Women! – plenty slapstick and tickle

Vous les FemmesWomen’s cast includes many women but the two main women are Judith Siboni and Olivia Côte, its lead stars and writers.

Women! currently airing in the Thursday midnight hour on BBC 2 is a French comedy sketch show. It is known in its mother country France as ‘Vous Les Femmes’ which translate as ‘You Women’ though I think ‘Women’ with the exclamation mark is a better title, if not translation.

Along with its night-owl scheduling by the BBC, information available on the show is not exactly forthcoming on their website program page either, merely stating that ‘it is an all female cast written by the stars of the show’. Which itself is not even accurate as there are very definitely males on the show, and some of whom do have speaking parts!

I would have thought that they would want to explain if not promote the show a bit more than that. Still at least they are broadcasting it.

Women! - M6 Web PageMore information though can be found on the French TV channel from whence it came, M6 (Metropole TV) – assuming your French is up to it – or at least that Google Translate is! And I am not quite sure that it is since it is indicating that the show is on its 4 series but 439th episode – surely not – 100 odd episodes per series? Perhaps this is how they do it in France but I am thinking perhaps the site is referring to the number of sketches in total, the sketches lasting as they do anything from mere seconds to several minutes at most.

Women! Vous les femmesThe show was first broadcast on French TV in 2007 and is now in its fourth series. I am presuming the BBC have started us from its beginning but I am not clear.

Being as it is an unusual mix of both slapstick and surreal sketches. Some of the humour is observational, some conceptual. Each of the sketches are segued by striking visual animations themselves humorous. Anyone know who the animators are/is?

The episode reviewed here is the third of the six being shown by the BBC and broadcast Thursday November 3.

One recurrent sketch of this episode and the entire series involve Siboni and Côte doing charades to each other but the items mimed are not the standard TV show, book, movie and song title rather obscure physical or even abstract ones such as ‘A French Teachers Red Pen’, a ‘bulb that’s about to blow’ and a ‘Blow Dry’!

Women! Vous les femmesSome of the sketches are definitely risqué and close to the bone.

One such as a scene on a bus where Côte sits down next to a sleeping male passenger who slumbering slumps on her shoulder, then his hand accidentally rubs against her breast resulting in Côte taking the opportunity to place his hand in her – I will leave you to guess the rest – it’s exactly what your dirty mind is thinking!

Other scenes of a less than maternal nature are mined for comedic effect. Such as Côte seated in a spotless flat revealing her secret to her friend as dipping her heavily swaddled baby in to a warm bowl of soapy water and allowing the baby to then dry off by crawling all over the kitchen and bathroom floors.

Another scene sees an enthusiastic boy with his mother and another admiring mother commenting how magnificent to see such ‘Joie de vivre’ in one so young only for the mum to display not maternal pride but existential ennui commenting that she finds it ‘positively indecent how anyone can display their happiness in a world so shitty’!

Women! Vous les femmesOther sketches of a different potty variety are not easily described with a straight face save to say that one involved a care-home for the elderly and one of its elderly woman residents missing her dentures, and another sketch involving Siboni with Côte in diplomatic conversation before the former farting and reprimanding the same region of the body that the missing dentures were found in another elderly man!…

Surreal turns are taken too such as a wedding reception scene with the bridegroom burrowing into his bride’s wedding dress to retrieve her garter only instead to bring back items like a steam-cooker, a goldfish bowl, a man in a motorcycle helmet, a basket ball hoop before finally revealing the garter, itself discovered beneath the gas cooker!

Other sketches are more conventional such as a club scene where Côte is asked by a man if she wants to dance with the expectation she will say no so that he can get her to hold his coat to avoid paying the cloakroom charge – just the sort of proposition we all love!

Other sketches spoof cinema moments such as From Here To Eternity and the Ursula Andress Dr No ocean scene both reprised with an expected irreverent twist.

Yet other sketches are physical slapstick and really have to be seen to be enjoyed – or not depending on your particular penchant for this brand of humour. I myself enjoyed the ‘Too Much Love’ scene. Let us just say that these are women who like to gurn. Try and imagine a more sexy Les Dawson – if that is not too disturbing for you!

Sketch shows such as this are hit and miss by their nature but this show definitely sees the misses hitting more than they miss.

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5 thoughts on “Women! – plenty slapstick and tickle

  1. The number of episodes is high because the French tend to run series like this in programmes lasting five or six minutes. The BBC have just cut them together into their preferred half hour format.

    In a similar format is “Un Gars, Un Fille” starring Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin and his wife Alexandra Lamy, which originally came from a Canadian show made in half hour episodes. It’s probaly funnier two, because the two leads play the same characters all the way through, so can fall back on character-based gurning to cover up the weaker sketches.

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    • That’s an interesting way of presenting comedy sketch-shows – I can think of some UK sketch shows that could benefit from that level of brevity and format – instead of padding half hour with filler. Thanks for that heads up Jim.

      You’ve also got me curious about Un Gars, Une Fille too.

      Like

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