Made in Canada
|Made in Canada|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original network||CBC Television|
|Original release||1998 – 2003|
Made in Canada is a Canadian television situation comedy which aired on CBC Television from 1998 to 2003. Rick Mercer co-created the program and starred as mercenary TV producer Richard Strong. It was produced using a single camera setup.
A satire of film and television production, the series revolves around Pyramid Productions, a viper's nest of creative incompetence, savage greed and hysterical backbiting. Alan Roy, the head of the company, follows whatever is trendy in the production world, whether it be owning his own cable channel or having a designer office. His decisions are usually idiotic and occasionally impossible to fulfill. They constantly lead to extra work for his employees, who must either fulfill his wishes, or deal with the consequences of them. The employees, Richard, Victor, Veronica and Wanda, manipulate each other and sabotage each other's projects in order to earn more money, get promotions or work on better projects. None of the employees appear to have issues with breaking the law and seem to have no sense of morals. They only cooperate when they have an opportunity to destroy another company. Each episode usually deals with one major problem or event, which normally do not carry over to the next episode.
The company's projects also provide storylines for the series, as the staff of Pyramid try to manage the inevitable complications provided by the casts and crews of their film and television productions. The company's cash cows are two series, The Sword of Damacles (sic), a parody of mythological adventure series such as Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Beaver Creek, a parody of Canadian period dramas such as Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea. They also face complications with their low budget, poorly made movies, such as Vigilante's Vengeance. Many of their movies fail and end up either not being produced or going straight to video in foreign countries.
Episodes commonly begin and end with brief asides to the camera, breaking the fourth wall. These are usually done by Richard but occasionally by Veronica or Victor.
- Richard Strong (Rick Mercer) is an ambitiously Machiavellian producer trying to navigate and scheme and backstab his way to the CEO's chair. Although ruthless and amoral, he's also better at his job than most of his colleagues. Richard will stop at nothing to get promoted. He managed to get his brother-in-law fired in order to take his job, ordered a violent attack on an actor and used insider-trading to make a fortune on the stock market. He is not against breaking the law. Richard has had relationships with Veronica Miller, Lisa Sutton and Siobhan Roy. He often uses the relationships to manipulate. He most frequently breaks the fourth wall.
- Alan Roy (Peter Keleghan), the firm's CEO, is a charismatic but intellectually questionable womanizer who often succeeds more by accident than skill, and much more often fails miserably. He is frequently mystified that his management style — a combination of bad production ideas, offbeat health fads and slogans he picked up from management books but largely fails to understand or to apply correctly — fails to rouse office morale. His first film was entitled Prom Night at Horny High. While it appears to be a very lowbrow and racy film, it was very popular and made Alan famous. (This plot point is apparently a reference to Keleghan's early starring role in the 1983 sex comedy Screwballs.) Alan is fired in the series finale by the studio's new owner, a dairy farmer.
- Veronica Miller (Leah Pinsent) is a production accountant. She is generally overworked, doing the jobs of several other employees but is still forced to do idiotic and degrading tasks for Alan. She occasionally becomes fed up with her poor treatment and sabotages a project or event. This usually leads to Alan improving her working conditions and meeting her demands. She often acts as the problem solver of the office. She is generally an ally of Richard's, but isn't above double-crossing him too when necessary. She and Richard marry in the final episode, and start their own company after being fired from Pyramid. They have a son named Victor. It seems that Veronica once had relationships with both Alan and Victor, which she intensely regrets.
- Victor Sela (Dan Lett) is a producer and general office sycophant, willing to do almost anything Alan asks of him no matter how demeaning it is. He is usually very positive about Alan's schemes, almost acting like Sancho Panza to Don Quixote. However, in a test of loyalty, Victor is proven to be the least loyal. He extorts money from Alan with the help of Alan's old business partner. In the final episode, Victor becomes the head of the studio after the firing of Alan.
- Wanda Mattice (Jackie Torrens) is the office secretary, who shrewdly uses her role in the day-to-day workings of the office to attain more power than her role in the corporate structure officially holds. She also knows when it's to her advantage to act dumber than she really is — in one episode, Alan promotes her to more senior positions several times without ever actually giving her a raise or a change in her real job duties, and she consequently decides to take the fall for a costly mistake she had nothing to do with so that he'll "demote" her back to her existing job as office manager. In the series finale, she succeeds Victor as head of Pyramid. She has a teenage son and a pet cat. She frequently dresses strangely and appears frumpy. Despite this, Alan is still attracted to her, frequently having relations with her in the office. At the end of one episode, she is seen being arrested at the border after attempting to smuggle Viagra for Alan.
- Lisa Sutton (Janet Kidder) is a producer, and Victor Sela's girlfriend. Richard considers her a threat to his power. Alan dislikes her as she ignores and/or refuses his attempts to seduce her.
- Raymond Drodge (Ron James) is a producer. Formerly the head of television development, he is fired in the pilot after Richard and Siobhan set him up to appear as if he sexually harassed Siobhan. He is later rehired in a much more junior position after Richard gets his old job. Due to Richard's manipulation, Raymond's marriage falls apart and he begins to believe he is an alcoholic.
- Michael Rushton (Alex Carter) is the dimwitted but egotistical star of The Sword of Damacles. He also plays Hamacles, Damacles' evil twin brother.
- Siobhan Roy (Emily Hampshire) is Alan Roy's daughter, and one of the stars of Beaver Creek. Fully aware that being the boss' daughter gives her job security, she freely schemes and manipulates people to get whatever she wants.
- Brian Switzer (Chas Lawther), nicknamed "Network Brian", is an executive with the television network that airs Beaver Creek, who acts as the network's main liaison with Pyramid.
Notable guest stars
- Megan Follows, the real-life star of Anne of Green Gables, appeared in one episode as Mandy Forward, the former "Adele of Beaver Creek", who returned for a reunion movie and discovered that after her previous Beaver Creek movie, Alan had kept the sets up for two more weeks to produce an Adele of Beaver Creek porn knockoff.
- Shirley Douglas and Margot Kidder both appeared as fading Hollywood actresses making guest appearances on Beaver Creek.
- Colin Mochrie appeared in one episode as Alan Roy's mentally handicapped brother who, as part of an elaborate tax dodge orchestrated by Alan, was revealed to be the true CEO.
Filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the series was both produced by and a parody of Salter Street Films and Island Edge Inc, and Pyramid's logo is very similar to that of Salter Street parent company Alliance Atlantis.
In 1998, two real-life Canadian film and television studios, Alliance Communications and Atlantis Communications, merged to create Alliance Atlantis. This merger was parodied on Made in Canada, when Pyramid merged with a company called Prodigy and became known as Pyramid Prodigy. (Ironically, Alliance Atlantis later purchased Salter Street Films, the producers of Made in Canada.)
The show's third and fourth seasons won the Gemini Award for Best Comedy Series. Its final episode also received a Gemini for Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series in 2004.
The first season and many of the subsequent episodes were directed by Henry Sarwer-Foner for which he received two Gemini awards for Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series.
After Made in Canada
Mercer ended the show's planned five-year run in 2003, and can now be seen hosting Rick Mercer Report on CBC. Prior to creating Made in Canada, Mercer was a popular fixture on another Salter Street series, This Hour Has 22 Minutes. (He juggled both series until 2001, when he left 22 Minutes permanently.)
Keleghan can also be seen in The Newsroom, another CBC production as well as having a long running recurring role on The Red Green Show as the eccentric Ranger Gord. Alex Carter (Michael Rushton/Damacles) can now be seen as a detective on the popular CBS drama CSI.
- "Rick Mercer's Made in Canada Comes to Bite - Bite.ca". Bite.ca. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- "Made in Canada: Season One [Import]". amazon.ca. Retrieved 7 April 2015.