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Channel 514: Tout le monde's talking about Tout le monde en parle

Posted by MP / April 30, 2007

Sunday was the wrap-up retrospective of the preposterously popular Radio-Canada gabfest Tout le monde en parle. Now, this is another example of an anglo almost never watching a French TV show (except for Les Bougon, which is, sans doute, the best show ever produced in this or any other province--and which, by the way, goes into reruns tonight), but discovering that there is something that is, perhaps, worth checking. And I was right, sorta, if you're into witty francophones cracking jokes between pontifications on ideas of life, love, belonging and reasonable frickin' accommodation.

Now, there's a few things you should know before you watch TLMEP. First off, don't be put off by host Guy A. Lepage's goatee-beard thing, or his nasally voice. His "Fou du roi," a polite term for sidekick, is erstwhile comedian and Gai Écoute spokesman Dany Turcotte (Turcotte famously flirted with André Boisclair in late October 2005 and came out, on the show, a week later. I didn't know he's gay, and was confused when Lepage started cracking non-threatening gay jokes). But Lepage is quite a clever host, and asks pointed questions that are not, refreshingly, always directly related to the guest's area of expertise. With, of course, exceptions.

When I turned the show on at 8 p.m. Sunday night (and, full disclosure, I only watched the first hour because The Sopranos was starting) the first subject of discussion was reasonable accommodation, which I could happily go the rest of my life without hearing about again. Up at the bat were the Hérouxville councillors who passed the dopey "Don't stone or splash acid on our women" laws, Mario Dumont, who never met a redneck he didn't court, Journal columnist Richard Martineau, who's doing his best to become Quebec's Christopher Hitchens, Quebec Solidaire founder/candidate Amir Khadir, who never needs an excuse to be outraged... you get the idea. And everyone was drinking a glass of wine.

Everyone, that is, except Jacques Demers, ex-Hab coach, sports commentator and, until recently, illiterate. Discussing his book--yeah, an illiterate wrote a book, proof that with courage, tenacity, hard work and some money, you can buy a ghost writer too--Demers was ploughing into a bowl of popcorn and a mug of beer. Insights gained included the following: Xavier Cafeïne, turns out, would choose TV over sex, if he had to. Famed septuagenarian author Claude Jasmin hates, really, really hates, Pierre Trudeau, and Raoul Duguay once tried to get a herd of cows to sing while stoned on LSD (he was stoned, not the cows). But perhaps most irritating was jolly, plus-sized Quebec contralto diva Marie-Nicole Lemieux, who enjoyed telling semi-amusing anecdotes about her very, very, VERY prestigious singing career at full volume.

And what I learned most: I know disturbingly little about Quebec TV and film, at least the names of actresses. And there were tons on the show (all cuter and younger than the men, I noticed). Quick, who's heard of Isabel Richer, Hélène Florent or Michele Richard? I haven't, and man, that's embarrassing.



Fairfax / May 1, 2007 at 09:47 am
Well, Michèle Richard is pretty frickin' famous, if you pay any attention at all to Québecois popular culture. She's sort of a cross between Zsa Zsa Gabor or Liz Taylor (became famous because once upon a time she was young and hot, and has stayed in the news since because of her plastic surgeries, turbulent love life, and general looniness) and Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole Smith (she had her own "reality show" which hilariously showed how bitchy and out of touch with reality she is).

I'm not at all embarrased to say I've never heard of Isabel Richer or Hélène Florent. There are plenty of attractive B-list American TV and movie actresses who appear on talk shows that I've never heard of, either.
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