Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Toronto Critic Strikes Again

You asked for it. When a former Toronto critic gave her acerbic view of Channel 4 and Channel 2 news a while ago, one reader of stilltalkintv requested that Channel 7 get the same treatment.

So Tuesday night, The Toronto critic (henceforth referred as TTC) watched the 11 p.m. news co-anchored by Keith Radford and Joanna Pasceri.

TTC was impressed before they said a word. The classic phrase “it is 11 o’clock, do you know where your children are?” turned TTC nostalgic.

“You know what, I love that,” said TTC. “I have heard that since I was 5 or 6 years old.”

TTC wasn’t quite as impressed by half of the anchor team.

“(Radford) is like another orange anchor guy,” said TTC, referring to the other orange anchor guy, Channel 4’s Don Postles.

Told that Radford was Canadian, TTC questioned it: “Really? He’s Canadian? I’ve never heard of this guy. I think he is a fake Canadian.”

I assured the TTC he was a very real Canadian even if he’s been the main anchor here since Irv Weinstein retired.

TTC was much more impressed with Pasceri.

“She looks young, fresh and normal,” said TTC. “She looks like a real person.”

Real person and TV? What a concept.

Then came another nostalgic moment when Channel 7 showed pictures of two politicians who did telephone interviews addressing the passing of the state budget.

“The phone calls,” said TTC. “TV is awesome. It like we have pictures of someone so let’s show their face. Imagine the rest.”

Soon there was some discussion of waterfront and downtown development, which no longer will include Bass Pro,

“In Toronto, Bass Pro is a store,” said TTC. “Here it is the destiny of Buffalo. In Toronto, it is like a thing in a mall that no one goes to. Here is it a big deal.”

It was a big deal. No longer.

After that big city putdown, TTC felt it was time for more praise of Buffalo and noted that a cabbie made a save that day when TTC was about to go the wrong way down a one-way downtown street.

“Nice people, Buffalo,” said TTC.

When Channel 7’s John Borsa covered a story, TTC was impressed.

“He has extremely well-groomed eyebrows,” said TTC.

TTC wasn’t quite as impressed by community leader Kevin Gaughan, who now is leading the controversial effort to abolish the Village of Williamsville.

“He is scary intense,” said TTC.

Especially to opponents of downsizing government.

When Channel 7’s Adam Francis did a report, TTC didn’t think anything about him until being told he is one of the photographers at the station who has been turned into a reporter.

“He is OK," said the TTC.

TTC wasn’t impressed by a news report about the fun things -- that supposedly included dancing -- that were happening at a festival. The video on the report showed people exercising with a hula hoop.

“In Canada, we call it a hula hoop, we don’t call it dancing,” said TTC.

By then, TTC realized that Channel 7’s news presentation was as old as the question, “do you know where your children are?”

“It is like a really old-fashioned newscast,” said TTC. “They don’t have a lot of stuff. The anchors are just sitting there as talking heads. They are like Presidential spouses. Nod sagely in a very stiff format.”

But TTC remained impressed with Pasceri. TTC even liked the anchor’s “fake little laugh.”

“I would lift her out of there and take her somewhere else to work,” said TTC. “She doesn’t get a lot of air time.”

Then a commercial for the law firm of Cellino and Barnes popped up.

“We make fun of this whole Cellino and Barnes thing in Toronto,” said TTC. “Classic ambulance chaser ads. Lawyers were only recently able to advertise in Canada. They don’t want to be like Cellino and Barnes.”

Hey, don’t knock it. I was on Long Island on vacation a few days ago. The same Cellino and Barnes ads featuring that pretty woman with the great voice play here.

“But remember to say how much I love Buffalo,” added TTC.

Channel 7 news? Not so much. It soon became evident to TTC that the news department doesn’t have many resources.

“They must like have under 10 people working,” suggested TTC. “They do OK. It’s just a very old-fashioned plain job.”

TTC also had some compassion for Radford and Pasceri, who TTC figured get so little to do that their script for the entire newscast would only be four inches long.

“It is just boring,” assessed TTC. “It is a boring job. I feel bad for them.”

Maybe TTC should feel badly for the viewer instead. After all, TTC loves Buffalo.


  1. Love it!

    I once lived in Augusta, Georgia, and knew a cameraman for a local TV News station there. He said that the tape he was given to shoot on was used so many times that it started breaking down and becoming unusable, but he was still forced to use it. Talk about "not having many resources."

  2. Wow, this TTC guy is full of snark, isn't he? Is he surprised that the TV news in a small media market is not up to Toronto standards?

  3. Bookmarked. Hopefully Albert doesn't find out about this blog.

    Alan, in an earlier post you'd mentioned the Time Warner Cable DVR's imprecision wrt ff and rewind ... there's a fix in place, it's been rolled out to some models, with the rest to follow over the next few weeks.

    Press settings, scroll to display (bottom of screen, go left or right) go up to "DVR compensation" and set it to "none". Voila.

  4. Thanks. I will try it. You work at TWC?

  5. Al,

    Love the blog and I'm happy you can now blog daily. Can you do a write up about the sports casters in Buffalo. I'm talking radio, print and tv hosts. I love that sort of stuff.

    Also, I can suggest, since you're writing for the biggest blogsite in WNY, ever think about writing some of the other sports blogs?

  6. kiddoo, you rock!

  7. Fake Canadian? Alan, show TTC Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel, so she sees Canadians trying to be American!

    Kind of ironic, a Canadian criticizing Buffalo newscasts. When I grew up in Buffalo and visited Canada, they all watched our news.

    We could do news the Canadian way (Global): have Montreal's newscasts filmed on a virtual set in Vancouver or the Maritimes newscasts come from Edmonton.

  8. RE: TWC. We have had them for about 4 months & we're on our 3rd dvr box. Previously had TiVo. TWC can't compare to TiVo & I told them so. Very cumbersome remote & recording & playback system. By the way, do you watch "Rescue Me" on FX? If so, what's with their editing when they break for commercial? Sometimes they break off in mid sentence. It's very annoying. Don't they care over at FX?