Wednesday, January 19, 2005

An hour with George Stroumboulopoulos

In the great big high school of life, George Stroumboulopoulos is the resident cool kid.

He’s smart, he’s sexy, he’s stylish. He’s charismatic and confident, without being overly cocky. He has earrings, a nose ring, and chunky rings on his fingers too. Which, in case you need these kind of things spelled out for you, means he’s edgy. He’s also aloof, sarcastic and completely irreverent. So he’s cool, but is he too cool for the CBC?

Stroumboulopoulos (hereafter referred to as “Strombo” for brevity’s sake) jumped from VJ duties at Much Music to become the host of a new show called The Hour, which runs every night at 8 p.m. on CBC Newsworld. It’s a current affairs show aimed at the incredibly fickle ‘under 30’ crowd.

The Hour premiered on Monday. I caught the show for the first time last night. Strombo is clearly talented, intelligent and able to think on his feet. But, as much as it pains me to say this, there was something about the show that just didn’t click.

The set was too slick, too large and too empty. The segments a little too raw. The on-set interviews a little too dry. The pacing was all over the map. Sometimes it was too slow, sometimes it was too fast.

It felt like the show was trying too hard to be too much to too many people. It’s not really hip and edgy enough to be hip and edgy. But it’s not really stuffy and serious enough to be stuffy and serious.

The show kept lurching between styles like a small boat tossed around on a rough sea. One minute it was like This Hour Has 22 Minutes, the next it was like Counterspin, then it changed gears to Much News, and suddenly it was like Vicki Gabereau. I was feeling seasick.

Strombo would be great as a Canadian Jon Stewart, but Rick Mercer kind of already fills that role for the CBC.

There were some genuinely good moments on The Hour, including an interesting and lively interview with Jian Ghomeshi on the mainstreaming of mental illness on TV. And, well, George is hot.

But the interview with the lawyer about the Judy Sgro situation didn’t really fit. And a way-too-long segment on why Canadians prefer Canadian beer fell flat.

Because I’m such a Strombo fan, I don’t want to write off his new show entirely. I’m going to chalk it up to growing pains. Sometimes it just takes a while for a new show to work out the kinks and get into a groove. But I’m not entirely convinced the CBC is the right home for Strombo.

If Strombo is the cool kid, CBC is the quiet, boring kid. There’s a place for both of them in the world, but maybe just not together.


Anonymous said...

Sarah!!!! I am just waiting on the edge of my seat here to see what you have to say about George! All that's posted is his hot picture! I can't wait for this post!!!! I bet you're posting as I'm typing....

Anonymous said...

Oh I see...I thought you actually had an hour with Strombo. I don't get the CBC so fill me in a little more. What's this show actually about? There is no American equivelant to Strombo - I'm totally missing out!!!!! Is he going to read this? He is afterall one of your biggest fans!

thestraightpoop said...

My goodness Sarah, I thought you actually DID spend an hour with George! I haven't caught his show but will try to do so this week and will let you know what I think too.

You're right about one thing though, he's a total hottie. Is he single? You're single, right? Hmmm.

George, if you're reading this...Sarah's a girl you should get to know!

Anonymous said...

George, if you're reading this, Sarah also has 4 hot and super-cool sisters! You should sit down with us for an hour...

Anonymous said...

Of *course* George is reading this -- after all, he voted for this blog!

And how do we know that? :^)

Actually, a pretty good analysis of the show. My summary of it is that it's a middle-aged CBC TV exec's idea of a hip, edgy show.

I think we can all understand the problems that could stem from that conceptual starting point.

Bill D.

tijo said...

Hi, I think this is a great analysis too, and personally I think you should send your comments off to the show:

After all, CBC is a taxpayer-run network and it would be a positive thing if the Strombo show could survive.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah,
I'm in school right now...woohoo!Très exciting, n'est pas?
Unfortunately, I was not able to catch this show, but I would like to see it.
Well I do appreciate George for his musical tastes, but sometimes he is overly sarcastic. His style is pretty mainstream as well. But who am I to judge? I am just the "boring suburban white girl", right? Well I gotta get to class! Cheers,

Sarah said...

Well, I realize it's a little unfair of me to judge the show based on one episode in its first week, so I'm going to give it time.

I fully agree that the problems with the show have nothing to do with George, but rather the middle-aged executives at the CBC trying to come up with something hip and cool. I don't know what level of input George has on the show, but I suspect not a lot.

Caught the last half last night (I rarely get home before 8 p.m.) and it was a little better than Tuesday night. I think they even changed the set to make it seem a little smaller. Anyway, I'll keep tuning in once and a while.

By the way, I think George is married :) Besides, I am not even nearly cool enough for him. My idea of a good time is playing Scrabble and going to swim meets. I think he likes to drink and go to heavy metal concerts.

-- Sarah

thestraightpoop said...

Sarah, don't you know you can't judge a guy by his tattoos and piercings?!

Sarah said...

Uh...I'm not judging him based on piercings (I don't know if he has any tattoos). I'm pretty sure he likes beer and heavy metal. He only mentioned this about three times a day while he was at Much Music. I don't think we'd have much in common, other than being, like, totally rad human beings :)

-- Sarah

Anonymous said...

he doesn't drink, and like heavy metal.
so what ever that is to you. there you go.

not everyone with tattoos and peircings are the cool kids. i'm still sitting at the nerd table. it's nice and quite here.

Anonymous said...

okay, first of all, bug thanks for introduing me to blogging, it's awesome! had never heard about it until i stumbled across your website here.
my question is kind of random and dumb, and maybe i'm just missing out on something, some kind of blogger-humor that escapes me, but is George S really married? it kind of sounded like an inside joke when i read it, but then was taken seriously (which i guess is the point of inside jokes), but i was just wanting to clarify...

Anonymous said...

i believe he is NOT married , but not terrilbly interested either. ( too bad for all of us huh?)
he doesn't drink , loves his mother and his sister and is funny ( i like sarcastic men though)
so there we have it.
i do wonder if there are other peircings we can't see

Anonymous said...

Ok, first of all George isn't married, he doesn't even have a girlfriend, second of all the piercings you see are the piercings he has, and he doesn't have tattoos. He drinks NON-alcoholic beer, and as for heavy metal, he's more into punk. Yes he loves his mother and little sister but is not interested in getting married or having children. But he is cute.

Anonymous said...

right isn't that what i said?
he's not married. we got it.he doesn't drink it.

as for the show content ... you don't think the interview with romeo dalliare was great?
or when george was talking about africa and his experience there ?

i thought that stuff was really great and bring it to a 'younger' audience was really important.

Drunk Fatso said...

All I have to say is that George is such a beautiful man but he wastes far too much time talking and far less time taking his clothes off...

He needs to stop being straight-edge and start going on drunk benders with me. I am about as smart as a pile of dog feces but after watching his show I learn something each time....mostly I'm trying to picture George naked but somehow I come out of that "hour" with knowledge about crap I didn't even think was interesting before! C'mon...I can't help it....
Anyway, I'm fat so I have no chance with him...Good luck Sarah!!!

Anonymous said...

i agree. more time getting naked!!!
we should email the cbc about that.

Sarah said...

Oh my god! These comments are hilarious!! I just read on Bill D.'s website that George is SINGLE (the Globe and Mail says so). And he has two cats. How hot is that?

My sister started the "he's married" rumour. As for George getting naked, no arguments here.

-- Sarah

Anonymous said...

George is so cool...he's like Ralph Benmurgi