Sunday, June 19, 2005

Art sort of imitates life on Robson Street

I almost choked on a pretzel when I saw a commercial for the newest Canadian TV show the other day.

"Oh my god," I sputtered. "They’ve taken my life and turned it into the world’s most boring TV show."

Robson Arms is a new half-hour series that takes viewers inside a fictional low-rise apartment building in Vancouver’s West End. The show follows the lives of the tenants, all of whom are stuck at a crossroads in their lives.

As someone who actually lives in a low-rise apartment building in Vancouver’s West End, I felt obligated to watch the premiere on Friday. I was curious to see how my real Robson Street apartment stacked up against its fictional counterpart.

The two buildings share a few things in common -- both have crappy appliances, low water pressure and old wood floors. But that’s where the similarities end.

The residents of Robson Arms get into all kinds of wacky hijinks. Like the 10-year-old kid who ambushed the upstairs neighbour to pimp for his single mom. Or the married woman who went on a drunken sexcapade with the maintenance man.

Compared to Robson Arms, my building is so boring you can practically hear the crickets chirping. (My family and friends refer to it as the "senior’s home" since everyone who lives here is over the age of 70.)

Nothing exciting ever happens here. Well, except for the time the pipes burst. Or the time Joan got stuck in the elevator. Or the time I got into a vicious battle over the washer and dryer.

But since when has any TV show had any basis in reality? I mean, I’ve ridden the GO Train and it’s nothing like the good times portrayed on Train 48. Maybe there are apartment buildings out there like Robson Arms. I’ve just never lived in one.