Patrick and I were watching How I Met Your Mother last night and laughing a bit at the portrayal of Robin as the token Canadian in the group. Apparently, for the first season, she was just super vague and it wasn’t until season two they decided to make her “Canadian.” The actress apparently said that there was some concern that people may find the over dramatization of Canada and Canadians offensive, but really… It is just funny.
I only started watching The show last year, so I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. So, I am watching it now. From the start. After a year and a half, I am on season three, episode 9 (in case you really wanted to know). The Child lent me the DVD for the season, so things are a bit more efficient now, as opposed to me trying to find a stream online.
Prior to my watching it, I though it was just another stupid sitcom (and I am sure some people still think it is), but I love the friendships and such on it. In fact, I didn’t know anything about the show except that Robin was Canadian. I learned this at an international summer school.
People would ask where I was from. It wasn’t like I could say my city, or my province. Nobody would know where it was. So, I just said “Canada.” Then, someone would say, “What city?” I would tell them. They would ask if it was near Toronto or Montreal. I would say not really. They would ask what city is nearby and I would eventually end up saying I grew up about 12 hours from Montreal.
After an awkward pause when people made the epiphany that Canada is indeed large and Toronto is not the center of the universe (well, it kind of is, but not in the literal sense), they would exclaim that they know Canada from How I Met Your Mother (the show is very popular globally, apparently). They would ask if I know Robin. I did not.
People would tell me all about how I am just like her. Aside from my love of hockey and my occasional (or at least what I think is occasional) use of the word “eh”, I don’t see it. But, they saw the stereotypes all over the place. They way I spoke, how I was so polite, that I liked obscure music (my music is also obscure to some of my Canadian friends too). Someone asked if I liked guns. I don’t, in fact, I don’t know many Canadians who do. But, the fact that I did at one point in my life learn to shoot, continues to place me in the Robin-like stereotype. At least everyone seemed to think that I was the cute little Canadian…. Just like Robin.
It was hilarious how much this show has shaped the international perspective of Canadians. At least the perspective of medical students from the 20 countries represented. Though, many still, despite the show, asked about our snowfall, igloos and transportation (just to clarify, in case anyone is unsure, we get snow in the winter, we don’t generally live in igloos and we do indeed have cars).
Even if the show does exaggerate and can be ill informed of Canadian ways by times, I do admit. They have something right. Like the love of hockey at the Canada bar and our different holiday scheduling.
To wrap things up… A Canadian music group singing a very Canadian hockey song. I used to sing this all the time at band camp (yes, I went to band camp… True story).