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Our Hero (2000 – 2002)

by on 2012/07/16

“People are more afraid of the truth than of slander.”

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Sometimes I don’t know what the heck is wrong with the CBC.

Sure, the CBC practically raised me. Yes, it probably single-handedly prevented me from becoming like the troglodyte, knuckle-dragging trailer dwellers I grew up with. Today, I read books and stuff.

So I owe the CBC a debt. I guess.

But in recent years, the CBC has taken things away from me that I love. Exhibit A is Our Hero, a short-lived, charming and critically-lauded coming-of-age comedy starring Cara Pifko. Hacker Renders, as he often does, gifted me this TV treasure a while ago.

It is all about a quirky girl in high school who writes and produces a “zine.” For all those Millennial readers out there (and I know there are droves of you reading this blog), a zine is like a blog but photocopied onto paper (the stuff they make napkins out of). Then old people would hold the papers a short distance from their eyes and read.

Pifko is Kale Stiglic. She awkward, she’s odd, she exploits “her personal pain” by sharing it in an outsider art-style publication. Kale is all teeth, hands and big brown eyes. She’s charming. Her friends Ross Korolus (Justin Peroff), Mary Elizabeth Penrose (Jeanie Calleja) and Dalal Vidya (Vik Sahay) are just as adorable and interesting as their best girl pal, Kale.

During the scant 26 episodes, we see Kale’s life, love, family and friends all played out in little scraps of paper marching stop-motion over the screen, still photos (the most embarrassing slide show you’ve ever seen), and in hilariously naive little cartoon drawings.

Her zine is a form of catharsis and she isn’t afraid to share her many charming foibles. The episode where she invites a “crazy guy,” played by the great Richard Waugh (Jimmy MacDonald’s Canada), to her home for dinner is one I like to watch and rewatch. She turns the ensuing police drama into an entry in her zine.

She meets a series of strange and entertaining guys. She copes with a goofy big brother Ethan (Michael George) and a goofier dad (Robert Bockstael). Her mom is short-tempered, cigarette smoking Mimi Kuzyk (The Chris Isaak Show).

Written John May and Suzanne Bolch, Our Hero is crammed with quirk, charm and wisdom. If this were a zine, I’d cut a big old red construction paper heart at this point to communicate the redness and heartness of my love for this great show.

Speaking of big red hearts, at this point, I should note that rewatching Our Hero for the purposes of this review put me in mind of another great, quirky CBC television show that was worth many, many more seasons. Unfortunately, it was prematurely smothered by the mommy and daddy suits at the CBC (and to be fair, government budget wonks who yanked CBC funding). That’s Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays was our weekly ritual here at It, like Our Hero, wore its charming quirk on its flannel sleeve. Its backpack was stuffed with everyman pain. Michael Tuesdays and Thursday made me feel better about myself and life in general.  And then the CBC took it away.

Damn you, CBC. While you are the (hideous bitch) goddess who raised me to like books and stuff, you also cruelly give me glimpses of greatness, and then take it all away from me.

Right these wrongs by buying Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays on iTunes. Our Hero is a bit tougher to track but I think I found it. Buy it, buy it, buy it.

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