Experience #5: Watch a French television show

Watching tv isn’t exactly an assignment for me. In fact, it’s one of my favorite pastimes, preferably accompanied by my bed and some ice cream. Tonight, however, I watched a French tv show with my host family, and comprehending the story was a little more difficult than I’m used to.

The news is always on in this house, but tonight we watched something a bit different. L’Amour est dans le Pré aka Love is in the Field. Oh yes, we’re talking French reality tv. The basic concept of the show is this: a single farmer is presented with different women from the city and chooses one to love forever. On his farm. As my host dad would say, “C’est énorme!”

The show opens with James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” as we are introduced to the eligible bachelor of the evening, Pascal. He is a chubby, mustachioed, flannel-clad guy, much different than the contestants seen on dating shows in the states. But Pascal, with his receding hairline, ruddy cheeks and complete tactlessness soon won me over.

Pascal, just another farmer in search of a wife.

When I say tactless, though, I mean it. Homeboy has no sense of manners or chivalry. Over the course of the dates we had the pleasure of sitting in on, Pascal marched ahead of his date, didn’t hold open the door to the restaurant and even piled into his car without opening the door for his lady, leaving her dumbstruck and staring on the sidewalk. Hilarious. Scenes such as these were interspersed with Pascal’s conversations with the host, who was about ten years younger and ten times prettier than anyone else on the show. She would point out where he went wrong and how he could have done things differently while Pascal chortled through his mustache.

After numerous failed attempts at finding a spouse, Pascal seems to hit it off with one of the women. They even go on a weekend getaway to England. They enjoy a romantic dinner for two, some sort of plane tour of England (or something, I don’t know, there was a plane involved) and are put up in a posh hotel suite. But things take a turn for the worst when we find the potential wife enjoying room service breakfast alone in the hotel room as Pascal enjoys a solo coffee elsewhere. Looks like he is unlucky in love yet again.

This heartbreaking scene is followed by an interview with the scorned woman. It takes place in a field (of course) where there are convenient opportunities for her to stop, pick a flower and play “à la folie, pas du tout” (he loves me, he loves me not) as she agonizes over what went wrong. It would seem that in this case, love is not in the field.

But they don’t want to leave us on a sad note, so after Pascal’s story we catch up with a contestant from last season, Agnes. She is in a relationship with a man that she (presumably) met during her time on the farm of love. The two are quite happy together and, how convenient! They get engaged while the cameras are rolling. All the best to the happy farmer and her hubby.

I’m not normally a reality television kind of girl, but I was intrigued by this show. If anything, it taught me that every country has its crazies.


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