CBC Announces ‘Back In Time For Dinner’ Social Experiment Series

When it comes to the broader genre of reality programs, I’ve always loved those that you might call social experiments. From the various “decade house” series, or Frontier House, to those that have similarly put people into situations out of time, or at least out of their comfort zone.

The CBC has announced a new series, Back in Time for Dinner, which will serve to take a Canadian family through six decades.

The show will hit June 14th at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Based on the Warner Bros. format that took a British family through similar paces, the series combines food, fashion and culture to turn the Campus family home into a virtual time machine.

Each week the family will dive into a different decade, and much like those shows from the decade series, the shock of trying to cope with how things were in earlier times can make for quite the challenge. This one should not only be a fasinating look at the customs and problems of daily life in earlier times, but it’s sure to be one that people are going to be talking about.

Starting in the 1940s and landing in the 1990s, their home will become a virtual time machine as it is transformed into a new decade each week. With a weekly guide presented to the family by host Carlo Rota, the Campuses will cook and eat their way through the experiment, experiencing first-hand changing family dynamics, gender roles and diets, as influenced by the social, technological and economic realities of each decade.

In some episodes, the Campus family will be joined by a special celebrity guest who can shed light on some of the trends from the decades they’re reliving and reflect on iconic moments of that time. Guests include Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison of Canadian music trio Sharon, Lois and Bram; renowned Hockey Night In Canada host Ron MacLean, fitness duo Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod of Body Break and television personality, fashion editor and author Jeanne Beker.

Chowing down solely on the food of the era, the family will cook and eat their way through Canada’s past. What the family eats — who prepares it, where it comes from, where it’s stored, what foodstuffs are available — will act as a prism, bringing into focus how world events translated onto the dinner plates of everyday Canadians. From frozen dinners to elaborate desserts, every meal will tell a story.

Over the course of the series, the Campus family – five food-loving, busy middle-class suburbanites – will surrender their modern diets and lifestyle to go back in time. Starting in the 1940s and landing in the 1990s, their home will become a virtual time machine as it is transformed into a new decade each week. With a weekly guide presented to the family by host Carlo Rota, the Campuses will cook and eat their way through the experiment, experiencing first-hand changing family dynamics, gender roles and diets, as influenced by the social, technological and economic realities of each decade.

Active and outgoing, the Mississauga, Ontario-based Campus family is used to non-stop action. Busy, multitasking mom Tristan leads the pack, working as a nurse and using her organizational skills and wit to keep everyone in line. Dad Aaron is the family’s calming influence, with an affable, laid back attitude.All three of the Campus kids have busy schedules of their own: Eldest daughter, 18-year-old Valerie, loves music and has a talent for sports, particularly softball and field hockey; 17-year-old Jessica shares her sister’s passion for music, but is also a voracious reader and loves the arts: and 15-year-old son Robert is a hockey nut with a heart of gold, finding time to help everyone in the neighbourhood with anything they need.

Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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