Fringe Review: Sex, But I’m Canadian

Growing up, on Sunday car trips from Ottawa to Montreal to visit family, we would put on CBC and listen an iconic voice narrate the lives of a family and their every-day adventures together. This family was a part of my childhood, and it wasn’t until I was embarrassingly old that I learned that they were fictional and that the stories were all written by the creative genius with the distinguished voice.

In February of 2017, this beloved radio host lost his battle with cancer and I, along with countless other Canadians, was heartbroken. It wasn’t just the comfortingly familiar voice that we lost, but also the family that he brought to life. 

Sex? But I’m Canadian! is a beautifully done tribute to this beloved story-teller, whom I shall not to mention by name for fear of legal repercussions to the production company. Although they also refrained from any direct reference to the original show and it’s creator, there was no mistaking who “Dale,” “Marnie” and the “EP Bistro” were supposed to be.

Nico Dicecco was absolutely brilliant. The soft lilt of his voice, the perfectly matched cadences and the warmly familiar inflections made me tear up the moment he started speaking. It was like meeting a long-lost relative in a dream and getting to spend a few precious moments with them again before waking up. The tales he told breathed life into characters whose stories I’d thought had ended.

Only these stories told a different side of “Dale” and “Marnie’s” life, a side that would never have been aired on the polite, family-oriented CBC. These stories opened doors that so often remain closed, and did so while staying perfectly within the style and format laid out by the original author. Even though the stories were about sex, kink and BDSM, “Dale” and “Marnie’s” characters were in no way compromised or changed (except by name). Nico and Jeff didn’t force unorthodox sex onto these characters in ridiculous ways that would never happen, like so much fanfic on the internet. These narratives felt as genuine and real as every other story ever aired on the well-known CBC show. On top of ingenious delivery, they were charming, heartwarming and sweet.

As much as I love the original stories, the one thing that has always bothered me was the relationship that the husband and wife shared. Twenty years is a long time to be with someone who constantly disappoints you: I always wondered how much love remained between them. After the passing of the original creator, I tried to accept that I would never know for sure if they were together because they still loved one another or just out of habit. The tales told in Sex? But I’m Canadian! gave me a lot of closure. They were so real and genuine that they ushered in a discovery of what their intimate life was like, and how, rather than “Dale’s” repeated failure driving a wedge between them, it was actually what kept them together all those years. 

This show is a walk down memory lane that quickly becomes a prance out of prude park and a full on gallop into sexual liberation – riding crop included. It gave me closure that I didn’t realize I needed and certainly never expected to get, not to mention a lot of laughs along the way. Sex? But I’m Canadian! was brilliantly put together and perfectly executed, and it comes with my highest recommendations to everyone who is 18 or older. Even if you don’t know and love the original series, the stories are fun, silly, open minded and heartwarming.