The Vision thing

If you missed tonight’s launch of The Zoomer: Television for Boomers With Zip, Conrad Black’s new TV show, consider yourself lucky. It was awful. The premiere on Vision TV was a one-hour mish-mash that included a large panel, two documentaries, a splenetic monologue, a musical interlude, an interview and an applauding studio audience. It was as if the producer kept saying, “Maybe if we add just one more thing ….” One of the panelists, aging rocker Ronnie Hawkins, told how he was cured of cancer over the phone. The cure was a miracle, said Black, “You’re half-way to sainthood,” which was the night’s best line. Hawkins then left part way through the show claiming he had a concert to give. Others may have wished they had an excuse to slip away, too.

Much of the show seemed to be a plug for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) with a poll and policy ideas pushed by Susan Eng, CARP’s vice-president of advocacy. Two authors got books plugged and Libby Znaimer interviewed centenarians at a retirement home. Her question to Ida Hall, turning 105, was, “You’re going to be 105. What do you think of that?” Ida’s answer was equally compelling, “I just live with it.” That was as insightful as things got.

Black is called a co-host but Denise Donlon did most of the heavy lifting. Black quoted Benjamin Disraeli and Jonathan Swift and did a rant about the U.S. justice system which you may have heard elsewhere. He also played second banana to Donlon who in one segment was shown in a bank requesting a mortgage. When she was asked for collateral, she pointed to Black, who simpered.

Black’s interview with Brian Mulroney had its moments, with Mulroney almost endorsing Justin Trudeau despite their party differences. “He’s not Stephen Harper. That’s his big thing. That’s what he’s going to run on.” Mulroney claimed he’d used a similar strategy to get elected in 1984 by saying he was not Pierre Trudeau. That’s not how I remember it. John Turner was prime minister at the time.

Next week, Black interviews Bob Rae. I guess there will be different panelists. I won’t be watching. I think I have to mow my lawn that night.

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