Last night I was watching an episode of Murder She Wrote called “Showdown in Saskatchewan”.  Well it just gave me a lot of food for thought.  I can see this being a topic of study for some popular culture paper, which I have no time to write!

Sure there were the amazing fashions of the 1980s- always a hoot, especially as they were trying to dress western.  Then there was the usual awe that yet again one of Jessica Fletcher’s relatives was involved unwittingly in a murder.  Stuff that usually goes without saying.

But last night, well they were showing Canada, and as usual it was quite annoying.  Only last week I went through the torture of watching the episode “Witness for the Defense” which is supposed to take place in Quebec City.  I will get tot hat later.  Honestly I wonder about the Canadian stereotype.

In “Showdown in Saskatchewan” (originally aired in 1988) Jessica goes to Queenstown Saskatchewan to see her neice (is it me, or does she have an awful lot of neices and nephews?) who is involved with a rodeo star. 

  • Okay, sure Saskatchewan does have rodeos, not as many as lets say, Alberta, but they have them. 
  • Towns in Saskatchewan do not as a whole resemble the wild west, with horse hitches in front of stores, or water troughs. 
  • Mounties tend to not wear their red serge to crime scenes.  I will grant you, they did show the same inspector in street clothes, and some of his colleagues in regular uniforms, but red serge to a crime scene.  Sorry. 
  • Most Canadians speak with a Canadian accent, not a southern one
  • why on earth were they flying a Quebec flag at the rodeo?  It was the only provincial flag shown in the episode- couldn’t they find a Saskatchewan one?

“Witness for the defense” though really got my back up.  I live in the province of Quebec, so I think I can speak for what is about here. 

  • you cannot spell defence- if you are in Canada then it is with a ‘c’ not a ‘s’
  • The judiciary in Quebec City are not exclusively made up of English people, and by English I am not referring to those who speak that language, but those who were born and raised there and talk like the Queen
  • not one French Canadian accent to be heard, not one!
  • long shot of building with a Canadian flag and a mountie was seen- yeah, not in Quebec City

the other episode that takes place in Canada was “Northern Exposure” (1994), but I haven’t the time.  But see, what potential for a study of Canadian stereotypes and portrayals on American television.  Food for thought.