The Quebec TV industry is small but mighty. Here are a few of our favourite shows where French Canada gets to play itself.
Two writers on a mediocre Montréal crime show want to make their writing truer to life, so they decide to get some first-hand research . . . which leads them to be wrapped up in their own crime spree. How much do two dopey middle-aged guys know about the underbelly of Montréal? They very quickly learn more than they cared to—and things get worse from there.
Lots of sketch shows have tried to skewer the foibles of the social media generation, but few do it with such consistent laughs as Like-Moi! Of course, if you spot your favourite Montréal coffee shop in a sketch, you just might be a hipster. But trust us—watch a sketch and get hooked.
La Petite Vie
Quick, name the most popular Quebec TV show of all time? That’s right, La Petite Vie. A weirdly surreal but also surprisingly gentle look at working-class Quebecois life, the show follows Pôpa and Môman, the patriarch and matriarch of the Paré family. Môman spends her time babying elaborate turkey dinners while Pôpa fusses with his never-really-used workshop. Meanwhile, their grownup children require an absurd amount of attention. Their daughter Caroline seeks out new institutions to rebel against every week, Thérèse is a nervous wreck, Rénald is a penny-pinching banker, and Rodrigue is mentally a teenager. If you’re of a certain age in Quebec, you no doubt remember the Paré bed laid vertically on the wall.
Demain des hommes
This one-season wonder follows the trials and tribulations of a fictional QMJHL team, the Draveurs de Montferrand. It’s too bad it didn’t get another season, because the writing is surprisingly nuanced for a hockey show and its portrayal of small-town sports mania rings true.
Police procedurals are a dime a dozen, but we guarantee you haven’t seen anything like Mensonges. It takes place largely in interrogation rooms and doesn’t give you any extra information. Who is lying and who is telling the truth? You’ll have to parse that out for yourself, because you don’t get much more information than the detectives.
Whether or not you like Ces gars-là is going to depend heavily on whether or not you like Sugar Sammy. The show is basically two friends trying to figure out romantic relationships, but with Sugar Sammy playing a crass, obnoxious version of himself.
Un gars, une fille
One of the most specific shows of all time, Un gars, une fille features just two actors. It focuses on the everyday life of a couple. They go to dinner, run errands, low-key bicker, and do other couple stuff—but no one else is ever really seen on camera. At best, other characters are cropped. The show was so influential that 30 different spinoffs in different markets were created.