Tuesday, March 25, 2008

French TV and talking

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been trying to watch a lot of French TV in order to improve my comprehension. This does not necessarily mean french series, as many of the shows I watch are US shows dubbed in french. Anyways, I even have a french-tv-watching schedule that I try to follow in the evenings. I forget what I watch on Mondays but on Tuesdays I don't miss Pékin Express (french version of Amazing Race), Wednesdays is House, Thursdays is Nouvelle Star (french version of American Idol) and on Fridays if I'm home I watch Bones, my obsession, whose second season has just started up back here. When I used to come home earlier, every day I would watch Gilmore Girls episodes, most of which I missed when they first showed so it was fun catching up, and Las Vegas.

The good thing about watching TV series on the french channels are that they usually show at least two episodes in a row so I get at least two hours of listening to french spoken at a normal and, for the most part, very fast pace. What's more is that I don't limit myself to only watching the shows I mentioned. I watch quite a few other ones, both French and American, when I catch them showing and I watch at least one french movie per week on the tele as well as at least one other dubbed in french, usually on a Sunday afternoon...

My favourite french show (reality or scripted) is Pékin Express. This is no surprise as I used to love Amazing Race. I know no one who reads this blog has any idea what's happening in Pékin Express but I wanna make a quick comment. It's down to the last 4 teams now and I am stressing for the teams as I am watching it. I really want either Gérard and Cédric or Jean-Pierre and Joël to be the eventual winners but in this show anything can happen. Also, it's done a bit differently from how I remember Amazing Race. For one thing, the french one apparently has always had a team made up of two people who never met each other before the race began (in this case Jean-Pierre et Joël). In addition, teams who win each stage don't actually win prizes, they just get an amulet worth a few thousand Euros. However, if a team that has won a stage ends up being eliminated they have to give their amulet to another team. Thus, in the last stage of the race, the two remaining teams usually have all the amulets that have been won in the race shared between them.

Talking about comprehension...for the last 3 days I've spent most of my working days in training. It's done in french. Most of the time I feel like a fool when it's time to do the exercises and explain to the trainer why I'm dooing what I'm doing. Often my mind goes blank and I can't remember the simplest words. I mess up my tenses, say the wrong words, the worst pronounciations, you name it and I've done it. Of course, as soon as I'm done with training for the day I can remember what I wanted to say in perfect french. Worse is when I know what I want to say beforehand but once it comes time to talk my mind freezes. Today I was so considering resorting to english because I just could not seem to properly explain myself. Frustrating.

Hmm, back to French TV. They have a lot of game shows and reality shows here, similar to America. I'm more interested in the shows where people can win MONEY or gain a substantial prize. From french versions of One versus One Hundred, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Amazing Race and Don't Forget the Lyrics to their own like Des Chiffres et Des Lettres (literally means digits and letters), they have it all. Every morning I turn on my TV, there is a show where they give away thousands of Euros for answering simple questions.

Why am I going on about this, you wonder? Because France is much smaller than Canada and I'm pretty sure they're less rich as well but cheap-ass Canada barely has any game or reality show, like the French, that gives away lots of money or big prizes to people. I don't really care about Canada's Next Top Model or Canadian Idol. Those things require talent or beauty. lol. I'm talking about the shows where the ordinary Jane or Joe can seriously think about entering and getting a real chance at winning. Are Canadian companies really that cheap that they can't sponsor Canadian versions of these shows or sponsor a Canadian-developed game show? Or is it that Canadian networks just don't think there is any benefit for them in creating a Canadian show like that? I would REALLY like to know. Maybe I should go do a google search to find out...

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