Damn Funny Femmes

Judith Siboni et Olivia Côte par “Vous les Femmes” (aka WOMEN!)For no apparent reason, BBC2 has started showing a French sketch show in the wee small hours of Friday morning… and I probably wouldn’t even have noticed it in the listings, except for the fact it was called WOMEN! in eye-catching capital letters (its original French title was the less aggressive Vous les Femmes, or You Women). I had a hard time finding any actual information about the show in English, besides the fact that it’s written by its two female stars, Olivia Côte and Judith Siboni, and was first broadcast in 2007, running for four series up to the present day (the first three are available on DVD in France, though sadly without subtitles as a far as I can tell). Running a few contemporary interviews through a translation engine revealed that Côte and Siboni met at the age of 13, on a school trip to Greece, where they bonded over the fact they were both the daughters of teachers, and made each other laugh so much they’ve been inseparable ever since (23 years or so, for those keeping score at home).

Judith Siboni et Olivia Côte par “Vous les Femmes” (aka WOMEN!)I get the feeling from Siboni’s fluctuating hair length that this is a “best of” compilation with sketches culled from several series… unless she just has access to really good wigs? Either way, I thought this first instalment was very funny. Their gags are quite visual and physical, so the humour translates pretty easily… and it’s slightly reminiscent of Smack The Pony, in the sense that the skits are quite fast-paced and rely more on random absurdity than on repetitive characters and catchphrases. Which is exactly what I want from a sketch show, personally. Côte and Siboni are very energetic and agile performers, and they aren’t afraid to make themselves look silly… whether they’re gurning their way through a runner about two bored office workers doing abstract impersonations of inanimate objects for their own amusement, or stripping bare-arse naked and pretending to pee standing up for a sketch about a woman who’s caught undressing in the wrong changing room, and then tries to pass herself off as a man. Sometimes the tone is quite cute and silly, sometimes a little dark, sometimes a little sexy… it’s a good mix, really.

I’d say it was probably the funniest thing on TV at the moment, but sadly the lack of advertising, “graveyard” timeslot, and reliance on subtitles makes me wonder how many other viewers will find it and embrace it. Le sigh…

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About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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5 Responses to Damn Funny Femmes

  1. donna anderson says:

    Thanks for a great review of this show, I came across it listed in the Radio Times and only watched it because it was french! Far superior to anything British of its kind in my humble opinion, I am finding it hard to get info about the actresses involved so thanks for the additional info too! I hope it is successful over here – not laughed so hard since Seinfeld went off air!

    • deecrowseer says:

      Bless you!
      Of course, Seinfeld was another show the BBC hid away after everyone’s bedtime, and never bothered to advertise!

  2. mareena says:

    I found it by accident-hilarious, inventive absurdist brilliant- unlike most british humour its suprising.

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