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Very contrived but fun

5/10
Author: jmkeating
14 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a series about two bachelors (one French (Marc), one American (Daniel)) who live in a top floor (17th) duplex flat. The first episode has 3 ladies moving in to the flat next door ; they are all separated from their husbands. One (Claire) has a teenage son (Vincent), another (Fanny) has a young daughter (Wendy) and a baby son (David).

Marc immediately wants to try to seduce one of them and, as the series progresses, focalises on the third girl (Magalie). Daniel, on the other hand, wants nothing apart from a platonic relationship with the women as they are still married (only separated).

The flat is owned by Daniel, a successful commercial photographer, who allows Marc, an unemployed writer, to live in free. Daniel says that Marc's father looked after him during his first years in France so it's normal for him to look after Marc.

Each episode shows the egocentricity of Marc, with Daniel taking a lot of hassle. Marc uses Daniel's cheque book and credit card and occasionally forgets to tell Daniel when he loses them! Marc is always imagining different ways to seduce (mainly) Magalie, but loses out every time with Daniel "winning" (but not seducing the ladies). The three ladies have all fallen in love with Daniel and try to lure him at the same time as trying to avoid Marc.

The opening titles show the names and the part played by the leading actors - only the first name of the role is given - even if they are not in that episode. The closing credits show their names again, but not their parts, followed by "And" with the names only of the other actors (walk-ons and bit-parts are uncredited) Thus if there is more than 1 guest of the same sex it is impossible to determine who is who. The surname of Marc is shown to be Malloy in some episodes (e.g. when he launches his apartment block radio "Radio Marc Malloy" - and Daniel says that his surname is "Green" - however as it is never written (at least in episodes 1 - 100) the spelling is uncertain. The only other persons, apart from Marc's father, whose full name is known, are Georgette Bellefeuille (a very large lady who is always trying to seduce Marc) and Mme Villemarinet (whose first name is Magalie too).

Ages: Vincent is 12 in episode 2 and 13 in episode 6. In Episode 2 Wendy is 6 and the baby, David, is 8 months old. Daniel is said to be around 40 and Marc is assumed to have a similar age. The girls' ages are not mentioned except that Magalie is younger than Fanny and Claire.

The only person who stays on throughout the 170 episodes is Claire. Magalie disappears, to go to Peru, after four fifths of the series, Marc too (to try and tempt her back). His part is taken over by Charlie, who has paid him 3 months rent (even though Marc lived there for free). Marc returns later on in the series and then either both or one of them is present in each episode up until episode 164 (Adeline Revient). Brusquely in episode 165, la Fuite, Daniel disappears (said to have gone back to his ex-girlfriend, Cindy in New York). Charlie, too disappears, but nothing is mentioned. Marc then takes over as the male leading role. Luna replaces Magalie and Sabine replaces Fanny. Claire's 2 sisters appear on and off till the end of the series. The same actors are in "Les Nouvelles Filles d'à Côté", which follows on. The "Nouvelles Filles" (new girls, i.e. next door) are Adeline and Gérard, who move into an apartment together.

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