George was in St. John’s, Newfoundland to visit the set of Republic of Doyle and speak with the show’s co-creator and star Allan Hawco. In this clip, George asks Allan about the evolution of the Newfoundland identity and the role played in that by people like former Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams and TV shows like Republic of Doyle.
George: "It’s in one generation that the Newfoundland identity changed. One generation. Do you remember what happened, how did it start?"
Allan:" I sometimes run into Newfoundlanders who are young, in their early 20s. They think we’re all being intense about the whole 'Newfie' thing. They don’t know that 10 years ago, 15 years ago, if you went to the mainland you felt this immense pressure to be stupid. It was a common thing – when I was a little kid I thought the word 'Newfie' meant stupid person.
"To be fair, a lot of people away from Newfoundland in the country of Canada see that as a super term of endearment. They’re like, 'But I love it.' I’m always careful not to offend someone. It’s kind of hard to explain. I always feel super over-sensitive, but that’s where we’ve got to.
"Rick Mercer used to stand up on the national news and say, 'We’re done with it. We don’t want to hear it anymore.' Alan Doyle (from the Newfoundland band Great Big Sea) would say, 'We’ll leave stage if someone introduces us in that way.' Because they just wanted to put a stop to the stigma or whatever that’s attached to it.
Republic of Doyle airs Wednesdays at 9/9:30 p.m. NL on CBC.