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Amazing Race Canada: Balloons, balls and ballet in Winnipeg

Let’s be honest. Zainab and Monica’s luck was going to run out eventually on The Amazing Race Canada. It happened last week, leaving six of the strongest teams left to battle for top position as the midway point to the season was reached.

With two flights of three departing for Winnipeg, that meant split-ups and, perhaps, a little more drama when it came to airplanes. Taylor and Courtney looked very strong headed into this Leg of the Race and are definitely the team to beat. But with the season’s first head-to-head competition, would the RCMP officers prevail? They, along with Mel and Nancy and Leanne and Mar were all on the treasured first flight while Martina and Phil, Dylan and Kwame and Courtney and Adam had to settle for departure No. 2.

There was no indication of how much of an advantage Flight No. 1 had over No. 2 other than the second trio saw the first depart, destined for Winnipeg and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Leanne and Mar got there before the other squads but the task was a great equalizer. Teams had to pair quotes with the images of the human rights activists who uttered them; with 11 galleries to scour, this was going to be tough. With viewers having no idea how long the task took, it was the cheerleaders who emerged first. The back half trios arrived at the museum while Nancy and Mel were still there, so there wasn’t too much lag time between flights out of Toronto. Martina and Phil’s plan of dividing and conquering paid off and they jumped to third place. Nancy and Mel and Courtney and Adam teamed up to finish their boards.

The Leg’s Detour, as usual, offered two options. In Tights, Racers made their way to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to learn some key steps from Swan Lake. In Bites, Racers used Skip the Dishes to deliver two bags of food to hungry citizens. Leanne and Mar, of course, chose Tights. Having several dance-themed challenges this season has really played to their strengths. Taylor and Courtney opted for ballet too, much to the former’s chagrin who was disturbed by the thong up his “arse.”

Meanwhile, Phil and Martina chose Bites, as did Courtney and Adam, leaving Nancy and Mel to dance … and Kwame and Dylan out in the cold. They exited the museum for Bites in last place. A parking ticket (it was a warning) gave Adam the opportunity to highlight the friendliness of Canadians before wishing Fran a happy birthday and hot pizza. Martina and Phil botched the location of their second delivery (apartment buildings are a pain) but got positive reviews. (Um, how much food did Fran and Travis order??)

Leanne and Mar, predictably by this point, nailed the ballet in their first attempt and departed for the Face Off to throw darts at the Royal Canadian Legion. Once there, the first team to hit all segments of the board would be their ticket to advance. Leanne and Mar faced off against Courtney and Taylor. It was the siblings who won, leaving Leanne and Mar to take on Nancy and Mel. Leanne and Mar were triumphant, leaving Nancy and Mel to throw down against Martina and Phil. Martina and Phil won, leaving Nancy and Mel to face Dylan and Kwame. Kwame, who had never thrown a dart in his life, made it look easy and they moved on, leaving Nancy and Mel vs. Adam and Courtney. Not even Mel’s two bullseyes could stop Adam and Courtney, who left the rodeo star and Olympian in last place to wait out a time penalty.

Now in first place, Courtney and Taylor drove to The Forks Market and the Road Block. Here, Racers had to complete the cup and ball trick and create a balloon animal. Courtney, Leanne and Martina all took the test head-on (Martina’s facial expressions killed me), with Courtney finishing it quickly. Honestly, she was really good at both tasks and had the enthusiasm needed to deliver a quality magic trick. Dylan looked amazing decked out in his magician’s outfit but struggled to complete the task.

The Leg’s Pit Stop was located in the Leo Mol garden in the heart of Assiniboine Park where Jon welcomed Courtney and Taylor in first place for the third straight time. Martina and Phil, who have proved to be a lot better in reality than perhaps they were on paper, arrived in second place. Adam and Courtney seemed destined for a decent finish until they got lost on the way to the park. Still, it made no difference and they arrived on the mat ahead of Nancy and Mel.

In a turn of events that I should have seen coming, Jon revealed this was a non-elimination Leg and Nancy and Mel were still in the mix. They’ll have to complete an additional task next week in Prince Edward Island.

Do you think this should have been a non-elimination Leg? Can Martina and Phil win it all? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:

  1. Courtney and Taylor (trip for two to New York City)
  2. Martina and Phil
  3. Leanne and Mar
  4. Dylan and Kwame
  5. Courtney and Adam
  6. Nancy and Mel (non-elimination Leg)

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Comments and queries for the week of August 10

Thanks for the [Amazing Race Canada] tidbits. Bad placement if everyone came up the other side of the Mat. Kinda telegraphed the Navy ladies would be out. Even without the U-Turn they were an hour behind and 401 traffic in the afternoon. Lattes seemed easier and looked good. The charity tasks are a nice gesture but not really challenging nor good TV despite attempts to make it tense. Though the cheerleaders mistake was funny. Another prize to Asia without mentioning the sponsor. Likely Sinorama from last year that’s been in some trouble lately. Without them a future season will be even smaller in budget it seems. I read a few years back that the producers had to fight for four international episodes a year. Looks like it was cut down even further. Still more Face-Offs, meh. —DanAmazing


[Just in Time for Dinner] is a great show (I haven’t seen the original British version yet but will check it out). However, I too am very frustrated with the poor cooking skills and frequent references to bad dietary choices. “When I want hash browns I go to a drive thru and ask for six.” Seriously? Who feeds their children like that? Also interesting to watch an entire family eat with only forks! They do not know how to use a knife and fork together! Pity but probably culturally accurate… —Tina

I thought the lack of cooking skills in this family pathetic. Irritating to watch. Are 40-somethings really that clueless? —Claire

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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Killjoys: Hannah John-Kamen and Luke Macfarlane look forward to Seasons 4 and 5

All hail Team Awesome Force.

Sure, there has been a lot of drama so far on this season on Killjoys, what with Hullen Johnny, Dutch and Aneela in the Green and a baby on the way for D’avin. But there’s also been a lot of fun too. A lot of swagger. I think a lot of that comes from a cast, writers, showrunner and crew who all get what they’re doing and are having a blast doing it.

With that in mind, here are our interviews with Hannah John-Kamen and Luke Macfarlane, conducted during a set visit earlier this year.

Hannah John-Kamen
I’ve already asked a couple of people about this. Obviously, as an actor, it’s good to know that you’ve got a couple of seasons still to go. Why is it important to you to be able to close this out?
Hannah John-Kamen: It’s a real soothing feeling, to be honest, just to know that we can close it out and we can do it properly. We know the time that we can do it in. There’s the story of the Killjoys and of Dutch, also introducing Aneela last season. Knowing that we’ve got two seasons to continue and know when it ends means that we can have a hell of an ending.

As one of the three main characters or actors on the show, you were doing heavy lifting anyway. Then you had another character for you to play. Was it a daunting feeling in the beginning? Is it still daunting?
HJK: No. Actually, to be honest with you I embraced her with open arms. It was just like, ‘OK. This is exciting.’ ‘Cause it’s just the creating of a character is the fun part. That’s the real fun part. I remember doing that with Dutch and figuring out who she is. Then introducing this new character which I suppose is a villainous character, but actually, she’s not and is actually finding when you play a villain, you actually play yourself like you’re the good guy. That was really fun to do, and I absolutely adored that. It was amazing to have such a juxtaposition of Dutch and to find her. That was fun creating.

How do you tap into Aneela?
HJK: It was amazing to see with the writers and actually figure out, what is her backstory? It’s all Khlyen. It’s all linked in with Khlyen. As Dutch, as an actor, Hannah working with Rob Stewart as Dutch and having that history with Khlyen it was amazing to use that history with Khlyen and create this one with Aneela which actually goes back way, way, way further and actually is more damaged.

Near the end of that season where we just found her backstory, and she’s just such a damaged individual. You had to feel bad for her. She’d been propped on this pedestal as being this villain and it was Khlyen all along.
HJK: It was Khlyen. Also, it wasn’t her fault. She didn’t ask to be that. Also what’s amazing is what Michelle [Lovretta] does which is amazing is, there’s no such thing as good and bad. Actually at some point, what was so fun was it flipped. You’re kind of going, ‘Dutch, you’re the bad guy and Aneela is the good guy.’ It was amazing to have that flip of the two characters and that, as an audience to go, ‘Oh god, I’m feeling confused. I’m feeling conflicted here.’

Obviously, you can’t give too much away but what’s the elevator pitch for Season 4?
HJK: Well, now we know that there’s a bigger force than the both of them. We’re gonna definitely, definitely try and destroy the greater evil.

Luke Macfarlane
What does it mean for you as an actor to have two seasons to wrap this up, aside from getting to know you got a gig for job stability?
Luke Macfarlane: Twenty episodes, yeah. Well, especially in this genre you are constantly making these really intricate things and you kind of hope it all goes somewhere. It feels like there’s satisfaction to the conclusion. What does it really mean to me? I mean, you always wonder about these characters. You wonder where they go off to in your mind so I think, I’m hoping there’s some sort of peace and rest for that because like I said, I’ve never been able to do that with a character on a television show. I imagine it’ll be sort of like a beautiful funeral. I don’t know if I’m going to die or not.

Even if you die in genre you can still come back. You never know what’s going to happen.
LM: This is true. As we found out in this show specifically.

D’avin is going to be a father. That must’ve messed with your mind a little bit when you read the script in Season 3 that that was going to happen.
LM: Totally, absolutely. It’s an amazing thing too where you just have to, the given circumstances are you are a dad now and we do this amazing sci-fi thing. He’s become somebody different as it’s gone on. I think he had the most to shuck off and he’s in a way having run away from a family, the guy who’s now building his own family. So it’s really interesting, really connecting with this part of the storyline for him. And hopefully, that will carry on to Season 5.

This character has grown because in Season 1, Episode 1 when we first met him it was almost immediately a pissing contest with Johnny. There’s just an ease between these characters now. It’s so much fun to just sit back and watch their adventures and not worry about squabbling between them.
LM: Totally. There’s always little disagreements and stuff but we’ve moved beyond squabbling for sure. I also think what’s interesting about the show is we’re so used to these kinds of tropes in television like two guys fight over the girl. We’re kind of past those tropes. So as an actor it’s funny to have to reinvent what we are. It’s a little bit more complicated than just your typical two brothers who like the girl and want the girl. So it always keeps you on your toes a little bit.

Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Wynonna Earp: Melanie Scrofano talks directing, Mama Earp and Letterkenny

Fans of Wynonna Earp are still aching over the death of Xavier Dolls. And, understandably so. But last week’s new episode, “Colder Weather,” went a long way to healing those wounds with a memorable and emotional sendoff.

With a new episode coming later this week, here’s our interview with Melanie Scrofano, who talked about this season, the man who plays the show’s biggest bad, directing and her scene-stealing role on Letterkenny.

Despite the fact that it’s been fantastic to have a baby in real life, has it been kind of nice to not have to worry about your health while filming the third season of Wynonna Earp?
Melanie Scrofano: Yeah. There is such a freedom that came with having my body back, but also just not having … it was not just that it limits your movements, to do everything it was just less elegant. And it wasn’t as free as I wanted to feel, but it was also just hard feeling like everybody for lack of a better term, was babying you, because everybody understandably was like, ‘I don’t want to be the reason that she has a miscarriage on set.’

How fun has it been to come back into that world and to play this character for the third season?
MS: Well, funny you should mention that. I think Emily [Andras] wanted to start off with a bang and really remind people who Wynonna is and that for me was just so fun. I was scared in Season 2. I was like, ‘If we don’t get a Season 3, I won’t get to feel this free and have fun again.’ We just had the best time. I think there’s no better way to show people how not private I am any more than riding the mechanical bull and being drunk and having your shirt wide open.

A lot has been said about Megan Follows and the character. I know you’ve been asked this question before and I apologize, but I have to ask it, what was it like working with her?
MS: She is such an icon and you never know what you’re gonna get because she’s been around for long and done such iconic stuff. She brought her skills and professionalism and it really just reaffirmed my wanting to make the show the best it could be because that’s what she wanted to do. She questioned her character all the time and she always wanted to make it honest and authentic. You know, for someone going into Season 3 who could become a bit complacent, it was a great way to kickstart the season by really reaffirming all those questions why am I doing what I’m doing.

One of the big fears that Wynonna had back when we first met her in Season 1 is that she was crazy.
MS: I think any kid—don’t tell my parents—but you see your parents, and you want to emulate their good side, but more often than not we’re taken with what we don’t want to replicate. For Wynonna it’s one of her biggest fears is ending up … she was in a mental institution when she was a teenager. She was proven to be not crazy by the fact in Season 1 everything that she had been talking about turns out to be true.

However, there’s still an element of that all happened to her when she was so young and seeing her mom go to the psych ward, it never stopped being a part of her DNA to be afraid of it. I think it’s just a constant battle not to end up like her mom in a lot of ways. As a parent even.

Let’s talk about this character played by Jean Marchand. What can you say about this incredibly bad dude that has entered this world named Bulshar?
MS: It’s like everything else is a trickle-down of this demon so he’s like the scariest. The way Jean Marchand plays him, it’s just such an unexpected refinement. It’s kind of refreshing to have, it’s sort of like the scariest dogs are the ones that don’t bark.

He just oozes this sinisterness and doesn’t have to really say anything which is kind of cool.
MS: Yeah. What’s interesting is that he in real life is the most generous, like he will not stop giving me DVDs. He’s generous, kind, and a fan of the show before he was on it. He is exactly the opposite which is so often what you hear about these bad guys, but it’s so cool to see him play such a dark presence.

A quick question about directing. You directed a scene. Is that something you’ve always wanted to do? Is that a natural progression for you?
MS: I think it’s a natural progression. I think it’s something that maybe I didn’t know I always wanted to do but then once I did it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this fits. It makes sense.’ I just love storytelling in general. I love being able to work with people and create … I think a lot of times as an actor the external really drives the internal. So being a part of creating the external down to just little details really help tell the story in a way that felt so, it was so satisfying.

I can’t talk to you without asking you about Letterkenny. You are fantastic as Mrs. McMurray. What’s it been like working with these guys and playing this character?
MS: It’s just so, they’re so fun. All you do, and I think you can tell when you watch the show like all we do is laugh and mess up takes. But that’s so fun and it’s nice to go from a show where I have so much on my shoulders—which I love and wouldn’t trade that for the world—but it’s nice to be able to breathe and play on somebody else’s show where they set such a great tone.

I just have fun with them and know that if Mrs. McMurray messes up, people are still gonna watch the show. There’s no pressure. So if Mrs. McMurray sucks, they’re still gonna watch Letterkenny. It’s an amazing show which is a breath of fresh air as an actor to not have an pressure.

Jared Keeso has created a really fun work environment. I mean, you all do work hard there, I know, but also they like to have a lot of fun.
MS: Yeah. And Jacob Tierney as well. As a team, they are just unstoppable.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.

Letterkenny is streaming on CraveTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Amazing Race Canada: Dancing and Double U-Turns in Toronto

Last week in Stratford, Ont., Zainab and Monica were once again saved from elimination when it was revealed the Leg wasn’t over and that teams were headed to Toronto. That also meant that I—along with fellow journalists and social media influencers—would continue our travels as well.

Shortly after Taylor and Courtney landed on the mat in first place, we headed for the production vehicle and hit the highway for Canada’s largest city. Humidity and rain showers threatened as they, and we departed. Teams were tasked with, once they’d arrived in Toronto, visiting the observation deck at city hall to locate a flag marking the location of the next clue. (Behind the curtain: we skipped the observation deck, a personal bummer, and set up shop in Yonge-Dundas Square to see who would arrive first. We heard several teams were slowed down by weather and traffic.) Taylor and Courtney saw the flag right away, Adam and Courtney ended up at Queen’s Quay, and Phil and Martina arrived at city hall and quickly spotted the flag.

In the Road Block, teams had to pack a pile of kitschy items into the back of a Chevrolet Spark and then back another Spark into a parking space. Taylor took on the test. Because they were in the lead, Taylor took some time to figure out which things should go into the car first. Martina felt rushed and quickly fell behind. Nancy and Mellisa, meanwhile, managed to shake Dylan and Kwame at city hall. Taylor knocked over one cone backing up and had to re-do the task. He was still done way in advance and he and Taylor left Yonge-Dundas Square in first. (Behind the curtain: As I just typed, Taylor and Courtney were done and gone quickly. Editing made it look like it was far closer than it really was. Also? There was a super-fan yelling while the Road Block was happening. I’m surprised I couldn’t hear her during the broadcast.)

The next stop? One of the most unique bookstores in the world. The Monkey’s Paw bookstore features the Biblio-Mat, a machine that vends odd books. I’ve used it and was given a book on the history of hanging in England. Anyway, the Racers had to use public transit to get there while our production vehicle drove us over. The Monkey’s Paw was also the location of a Double U-Turn.

Back at Yonge-Dundas Square, Martina and Phil completed the task, followed by Nancy and Mel, an impressive Dylan and Kwame (the super-fan gave them directions), Adam and Courtney and Leanne and Mar. Zainab and Monica ran right past the square and into the building next door, delaying their arrival.

Taylor and Courtney used the Biblio-Mat and received the Detour locations. In Latte Art, Racers had to make two lattes at Versus Coffee and then produce the same intricate foam art that the barista did. In Walk the Park, Racers ventured to El Convento Rico, a Latin nightclub, to vogue their way to their next clue. (Behind the curtain: we were camped out here. This compact, sweaty little club was jam-packed with dancers and audience members. It was a blast to see the excitement as teams arrived and the support the audience gave them during the challenges.)

Martina and Phil opted for Latte Art. (Behind the curtain: we were in The Monkey’s Paw when Phil and Martina arrived. I was secretly hoping to make it on TV—we were asked to act like customers—but were left on the cutting-room floor.) Nancy and Mel, meanwhile, were again shadowed by Kwame and Dylan as they sprinted to the bookstore and then to the club. Courtney and Adam, worried about their own safety, U-Turned Monica and Zainab.

Taylor and Courtney nailed the routine in their first try (the energy in the club was electric when they finished) and departed first, followed by Leanne and Mar. (We left after the cheerleaders too, for our final destination.) Mel and Nancy vogued to success next, followed by Dylan and Kwame and Kwame’s Hammer pants. That left Adam and Courtney and Zainab and Monica fighting to complete the routine first. Of course, Monica and Zainab still had to make the lattes.

The North York Harvest Food Bank was the next stop for the Racers, where they teamed with Dempster’s to prep and pack boxes of baked goods for shipment across the region to families in need. Taylor and Courtney kept their heads, stayed organized and filled the boxes before anyone else had arrived. They departed for Ireland Park, steps from the ferry to Billy Bishop Airport, and the Pit Stop. Mar and Leanne misread the clipboard and began collecting boxes of baked goods instead of bags. It wasn’t until they asked Mel and Nancy what they were doing that the cheerleaders realized their mistake and got back on track. That lost them a higher ranking to Mel and Nancy, who completed the Leg in second place.

Taylor and Courtney, who led this Leg and the last one, landed on the mat in front of Jon Montgomery and Season 5 winners Sam and Paul. (Behind the curtain: check out the video of that happening above. Sorry, the sound is a little bad, we weren’t allowed to be very close. Also? Every team we watched arrive did it from behind the cameras and lights and had to re-do the run down the pier.)

As expected, Zainab and Monica’s luck ran out during this Leg and they couldn’t come back from being U-Turned by Adam and Courtney. They were eliminated from the Race.

Once again, a big thank you to Bell Media, Insight Productions and CTV’s public relations team for inviting me along on this fun and very full day. It was a thrill to watch filming and get the opportunity to stand on the mat at the end of the Leg.

Who do you think can win it all this season? Let me know in the comments below!

Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:

  1. Taylor and Courtney (trip for two to Hong Kong)
  2. Mel and Nancy
  3. Martina and Phil
  4. Leanne and Mar
  5. Dylan and Kwame
  6. Courtney and Adam
  7. Zainab and Monica (eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV.

Club images courtesy of Bell Media.

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