Made In Canada (generally known as The Industry outside of Canada) was a 5-season Canadian sit-com that ran on CBC Television from 1998 to 2003. As a satire of the film and television industry, it featured the inner workings of a fictional Canadian production company, Pyramid Productions.
The main characters are Richard Strong (Rick Mercer, who co-created the series), the Machiavellian head of television production at Pyramid; Alan Roy (Peter Keleghan), Pyramid's arrogant yet clueless CEO; Veronica Miller (Leah Pinsent), the overworked and underappreciated senior production adviser ("a fancy title for 'does everything, paid nothing'" according to Richard); Victor Sela (Dan Lett), the sycophantic head of film production; and Wanda Mattice (Jackie Torrens), Alan's put-upon office manager. Other recurring characters include producers Lisa Sutton (Janet Kidder) and Raymond Drodge (Ron James), Alan's ruthless aspiring actress daughter Siobhan (Emily Hampshire), television executive "Network" Brian Switzer (Chas Lawther), and dimwitted actor Michael "Damacles" Rushton (Alex Carter).
Plots typically revolve around Richard, Veronica, and Victor stabbing each other in the back as they try to climb to the top of Pyramid by currying favour with Alan (for whom they secretly have no real respect), or the shooting of films and television series (especially the fantasy series The Sword of Damacles and the long-running period drama Beaver Creek) which run into problems due to clashes of egos and/or Alan's poor planning and corner cutting. In the process, numerous storytelling and production tropes are discussed by the characters, while Pyramid's productions attract in-universe examples of a variety of audience reactions.
- Absentee Actor: Alex Carter as Michael Rushton makes no appearances in Series 5, although the character is at the centre of a subplot in "Bio-Pic" in which Alan orders Victor to campaign for Rushton to receive a maple leaf on the Toronto Walk of Fame, and near the end of the episode, Victor mentions having just been on the phone with him.
- Acting for Two: In-universe, on The Sword of Damacles, Michael Rushton plays both Damacles and his Evil Twin Hamacles.
- Alan Smithee: Referenced in-universe; Series 2's "The Christmas Show" features a clapboard identifying the director of the "Beaver Creek Christmas Greeting" as "Allan Smithy".
- All Germans Are Nazis: While Pyramid depends on sales in Germany to keep afloat, the main characters really don't like the idea. For example, in the Series 4 episode "Book of Damacles", Victor explains to Alan that the reason the Germans love Damacles is that he's a big bully who wins all the time. In the same episode, Richard makes an aside about how the Germans have taught us to think globally as well as replying to Alan's comment about how angry the Germans are by saying "That's bad news for Poland."
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Every major show within the show is a ripoff of a real series.
- The Sword of Damacles is a takeoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. This is lampshaded in the Series 2 episode "It's a Science", when it is explicitly described as "a Hercules ripoff", and again in the Series 4 episode "Damacles, Time Traveller", when Victor recalls that Alan came up with the idea of making a series like Xena, but with a male lead, and wanted to call it Hercules.
- Beaver Creek is an equivalent of the various Anne of Green Gables series. To reinforce the connection, in the Series 3 episode "Beaver Creek - The Movie", Megan Follows, who played the title character in the 1985 Anne of Green Gables series, appears as her in-universe equivalent, Mandy "Adele of Beaver Creek" Forward.
- The Series 5 episode "Producer's Cut" features an equivalent of The Office where Alan Roy convinces the show's lead to write the show in a new mocking manner just by Alan trying to not look stupid but inevitably doing so.
- Babies Ever After: In the series finale, Richard and Veronica marry and have a son whom they name after Victor.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor:
- A Running Gag in "Everyone's a Critic" from Series 4 involves the characters being surprised that there is a film festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and otherwise describing the city as a dump. Made in Canada was filmed in Halifax.
- In the Series 4 episode "Creative Bookkeeping", Pyramid's recently-deceased CFO is honoured with floral tributes from various (real) Canadian production companies (Alliance Atlantis, Breakthrough Films & Television, Rhombus Media, etc.); there is a comically small violet arrangement from the CBC, the corporation whose television network originally aired Made in Canada.
- Black Widow: In the Series 4 episode "Veronica's Friend", Veronica's former school friend Crystal is implied to have murdered two rich husbands, and has set her sights on Alan as Husband No.3. Richard directs her instead to the "Plumbing King of Pennsylvania", who has bought all the logical domain names for the planned Pyramid website and has set an unreasonably high sale price. By the end of the episode, the Plumbing King has died under mysterious circumstances and left everything to Crystal (but not before she has persuaded him to sell a domain name to Richard at a reasonable price).
- Book-Ends: In both the introduction to the first episode and the final monologue of the series finale, Richard concludes his speech by saying, "I work in television. I can get behind anything."
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- Almost every episode begins with Richard speaking to the camera in the cold opener giving some insight into the lives of producers and executive, corporate life. While those initially seem out of the blue, they inevitably gain context as they relate directly to the episode's plot.
- Mid-episode, Richard takes a moment to explain to the viewers where he's standing vis-a-vis the various schemes going on, and the direction he's planning to take his own.
- Almost every episode features one of the story's primary characters (occasionally a guest star) saying to the camera either "I think that went well," or "This is not good." This is played with in the Series 5 episode "Best Seller", where each of three characters is telling their story à la Whole Episode Flashback. Richard walks into Victor's office during the latter's story and says to no-one in particular, "I think that went well." A confused and annoyed Victor asks, "Who are you talking to!?"
- Brick Joke: In the Series 5 opener, "Private Sector", the purchase of a new plasma TV for the boardroom and Richard's purchase of a pre-war TV prompt most of the main characters to admit to Wanda that they don't know how television (as in, a television set) works. Meanwhile, Brian from the network pretends to want to work at Pyramid in order to screw over a rival. When they realize that he's not only been promoted, screwed over his rival and poisoned things for potential rivals, he also has enough of an idea of how Pyramid works to be able to screw them over better, he tells Richard that that's how television works.
- Raymond plays this role in most of his appearances in Series 1 and 2. In the first episode, "Pawn to King Four", Richard gets him drunk and has Siobhan claim that Raymond sexually assaulted her; Alan fires him and gives his job to Richard.
- Victor, however, is a much more hapless comic victim. Alan uses his Yes-Man tendencies to get him to perform all sorts of demeaning tasks, and generally blames him first if something goes wrong for Pyramid. He is by far the most common victim of schemes by Veronica and especially Richard to humiliate or discredit him, while most of his own attempts at counter-scheming blow up in his face (unless he has enlisted the help of another character). He is also the most likely to sustain some sort of absurd injury (such as when he gets an infected body piercing in Series 3's "Ohm Dot Com") or public humiliation (such as being made an unwilling participant on Pyramid's behalf in the Toronto Pride Parade despite being straight in "Buy the Book" from Series 2).
- Camp Straight: Network Brian is married and has a daughter, yet he comes across as rather camp and effeminate at times, and has a particular fondness for ice dancing (as seen in "Trojan Horse" from Series 4, in which he is watching his own documentary on ice dancing with pride while Alan struggles to stay awake).
- Canada, Eh?: The series' satirical eye occasionally expands beyond Canadian show-business to general Canadian life and culture.
- In "People of the Fish" from Series 5, the main characters trot out various negative Canadian stereotypes to drive away an annoying American producer who wants to move to Canada, including extremely high taxes (which Richard claims have resulted in the government seizing his car), long wait times for even the most basic medical procedures (Veronica claims to have spent all night in the hospital to be treated for a minor cut by a doctor who only spoke French and misunderstood her drug allergy information), and draconian rules governing Canadian content in media produced in Canada (which prompts Richard to suggest Steve Smith as the lead for their project, as he'll work for money, meaning Canadian dollars).
- Inverted whenever dealing with characters who are American. Often Americans are portrayed as dumb, culture-unaware, and occasionally gun-loving. The Vice President of NBC whom Richard visits in Los Angeles in "Second in Command" from Series 1 is a good example; he thinks he was in Canada when he visited Bangor, Maine (which is two hours' drive from the border) and believes Richard when he tells him that July is Canada's coldest month and the year has six continuous months of daylight and six continuous months of darkness.note
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Michael Rushton reveals in the first episode, "Pawn to King Four", that he is struggling to reconcile his identities as actor Michael Rushton and the character of Damacles. The line between fiction and reality becomes progressively fuzzier for him in later episodes, particularly Series 4's "Book of Damacles" when Richard and Veronica tell him that "his" warrior philosophy book (which they ghostwrote on a tequila binge) was written while he was channelling an ancient warrior god (as detailed under A God Am I).
- The Casanova: Alan has a long list of sexual conquests, having been married at least four times (twice to Siobhan's mother) and slept with each of the main female characters (except, of course, for Siobhan) and many of the female guest characters. Once he sleeps with a woman, he loses interest and moves on to the next conquest, and rebuffing his advances simply encourages him to try harder.
- Casanova Wannabe: When she and Alan try to piece together why a deal with Ann-Marie MacDonald fell through (it was due to Alan being an idiot) in the Series 5 episode "Best Seller", Wanda says that Victor thinks that he's either James Bond or Simon Templar... well, someone played by Roger Moore at any rate.
- Casting Couch: Alan has a penchant for seducing hopeful young actresses while giving vague promises to look into furthering their careers. In the first episode, "Pawn to King Four", he is seen romancing three young would-be actresses; Richard tells the camera that Alan will end up sleeping with all three of them.
- Catchphrase: In-universe, Damacles of The Sword of Damacles uses "I am Damacles!" as a rallying cry. In "Gemini Night", the Series 1 finale, Richard suggests a reluctant Michael Rushton, the actor who portrays Damacles, trot out the catchphrase when he accepts a special Gemini on Alan's behalf (his reluctance turns out to be justified). However, in later episodes, as Rushton's ability to separate his own identity from that of Damacles starts to diminish, he begins using the phrase unironically off set as well as on.
- Celebrity Paradox:
- Ann-Marie MacDonald is in the first episode as a scriptwriter pitching her show to Pyramid... and shows up in the Series 5 episode "Best Seller" as herself.
- The Red Green Show is mentioned on numerous occasions. No-one seems to comment that Alan bears an uncanny resemblance to series regular Ranger Gord, that recurring character Nick Finlay looks a lot like Red's nephew Harold, or that both Walter Franklin from "A Death in the Family" and Myron Kingswell from "The Last Show" are the spitting image of Hap Shaughnessy.
- "Book of Damacles" from Series 4 has a plot in which Pyramid are negotiating the rights to the Ghost Nanny children's book series, with a plan to cast Jackie Burroughs as the title character. When stage doyenne Helga Lemper shows up in "Beaver Creek Valentine" in Series 5, her astonishing resemblance to Burroughs goes unnoticed.
- In "Producer's Cut" from Series 5, Alan mentions watching Whose Line Is It Anyway?; apparently he didn't notice that one of the regulars on the series, Colin Mochrie, is a dead ringer for his older brother Frank, as seen in "Alan's Brother" from Series 4.
- Cheek Copy: In the Series 4 episode "Wrap Party", a grip is seen sitting on the copy machine at the title event.
- The Chessmaster: The fact that the first episode is called "Pawn to King Four" is our first indication that this is a series full of manipulators, though Richard and Veronica are the most prolific. Just to give one example for each of the main characters:
- In "Second in Command" from Series 1, Richard is put in charge of negotiating a deal with Julia Earle, the president of development at NBC, for a prison drama, only for her vice-president, Carl Fuller, to get wind of the idea, apparently from Victor, and try to get credit for it. Richard tells Carl that the US State Department is wary of any deals with Canada because of a pending deal on a film lab with a company that owns hotels in Cuba, causing him to speak against the idea in front of both Julia and the head of the network (who are both in favour of it). Meanwhile, Richard gets revenge on Victor by hiring a thug to break the leg of the lead actor of Victor's latest film, causing Alan to shut the film down in the next episode. However, in the episode's final scene, we learn that it was Veronica who leaked the idea to Carl, not Victor.
- The Series 3 episode "Teamwork" has Richard and Victor refusing to help Veronica organise a teamwork exercise which Alan has ordered assembled (but in which he has no plans to participate). In revenge, she hires a group of actors to pose as a new Chief Administrative Officer and her fourteen new vice-presidents, who are presented as obsessive micromanagers with power of veto over all programming ideas. The horrified Richard, Victor, and Alan band together to get rid of this additional layer of management by making them quit - thereby demonstrating the ability to work as a team after all. As the cherry on the sundae, Veronica gets Alan to sign an agreement absolving her of all future responsibility to organise teamwork exercises before she reveals the scam.
- Though they are usually Cloudcuckoolanders whose attempts at manipulation backfire, Victor and Alan have their genuine chessmaster moments as well. In "It's a Science" from Series 2, Richard and Veronica are competing for a position at a rival production company, and make a point of sabotaging each other; Richard claims that Veronica is adopting a large family from the developing world despite being unmarried, while Veronica claims that Richard is on strong anti-psychotic medication. However, at the end of the episode, the interviewer is revealed to have been employed by Alan to test their loyalty to Pyramid, and he declares Victor the most loyal of all - not knowing that Victor has been pulling a scam of his own (see Church of Happyology).
- Wanda also hides chessmaster tendencies behind a facade of ignorance. In "Tax Audit" from Series 4, a clerical error results in her being billed for tax on $75,000 in stock dividends, and Richard, Veronica, and Victor proceed to suck up to her to get a share of the (non-existent) money. In revenge, she tricks them into making separate pitches of the same show idea to Alan, thereby making them look stupid. (Although this particular scheme backfires, as Alan takes this as a sign that they are thinking as a team.)
- Christmas Episode:
- Series 2 has a Christmas episode entitled, appropriately enough, "The Christmas Show", in which Alan makes a generous donation to a needy family (actually a group of actors) as a holiday publicity stunt.
- In-universe, the Series 5 episode "Beaver Creek Valentine" involves the re-scheduling of the Beaver Creek Christmas episode for Valentine's Day, and Richard and Veronica's effort to re-write the script to fit the new air date (said "effort" entails a simple search-and-replace).
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Raymond Drodge and Lisa Sutton only appear in the first two series; no explanation is given for their departure.
- Church of Happyology: The Series 2 episode "It's a Science" features the Church of Spirentology, whose members include an old friend of Alan's who claims to have created The Sword of Damacles and shows up demanding royalties. Victor is sent undercover in the church to investigate the possibility that the claim is part of a scam, but ends up on the conversion path himself. The end of the episode reveals that the whole thing is part of a scam Victor cooked up to help the other guy extort money from Alan; Victor couldn't (yet) openly betray Alan so they had to resort to other means.note
- Classically Trained Extra: The Series 5 episode "Beaver Creek Valentine" features veteran Canadian actress Jackie Burroughs as long-running stage star Helga Lemper, who is such a dedicated Method actress that she has published a book on her own version of the Method and comes up with a thick binder of background information for the character she is playing in the Beaver Creek Christmas special: an angel who only appears in a handful of scenes.
- Cliffhanger Copout: Parodied; the Series 3 finale, "Goodbye", has a rapid-fire cliffhanger on each major character. In his introduction to the Series 4 opener, "The Pitch", Richard explains why that happened, that it results in lame excuses, and he proceeds to quickly and causally list them before proceeding with the plot.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Victor to Alan. In the last episode, he tells Alan that he's relieved that he no longer has to waste his time saving the stupidest man he's ever met from himself.
- Curse Cut Short:
- From Series 4's "Damacles, Time Traveller":Alan: Look, how much would it cost to get a crew in for a few extra days provided we can find a location that looks like ancient Greece? [Veronica hands him an invoice] HOLY SH-
[cut to Richard being interviewed]
Richard: -shipping in all the equipment, you hire a crew, you set up camp, tents, honey wagons, generators - it can add up very, very quickly.
- From the series finale, "The Last Show":Victor: NOW TAKE YOUR ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS, AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR-
[cut to Richard and Veronica]
Veronica: As for us, maybe we should start our own company.
- From Series 4's "Damacles, Time Traveller":
- Depraved Kids' Show Host: Larry Kotch/Billy Babbitt, who plays kids' show host Captain McGee, is revealed to be a wife-swapper and compulsive sex addict in the Series 2 episode "For the Children". Richard uses this revelation to blackmail him into accepting a merchandising deal for his series.
- Description Cut: The Series 4 episode "Damacles, Time Traveller", as a spoof of "Behind the scenes" talking head documentaries, is full of cuts that show the talking heads are lying through their teeth about the events they describe to make themselves look better.Richard: [being interviewed] As executive in charge of that production [The Sword of Damacles], I'm very hands on.
[cut to Richard entering Alan's office]
Richard: You wanted to see me?
Alan: Richard, when was the last time you visited the Damacles set?
Richard: [thinks for a moment] I don't know, about a month ago?
- Directed by Cast Member: In-universe, Michael "Damacles" Rushton has a clause in his contract entitling him to direct an episode of The Sword of Damacles. When he is given the reins in "Damacles Directs" in Series 2, the results are predictably disastrous, with the shoot falling further and further behind schedule as he ruins take after take.
- Dramatic Drop: In the final scene of "Trojan Horse" from Series 4, Network Brian is drinking a martini while watching his new ice dancing documentary in his hotel suite with a bored Alan. When Richard and Victor enter the suite carrying his very drunk daughter and arguing over who will take the front end or the back end (of the film pitch they are discussing - see Not What It Looks Like for details), Brian, who specifically told Alan to keep Richard and Victor away from his daughter, drops his martini glass to the floor in shock.
- Drinking Game: In "Beaver Creek - The Movie", it emerges that there is a Beaver Creek drinking game popular with students, with such rules as drinking a shot of tequila whenever Adele says "The beaver are in the creek", or a Black Russian whenever the parson says "God willing", or a B-52 when he tips his hat. Richard admits to having written some of the rules for the game himself.
- Driven by Envy: Some of Alan's more ridiculous decisions are motivated by his envy of other television production companies or executives. His envy of the success of Paul Gross' Men with Brooms prompts him to turn Veronica's documentary She Aims, She Achieves into a gender-flipped version of Men with Brooms in "Babes with Blades", while his envy of the classy decoration of Rhombus' offices in "Alan's New Studio" leads him to have the Pyramid offices re-decorated at great expense (and with few visible results).
- DVD Commentary: In-universe, in "Arcadia 3000" from Series 3, Alan is neglecting all other responsibilities at Pyramid in favour of recording a director's commentary track for Prom Night at Horny High.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the first episode, Richard described Alan as being someone who started out building low-income housing and ended up making movies and television for people who lived in low-income housing. The first mention that he'd started out as a sleazy pornographer gone legit was pretty much the latter part of Series 2.
- Every Episode Ending: With three exceptions ("The Christmas Show" and "Girls' Night Out" from Series 2, "Damacles... What a Doll" from Series 3), every episode ends with one of the characters (usually Richard, Victor, Veronica, or Alan) looking at the camera and saying one of two phrases: "I think that went well," or "This is not good." Occasionally, they will use both phrases, or a variation:
- At the end of "Connect the Dots" from Series 2, Veronica asks to speak to Victor to clear the air after getting drunk and spending the night with him; Victor, who has no idea of the real intent of the conversation, says, "This should go well."
- In "Ohm Dot Com" from Series 3, Richard, having just visited Victor (who has spent the episode hitting raves in an attempt to improve his image) in the hospital, tells the camera, "I think that went well." However, when techno music begins issuing forth from Victor's room as coloured lights flash on the walls, he adds, "But this is not good."
- In the Series 5 episode "The Skateboard Show", when Alan gives Wanda and her teenage son Billy tickets to an award show in Acapulco for the title series, Richard tells the camera, "This is not good." However, when Alan and Veronica leave to present a floral tribute and read a eulogy for recently-deceased Beaver Creek "cast member" Rolly Pen (a pig), Richard adds, "But I think that went well."
- When Alan accepts an honorary doctorate from an all-female Catholic university in Series 5's "Richard's Brother", Veronica carefully tailors his speech not to offend the faculty or audience. However, when Alan launches into a joke about an Irishman, a Mexican, and a nun walking into a bar, Veronica buries her face in her hands while Richard turns to the camera with a grin and declares, "This is so good."
- Executive Meddling: Used in-universe; Alan never saw a film or television programme he didn't believe he could "improve". Among his more absurd ideas:
- In "Connect the Dots" from Series 2, he tasks Richard with adding an Asian martial artist to Beaver Creek; although he knows this is a bad idea and intends it as a test for Richard, it almost leads to the network refusing to renew the series.
- The Series 3 episode "Husband & Wife" has Alan telling Richard to make The Sword of Damacles "more Australian" to appeal to viewers in that country.
- In "Roomies" from Series 4, he re-casts the title reality series with himself, Victor, and Veronica as the roomies, leading the series to be cancelled.
- "Babes with Blades" in Series 5 centres around Alan, intensely jealous of the success of Paul Gross' Men with Brooms, turning Veronica's feminist women's hockey documentary She Aims, She Achieves into the sexually exploitative Babes with Blades. It doesn't help at all that Alan wins an award for advancing feminism after Victor and Richard turn it from soft-core porn into a generic sports film.
- Fourth-Wall Observer: Richard's frequent addresses to camera not just about how television production works but about the narrative structure of the episodes themselves identify him as a fourth wall observer.
- Fun with Acronyms: The title event in Series 4's "Corporate Retreat" is known as Y.E.S. in a nod to its attempt to emphasise and encourage positive thinking (when instead it inspires only negative thoughts in the main cast, Wanda excepted). One of the many ways in which the seminar leader annoys the Pyramid gang is his insistence that they wait to hear what Y.E.S. stands for. When they have finally had all they can stand and storm off, Wanda is the only one who has learned what the letters stand for; we never find out.Wanda: Don't you want to know what Y.E.S. stands for?
Veronica: N, O!!
- Gaslighting: Mentioned by name during its use in "Alan's Brother" from Series 4. When Alan's older brother Frank (special guest Colin Mochrie), technically the majority owner of Pyramid, is released from a mental hospital and comes up with programming ideas that make Alan's look sensible, the Pyramid gang employ this tactic by replacing his coffee mug with other mugs when he is out of the office and then accusing him of theft. This escalates until he finds the entire office's supply of coffee mugs in his desk drawer, at which point Veronica, dressed as Frank and Alan's mother, confronts him and drives him to re-commit himself.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-universe examples:
- Alan's self-declared masterpiece, Prom Night at Horny High, is very popular in Germany, to the point that German director Fritz Hoffman leaves the helm of the title film in "Arcadia 3000" from Series 3 to record a commentary track for the DVD release.
- The Sword of Damacles is also a big hit in Germany, and it is because of the German interest that Michael Rushton is contracted to write a book about Damacles' battle philosophy in "Book of Damacles" from Series 4.
- Beaver Creek is very popular in Japan because of the pastoral setting; in the Series 4 episode "Beaver Creek Commercials", Alan arranges for the cast members to appear in Japanese commercials.
- Going Cold Turkey: In Series 3's "Alan's Diet", Alan wants to lose four pounds in three days, and decides to go on a carb-free, high-protein diet that includes no fruits, vegetables, or dairy. Veronica warns him that cutting down on carbohydrates so drastically releases chemicals into the bloodstream that cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, bad breath, short temper, heart disease... and, Alan adds, weight loss. Sure enough, Veronica's warning proves prescient when Alan becomes woozy and irritable; he dozes off during a meeting and doesn't wake up until nearly 24 hours later, then gives a thoroughly incoherent interview for his first appearance as an analyst on Marketwatch.
- A God Am I: In "Book of Damacles" from Series 4, when Michael Rushton reads the warrior's philosophy book ghostwritten by Richard and Veronica while on a tequila binge, the two producers tell Michael that he wrote the book while channelling a warrior god. Unfortunately, since Michael already has a difficult time keeping fiction and reality separate, he interprets this to mean he is a god, and he begins blessing crew members on set and refusing to say his lines as written (choosing instead to recite them in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe) because he believes that gods write their own lines.Michael (as Damacles): Hark ye! I will slew thee wist... wist this big rock! Be scared of what ye see. For I am Damacles!
Director: And cut!
Michael: Whoa. Damacles nailed that one. Bless you, everybody! [begins "blessing" boom operators and grips by placing his hand on their foreheads and shoving them backwards]
- Good-Times Montage:
- Parodied in "It's a Science" from Series 2, as Richard imagines a series of pseudo-romantic moments spent with Victor after the latter attempts to infiltrate a cult but ends up on the conversion path (or so it seems).
- Subverted in Series 5's "The Last Show", with the characters gazing toward the ceiling and the music suggesting that they are about to reminisce over good times at Pyramid depicted in the series... until Richard and Veronica declare that they can't think of any good times to remember. (Victor, by contrast, is completely lost in memories which apparently cast him in a better light than reality.)
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Alan's older brother Frank was The Unfavorite of his mother to such an absurd degree (frequently shut in the cupboard under the stairs while Alan was given a costume robe and crown and sat in an armchair pretending to be a king) that he had a mental breakdown, bit a policeman, and spent 26 years in an institution. Richard, Veronica, and Victor are amazed he wasn't there for longer.
- Hollywood History: In-universe, in the Series 4 episode "The War of 1812", an American network contracts a film about the title war to Pyramid, but has the uniforms of the British Redcoats changed to teal (as they film better) and the ending of the war changed to an American victory because American schoolchildren have been taught that the USA has never lost a war and would never believe such things as the invasion and burning of Washington, DC. This is apparently a running theme for the network's historical productions, as their representative says of an upcoming production on the fall of Rome, "At least we know the Americans won that one!"
- Horrible Hollywood: In Canada! The series is filled with actors who are empty-headed, arrogant, violently temperamental, or all of those, writers who slave away for almost no reward, and backstabbing producers whose only interest is getting ahead in the industry, and making a pile of money in the process.
- How Many Fingers?: In "Babes With Blades" from Series 5, an irate Veronica visits the hockey rink where Richard and Victor are shooting additional action footage for her women's hockey documentary. An errant puck hits her squarely in the back of the head, but as she has been injected with anaesthetic to combat a migraine (brought on by Alan's hijacking of her documentary), she doesn't even notice. Richard tries the "how many fingers" test to see if she has a concussion, but she refuses to answer and storms out of the arena.
- Ho Yay: In-universe, in the Series 3 episode "Damacles... What a Doll", it is revealed that the audience of The Sword of Damacles see a lot of homoerotic subtext between Damacles and his young sidekick, Boy, to the point that Damacles' actor, Michael Rushton, is offered a contract for an (anatomically correct) action figure by an adult novelty company.
- I Am Not Spock: The various Pyramid series provide several in-universe examples.
- Michael Rushton, the star of The Sword of Damacles, tends to flip back and forth between this trope (it doesn't help that Alan and the other Pyramid executives consistently address him as "Damacles") and embracing his role to the point of being in-character on and off set.
- The main characters seem to not remember the real names of most of the cast on Beaver Creek. (As an example, it took the show getting cancelled for Veronica to learn that Blind Jimmy's real name was Dino.) This comes into play in Series 5's "Requiem for Beaver Creek" when they have to race around frantically trying to find out Nurse Melissa's real name. (It's Lillian Vale, by the way.) Needless to say, she isn't thrilled to realize that though she has worked for Pyramid for what seemed like a thousand years, the idiots at the front office didn't care enough to inquire as to her real name.
- Is This Thing Still On?: At the end of "Requiem for Beaver Creek" from Series 5, Lillian Vale is trying to forge a new career as a TV psychic following the cancellation of Beaver Creek when Richard invites her to reprise the role of Nurse Melissa for three made-for-TV movies. She accepts, grumbling about how stupid and gullible her callers are, while Richard tells the camera, "I think that went well." At which point, Lillian's latest caller pipes up that she is still on the line...
- It Will Never Catch On: In "Creative Bookkeeping" from Series 4, Esquire magazine are running an article on Canadian comedians in Hollywood and contact Pyramid for fact-checking purposes. It turns out that Alan told Michael J. Fox that short people aren't funny, Jim Carrey that he should stick to impressions, and Mike Myers that Austin Powers was a bad idea.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
- One episode had a television interview with Steve Smith, best known to most people as Red Green. Peter Keleghan, who plays Alan, is of course also known as the Cloudcuckoolander Ranger Gord on The Red Green Show.
- Patrick McKenna, who played Harold Green on The Red Green Show alongside Peter Keleghan as Ranger Gord, appears as an incompetent stock broker in "Ohm Dot Com" from Series 3, and again when he is hired as CFO in "Creative Bookkeeping" from Series 4. (McKenna's appearance on the series may refer to his work on Traders, a series not exported to the U.S.)
- Recurring guest star Gordon Pinsent, who plays aging actor Walter Franklin Sr. in Series 1 and the dairy farmer who buys Pyramid and fires Alan, Richard, and Veronica in the series finale, was also a regular on The Red Green Show as tall tale spinner Hap Shaughnessy. Also, Leah Pinsent's father.
- Jumping the Shark: Discussed in-universe in the Series 5 episode "Beaver Creek Jumps the Shark". Not only do Richard, Veronica, and Victor note that Beaver Creek has made almost all of the standard shark jumping moves (a Cousin Oliver (actually called Oliver), Shipping Bed Death, badly-explained supernatural elements, a Musical Episode, a Live Episode, a real time episode, and a guest appearance by Ted McGinley), but they each reflect on the moment when their own lives jumped the shark (for Veronica, it was meeting Alan; for both Richard and Victor, it was Richard accepting Alan's offer of a job at Pyramid).
- Lady Drunk: Veronica is a bit younger than most examples, but years of slaving away for Pyramid and having her contributions consistently blown off by Alan have led her to turn to alcohol for solace. This reaches a head in the Series 2 episode "Girls' Night Out" when she gets so blind drunk she does a striptease on top of the bar at Fat Jerry's hours after last call.
- Laugh Track: The series itself has none, but in-universe, in "The Mill Show" from Series 1, Alan thinks it would be a good idea to add one to the prison drama Pyramid are producing for NBC; as no other prison drama has a laugh track, it would set the series apart from the rest. Richard and Veronica are less convinced.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Series 5's "Beaver Creek Valentine", Dino, the actor who plays Blind Jimmy, is extolling the virtues of the Lemper Technique, saying, "Comes in handy when you have to do those terrible scenes where you talk on the phone... God, why do writers put those in scripts!?" Cut to Alan, talking on the phone.
- Le Film Artistique:
- In the Series 3 episode "Alan's Ex", Alan decides to get back at his ex-wife by producing an art film that not only has the grade school soccer team survivors of a plane crash eat the pilot but a group of nuns who slowly lost their faith in God. When Richard talks some sense into him, they kill it with Product Placement.
- In "Acquisitions" from Series 5, Alan, obsessed with the idea of buying a cable station, purchases the Subtitled Movie Channel; the use of the singular "movie" turns out to be significant, as SMC only broadcasts a critically-panned Croatian film entitled Sad Affliction on a continuous loop.
- Lighter and Softer: In the Series 5 episode "Dock Cops", Alan agrees to abort his plans to cancel the title series but decides to overhaul it by lightening the tone from a gritty Law & Order-style police procedural to a camp Charlie's Angels-like action series; one episode has its central plot changed from a murdered prostitute to a lost kitten.
- Live Episode: The Series 3 episode "Beaver Creek: Live" involves celebrating Beaver Creek reaching 150 episodes by airing a live show (after the original plan to air a Clip Show is rejected by the network). With just a week to prepare and produce the episode, Richard, Victor, and Veronica fish a Purple Prose-saturated Bottle Episode written by Alan's daughter Siobhan (in which her character gets 90% of the dialogue) out of the dustbin. Of course, when the cameras start rolling, nothing goes as planned; see The Show Must Go Wrong for details.
- Mistaken for Dying: In the Series 2 opener, "Merger", Siobhan drops in on Alan at the health spa he has been visiting and finds him with an IV drip in his arm; she later overhears him asking a doctor how long he has, and being told, "Two, maybe three months." This, coupled with Alan talking of wanting to step down as head of Pyramid and return to directing films or going on a world cruise, leads Richard, Veronica, and Siobhan to assume he is dying. However, it later emerges that he is planning to step down due to a pending merger with Prodigy Entertainment, while the doctor was referring to the fact that Alan's body is rejecting his new pectoral implants.
- Mistaken for Gay: Up until "Dock Cops", having to tell people that yes, he really was straight was pretty much Victor's lot in life. That changed after the client list of a brothel on Bay Street was leaked to the press. As it so happened, Alan used Victor's name. Now, even Mrs Sela accepts that Victor is straight.
- Mistaken for Pregnant: In the Series 4 episode "Office Rumours", Wanda suggests to Veronica that she deal with the increasingly childish behaviour of the Beaver Creek cast by getting a book on childcare. Richard overhears part of the conversation and concludes that Veronica is pregnant.
- Mistaken Identity:
- In "Everyone's a Critic" from Series 4, television critic J.W. Anderson pens a series of reviews eviscerating Pyramid's output, with particular venom directed at Alan himself, as she believes he dumped her after a one-night stand at a Halifax film festival. In fact, her one-night stand was with Victor, who had used Alan's name.
- "Dock Cops" from Series 5 features the reverse situation, where Alan has been frequenting a brothel whose client list is leaked to the press, but as he has been using Victor's name, it is Victor who is identified as a regular customer. (Though this does finally convince everyone, including Victor's mother, that he is straight.)
- Moral Guardians: The Pyramid executives are frequently caught between trying to appease moral guardians and presenting an image of themselves as tolerant of all cultures and beliefs. For example, in the Series 2 episode "Buy the Book", Beaver Creek has received an award for promoting family values from a conservative media watchdog group, who are unaware that two of its cast members are in a homosexual relationship and are planning to march in the upcoming Toronto Pride Parade - in character.
- The Movie:
- The Series 3 episode "Beaver Creek - The Movie" revolves around the filming of a (made-for-TV) movie trilogy which brings back the original star of Adele of Beaver Creek, Mandy Forward (played by her real life counterpart, Anne of Green Gables star Megan Follows).
- Following the cancellation of Beaver Creek in the Series 5 episode "Requiem for Beaver Creek", Network Brian agrees to a deal for three made-for-TV Beaver Creek reunion movies over the next five years.
- Mr. Fanservice: Victor's driver Kyle in Series 3's "Happiest Girl in the World" is a former male stripper turned aspiring actor. When he marries Siobhan and then immediately divorces her and demands an expensive settlement, Wanda, seeking revenge on Richard and Veronica for making her do all the work creating a children's show but giving her none of the credit, helps Victor solve Siobhan's problem by boosting Kyle's acting career (thereby making him drop his divorce settlement demands) by casting him in Richard and Veronica's series... in which he plays a farmer who wears overalls but no shirt, repeatedly flexes his muscles for the camera, and imitates a stripper's dance. A disgusted Alan pulls the plug on the series.
- Must Have Caffeine: In "Alan's Diet" from Series 3, Alan announces that his New Year's resolutions include being more aware of how his actions affect others and giving up coffee - and he immediately breaks the first of those by removing the office coffee machine and banning coffee from the office entirely. Veronica quickly becomes highly sarcastic and irritable, and Richard and Wanda resort to smuggling in a kettle and cafetière to make coffee in secret in Richard and Victor's office (Victor finds them, and in next to no time, everyone else in the office except Alan joins in the clandestine caffeination).Alan: Okay, here's the reason for the meeting. Folks, I have been asked to appear as a regular analyst on Marketwatch.
Victor: That's great, Alan!
Alan: Yeah. And for my first appearance, I'm going to use the opportunity to announce Pyramid's new direction. [Richard raises his hand] What?
Richard: We don't have a new direction.
Alan: No, but this week we have a theme. New year, new Pyramid!
Veronica: [sarcastically] Gee, can we have a theme every week?
Alan: Geez, you're in a bad mood!
Veronica: Could it be the lack of coffee!?
- My Beloved Smother: Veronica's increasingly anguished conversations with her mother in "Alan's Diet" from Series 3 reveal that she is an unpleasable control freak with whom Veronica ordinarily tries to avoid all contact.
- Alan's daughter Siobhan manipulates her way into the cast of Beaver Creek in the Series 1 episode "A Death in the Family", and though she is convinced she is a talented actress who can use the series as a springboard to greater things, the rest of the cast and the Pyramid producers know that she is only allowed to stay on the series because she is Alan's daughter.
- In the Series 3 episode "Happiest Girl in the World", Siobhan has a drunken hookup with Victor's driver Kyle, and tries to help him get an acting role on Beaver Creek. When Victor refuses, Richard suggests that Victor really thinks that Kyle should be a producer (even though he has no idea what a producer does), and that Siobhan should get engaged to Kyle as giving a job to her fiancé looks more acceptable than giving one to her boyfriend. Siobhan soon regrets making Kyle a producer as he orders pointless script changes and then fires a long-standing crew member for following the standard practice of putting said changes on coloured paper.
- Never My Fault: In "Beaver Creek: Live" from Series 3, Network Brian puts the kibosh on Pyramid's plans to air a Clip Show for the 150th episode of Beaver Creek, forcing the cast and crew to throw together a Live Episode from a (rightly, as it turns out) discarded script by Siobhan. When the broadcast goes awry, Brian is seen on the phone to the network claiming that he had suggested they simply do a clip show instead of the live episode.
- Noodle Incident: A notable example at the beginning of "Just Another Week" in Series 4:Alan: Richard, did you take care of that latest Damacles situation?
Richard: Yeah. Farmer's not gonna press charges.
Alan: Good, good. What about the, uh, cow?
Richard: Had to shoot the cow.
Alan: Tough break for the cow. Completely understandable, I guess.
- No OSHA Compliance: In this case, no CCOHSnote compliance. The studio Victor tries to persuade Alan to purchase in "Alan's New Studio" from Series 5 is built in a converted battery factory. There is no air conditioning, passing trains frequently cause the whole building to shake (ruining sound recording), flakes of asbestos and a mysterious black substance constantly rain down from the ceiling, and one room holds dozens of barrels of chemical waste. Spending just a few hours in the building causes Richard, Veronica, Victor, and Alan's hair to start falling out.Veronica: What do you mean you don't care!? This place practically buzzes! You'll come out of the studio more tan than when you went in!
Victor: Actors look good with a little colour on their face!
Veronica: Not cobalt blue!
- Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: In the Series 3 episode "Teamwork", Veronica tries to enlist Richard and Victor's help in organising a team-building exercise, leading to the following exchange:Richard: Look, it's not that we can't help you... we don't want to help you.
Victor: We'd rather see you struggle and then make snide comments from the sidelines.
[later in the episode, after a new Chief Administrative Officer has been hired at Veronica's recommendation and has hired fourteen further executive vice presidents with power of veto over film and television ideas]
Richard: Okay, Veronica, you have to help, this woman is taking over.
Veronica: I'd like to help, I really would, but I think I'll just sit on the sidelines and make snide comments.
- Not What It Looks Like: In "Trojan Horse" from Series 4, Network Brian's daughter Eliza gets an internship at Pyramid, and Alan is given strict instructions to keep Richard and Victor away from her. Sent away from the office for the day, they put together a film pitch, with Richard tricking Victor into waiving his upfront fee for a cut of the back end (which he knows will be zero). However, Eliza is a lesbian and falls in love with Veronica, and drowns her sorrows when Veronica rebuffs her advances. Richard and Victor rescue Veronica by carrying the almost insensible Eliza back to her father's hotel suite while discussing a second pitch. In the final scene, Brian and Alan are treated to the sight of Richard and Victor carrying a very drunk Eliza into the room as Victor says, "This time I'm taking the back end, you take the front end!"
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Wanda pretends to be far less intelligent and insightful than she really is, and is able to control aspects of Pyramid's operations beyond her official job title of "office manager". In the Series 5 episode "Producer's Cut", Alan pretends to fire her and send her undercover at the company that produces The Producer's Cut, a series Alan believes is mocking him. Wanda is immediately made a highly-paid production executive for the series.
- Oh, Crap!: If the final line of the episode is "This is not good", it is usually preceded by one of these looks, such as when Alan walks in on Richard and Siobhan having sex on the boardroom table in "Gemini Night" from Series 1, when Veronica realises she has accidentally had a prominent TV critic's cat put down in "Everyone's a Critic" from Series 4, or when Alan tells Richard to initiate a bidding war for the rights to Michael "Damacles" Rushton's autobiography in "Bio-Pic" from Series 5.
- Opinion Flip-Flop: Behind Alan's back, the Pyramid employees (even inveterate Yes-Man Victor) are not shy about discussing how stupid his programming ideas are; to his face, they have nothing but praise for his insight. In several episodes, a character dismissing an idea as worthless will have an immediate change of heart when told that it is Alan's idea.
- Oscar Bait: In the Series 5 episode "Babes with Blades", Veronica is making a documentary called She Aims, She Achieves about the personal struggles of the Sarnia Sirens, a minor league women's hockey team, in order to compete for a WIFT (Women in Film and Television) award. When Alan gets hold of the film and turns it into the crass, sexist Babes with Blades, she orders her name removed from the film; ironically, the film nets Alan a WIFT award, and salt is rubbed in the wound when Veronica is invited to the ceremony to present Alan's award.
- Out-Gambitted: This happens to Richard on a regular basis because he's not nearly as smart as he'd like to believe. "Private Sector" from Series 5 features a sterling example, in which Network Brian gets a job at Pyramid and Richard tries to manipulate him into taking on work he doesn't want. In the process, he reveals the various book-cooking tricks Pyramid use when dealing with the network, so that when Brian reveals that he is returning to the network with a promotion, he now knows what to look for when Pyramid try to pull the wool over his eyes in financial matters.
- Parallel Porn Titles: In-universe, Alan produced a pornographic parody of Beaver Creek using the same sets after filming wrapped on the original Adele of Beaver Creek, with the title... Beaver Creek.
- The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In the Series 2 episode "Girls' Night Out", Richard discovers that Wanda's password is "Wanda".
- Pointy-Haired Boss: This is generally the Pyramid gang's outlook on Alan, whose management style is based almost entirely on whatever the latest best-selling executive book says to do and whose every idea for how to "improve" Pyramid's various productions is completely inane and/or completely inappropriate. Of course, they never tell him this to his face (see Opinion Flip-Flop).
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: A recurring theme for the Christmas episodes.
- In Series 2's "The Christmas Show", a complaint by Wiccans about the use of "Merry Christmas" on Christmas forces Pyramid to re-write their holiday greetings to be less specific.
- The Series 5 episode "Beaver Creek Valentine" opens with Network Brian criticising the Beaver Creek Christmas episode script for not mentioning Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Diwali.
- Politically Correct History: Siobhan decides to force this onto Beaver Creek in "Life in the Woods" from Series 2 to protest the writing for the female and First Nations characters by improvising a scene in which her character suddenly recovers from a fever thanks to a First Nations remedy, then declares that things are going to change around Beaver Creek, with her leading the way.
- Poor Communication Kills: Literally in "Everyone's a Critic" from Series 4. Wanda's cat, Rufus, has a bladder infection, and the indifference of the other executives leads her to persuade Alan to increase their workload. Richard is inspired to take Wanda under his wing, writing a critical e-mail to the newspaper of Caustic Critic J.W. Anderson (who has been lambasting Alan in her column), signing Victor's name, and having Wanda hit "Send". Wanda later feels guilty and wants to confess to the newspaper, telling Veronica she has a difficult phone call to make. Veronica assumes Wanda has decided to have her cat put down and agrees to make the call for her, but mumbles Wanda's last name as she doesn't know it. However, Wanda reveals that she has already taken Rufus home, while Anderson, whom they have just placated, reveals that the W in J.W. stands for Wanda, and her cat, Rufus, has spent the night at the vet's...
- The Prima Donna:
- Alan's daughter Siobhan becomes a demanding prima donna when she forces herself into the cast of Beaver Creek starting in Series 1, constantly demanding that more emphasis be placed on her character (even reacting badly when her character takes a back seat to high profile special guest stars). This reaches a head in "Beaver Creek: Live", in which a tight shooting schedule forces Pyramid to film a script of Siobhan's which is basically an 80-minute monologue (for an hourlong episode), and she refuses to listen to the criticisms of her fellow cast members or agree to have her lines cut to fit into the time available, while screaming at the crew members who are forced to work during her rehearsals to have the sets ready in time.
- Dian Del Largo, the title character in the Series 2 episode "Diva" as played by Margot Kidder, is every inch a prima donna. Before shooting begins on her guest appearance on Beaver Creek, she orders the director (hired specially for the episode) removed from the project and replaced with Pyramid executive Lisa Sutton, whom she then orders fired and replaced with Victor. Though her character is written as an immigrant Irish peasant who dies of scurvy, Del Largo demands that she be re-written as a seductress wearing plunging necklines. And when shooting finally begins (several hours late), she immediately has a mental breakdown and locks herself in her trailer.
- The Problem with Licensed Games: Implied in-universe with the Beaver Creek video game.
- Properly Paranoid: In "Wrongly Convicted" from Series 3, when wrongly convicted felon Dean Sutherland (Mark McKinney) is negotiating the sale of his story to Pyramid and Alan's phone goes missing, he becomes convinced that Sutherland is the thief, despite the complete lack of evidence. His zeal to get Sutherland to admit to the theft causes the deal to collapse, and Sutherland takes his story elsewhere. In the episode's final scene, in which we find Sutherland has written Alan into his script as a self-absorbed pornographer with bad dandruff, we find out that he did indeed steal Alan's phone.
- Put on a Bus: In the Series 3 episode "Alan's Ex", Siobhan leaves for Hollywood with the title character (her mother) with plans to further her acting career.
- Raised by Wolves: In Series 4's "Book of Damacles", Michael "Damacles" Rushton comes up with a backstory for his character which involves being born of a wolf and raised by bears who killed his "mother" but taught him how to fight.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Blow At High Dough" by The Tragically Hip.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Wanda gets in a good one in the Series 5 episode "Jumping the Shark" when she criticizes Richard, Victor and Veronica for complaining about how bad Beaver Creek is when they produce it. Since they're to blame for making it stink on ice, they have no kick coming.
- Victor delivers a blistering one to Alan when he fires him in the series finale.Alan: I'm sorry, what??
Victor: Ah, c'mon, big guy, I'm a 42-year-old man who has no family because I have spent my entire working life saving your ass! I've been the fall guy for the last time, Alan, and it - is - OVER! YOU are an IDIOT!
- Reassigned to Antarctica: When the Toronto Globe publish a story (planted by Richard) alleging that Victor is claiming the credit for much of Pyramid's work in the Series 1 episode "Dining Out", Victor is re-assigned to investigate the film possibilities of the story of an outdoorsman who lives north of the Arctic Circle.
- Retool: Mentioned by name prior to its use in "Dock Cops" from Series 5, in which the title series suffers an ill-considered (yet ultimately popular) retool at Alan's hands. In Richard's introduction, he says the four words every producer dreads most from anyone in a position of power are "I love it, but...", as they generally herald an impending re-tool, in which "one tool is changing the work of another."
- Roman à Clef: Some of the storylines were written to parallel/satirise then-current events in the world of Canadian television.
- The merger of Pyramid Productions and Prodigy Entertainment in the Series 2 opener "Merger" was inspired by the 1998 merger of Alliance Communications and Atlantis.
- The Manolo subplot of the Series 3 opener "Richard Returns" satirises the media coverage of the Elian Gonzalez story in 2000.
- Megan Follows' appearance as Mandy "Adele of Beaver Creek" Forward when she reprises the role for the TV movie Return to Beaver Creek in "Beaver Creek - The Movie" from Series 3 parallels Follows' own return to the role of Anne Shirley for the 2000 miniseries Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.
- Sadist Teacher: In the Series 5 episode "Richard's Brother", the title character, Charles, is a former school bully who became a vice-principal as an outlet for his aggression. When Alan casts Charles as the host of a children's quiz show, Victor discusses Charles' browbeating of the contestants and states that he feels as if he's unleashed a horrible evil on the world. Richard remembers that his mother said the same thing about Charles.
- Set Behind the Scenes: Made in Canada uses its setting of the meeting rooms of a film and television production company and the sets of their productions to satirise the film and television industry (both in general and, more specifically, in Canada) and all of its corner cutting, compromising, and executive cynicism.
- The Show Must Go Wrong: The Pyramid executives' decision to air a Live Episode to celebrate 150 episodes of Beaver Creek when the network rejects their Clip Show inevitably leads to this. The few readthroughs and dress rehearsals are marred by cast infighting and technical problems, and the actual airing is plagued with visible crew members, malfunctioning sets, actors freezing or otherwise forgetting their lines (or resorting to spite-fuelled ad libs), and finally an invasion by an anti-TV violence campaigner which forces the network to cut the transmission and air a documentary about beaver.
- Show Within a Show:
- As a series about a film and television production company, Made in Canada features numerous fictional programmes made by Pyramid, the most visible of which are The Sword of Damacles and Beaver Creek.
- Alan also frequently mentions Prom Night at Horny High, the hit film that made him a producing success, which is a reference to Screwballs, the 1983 Porky's ripoff that saw the acting debut of Peter Keleghan (who plays Alan).
- Snark Bait: The Beaver Creek cast are unamused to hear that the show is seen as this In-Universe by most of its audience, and that there are whole websites devoted to poking fun at its flaws.
- Special Guest: Several episodes feature notable Canadian media personalities appearing as themselves; for example, Kiefer Sutherland appears as himself giving a videotaped address in "New Office" in Series 2, while media mogul Moses Znaimer appears as himself in the Series 2 finale "NATPE".
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In-universe, in "Damacles... What a Doll" from Series 3, the writers of Sword of Damacles are deliberately shifting the spotlight from Damacles to his recently-introduced sidekick, Boy. Michael Rushton remains blissfully unaware of the shifting dynamic of the series until the actor who plays Boy reveals that he has been offered a lucrative merchandising deal (while Michael has no such deal) and is being considered for a role in a Woody Allen film. Richard even describes several famous examples of the trope in his introduction to the episode:
- Springtime for Hitler: In "Beaver Creek - The Movie", Alan has written a script called Water on the basis that many successful television series revolve around water in some way. Richard, Victor, and Veronica all know the script is terrible and, dreading the prospect of countless production meetings for the series, try to kill it by sticking it in Development Hell. Richard also gives a copy to Adele of Beaver Creek star Mandy Forward, who wants revenge on Alan for making a pornographic parody of Beaver Creek using the same sets and relishes the prospect of telling him to his face that his idea is garbage. However, to everyone's surprise, Mandy loves the script, and offers to make two more Beaver Creek movies if she can play the female lead in Water. Veronica, Victor, and especially Richard are not sure whether to be delighted that the full Beaver Creek trilogy can now be made, or frustrated that their efforts to strangle Water at birth have failed.Richard: [uncertain] I... think that went well?
- Take That!:
- Alan Thicke was a favourite target of the series in its early years.
- In "Dining Out" from Series 1, Richard leaks a story to the Toronto Globe in which it is revealed that Victor suggested Alan Thicke for the lead role on his new film project, Vigilante Vengeance. Alan (Roy, not Thicke) seems more enraged at the mention of Thicke's name than he is that the article credits Victor with most of Pyramid's programming. Thicke tries to call the Pyramid offices later in the episode; Alan tells Wanda to get rid of him.
- In Series 2, the episode "Creative Deadline" has Deadline, the in-universe equivalent of NBC's Dateline, planning a profile episode on Pyramid. Richard, Victor, and Veronica draw up a list on a presentation easel of possible scandals which Deadline might be planning to investigate. After five entries which reference earlier episodes, they include "Alan Thicke sitcom", "Alan Thicke drama", and "Alan Thicke movie".
- In the Series 2 episode "Connect the Dots", Alan declares that the American market is the only important one, and the only network in that market that doesn't matter is PBS, because "nothing good" airs on PBS. Three guesses which American network later aired Made in Canada.
- There are also several in-universe Take Thats in various films, television series, and books:
- In "Wrongly Convicted" from Series 3, wrongly convicted felon Dean Sutherland takes his story to another production company after Alan confronts him over supposedly stealing his new phone. He re-writes the script to include Alan as a character, but portraying him as a vain, self-absorbed pornographer with a bad case of dandruff in what little hair he has left.
- The Series 4 episode "Book of Damacles" involves Richard and Veronica downing a bottle of tequila and, in their drunken haze, ghostwriting a book for Michael Rushton on Damacles' warrior philosophy by spouting a series of trite platitudes. Among these is the carefully-crafted phrase "To be a loser is to be useless; to be a victor is to be a tool." Or, translated, "Victor is a tool."
- In Series 5's "Producer's Cut", when the creator and star of the title series visits the Pyramid offices to shoot scenes for an episode, he is inspired by Alan's ridiculous ideas and general incompetence to re-write the main character of the series as a complete buffoon, even quoting some of Alan's speeches verbatim (such as the idea of firing Pyramid's writing staff en masse and having the actors improvise in the style of Whose Line Is It Anyway?).
- Alan Thicke was a favourite target of the series in its early years.
- Talking to the Dead: Subverted in the Series 3 finale "Goodbye". When Alan and Richard are discussing family members to whom they haven't spoken in years, Richard mentions he hasn't spoken to his father in two years. Alan tells him he should talk to him, and Richard mutters, "Easier said than done." We cut to a gravestone reading "Our dear father" and Richard standing behind it, confessing to his father that he made an attack ad on the mayor of Toronto's behalf and is wavering over whether or not to air it. However, in a reverse angle shot, we see that his father is a gravedigger and is very much alive; he tells Richard to air the attack ad.
- Tempting Fate: In the Series 3 episode "Alan's Diet", Alan takes a high-protein, low-carb diet a step too far and ends up with such low blood sugar that he gives a rambling, incoherent interview for Marketwatch in which he rails against the evils of fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Richard and Victor watch the interview in their office, horrified, then Richard switches off the television and chooses the worst possible words for his reaction:Richard: Well, let's just hope nobody saw it. [his and Victor's phones immediately begin ringing; Richard answers his] Pyramid, Richard Stro- n- no, no, no, no.
Victor: [answering his phone; the sound of ringing phones continues throughout] Pyramid, Victor Sela, hello.
Richard: I understand that you're a shareholder but I do have another call... [presses button to switch lines]
Victor: The Canadian Farmers' Association?
Richard: We had no intention of insulting anyone at the Dairy Board.
Victor: No, we all love vegetables!
Richard: Pyramid is milk friendly!
Victor: It's a medical condition, his blood sugar was low.
Richard: Have you ever heard of a low protein diet?
Veronica: Well, I can assure you that Pyramid is entirely sound... but I'm not lying to you!... [rolls eyes] Oh, Mom, please! [sighs, looks through fourth wall] This is not good. [to phone] I wasn't talking to you!...
- Theme Tune Cameo: "Blow at High Dough" by The Tragically Hip plays on Richard's CD player in the Series 2 episode "Buy the Book", while Alan gives a karaoke performance of the song in the Series 4 finale "Wrap Party".
- Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: Alan mentions this trope when trying to sell Pyramid programming to a German TV executive in Series 2's "For the Children".Alan: If we capture Germany, we capture all of Europe. After Europe, ze vorld!
- Trust-Building Blunder: In "Corporate Retreat" from Series 4, Alan takes Richard, Veronica, Victor, and Wanda to spend the day at Y.E.S., the world's most irritating and least effective corporate training programme. Veronica gets covered in insect bites, Victor gets severe burns on his forearms after nodding off and falling into a campfire, and Alan gets so fed up he punches the programme director to the ground - only to watch him jump back to his feet, none the worse for wear. As for the exercises, most are simply dressed up versions of such school athletic mainstays as egg-and-spoon races, but the "fall/catch" trust exercise does put in an appearance; Victor is understandably reluctant to fall backwards to be caught by Richard, but to his surprise, Richard does catch him... and, after chiding Victor for not trusting him, immediately drops him.
- Typecasting: Many of the actors in-universe are wary of being pigeonholed because of their association with the roles that made them famous, including Sword of Damacles star Michael Rushton and most of the cast of Beaver Creek.
- Under New Management: When Kingswell takes over, everyone except Alan expects that they'll be fired by the end of the week; except for Victor and Wanda, they're right about being fired, while Alan is wrong about not being fired.Alan: So! Great news, huh?
Victor: [sighs] We'll be fired by the end of the week.
Richard: End of the week? I give it the end of the day. I'm surprised my passkey worked this morning.
Veronica: I'll screw them on severance. I know where the bodies are buried, I've got the map.
- Viewers Are Morons: In-universe, this is apparently one of Pyramid's mission statements, as they knowingly produce programming that is some combination of crass, obvious, or stupid but which still draws big audiences. For example, after Alan changes the title series in the Series 5 episode "Dock Cops" from a gritty detective series with a middle-aged male lead to a campy action series with two young female leads, audience figures skyrocket.
- Walking Techbane: Alleged IT specialist Greg "The Computer Guy" Finster from the Series 5 episode "Office Flu" manages to render every piece of technology he touches completely non-functional, ruining first Richard's computer, then Wanda's computer, then the Pyramid LAN, and even the photocopier, forcing Richard to fill out a huge stack of forms for Pyramid's entries for the Rose d'Or using a typewriter and liquid paper.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The series finale ends with Richard reciting the medium-term futures of all of the main characters: Victor leads Pyramid for five years before marrying and taking early retirement, Wanda succeeds Victor as Pyramid CEO, Alan returns to filmmaking (after a lengthy tax fight) and wins a Gemini for the Prom Night at Horny High sequel, and Richard and Veronica get married, have a son, and make millions from a terrible but popular Robot Wars-alike.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: In-universe, Beaver Creek seems to be a magnet for guest appearances by faded film stars trying to remain in the spotlight.
- The Series 2 episode "Diva" features Margot Kidder as volatile fallen movie star Dian Del Largo, who begins demanding inappropriate script and personnel changes before the cameras begin rolling.
- Series 4's "Beaver Creek Commercials" features Shirley Douglas as ultra-conservative aging film star Cybill Thornbush, who has rather prickly debates with the other cast and crew members about the virtues of trickle-down economics and the pointlessness of gun locks.
- Woman Scorned:
- Alan believes this trope is in play in the Series 2 episode "Diva", thinking Dian Del Largo's unstable behaviour is revenge for his callous treatment of her after a one-night stand in 1979; however, she claims not to remember the night in question, and when Alan tries to jog her memory, she identifies him as "the man with the small penis", causing a mortified Alan to declare that apparently she doesn't remember him.
- In the Series 4 episode "Everyone's a Critic", a female television critic publishes a series of scathing reviews of Pyramid productions as revenge for Alan dumping her after a one-night stand ten years earlier. Unfortunately for all involved, it turns out her one-night stand was with not Alan, but Victor.
- Yes-Man: Victor is always the first person to gush over how brilliant Alan's ideas are during production meetings; he even lampshades this behaviour in the Series 2 episode "Creative Deadline" during rehearsals for a scripted meeting being filmed for a story on Deadline, while Alan even refers to Victor as his "yes man" in several episodes. (But as soon as Alan is out of earshot, Victor is among the first to grumble about how moronic his ideas are, and when Alan is fired in the series finale but Victor is kept on, he finally tells Alan to his face what he really thinks of working for him.)