Before he ever starred in TV's Mr. D and Trailer Park Boys (and after he hosted the best — and possibly only — teen consumer affairs show ever), Jonathan Torrens hosted a teen talk show calledJonovision. I first met Jono when I appeared as a guest on the show, doing a cringe-worthy performance of my very bad teenage poetry. I was still in high school, but somehow I talked myself into an internship at the show for the next season. Every day, after school and before shifts at my local Bulk Barn, I'd take a bus and two subways to downtown Toronto to work at the iconic CBC headquarters.
As a Jonovision intern, I came up with story ideas (I was part of the demographic, after all), wrangled the show's guests and I brought the staff candy from my after-school job. The CBC was a magical land of television production. I even met my idols, Bill Welychka, Ron MacLean and Avi Lewis. I also came across Russell Peters, Treble Charger and Tom Green.
It was definitely the job of my teenage dreams. I got to hang out with a bunch of cool people working in TV and see live bands play. Unfortunately, I have no dirt to dish because, as TV hosts go, Jono remains one of the nicest I've ever worked with. A standup guy. My favourite anecdote: we did a sex education show with Sue Johanson, which prompted a handwritten letter from a viewer proclaiming that we were all "going to hell."
Jonovision was a quality Canadian TV show that was outward about its Canadianness (unlike some TV shows that tried to seem American). It still has a 7.3 rating on IMDB and was nominated for four Gemini Awards. The team that produced the show went on to be successful in Canadian media and beyond. And it was very '90s.
Scroll through the gallery below for some fun facts about the talk show.
Jonovision, which ran from 1996 to 2001, not only featured important teen issues of the day (e.g. how often should you hang out with someone you're dating; marijuana legalization), it also served as a sketch comedy show.
In this 1998 episode, called "Jonopalooza," Sum 41 played an early song in one of their first TV appearances:
This Jonopalooza headliner opened for bands like Collective Soul and the Rolling Stones. It's — Wide Mouth Mason!
Other artists that performed on Jonovision:
– Michie Mee
– Treble Charger
– Emm Gryner
– Ghetto Free Concept
– Tegan and Sara
– J. Englishman
And the Killjoys:
Other very '90s Jonovision episodes:
– "Stop living through TV: The X-Files' obsession; The Young and the Restless andMy So-Called Life."
– CyberRelations: Internet relationships.
– Doomsday: Guests believe the world will end in the year 2000.
– Coolness: Being Cool.
– Girl Power.
– Teen TV on Trial: Reviews of Dawson's Creek, Breaker High and Jonovision.
– '90s Culture.
This Degrassi reunion was one of the most popular episodes of Jonovision.
Currently, Jonathan Torrens plays vice principal Robert Cheeley in Mr. D.