Norman Lear, who imitated some top British sitcoms, had many imitators himself in the mid-seventies, including in the Canadian TV industry. Its arguable that CBC-TV had a bigger sitcom in "King of Kensington," but CTV really nailed Canada "ou ils ont habiter" with Stuart Gillard's "Excuse My French." After the famous Richard Riot of 1955 and the FLQ crisis in 1970, the language issue in Quebec, particularly Montreal, was reaching a boiling point. The secret of "Excuse My French" was, despite how much friction there was in the extended family, married couple Peter and Marie Louise Hutchins promoted love, tolerance and generosity.
The classic confrontation is set up, with arrogant English aristocrat Charles Hutchins, interacting with his French speaking in-law, the working class Gaston Sauve. There is plenty of mudslinging, but one sensed there was a mutual respect and even a healthy envy one for the other. In the end, Peter and Marie Louise succeed in their marriage, despite the bickering in-laws. Their strong, loving, patient relationship is the glue that helps the families keep from coming to blows.
I watched "Excuse My French" every week, but rarely identified with everybody's pal, Larry King (of "King of Kensington") and his Cabbagetown buds. Ahhh, Zut alors mon ami, but I have some French blood! The issues in the program were ones I had to face day to day! What a great concept, yet it is available nowhere today! Is Stuart Gillard aware of how brilliant he was to make this show?
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