This one is interesting. We’ve got dapper John Matheson standing in a dark void, struggling over how to convince Canada to agree on a flag. That is pretty much the entirety of the thing. His speech in the void. We’re told, in the end, that Canada does eventually agree, but that is just an afterthought. And it is weird, if you think about it too much. Which is exactly what I do.
At first we could suppose that he’s just having a soliloquy in the Flag Committee Room, but it isn’t so. John is talking to someone in that void. It’s possible that he is talking to us, via a breaking of the fourth wall, but he says when the other politicians walk in “I was just talking about you” and I doubt he’d have said that if he was talking to himself. This indicates that either his special awareness of the medium is already common knowledge, or there actually is someone in the void with him. In either case, he then demonstrates another magic ability: Whichever flag he is thinking of forms from the ether just by saying “this” and making a simple gesture of his head for the benefit of the person he was speaking with. What I’m saying is John Matheson was probably a wizard. In real life.
Also, he’s doing an awful lot of walking around in the void. Just saying.
Anyway, to business. I have made a big deal about the ability to quote them being the biggest factor in my liking of a Heritage Moment, but this one kinda goes against the grain. A few lines are pretty good (“But blue is not an official Canadian color*” and “Prime minister AND Mr. Diefenbaker…”), but really they don’t stand alone as well as examples from, say, the Superman minute. Does this work against this one? I’m going to go with “no”. You know why? Because this whole monologue is so strong that if I had the mental capacity, I would commit this whole commercial to memory and quote it in its entirety whenever I felt like it. And that would be sweet.
Apart from quotability, I have to say that looking at all the Alternate Earth Canada Flags is kinda fun. I bet this was one of the cheapest and easiest Heritage Minutes to make, but it does not suffer for it. And looking back at this from my present times, I can add that the “I wonder, I wonder” also reminds me of the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which is another plus for this Canada History Commercial. I am fully willing to give this one Five out of Six Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System cake. It’s simple, magical, and I like it.
*And yes, I’m still gonna spell “color” the way I prefer even though the speaker would have spelled it another way. This is how the Nation of PDR rolls.