Wedgie Fulford Memorial Liveblogging™ of The Trojan Horse

(2008.03.30 19:26)    The Trojan Horse was a CBC miniseries in two parts airing Sunday, 2008.03.30. (It’s the sequel to H₂O [2004].) I wrote a a superspecial liveblog of the show. (Why?)

  1. 2008.03.30 19:58 – OMG the excitement, etc. Is Paul Gross still dreamy? CKR isn’t gonna be in this one, right?
  2. What is up with these tacky opening credits. Oh, they’re coins. How clever. What, is this Trajan they’re using as typeface?
  3. As predicted: Quebec captioning. These fuckers don’t know the first thing about the English language. Plus their invariant-bottom-centre positioning, and prefacing every single statement with a failed figure dash, do not work.
  4. D00d from H₂O is back, in his shitty log cabin. Last time we saw him, we entered a conversation halfway through and heard him tell an Albertan “Yeah, but I look at your province as Texas without the death penalty. But let’s move on.” Cleverly, the Albertan’s presumed denunciation of Quebec was never shown. Will they be up to the same tricks this time?
  5. A national referendum would have bilingual signs outside its polling stations. And wouldn’t look like a handlettered shop sign from NDG in 1957. (They shot this in Quebec to save half a penny, right?)
  6. “2 years ago” is actually “two years ago,” you dumbass Quebec captioners.
  7. 20:04 – North American Water Grid? Why... why, it’s Maude Barlow’s worst nightmare come true.
  8. Six states, ostensibly. (The territories should just be one state, but then again, that would rival the surface area of the incumbent U.S.) The states given to us in the ultra-expository “newscast” are as follows: B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, “the Maritime state.” But the map clearly shows Manitoba as a state. And B.C., Alberta, and Manitoba go straight north to the Arctic Ocean. I’ll tell you one thing: There’s no way Newfoundlanders would ever consent to being lumped in with New Brunswickers. (Why consort with your inferiors?)
  9. Asshole Quebec-separatist captioners write Quebec as “Québec.” Oh, and the biggest city there is Montréal, right? And its capital is Québec?
  10. Of course the vote is 51/49. In any rationally-managed country, numbers like that lead to civil war.
  11. There is no fucking way the sitting prime minister would not be somewhere publicly accessible on any kind of referendum night – not holed up in somebody’s log cabin. Where are the RCMP bodyguards?
  12. 20:09 – How long do we have to wait until McLaughlin utters the immortal line “They took my country. Now I’ll take theirs”?
  13. Ooh, the Stars and Stripes over Parliament Hill. I thought they converted that to a single star later on.
  14. 20:10 – Now we show how cosmopolitan we are by flying to London. I doubt the interiors were shot there. Somewhere in Point Claire (“Pointe-Claire”), presumably.
  15. I see: Now we get to the black-box-voting subplot. What I don’t understand is why years of coverage of fraudulent, unverifiable American voting machines never actually states what is really going on – the engineering of perpetual Republican governments.
  16. By the way, the fake newscast was so poorly done as to border on embarrassment. It was as low-budget as a 1970s game show. Sort of like Definition.
  17. Inept Quebec captioners (I smell la Sette) are captioning offscreen dialogue – still – in brackets. Some Quebeckers never outgrow their training wheels.
  18. Incidentally, I have this at home with the description track recorded. I may update notes later.
  19. Oh, dear. Clark Johnson holds some poor sap’s daughter hostage and forces him to assassinate the witness and lawyers in the deposition about the crooked voting machines. How is he managing that real-time video feed?
  20. 20:15 – Pausing TiVo for dinner (spinach noodles, spinach, peanut sauce).
  21. 20:27 – Fuckface captioners fail to caption the unexpected gunshot that kills the assassin (as he holds a pistol to his head). Again: You can’t trust Quebeckers to caption so much as an aspirin commercial. And they don’t caption the phone being dialled, either.
  22. I gather Clark Johnson = CKR in this version.
  23. Gee, why is the light all green in Saudi Arabia? ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: Ooh – poison gas!
  24. If that black chick in the presumed Sit Room is supposed to be a Condi Rice manquée, be advised that Anna Deavere Smith did a better job of it on The Left Wing.
  25. Chyron: “Toronto, the State of Ontario.” Well, of course it would be called Ontario state (Cf. Washington state).
  26. 20:33 – A late-night rendezvous with the former prime minister and some asshole in a ponytail. Last time I met somebody like that, he was manager of “special projects” at CHUM. Pace that homely old queen Douglas Coupland, boomers like that are not to be trusted.
  27. That “bottomless bag o’ cash” line was an overdub.
  28. Here’s what Quebeckers think is a viable caption: [Eulogy].
  29. To the producers credit, Clark Johnson’s digicam sounds like a digicam, not like an SLR with motor drive off a freebie foley CD.
  30. “She broke the yellowcake scam” is captioned as She broke the yellow cake scam. Again: Assholes. Why work outside your own language?
  31. 20:38 – Dishwasher now loaded.
  32. Again, captioners cannot even bother to tell us that we’re listening to overlapping voices of journalists.
  33. (Typing mistakes corrected. This has been an error-strewn process.)
  34. Incidentally, how would a black-ops operative know the name of a crusading investigative journalistrix?
  35. The claimed hearing aid found on assassin Virk’s corpse was, it is implied, a plant. “He could hear a fart in Brighton.” Wow, is that British actress ever a cow.
  36. Stop writing “first” as 1st, you separatist illiterates.
  37. “That American, by the way – I don’t think he’s a tourist.”
  38. Yeah, love that captioning, assholes:
    Caption: -that's V-I-R-K-
  39. “Ours is not to reason why. Ours is just to do them or die” miscaptioned by Quebeckers who cannot differentiate two simple words as Ours is just to do or die. Can’t you people just separate already? («Je n’ai jamais visité le Canada.»)
  40. When are production designers going to learn that fake, half-assed Courier does not actually connote espionage when used to Chyron place names? What it connotes is laziness.
  41. Another midnight meeting. What is this, the Star Chamber? What are the GDSE and BND? Somebody Google that while I’m typing here?
  42. President Stanfield?
  43. Since when is China a “she”?
  44. 20:55 – This montage method is the same used by McLaughlin in H₂O to semi-retrospectively explicate the assassination plot.
  45. The faux-Condi is named Collie? Like the dogs whose skulls are too small for their brains? But the real Condi speaks Russian!
  46. Rafe is a kind of Kissinger without the atrocious accent. Otherwise completely accurate a representation (Cf. Hitchens).
  47. U.S. occupies Saudi Arabia, then they have control over the top two oil-producing regions of the world, the second being the Alberta tarsands. And you thought turning off your compact fluorescent lightbulb during Earth Hour made a damned bit of difference.
  48. Wait, the MI6 operative is actually wearing a trench coat and a hat indoors? What is this – Clue?
  49. “Install Tom McLaughlin as president.” Run him as an independent. Like Perot, who “took what, 19% of the popular vote, and he was visibly insane.”
  50. Waaait a second. The “team” that just marched in (foley CD at the ready with noisy footsteps) could have been the original team from H₂O – the one McLaughlin tossed overboard for a set of political hacks that included, incredibly, the Iranian with the WASP name, Jeff Seymour. Could have been continuity there.
  51. A fake assassination. We just finished a round of real assassinations. Anyway, this is perhaps too intertextual with H₂O, in which McLaughlin’s father was assassinated by the same cartel McLaughlin fils was in bed with. (Behind his back, of course. How delicious.)
  52. Clark Johnson, incidentally, has dual U.S./Canadian citizenship.
  53. Gee, I guess we don’t have to caption a camera shutter clicking.
  54. Don’t you love the fake interfaces on these shows? And all because they’re too cheap to license Apple or Microsoft trademarks?
    Interface with green database-field legends and white Helvetica typing fields
  55. 21:13 – And now the completely unwanted backstory of Greta Scacchi (Madigan) and her long-lost son.
  56. Clark Johnson pulls up in the rain. ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: That’s Toronto! This is supposed to be London and it’s clearly the townhomes on Spadina [Road]. [I looked it up later in East/West: The Castle Hill Development, 1991.]
  57. Who’s talking here? Is whoever’s talking also uttering the word “laughing”?
    Caption: [Laughing] [That's a good one]
  58. “The question is... who are you?” “I’m the guy who’s gonna kill you.”
  59. 21:17 – “How did you twig to the Soho killings?” It took us three rewinds and a reading of Quebec captioning just to understand that one.
  60. ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: That’s a Toronto doggie sign. That’s probably Mount Pleasant Cemetery is my guess. (Note the statistically unlikely preponderance of black cabs driving by, equivalent to huge U.S. mailboxes in a Canadian-shot production. Also, all the old double-decker buses have been eliminated from London save for one residual line.)
  61. Love that writing: “Isn’t this where you’re supposed to say something comforting?” (How does “Roger me good, black ops!” sound) “I’m an assassin.”
  62. This is supposed to be SW7, is it?
  63. Oh, now Clark Johnson is her protector. Well, who wouldn’t want that?
  64. McLaughlin essentially pops the question to some chick as his running mate. ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: She’s supposed to be Ann Richards, though she was a Democrat. You can Google it, but…. (Not Janet Reno?)
  65. Clark Johnson uses Madigan’s knowledge to ID McLaughlin’s conspirators. “He’s the guy wants you dead. He’s my boss. Something weird is going on.”
  66. They break into Mighton’s safety-deposit box – like espionage dramas and fears of an American takeover, a relic of a bygone era. (They already have us where they want us.)
  67. [Oriental music]? What, like from Laos?
  68. Three Saudi princes killed within three hours of each other. CONDI MANQUÉE: Oh, my God! The moderates‽
  69. Dialogue: One false move and the People’s Republic will not get another drop of oil out of Saudi Arabia. Caption: One false move and the People’s Republic will not get in on a drop of oil out of Saudi Arabia. First rule of captioning: If a character utters something an you think “Huh? That was weird,” you heard it wrong.
  70. Dialogue: Ah, but Stanfield can use it as leverage with the Saudis. Caption: Ah, but Stanfield can use this leverage with the Saudis.
  71. 21:40 – Look, McLaughlin is not really giving us a homey metaphor using a mouse and a frog, is he? In a half-assed American accent? Oh, now there’s an eagle now.
  72. This Texas senator is obviously a Canadian actress ladling on an even-more-half-assed accent. “I used to be her husband.”
  73. No American anywhere, at any time, would refer to the border as “north of the 49th.” It’s strictly Canadian English, and not geographically accurate. (Toronto is 6 degrees south of the 49th parallel.)
  74. McLaughlin’s Crackberry display asks him “Are we on the podium in Texas?” (“On” the podium?) He types Not happening find another way.
  75. ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE: Crotchety old hermit genius way out in the country. (“Old-fashioned, but it is quite effective. Like me, really, isn’t it?”) Cliché alert!
  76. Quebeckers seem to think that Canada uses British quotation marks. Why wouldn’t they make a mistake like that? They’re both foreign countries!
  77. 21:55 – They’re at the drop box, which they could not possibly have been using continuously since the Falklands. They have to fake it good when a possible operative walks by. Kiss me, Clark! she, and certain others, think, and lo does it come to pass.
  78. Clark discovers Varley hanging by his neck. Dialogue: You don’t need to see this. Caption: You need to see this. You need to eat more poutine – and quit fucking up our miniseries. (“Huh. That was weird.”)
  79. Clark Johnson, I see now, is actually John Neelon in this production.
  80. Love the business about the backup plans if the drop box doesn’t work: Come back 12 hours later, then at four-hour intervals, then check into the Windsor Arms. But do that last after how many intervals?
  81. 22:01 – The show has technically ended, but we’re still pausing etc. on TiVo.
  82. Saaay – that isn’t the Windsor Arms on St. Thomas St., by any improbable chance, is it?
  83. I see Madigan has rumbled, as the British say, Neelon’s previous assassination plot. But he ordered the murder of her long-lost son!
  84. Oh, mother of God, again: “You’re right, I can’t talk. But I can play.” Then she pulls a gun on Neelon. How dramatic. And cliché. Even Denis McGrath could have written that one better.
  85. Again straight out of Final Draft clip art, Varley tells us, via videotape (tape?), that if we’re watching this he must already be dead. I will ignore for the moment the strained Python reference.
  86. And now we set up the staged assassination of McLaughlin. I’m not sure I’ve ever written the word “assassination” so many times. Yeesh, they’re really going to shoot him. “I’m going to be inserting this under your skin as a target enhancement.”
  87. They muted a certain word in “You’re gonna kick like a fucking junkie.” It was captioned nonetheless. Someday somebody is going to file a complaint about that. (It’s after 9:00; we can swear. We did on Intelligence.)
  88. Did that operative just say McLaughlin is the first candidate he ever believed in? (You’re shitting me, right?)
  89. If Saudi Arabia is green, why is the Texas desert ochre?
  90. Tabu-Ware is the Diebold manqué here.
  91. “Oh, my God! They’re going to rig the American election!” Because that’s never happened before.
  92. Love those four-line captions, assholes:
    Huge first line, one-word second line, huge third line, one-word fourth line
  93. Who is the fall guy? Oswald is already dead. So is Ruby, of course.
  94. The nonassassin has hired his own real assassin.
  95. 22:27 – Shoot the fucker, already!
  96. The real assassin fumbles the gun. Ah, yes: The fall guy.
  97. [Dramatic music] is the same as the previous [Oriental music].
  98. “Is that man alive?” “That’s unclear, sir.” Pace Ana Marie Cox, nobody ever says “I don’t know” in Washington; they say “Unclear.”
  99. The policy advisor is the mom from Queer as Folk and from J’ai pod. Somebody Google her name for me! I can’t do everything here!
  100. Well, he’s in his hospital bed, he’s been shot, and still he quips! As good a place as any to call it a night, I think. See you next week. (22:34)

Fisking Episode 1

Let me run some of the first episode’s inconsistencies by you.

Second episode →