Tuesday, 10 June 2008

When It Comes Down To It...

After hearing the ridiculousness of the fight over the theme song to Hockey Night In Canada this week, it's taken some time, but I've finally realized something. Hockey Night In Canada is an institution in Canada, and the song is as important to the presentation of the television show as its main stars. It's like the main theme to M.A.S.H. or Cheers. It's as recognizable in Canada as the theme to The Simpsons. And now that CTV controls the song instead of the CBC, I've finally realized something that will shake the foundation of some of the readers that frequent this site.

It's just a song. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Let me explain this. A song has a certain power, and the Hockey Theme certainly did. Some have called it "Canada's Second National Anthem". I've grown up with the Hockey Theme and can hum it on demand for anyone who may ask. It was a part of my Saturday nights for as long as I can remember as it was the lead-in to the premiere hockey show on television called Hockey Night In Canada.

But it's just a song.

Think about this: would you still tune into The Simpsons if the theme song was different? Would Sex and the City have gotten a movie deal if they had a different theme song? Does CSI seem any less credible because they use a popular song written by The Who?

This is the point I am trying to make. It's not the theme song that makes the show great. The Simpsons has an excellent staff of writers who see satire and comedy in everyday situations, and apply that sense of humour when they write the shows. Sex and the City would still be what it is due to the actors making their performances entertaining and enjoyable. CSI has excellent writers and excellent actors, making it one of the most-watched television shows in history. But let me make this clear: no one watches these shows for the theme song.

Hockey Night In Canada will certainly sound different next year, but the reason we tune in is because of the content they air. Coach's Corner will still be what it is because Ron MacLean and Don Cherry will still be hosting the segment. The Satellite Hotstove will still feature some of the best hockey journalists from across the country talking about current stories in hockey. And the game of hockey will still provide excitement, drama, and moments of "wow" no matter what theme it is introduced by.

Look, I think that CTV, which owns TSN, was way offside on buying the rights to the Hockey Theme. It is part of Hockey Night In Canada, and should remain with Hockey Night In Canada in my view. However, the almighty dollar has won again, and Canadian hockey fans will have to adjust themselves in the wake of CTV buying as much hockey as they can.

I've heard the arguments from people on TV, saying that "Hockey Night In Canada is an institution, and this is blasphemy". The act of buying the song would qualify as blasphemy in a sense, but let's put this in perspective. You don't watch Hockey Night In Canada for the theme song. It's part of the experience, but it certainly isn't the reason one tunes in on Saturday night. And as difficult as it will be to adjust one's self to a new theme song next season, it's time to move on.

Just like Saturday Night Live, Rugrats, and the WWE's Raw television programs, life goes on with a new theme. Hockey Night In Canada will survive because of its content. That's what made Hockey Night In Canada popular, and that's what will continue to make it the top hockey show in North America.

After all, it's just a song. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: