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Posted on 3 January 2021 at 11:38 Modified yesterday at 08:20
>> We loved them, adored them and we waited impatiently for them week after week. But if they aired today, these TV series would have created an outcry of criticism and bad buzz on social media. Nostalgia has this incredible force that it can cloud our perception of reality.
>> Cultists when they are broadcast, some series make us uncomfortable today with homophobic, racist, sexist replicas or simply out of step with our time.
>> Can we continue to watch these series which have become terribly out of date? Of course, but remembering the time and context of their shooting.
>> The culture is changing rapidly and the jokes once loved sometimes turn out to be offensive. "Friends" or "Seinfeld" are thus to be seen as the contents of their time and to be put into perspective. Without feeling guilty for all that.
La sitcom culte de Canal+ des années 1990 est de retour sur Netflix et la chaîne Comédie+, vingt-deux ans après sa première diffusion.
Le 19 juin 2020, il a suffi d’une simple lettre sur le compte Twitter de Netflix pour susciter une vague de commentaires de la part des internautes qui espéraient retrouver les aventures de Sabri, Aymé et Jamel.
La série, créée notamment par Abd-el-Kader Aoun (futur producteur du “Jamel Comedy Club”), raconte le quotidien fait de situations absurdes du personnel soignant d’un hôpital. Elle a été à l’origine diffusée sur la chaîne Canal+ d’octobre 1998 à avril 2002. Elle a notamment permis aux carrières d’Éric Judor, Jamel Debbouze et Ramzy Bedia d’exploser et d’incarner LA nouvelle génération d’humoristes en France.
Avec une réalisation sans prétention artistique aucune, c’est dans la vieille (et souvent cheap) marmite de la sitcom que le trio infernal a fait une bonne soupe, à la française, bien garnie d’humour potache et de répliques mythiques: “Dis-moi pas que c’est pas vrai!”. On n’oublie pas la prestation de notre Jean-Luc Bideau national qui joue un vieux chirurgien totalement perché qui tue ses patients.
>> A voir, une archive avec Jean-Luc Bideau, le docteur Strauss:
Autant les personnages masculins de la série sont assez ciselés, drôles, en donnant une image de la diversité quasi historique pour une série française à l’époque, autant les personnages féminins font office de faire-valoir humoristique. Sexisme assumé et décomplexé, blagues misogynes, les femmes de la série incarnent souvent des cibles sexuelles. “Salope!”, lance Aymé, l’infirmier (Eric Judor) après un quiproquo avec l’infirmière Clara Saulnier (Sophie Mounicot) dès le premier épisode de la série. Le ton est donné.
Mais la série “H” n’est pas que cela. Elle a constitué un vrai tournant pour la culture populaire française et francophone et est vite devenue une référence. Une sitcom qui, par son humour absurde, ses improvisations déjantées et ses répliques cultes, a rapidement fait oublier “Hélène et les garçons” et n’a pas à rougir devant “Seinfeld” ou “Friends”.
A band apart
Replayed on Netflix, the American series, which undoubtedly marked Generation X, is now criticized by Millennials who consider it grossophobic, homophobic and sexist. Just that.
The team of the series "Friends". [Warner Bros TV / Bright / Kauffman / Crane Pro / The Kobal Collection / AFP]
Because in 2020, we no longer laugh about the same things as in 1994, that's obvious. In 2020, we are not laughing at the lack of diversity of the series, all of the main protagonists of which are white, straight and relatively wealthy. "There were only two non-white characters" in the 236 episodes of "Friends": Julie, Ross's girlfriend of Asian origin, and African-American doctor Charlie Wheeler, underlines The Independent quoted by Slate.fr .
Unfortunately, we no longer laugh at homophobic, sexist and grossophobic jokes.
Monica, oops, no … "fat Monica", has all the stereotypes that are attributed to overweight people: she is not very intelligent (what?), She eats non-stop (of course) and panic at the idea of not finding his treats (there you go).
As for Chandler, he's obviously scared of the prospect of people thinking he's gay. And Joey tried to sabotage a college student's career by encouraging him to play a character as gay during an audition, which implied that "playing gay" could penalize him.
This shows exactly what attitudes towards the LGBT community were at the time. Even with this very cool bunch of friends.
And yet, other examples in the series also prove the opposite, and thus reassure his fans. Don't forget that "Friends" was one of the first series to feature a same-sex marriage in Season 2, and that Phoebe gave birth to her brother's children.
Whether deemed conservative or progressive, "Friends" is undeniably a part of popular culture and continues to meet with enormous success. The series broke viewership records on Netflix in 2018.
>> To read also: The band of "Friends" will make its big comeback on the small screen
Such a disappointing ending
With historic audience records, the "Lost" series created by JJ Abrams (also at the helm of the "Alias" series) has been literally praised by critics and the public. An unbeatable recipe: 48 survivors on an island after an air crash, all surrounded by thick mysteries and supernatural events.
Never has a series used and abused the cliffhanger at the end of an episode as much as "Lost". Every revelation about the people of the island concerning their journey, their life, was quickly eclipsed by another and yet another.
A scene from the "Lost" series. [Mario Perez – AFP]
Episode after episode the mystery got thicker and thicker and crazier, so much so that die-hard fans of this series (which had become a kind of matrix in the history of TV series) got even more lost trying to solve even more puzzles. It has evolved into a multidimensional, polymorphic and unresolvable problem.
>> To read also: The "Lost" series ended in the United States
The end of the first season blew the internet for months into what might be behind the hatch or trying to figure out the meaning of a button to push to avoid the apocalypse. In the end, we were all lost.
>> See also, Barack Obama is asked to postpone a speech because of the simultaneous broadcast of the last season of "Lost":
If "Lost" appears in this selection, it is exclusively because of its disappointing ending. Millions of fans waited breathlessly for the last episode without having the answer to all the mysteries.
The series remains a major work in the history of TV series, a masterpiece both by the themes addressed (Good and Evil, reason and faith, etc.) and by the subtle narrative treatment with its famous flashbacks. , flashforwards and flashsideways.
But when you know the end …
"Married, two children"
The sad American family
Launched in 1987, "Married, Two Children" is the first comedy broadcast by the American channel Fox, a sitcom which remains the longest on the chain with its eleven seasons.
Immersed in a working-class America, frustrated and ignorant, misogynistic and resentful, Al and Peggy Bundy (Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal), couple from the suburbs of Chicago, live a cowardly love. Al Bundy is the middle-class, rude and frustrated beau, with his heavy gags full of sexual allusions.
Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal in "Married, Two Children". [PHOTO12.COM – CINEMA / AFP COLLECTION]
His wife doesn't like him, his children Bud (David Faustino) and Kelly (Christina Applegate) don't respect him, the neighbors would celebrate his death if the opportunity presented itself. Atmosphere.
Years later, Katey Sagal, who played Bundy's wife, spoke in an interview about Al Bundy's character's misogynistic attitude towards women: "Women have been completely exploited in this series."
"Do what you want, with whom you want, as long as you don't wear a dress," the father said to his son.
Granted, the series hasn't aged as well as some previous sitcoms, but its influence remains major in popular culture. She changed the way American families were represented, radically moving away from the "everyone gets along" attitudes of the "Cosby Show" or "Seven at Home".
Some however see a certain form of subtlety in it: far from the other sitcoms which spread at the time on the "American way of life" (the American dream), "Married, two children" demonstrates, certainly with excess and a good dose vulgarity, the frustration of a part of Western society, depressed by its totally unsatisfactory family, professional and sexual life. Because not everyone is beautiful, not everyone is nice in 1990s America.
Dated cultural phenomenon
Out of the ordinary for the time, "Xena" with Lucy Lawless was a breath of fresh air in the sci-fi and fantasy television landscape of the 1990s.
Even if this spin-off of "Hercules" did not represent the first female character in an action-adventure series ("Charlie and his funny ladies" or "Wonder Woman" for example had been successful in the 1970s) , it was the first time that we saw on television not one but two autonomous women (with her sidekick, Gabrielle), dominant and totally badass, two true warriors without faith or law. No man to give them orders. A real revolution!
Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor in the "Xena" series. [Photo12.com – Cinema Collection / AFP]
The relationship between the two women literally ignited the LGBTIQ + community, who saw it as a thinly veiled lesbian romance. To a modern viewer, their relationship can come across as frustrating and disappointing, because despite many hints, frequent subtextual references, and great chemistry between the two actresses, their relationship has never been officially declared romantic. They did however kiss in the second season.
Despite the revolutionary aspect of the series, a more contemporary reading cannot elude the hyper sexualized outfits of the two warriors in bras, nor the fact that their status as feminist icon, which they had at the time, may to be reviewed and discussed again: two women who wage war like men is not necessarily a form of equality.
But today's sci-fi television landscape wouldn't be what it is without "Xena" and her signature weapon, the chakram.
"24 Hours chrono"
Torture on TV
Although the "24 Hours Chrono" series is still regarded as an example of a political and action thriller, it too has aged badly. Having become a reference in post-September 11 America, it embodies the George W. Bush years and the fight against terrorism. Aired two months after the attacks, it comes at the right time and with an original narrative structure: each season has twenty-four episodes, one hour each, told in real time. The tension is at its height, the split-screen allows to follow several intrigues in parallel. The series follows breathlessly.
Vingtquatre heures (TV) 24 Year: 2001 – (TV-Series 2001 – ????) usa Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer Season FIVE, season five Created by Joel surnow Robert Cochran Archives du 7eme Art / Photo12 via AFPV [Archives du 7eme Art / Photo12 via AFPV – AFP]
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) works for a special unit that seeks to thwart attacks. He becomes a real war machine, ready to do anything to save his country, the world, the galaxy. All alone and sacrificing family and friends. The conflict between security and freedom, between patriotism and the use of torture is there.
Critics are harsh when violent scenes are broadcast. In the middle of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the means employed by Jack Bauer are reminiscent of dark episodes in American history in the prisons of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, which the Bush administration took a long time to stand out.
In the second season, Muslim terrorists make their appearance in a storyline which Fox capitalized on with billboards that said "they could be right around".
The fourth season no longer passes with associations and groups of Islamic activists. In one of the plots, we see an American Muslim family leading a double life as a radical terrorist. The series goes so far as to create an intrigue with the mother asking her teenage son to kill his American girlfriend. When he can't, she takes matters into her own hands and poisons him.
Well, it should be noted that all the bad guys of "24 Heures chrono" were not Muslims and all the representations of Muslims are not always negative, but they often remain confronted with the question of whether or not they are terrorists. .
>> To read also: Jack Bauer and "24h chrono" try a comeback, but without Kiefer Sutherland
“Sex and the City”
Sexual liberation, really?
Aired from 1998 to 2004, "Sex and the City" marked a whole generation because it allowed female characters to talk about women's sexuality without taboos, in an often raw way. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) are four single women who have taken Manhattan by storm talking about sex, love, threesomes, of dildos and friendship, not necessarily in that order.
They evoke without complex and six seasons during female masturbation, sodomy, fellatio, but also marriage or motherhood, as has never been done on television before. HBO then makes its revolution.
2012. Sex and the city 2 [RTS / WARNER]
But today, how can we fail to notice the fact that the series is #SoWhite? New York City, where it mainly takes place, is nevertheless a wonderful whirlwind of cultural identities.
Sarah Jessica Parker has also declared that "Sex and the City" would have been a completely different series if it had been carried out today: "The adventures of four white and frique women, that would not pass any more!".
She also expressed remorse over the lack of diversity and, mainly, regarding the representation of the LGBTIQ + community.
One thing is certain: it is the series of beautiful people, white, rich, thin, in short bling bling. But we must not completely evacuate the fact that bringing this universe and a totally liberated discourse on American or French television at the end of the 1990s, is an achievement. Without the adventures of Carrie Bradshow we might not have had the right to masterpieces like "Fleabag" or "Girls".
>> To listen, the cinema debate on the series "Fleabag":
Politically incorrect humor
Looks like the internet is finding out that sitcoms from the 1990s and 2000s are aging badly. But hey, we already know, so what? When you're a fan, you're resilient. One of the series that proves how times have truly changed is "Seinfeld".
Sexist, racist or homophobic (yes, but hey, it was like that at the time), some scenes would go very badly today.
The cast from television's popular "Seinfeld" comedy show are pictured in this undated file photo. NBC will broadcast the final episode of "Seinfeld" 14 May after nine seasons. From left are: Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander. AFP PHOTO AFP FILES / HMB FILES / AFP [HMB FILES – AFP]
In an episode of the fourth season titled "The Handicapped Place", Kramer convinces George to park in a handicapped place. When the group returns to the car, they learn that a person in a wheelchair has been in an accident because the seat has been taken.
The fact that a loud laugh comes after a woman describes how the person in the wheelchair falls down a slope and then into a wall is just meanness.
"You could never do that again today," comedian Jerry Seinfeld told the New Yorker Film Festival.
Most people agree that comedy, even with jokes "on the wire", does not need to alienate marginalized groups to make people laugh.
But rest assured, we can still love "Seinfeld", despite a few missteps.