With “Tous Inconnus”, TF1 brings out its recipe for copied-pasted sketches

This is the story of the Unknowns who arrive at TF1, where no one recognizes them. The three comedians are treated as anonymous. When they recount their sketches to refresh the memory of their interlocutors, they realize that their parodies have passed on to posterity… but with other performers! What to them looks like a bad joke sums up the concept of All Unknown broadcast this Monday at 9:10 p.m. on TF1.

Nineteen cult sketches (Rotate households, The sect, Isabelle with blue eyes…) are replayed there by some sixty personalities, from Adil Rami to Pierre Palmade, from Bérangère Krief to Chantal Ladesou and from M. Pokora to Soprano. “It’s a lot of pressure for these artists,” says producer Anne Marcassus, who cast the majority in the Enfoirés troupe, of which she is the artistic director.

A project “too daunting” for some

“Some, whom I spoke to on the phone, told me that they were very afraid, that they were sponsored by Pampers”, laughs Pascal Légitimus. Others, like Michèle Laroque or Thierry Lhermitte, had said yes but could not free themselves for agenda issues. “There are also some who refused, saying to themselves that they could not tackle that, that it was too much of a headache”, concedes the producer.

The televisual Everest in question? Play in a copy-paste sketches that millions of people still remember, taking the place of Didier Bourdon, Bernard Campan and Pascal Légitimus. “In terms of sets, costumes, the pace of production, everything is identical,” insists Anne Marcassus. Surely it will be said that it was better with the original performers, but there is flavor nonetheless. When you see François Berléand as a drunk guy in “The Hunters”, it’s funny. »

“No one wanted to disguise, reclaim or betray the sketches,” insists the producer. This is the limit of All Unknown, announced by the channel as “a unitary film” while “sketch fiction” would be more accurate. Seeing most of the personalities in cons has comedic potential. We will have fun, for example, to see Christophe Willem stir a very sixteenth arrondissement wick in Auteuil, Neuilly, Passy. But, still, the clip version 2022 has a taste of reheated in the microwave.

“In all modesty, it’s like resuming Molière”

It was never planned to update these sketches, written to parody the small screen of thirty years ago in Strangers TV, a program of which seven issues were broadcast on the second channel between 1990 and 1993. Only those that have aged the best remain. Without surprise, The invaders Where Bioman, built around xenophobic clichés – and which refer to series that do not speak to the youngest generations – have been left in the closet. No question, either, of sneaking here and there a nod to the news of 2022 – and yet, just about the private lives of athletes, there would be enough to chain the “But that doesn’t Do not look “.

For Pascal Légitimus, this scrupulous fidelity to the original material, “it is, in all modesty, like actors who repeat Molière. It’s played, replayed in the manner of…” So, replies from Tartuffe and text of Rap-all, same fight, same aura, “in all modesty”, of classic repertoire? Admittedly, the pastiches of the Unknowns are part of the French comic heritage: they have known for years a new life in video, and especially on YouTube, where their channel has half a million subscribers. The most popular video, Télémagouilles, exceeds 14 million views. “There are many children who take our sketches identically, in their own way”, assures Pascal Légitimus sensitive to all these “tributes”.

“We saw extracts, it’s scary”

Didier Bourdon recognizes however that the experience is destabilizing. “We saw excerpts from All Unknown, it is disturbing for us. The sketch of the hunters, when it starts, it’s the same images. It’s scary! It’s quite pleasant and at the same time we are dispossessed ”, confides the one who keeps joking about the fact that he bought a concession in the cemetery of Montmartre (Paris 18th). A way of implying that All Unknown Looks like a final tribute to him before the next eulogies are posthumous.

Rest assured, this is just one of the new fads of TF1 which, explains Rémi Faure, director of flow programs, has “the wish to put more humor” in its grid. All Unknown is in line with the successful programmed adaptations of the cult repertoire of French laughter, where a plethora of personalities are invited to play comedy.

A good vein

In December 2020, 6.4 million people (27% audience share) were there for I Love You Hairstyle around the sketches of Muriel Robin. In April, They love each other… well almostdrawn from theatrical performances They love each other, was followed by 4.2 million curious people for an audience share of 22%. In a few months, a special fiction in honor ofA boy a girl will use this recipe again. Chouchou and Loulou will, again, be embodied by actors other than Alexandra Lamy and Jean Dujardin.

The first chain seems to have found a good vein to exploit. The rehash of jokes and retorts that the public loved so much titillates its nostalgic rope and comforts it like a security blanket. It has so far allowed TF1 to rank at the top of the hearings. Creativity, on the other hand, must content itself with yellow laughter.

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