Sunday, July 16, 2006

Blockbuster Canada: Part III

After a month, the customer service representative from Blockbuster Canada who had replied to my initial inquiry did not respond to my follow-up e-mail, so I sent it to the main customer service address again and received a response 2 days later. It reads:

Greetings Ms. Buchanan,

Thank you for taking the time to contact our customer service department and express your concerns over some of the Canadian films we carry. Your letter specifically mentions “The Red Violin" and "The Barbarian Invasions" as movies that appeared in our Foreign Film category. I have personally spoken directly with the store managers at the stores you referenced in Ottawa and Halifax to ensure that those movies are immediately removed from the Foreign film category. I can assure you that our direction from Home Office is to never merchandise Canadian movies in our Foreign section, so we appreciate this feedback.

Movies from all over the world, works of both fiction and documentaries are becoming increasing popular in our stores. Now, as then, we are try to offer our clients a wide variety of movies to chose from. It is our goal to be a responsible retailer while not making entertainment choices for our customers. At the present time, we are very proud of the resoundingly positive feedback we are receiving from customers across the country with our new Canadian Festival Collection. This section can be found in our stores across Canada and features some of the best new homegrown films - exclusive to Blockbuster. For more information on these wonderful Canadian titles, please visit us on the web at

Once again, we appreciate your thoughts and we thank you for communicating them.

Customer Service
Blockbuster Canada

I'm glad someone finally said that store managers are directed to never stock Canadian films in the Foreign section. I'll be curious to see the next time I'm at the Quinpool branch if they've actually moved The Barbarian Invasions. Mostly, I'm impressed that I got a response since I've never actually made an inquiry like this to a company before.

In Defence of Dawn

Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn SummersInventory: 13 Memorably Unpopular Characters From Popular TV (Tasha Robinson, AV Club)

Though I'm not familiar with every character on this list, Robinson is quite justified in her selections. For example, I love just about everything there is to love about Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I (and, I think, the majority of fans) will never be able to warm up to Wesley Crusher. However, I feel strangely obligated to defend the honour of Dawn Summers.

Robinson writes:

When Buffy Summers' "little sister" suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the show's fifth season, furious fans screamed their heads off, assuming Cousin Oliver Syndrome had kicked in. Turned out the writers were pulling something clever and self-aware, and there was a plot reason that no one had ever seen or mentioned Buffy's sister before. But that didn't stop her from being an intolerably shrill, whiny, manipulative, troublemaking little McGuffin for most of the rest of the series.

Yes, Dawn seemed to appear "out of nowhere", but only to viewers, not to the characters.

Yes, some of us screamed our heads off, but only because Buffy fans are extremely protective of the show and were concerned for the well-being of the Season 5 storyline, and when Dawn's existence was explained it took a while to come to terms with the fact that although everything that we had viewed in previous episodes was historically accurate and had really happened, the characters remembered everything differently due to their memories having been altered. In the end, I think the Dawn="The Key" storyline was generally deemed to be pretty neat.

Yes, at times Dawn was "intolerably shrill, whiny, manipulative, [and] troublemaking", but she's a little sister. I have a little sister, and from talking to other people in the same boat, this behaviour is common among younger sisters. I say, good on the writers for realistically portraying a teenage girl who doesn't have any superpowers. And I wouldn't go so far as to say she behaved in this way for "most of the rest of the series". By the end, Dawn was a great asset to the Scoobies who had occasional outbursts.

Dawn's eventual likeability is due in large part to the work of actress Michelle Trachtenberg. She managed to hold her own among everyone's favorite characters. She played the annoying little sister with great accuracy and was later given the opportunity to show of her funny side, for which she got little credit.

If asked to defend Dawn's presence around the fourth or fifth episode of Season 5, I probably would have found it difficult. Now, after three full seasons of progression, I can say that Dawn did not remain unpopular for long and does not deserve to be lumped in with characters like Wesley Crusher.