Saturday, 19 June 2010
La Job et Le Bureau: Feature
Firstly, I should explain that both La Job and Le Bureau are French language versions of popular BBC comedy show The Office (the BBC's most successful export ever), from Canada (Montreal) and France respectively.
This feature has one objective: to recommend them.
As far as I know, this is the funniest thing to have ever come out of Canada,it's the third foreign language adaptation of The Office, and quite probably the greatest.
Filmed as a documentary like The Office, La Job incorporates twelve episodes (although for some reason that I can't figure out, only two are widely available). Like Le Bureau, its French counterpart, the scripts have been adapted from the British scripts, with names and cultural references changed appropriately, rather than creating news ones à la the American Office.
Wernham & Hogg becomes Les Papier Jennings, and regional manager David Brent becomes David Gervais (the surname being a little homage to Ricky Gervais and his French-Canadian roots).
David Gervais is truly cringe-worthy, in a similar vein to the English version he fails to grasp the notion of political correctness, and often makes a fool out of himself in front of his employees and succeds in making viewing the programme an uncomfortable experience. I don't know if it's due to his constant and often incorrect anglicisms, or his look, or general aura (in comparison to David Brent he seems to have a far needier personality) but Antoine Vézina (a performer of the reputed Ligue nationale d'improvisation (LNI), a Quebec-born concept of improvisational theatre and international improv team competitions) nails his role and provides laughs galore, the two episodes are worth watching just to see him. And you can see him in action here, and judge for yourselves.
This French remake of The Office was commissioned after a dubbed version of the English series didn't do as well as expected in France.
While remaingin pretty true to the majority of scenes in the original, Le Bureau has some noticeable French quirks. Smelly cheese replaces jelly, the cleaning lady comes from West Africa, and a Parisian banlieue replaces Slough, but like La Job the series' main comic delight is the David Brent character, Gilles Triquet. Who is played by the ever-watchable François Berléand (hailed by Le Figaro as a tour de force), and similarly to David Gervais conveys his awkward humour by inapposite anglicisms "zat's life" and casual political in-correctness. This "boss trop cool" is an older mutation of David Brent complete with novelty purple facial hair (a minute vertical strip from this mouth to his chin). Desperate to appear younger than his years, Gilles speaks in verlan, goes out to hip Parisian bars and attempts English slang e.g. "okey-dokey". The French press embraced Gilles Triquet as the embodiment of a stereotypical 'beauf', and decided that Le Bureau's portrayal of a man going through a midlife crisis, the depiction of the monotony of life in the Parisian suburbs and the preoccupation of workplace rights (a subject dear to most French hearts) was the perfect combination for laughs.
"Without doubt the funniest series of the year,"
Le Journal du Dimanche
"dark and hilarious"