, and only hard numbers from the ratings will have any meaning to them.
Most reports say that 100.000 are tuning in to see what's up with this.
And apparently 35,000 is the number that becomes a wake up call.
So George is safe, and not shedding tears over a couple of people who've had enough.

I don't watch the show every night. If I did, there'd be a word for that.
Does someone know if even one viewer's Best Story has ever been used, after months of soliciting?

I never expected the CBC to take seriously anyone writing in to them.
The most one could hope for is to prick the conscience of just one person involved, and knowing that they'll stay mum about it even then.
Fact is, if anyone on the staff had a conscience, the Hour would be a lot different.
"coming up, we'll answer the question, what's a "Darfur'?, and later we'll find out who scooped up after Snoop Dog."

Barbara said...

Hi Allan... an update on My Best Story Ever is I just reshot it... It's much better now. The delay in putting it up on the website was a stroke of luck. I reviewed what I had submitted and felt the need to make changes. I've done that now and I am bringing them the lastest version tomorrow. It's a much better version.

I did talk to George about the changes in the stroumboulopouli. He is well aware of the cycle of life and that people move on...what more could he say?

Someone wrote him and said I was mad at him and I quit the blog...
I wonder if he believed that one for a minute...

Still waiting for Barbara B and Allison to make suggestions for someone to replace them...

Bloggers wanted apply to Barbara B. and Allison.

Miss A said...

I know I’m going to get jumped on by some for agreeing with George’s “cycle of life and that people move on” concept. But it is so true. Humans are not static beings and over time our preferences change. It is simply the way it is.

Television viewing is a personal thing. We each draw something different from the programs we watch. There are shows that I’ve watched for years that I don’t bother with anymore. “Survivor” springs to mind. The fact I’m no longer enjoying it does not mean that I should fire off letter after letter to Mark Burnett demanding he do this, that or the other to make me want to watch his show. I just stopped watching. I am sure that since that time at least one new viewer has discovered it and will watch as faithfully as I once did.

As some people hop off The Hour’s bandwagon, others will jump
on-board.

Allan said...

Then how do you explain shows being canceled? Or "re-tooled"?
Viewership is hardly based on a cycle of life pseudo-philosophy.
But then no one was deliberately trying to send a message.
I think they just got tired of supporting a show that's directed at the easily impressionable.
And they won't be the last.

Allan said...

Did you notice that Halle Bery was in Toronto this week and appeared on MuchMusic?
Why wasn't she on The Hour?
You'd expect that a famous actress (with nothing to say) would be a guest, but nada.
And don't try and tell me they turned her down.
The answer I think would reveal just how little rhyme or reason goes into filling up the Hour with content deemed of interest to you, the viewer and fan.
Instead, the show's blog announces "we've got a special guest - Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg is on the biggest actors in Hollywood. He's starred in some major movies,"
Weren't they all "special guests"?
Guests are really a grab-bag rather than carefully chosen.

Have you seen Strombo.com recently?
George sends you his personal greeting asking you to watch next Tuesday, and then, as you read the copy, you realize he's done a cut & paste without reading that it makes reference to "George".
It shows how much he cares about people reading his very own website.
He can't be bothered to anything, but just wants his name out there.
What a load.

Becky said...

I couldn't agree more Allan...
You also said earlier that when a show loses some of its biggest fans it means hearts have been broken... so true.
As I got more serious about politics The Hour got less. That was the main draw of the show in the beginning for me, and it's just gone now.
But we can't blame it all on the cycles of life. The show has changed. We can't deny that.
And to Barbara B and Allison, no one can replace you guys, no matter how hard some try.

Miss A said...

Allan, you know why a show gets cancelled…low ratings. I still maintain that The Hour’s ratings must not be all that bad…take a good look at their advertisers…Ford and Budweiser, among others. These are not nickel and dime operations. They want to get money back on their investment. Of course as you suspect that the bulk of The Hour’s viewers are made up of “teenyboppers”, they probably don’t have the bank roll for an F-150. Perhaps you should alert Ford that they’re wasting their money.

Interests change as we age and evolve. Becky (and I’m not picking a fight with you), you just said it…”as I got more serious about politics…” I conclude from this statement that perhaps you were not always interested in the subject. YOU changed. It’s sad that you feel that you have been let down this season. I’ve felt that way about other programs myself.

For what it’s worth, I’ve always considered The Hour to be somewhat of an experiment for the CBC. With all the criticism over season three, I am curious to see what season four will bring.

Allan, check The Hour’s website. Halle Berry will have nothing to say this coming Wednesday.

Barbara said...

Allan, Halle Berry is on Wednesday I posted that today.
You complain about too many non Canadian guests, then you complain when you don't see them on The Hour if they are beautiful women never mind if they are Canadian or not... (but she does have a Canadian connection)


Becky all I am saying is Allison and Barbara B helped start this and they should have a say in who takes their place. Who better to have the right person in mind?

I think there have been some amazing guests this season and a lot of important issues about politics and religion and global warming and nature and business have been brought up on The Hour and we missed our chance to discuss them.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

"Bloggers wanted apply to Barbara B. and Allison." - Barbara W.

I'm sorry, I must interject here. No, bloggers please do NOT apply to Barbara B and Allison. We are no longer part of this group.

Of course I can only speak for myself, but as there was an obvious divergence in the direction in which you and I saw this blog heading, Barbara W, I would suggest that I am the last person who should recommend a new member for this blog. I know of no one who would be interested in participating in a blog which is increasingly becoming a fansite.

Allan said...

Hey, who are you calling a fan?

The site never struck me as anything else. I mean, I would gladly have discussed what a hype that hippie Suzuki is, why Chris Hedges is so smart, or how every interview never amounts to anything unless the guest "brings it".
But every post I ever saw on the main page didn't exactly challenge me to expand my consciousness about the world.
I'm sorry.
And the only reason I saw for being here was that human nature dictates that George likes reading about himself, and the staff about the show, and It makes me happy to tell them what I think of them.


- Halle, you're in a new movie. Tell us about that.
- You won an academy award. That must have been fun.
- Is it alright if I mention that you're black?
- any more X-Men or Catwoman 2?
- have you read what they say about you on Wikipedia?
- more importantly, have you read what it says about me?
- wanna be my friend on MySpace?
- tune in to my radio show and follow along

-
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Allan said...

9 pm sunday

Newsworld is about to do a feature interview with Halle ...
How will it stack up to the one George taped?
Why not just re-run this one?

J said...

Barbara B and Allison,

I am deeply saddened by your choices but I fear I wrote a blog less than a week ago, echoing your sentiments.

I desperately miss Season Two and there were a few episodes recently that reminded me of the experience of Season Two and I just lost it. I couldn't believe that I was stil watching Season Three.

Ladies, take care. I wish you wouldn't go, but I understand it completely.

Allan,

The broken hearts thing... DEAD ON.
For the first time in a long time you said almost exactly the response I wanted to post.

There is so little left to be said. Or maybe that is the problem.

Thank you for reminding me not to be complacent about George and the Hour.

J

prairiegirlwarriorpoet said...

I felt sad when I read this post, it seems like the beginning of the end, at least from me. I fear it won't be long before the Hour is gone. I try to focus on the good qualities and hope that other viewers will too, but there is too much junk to ignore.

I also really miss season two. I wish they could go back to that format. I guess I still watch because I am hoping the Hour crew can pull it together, there is so much potential to have an awesome show.

George seems like a good person and I wish him to succeed. And I think the CBC has the right idea trying a show like the Hour. We have talk shows and we have news shows, why not have a program that can be both. However, the audience is distracting (George spends too much time flirting) and good interviews (Stephan Jones, Tony Campolo, Rick Hilier)are littered with too many dull ones (Brooke Hogan, Robin Thicke, anything Hilary does). My point is, I want to support the show but it's getting increasingly harder sit through. I don't want watch the Hour die a slow and painful death, but I don't see it going any other way unless they (George and the gang) acknowledge that the content and format are not working as is.

I know it's just a tv program, but I somehow took pride in the show during the first two seasons. Must be a Canadian thing ;)

Allan said...

It's good to see a variety of voices lending their thoughts to this blog. But I fear it's not the Hour that's in danger of closing up shop, but rather this blog.
It can barely pull itself above reciting the guest list, which really belongs on the Hour's blog anyway.
But this is the only sort of open space to talk about anything and everything. Over at the "official" site they are able to confine feedback to the narrow topics that they choose themselves. And don't try to say that Hilary isn't funny or it won't be posted.

Though I did not see the previous two seasons, I am confident in saying that there'll be no going back. Any changes this year were done to accommodate a broader audience, and once CBC start something they hate to admit they were wrong.

And I think we need to acknowledge that there's more to the Hour than meets the eye.
The CBC has an agenda here that is, I think, based on goals other than creating an interesting show, and it will be years before someone reveals the full story.

On the face of it, the CBC seems happy with the show.
Tomorrow the Hour will run at the 9 pm slot to feel out an even larger audience.
That's just my guess, since no explanation has been offered.
Of course, it's the same crappy show as the one at 11 pm.
This show is very cheap to produce and fills a lot of air time, as does the Deacon show and The National.
And it gets the CBC off the hook to come up with new ideas and more people on contract.
How they are able to make one program for 2 channels and still live up to their promise of performance vis a vis the CRTC is a mystery to me.

We're stuck with a really phony and insulting and directionless program.
And the only thing we can do about it is BLOG!
And pray for divine intervention.

Allan said...

It's frequently been said that this show was intended to appeal to a younger audience.
And that such a move was necessary if the CBC was to compete against all the other media distractions and tap into the "key demographic".
I accept this premise, but I also find it a bit lazy to simply re-cycle an existing program rather than starting from scratch.
But so be it.
Yet how is the Hour succeeding at it's intended goal?
Some young people are bound to tune in eventually, but I can't believe that they would stay.
It's so much like all the other shows, and the others are much better.
No self-respecting person over the age of 25 watches this show as far as I can tell. I know a lot of young people, and most of them are sophisticated enough to produce this kind of show themselves. They have way better things to do with all the technology available to them than to support George's career. Particularly since he gives so little back to his audience.
Shows by Jon Stewart, Colbert, David Spade, Howard Stern, Bill Maher, The View, and Mercer are far ahead of anything the Hour has done.
I can't even say that I understand Canada better as a result of watching this Canadian show.

What strikes me the most about the Hour is that I would have expected a really interesting show from today's generation (to which George barely qualifies).
I really was not expecting the same tired routine as all the other programs - one Halle Berry selling a movie after another ( a one day visit to Toronto and a hundred thousand dollars of free publicity for her movie - in which she's part owner - and the Hour just lines up like all the rest to hand over air time and "be sure to smile and ask easy questions".).
Nor would I expect today's generation to bother watching this. Because, I could be wrong, but I just think they're too smart for this trite stuff.
Would the staff even watch it if they weren't working on it?

When I walk by a magazine stand and see two covers with Mark Walhberg on the them and then see he'll be on the Hour, it's fairly clear who is really in charge.
And that control extends to content as well, though few seem to realize it.
Today I saw Maclean's with cover showing a Canadian war amputee. What a coincide that the Hour will have one such similar guest on the show this week.
In fact, probably more than a coincidence.

So I conclude that despite appearances, George is in so many ways not in charge of this show.
But I still hold him responsible for being a party to such a weak and ineffectual production.
This is the cheapest sell-out way to get a show on the air.
It plays to the lowest common denominator, and it makes no difference who is doing the interviewing.

Allan said...

Let me get this straight. You say you're a descendant of a member of the Group of seven and you've opened a photo exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery on the theme of eroticism and people in wheelchairs.
Far out.
Do you know what floor of the hotel Halle Berry is staying on?

Barbara said...

Allan, I am waiting for your show. How about blogTV?

Allan said...

I could be the floor director for Ouimet, Raymi and Matthew Good.
Do you think that would appeal to young people?

Anonymous said...

this blog is all about this allan guy blabbing to himself. why doesn't he just write the blog himself.

Anonymous said...

At the moment I'm more inclined to hop off The Hour bandwagon than to stay on-board. The first show I saw was the interview with the producer of CSI in May 2005, closely followed by one with the author of The Fight Club.

The CBC lock-out affected the show's return in the fall but I recall feeling eager and impatient to see it again the second season ! Those were heady days when the very first live studio audience was invited into a large capacity CBC studio and I recognized my friends as the camera panned the audience!

I thought the month or so that was largely devoted to the Federal electoral process was very well put together. George was at his best, imparting his knowledge and well versed - the show was enticing to watch - it was on the right track.

I thought the first week of this season was strong especially the first show with Belinda Stronach, and the second show, and all appeared to be going in the right direction, but I detected a weakening soon after.

The show, inevitably, will run its course and fulfill the CBC's programming criteria.

I sent in a topic of interest some time ago regarding a non-celebrity person who is making an important historical and unique musical contribution and impact and is widely recognized in Europe but apparently this item has been overlooked. My feeling is that there are many other 'real' stories in the world that are not only celebrity-driven that would be very appealing and refreshing for viewers to find out about.

Lastly, a pet peeve, I reluctantly say that I thought Britney Speers was supposedly tiresome enough to be left behind at MuchMusic but like a lost phantom keeps re-appearing !

Thanks for this site and the many opinions posted.

Diane

Barbara said...

I'm happy to keep the lights on and the door open Diane.

Becky said...

Miss A, good thing you said not picking a fight... you've obviously read some comments of mine on this blog before :P
Just to clear thing up, the whole sentence was
"As I got more serious about politics The Hour got less."
But The Hour was the first to get me interested in modern politics (I've always had an interest in things like JFK and Watergate). I got more involved as I started to watch The Hour. But this year I've noticed that it's less about Canadian politics, take the cutting of the 'Canada' segment. My parents, both of whom loved the show, agree with me. I'm not blaming it all on the show, it was a bit of both.