TV Review: This Hour Has 22 Minutes 16.3

I gave up on This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC: Tuesday, 8:30 PM ET/PT) around the late 1990s, and I haven’t been impressed with the early-to-mid-2000s incarnations of the show.  Alex Strachan has been saying the show is getting better this season, and I guess I should have believed him sooner.  It’s been years since I laughed at This Hour Has 22 Minutes more than twice per episode.

This is the first time I’ve seen Geri Hall on the show, which is sad since she’s been a regular since last season.  She’s absolutely horrible as a fake newscaster – her speech is too deliberate and slow, and it makes the “fake news” part of 22 Minutes seem amateurish.  She’s much better in sketches – her Avery Adams character has its moments as she tries to foster a lesbian relationship with Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

Weak sketches still exist on 22 Minutes.  A Brand Power parody touting the merits of melamine doesn’t work.  Brand Power commercials never shill generic anything, so the parody shot itself in the foot at the outset.  A fake Liberal Party commercial – Geri Hall’s spokeswoman for Liberal leader St├ęphane Dion is “corrected” by subtitles – sucks.

Most of the fake news segments are weak, which they’ve been for years.  I wonder why This Hour Has 22 Minutes doesn’t drop the fake news segments altogether, since the show hardly ever relies on them anymore.

The good sketches far outweigh the bad this episode, a quality I was not expecting from 22 Minutes.  “Raj Binder’s Minority Report” has Shaun Majumder’s most well-known character misunderstand the meaning of the term “minority government.”  Majumder’s delivery and physical appearance make the joke funnier than it should be.

Stephen Harper-centric Conservative ads are parodied savagely (“his body composition is entirely carbon-based, just like a human.”)  A fake Liberal ad trying to similarly humanize St├ęphane Dion – he likes the “hockery” and nursed a baby chick with his nipple – is just as funny.  I don’t know if the Canadian election has energized This Hour Has 22 Minutes or if the writing’s on an upswing, but this is the strongest I’ve seen the show’s writing since the late 1990s.

I’ll admit I was caught off guard by This Hour Has 22 Minutes.  I didn’t know the show had this much life in it.  I just turned this show on and expected 22 Minutes to suck hard, as most shows in their sixteenth season do.  I might tune in next week, just to see if this week’s 22 Minutes was not a fluke.

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer