Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ah, mince!

Last weekend, Jube and I visited his family in Gallargues. We had a relaxing time, visiting Montpellier and celebrating my birthday with a low-key family dinner. Le Pacha played me his new copy of Le Roi Soleil. He went to see the musical about Louis XIV about a month ago and fell in love with all of the actors. Beau-papa was really impressed too, although he downplayed his enthusiasm a bit when he described it to me and Jube. We talked about how I like to watch detective series on television, like "Law and Order" (Police Judiciaire) and CSI (Les Experts). Jube told the family that my cousin is studying to be one of les experts, which is true. I'm not sure of the exact name of the degree, or when she'll be finished, but it has something to do with forensics.

Le Pacha looked at us incredulously. "But your cousin can't be un expert! She's too fat!" he said.

At the time, it was really hilarious, but I really got to thinking about it when one of my students told me she prefers American series to French ones because "French TV series have lots of old actors, and in American ones everyone is always good-looking."

That's basically true, except for the fat men who manage to be wonderful (and hilarious) fathers alongside their beautiful, skinny wives. And when I REALLY thought about it, I realized that the only program that shows the whole gamme of human bodies, from skinny to morbidly obese, is also the most vulgar show in the world: "Jerry Springer." That's not to say that women in French shows aren't gorgeous and sexy (and sometimes show off their bare breasts, too!), but there are almost no middle-aged or old people in American shows who look their age--unless they are annoying people out for laughs. There are often older characters in French series who don't have flat stomachs or no wrinkles (although they are nearly always elegant).

And that's why I entitled my post "Ah mince!" It's a way of swearing without saying "merde," but it literally means "oh, thin!"

(I'm reading The Beauty Myth right now, can you tell? Thanks, Mom, for bringing it all the way to Norway for me!)


helene said...

And even when you do get the occasional "normal" actor (Cagney and Lacy, Columbo, for example)American actors ALWAYS have perfect teeth.

Anonymous said...

and....the "normal" actor is more likely to be male than female...