Dawson’s Creek. Felicity. The Simpsons. Friends.
These are the television shows many teenagers watch each week.
Guess which ones are Canadian?
None. And that may be a reason so many teenagers are starstruck by the United States, home to the good-looking, popular, rich young celebrities who populate their favorite programs.
“I want to live in Montana,” says Sara Reid, 16, who lives on a ranch near Cochrane, Alta., just northwest of Calgary. “I just like it down there. We go there every summer.”
Winnipeg teen Zanna Seipp-Katz also dreams of going States-side.
“I want to work for two years and get money, then I’m moving to New York,” says Seipp-Katz, 14. “That’s where I want to go. I love it there. I love musicals, I love acting.”
But surely programs like Friends and Dawson’s Creek aren’t responsible for luring teens like Reid and Seipp-Katz south of the border, are they?
“It’s not just from entertainment, but also from the news. Canadian news,” says Paul Attallah, associate director of journalism and communications at Carleton University in Ottawa.
“There are frequent comparisons between Canada and the United States. Everybody knows the U.S. dollar is more powerful than the Canadian dollar. It is frequently reported that there is a ‘brain drain’ from Canada to the United States because salaries are better there…” Attallah says.
He also notes the entertainment media in North America are almost exclusively American controlled, “and so they project American ideals, American aspirations, American situations and so on.”