A few weeks ago, I started blogging about the penultimate season for Canada's Worst Driver, called Canada's Worst Driver, Ever. I did a few blogs but then I stopped. The last show of the season, and hopefully of the series, aired on December 16th. And I'll write about two things.
First off, why did I stop blogging? Well, when it became clear that some of the egregious drivers had other issues, the show lost me. It pretty much happened in one episode. We found out that Sly, the dude from Red Deer who seemed to have cognitive issues, had a major accident as a kid. He was riding his bike, was struck by (or struck) a car and hit a window with his head. No helmet. No doubt that was a serious head injury that he probably didn't get treatment or counselling for.
Then we slowly started to realize that Dale, the 65-year-old woman who seemed to lose focus when she was driving, would lose bits of time in her memory. And she would forget instructions right after she heard them. I'm no expert but this looked like a sign of something worse, like Alzheimer's or early dementia (I sincerely hope not). She later left the show in the second to last episode without telling the producers. They found her coming out of a hospital after she sliced a tendon in a finger after trying to smash a window in her home. Her house keys were attached to her car keys which she had given to Andrew at the start of the season.
But the worst bit was Angelina. At first, she has the look of an indifferent and uncaring person who's mostly interested in herself and getting drunk than being a good driver. But during that one episode, we were told that she has a lot of anxiety and depression. And she is usually on meds to control those difficulties but she's unable to get any due to long waiting lists to see a professional. So she self-medicates with booze. And the pressure of the driving tasks were making things more difficult. In the end, the producers convinced her to go to a 30-60 program to help her and get the meds she needs, pretty much getting her to voluntary commit herself. They even had a bit of a plug for the Canadian Mental Health Society.
But that was already too late for my taste. Many reality shows, like Amazing Race Canada and TAR, have their contestants undergo psychological evaluations before they get on the show. That's to prevent someone with serious mental health issues, like Angelina (or cognitive issues like Sly and Dale), getting on and having those issues aggravated by the challenges of the show. But it seems the Canada's Worst Driver, Ever didn't do those tests. Or if they did, they missed something. Or didn't care. And they allowed three contestants with serious mental and/or brain issues to become entertainment. Not just in this season but in the past ones. If I had known that going in, I would not have blogged about the show.
If you want to know who's Canada's Worst Driver, Ever is, it's Kevin, the one-eyed guy from BC. They got him to burn his license on TV and to promise never to drive again, but it's easy to replace a license. So season is over and I hope it's the end of that show. If it comes back, I won't watch it. And I'm sorry if any comments about the drivers who I discovered had other underlying issues, offended anyone.
Wayne Arthurson is a huge Amazing Race fan, having watched all the US, Asian, Australian and Canadian versions of the show. He's also a dad, the author of the bestselling Leo Desroches crime series and other books available here, as well as a freelance and ghost writer. Plus, he's played drums in various bands.