Republic of Doyle (“Dile”), the brainchild of Mr. ALLAN HAWCO, is the hot new CBC seriocomedy. In it, a dashing knockabout detective pilots a Pontiac GTO over hill and dale in St. John’s. What’s not to like, at least if you aren’t a critic who expects everything on an hour-long action drama to be explained in words? (Setting is setting; it is not dialogue.)

Well, remember how I used to complain that the Trailer Park Boys do their own captioning? I guess they couldn’t get a job out on the oil patch and had to move to Newfoundland.

Scrollup captioning: [NIKKI] SKID DADDLE.

Scrollup captioning doesn’t work for fictional narrative programming and is the mark of amateurs and cheapskates. (And the CRTC banned it.) We don’t caption in all-caps, and for the love of Chroist hire somebody who isn’t a 25-year-old female community-college graduate and knows how to spell. That requires life experience, which 25-year-old female community-college graduates lack. (I just thought of something: Maybe Nikki is doing it!)

But that’s not all! Dem blind kidz is watching the show too, with homegrown audio description you can barely hear. It gets a lot of things wrong and, when it isn’t narrating invisible or nonexistent facts or undemonstrated mental states, lies to the audience.

  • “A beautiful vista of St. John’s.” No personal opinions, please – this isn’t a John Doyle column.

  • “A totally pimped pickup truck… pulls uuup.” Don’t write cooler than the material. And don’t deliver cooler, either.

  • “Dick sees the official envelope from the province in Jake’s hand.” (Except we can’t see that.)

  • Malachy isn’t pronounced “Malakye” by anyone on the show, least of all “Malakee” himself. Our narrator can’t even name the character right.

  • “Opening.” (Then nothing else. No description of opening or closing credits. In fairness, the submaster they were working on might not have included the latter, but that would be the producer’s fault. Also no description credit, a major failing.)

  • A bit too fond of “exit” for “leave” or “get out of” and “enter” for “come in.”

  • “Victor tries to look relaxed, but he’s guarded and tightly wound.” (Really, Mr. Spock? Did you do the mind-meld? I can’t see that; how can you?)

  • “Jake starts to call Emma” (except we can’t see his iPhone display).

  • “She presses a few buttons. […] Rose presses 33.” (Both were invisible, hence something we couldn’t describe.)

  • “They look up to see Bill sitting in a rental car.” (Who’s Bill? And how do you know it’s a rental?)

  • “Jake notices Bill, so he approaches him.” (Mental cause and effect?)

  • “Bill is tossing things in Jake’s way – but Jake. knows his way. around boats!” (What Newfoundlander doesn’t? Stick to what you observe, not what you infer.)

  • “Jake has a better idea.” (Surely the Amazing Kreskin is our describer?) “He swings something” – actually, he mock-punches – “and Bill tumbles into a giant vat of fish. The guy holds up his hand for help. But first… Jake… has a question!” (More telepathy, and the writing here is as ripe as the fish.)

  • “Jake suddenly listens to Bill.” (Actually, he stares.)

  • “Bill holds out ten $100 bills.” (They’re invisible out of frame.)

  • “Bill smells himself and is appalled by the fishy smell.” (He just grimaces; you don’t know what he’s thinking.)

  • “She smiles despite herself.” (Again: Invisible mental state.)

  • “It’s a full-on crime scene!” (You don’t say! In fact, please don’t!)

  • “There’s a body inside with obvious head trauma. It’s Emma!” (Not shown at this point. Yes, we can predescribe when necessary, but this isn’t that case.)

    “The Doyles take a glance at the victim and realize it’s Emma in the van.” (Only now shown, with not so much as a bump on her head. To “realize” is to come to an invisible mental conclusion, and we didn’t see that, obviously.)

  • “Charlotte, drink in hand, enters.” (She’s leaning on the railing of the upstairs deck; she never “enters.”)

  • “Victor leads them to the door, away from his crazed wife.” (No value judgements, please. “Beautiful” is already pushing it.)

  • “She goes in to talk to Victor.” (Nope, just goes in. You can’t see her intent.)

  • “Jake hits the van to let them know they’re leaving.” (Damn you, mind-reading Newfoundland community-college graduate!)

  • “He can read the bad news on their faces.” (Actually, all he sees are frowns and crestfallen looks. It’s all we see, too.)

  • “Mal gives him a look to let him go.” (Cause and effect.)

  • “There’s blood on the skateboard, but not… from Bill!” (You can’t prove that just from what’s shown.)

  • “Charlotte is heartbroken.” (Wouldn’t you be if you knew some guy in a postproduction house were reading your mind post-facto?)

  • “Charlotte’s in shock.” (You mean she looks shocked?)

  • “A few RNC vehicles”: What’s the RNC? (I know what it is, but let’s not be too insider.)

  • “Charlotte is left alone in agony as her family is taken from her.” (No passive voice if you can avoid it, and this is replete with invisible mental states and implied cause-and-effect.)

  • “Nikki’s trying to seduce Jake.” (Listen, who wouldn’t? But what are her actions?)

  • “Jake realizes they’re surrounded by dudes.” (But are they totally pimped? Again, too casual.)

  • “Jake and Nikki doing the thing they do best – ripping each other’s clothes off!” (No editorializing. And anyway: Surely reverse cowgirl?)

Do I ever miss Intelligence

Republic of Doyle follows in the footsteps of other CBC shows by filling its guest spots with actors from other (shitcanned) CBC shows. In this episode, it’s the craggy and ravishing Mr. IAN TRACEY.

Allan Hawco looms over Ian Tracey

Kiss me, you fool!

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.01.20 08:05. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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