… is the same thing that most other Canadian shows are guilty of as well: bending over backwards to hide where, exactly, the show is set. Because they think Americans would refuse to watch anything set in Canada. I am not making this up.
So instead of the clones getting into their misadventures in Toronto, they get into their misadventures in the same kind of strange, anonymous nowhereville inhabited by the casts of Rookie Blues, Degrassi and Flashpoint. The producers of Orphan Black actually edit out the CN Tower from shots, and even blur out license plates.
It’d be one thing if they had created a fictional location from the ground up, like Twin Peaks, Springfield or Eagle State. But no — instead, what’s going on is that they go out of their way to conceal the Toronto setting because they are ashamed that it’s in Toronto.
Or to be more specific: They are afraid that American audiences would somehow be turned off if the show were explicitly noted to be from Canada’s most important city, and thereby lose out on this most important market. This is the same fear that haunts the other Canadian shows mentioned above. To which I say, come on. Toronto is not Jakarta!
It’s true that Americans are notoriously ignorant of foreign culture, but freaking Toronto??? They host pro teams for the NBA and the MLB. Most of the stores and brand names are the same. Their mayor would add to America’s proud tradition of mayoral success stories. Even freaking Tim Hortons was bought out by Burger King. I bet half of American school kids think Toronto is located in Ohio. And they really think American audiences would grab their remotes in a panic if the CN Tower came into view?
More than that, dramas tend to be more successful when they embrace their locations, rather than run from them. The various New York shows are textbook examples, above all Sex and the City. But so are Dick Wolf’s various Chicago shows, The Shield (LA), The Wire (Baltimore), and the many CSI/NCIS shows (NYC, Miami, Las Vegas, Washington, LA, and New Orleans at last count; I’m sure five more will have been added by the time I post this). A relatively modest New Mexico town known as Albuquerque became an essential part of an AMC show that you may have heard of. Even the fictional towns are heavily integrated into their shows — it’s hard to imagine the shows of Pawnee, Springfield or Bon Temps being set anywhere else. Why is it a Canadian federal crime for a show to highlight Toronto too?
Nowhereville shows and movies are a big pet peeve of mine, in case you couldn’t tell…