In France during World War II, Rene Artois runs a small café where Resistance fighters, Gestapo men, German Army officers and escaped Allied POWs interact daily, ignorant of one another's true identity or presence, exasperating Rene.
The balloon crashes and the airmen end up back at the cafe,disguised by moose heads. General Von Klinkerhoffen assumes control of the whole area, thereby making many enemies. The Resistance hate him ...
René Artois runs a small café in France during World War II. He always seems to have his hands full: He's having affairs with most of his waitresses, he's keeping his wife happy, he's trying to please the German soldiers who frequent his café, and he's running a major underground operation for the Resistance. Quite often, the Germans' incompetence itself is what nearly lands René and his cohorts in hot water; they are not helped either by the locals, who are dreadfully keen to get rid of the Germans, but their blatant and theatrical attempts at espionage and secrecy often create problems that René must solve quickly.Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Listen carefully, I shall say this only once" was never meant to be a catchphrase, it was said once and it got a laugh, so the character of Michelle said it in every episode after. Many famous catchphrases were created by accident. See more »
At the end of each episode there is a list of "Cast in order of appearance", but on several occasions, the order of the list does not reflect the actual order in which the actors appear in the episode. In season 5, there are even some episodes where actors are credited in the list without appearing in the episode. See more »
This series has been on for years and I have many episodes on DVD. It is extremely funny as it mocks accents and people from different countries. As it is in the English language, but with different accents used to indicate the nationalities of people, the humor cannot be transferred to other countries so I am surprised whether the series would be successful outside the UK. It's certainly generally unknown in France though it may have at one time or other been aired on one of the cable channels and many or the plays on words/accents etc would be untranslateable into French. That said, I work for a Dutch company and many of my colleagues in Holland love the series which appears on their TV. But the Dutch tend to speak much better English than the French and from what I can gather, their humour is more akin to that of the UK, all of which could explain their being attracted to this series, plus the fact that they don't like the Germans too much.
On a negative side, one may reproach the series as being too repetitive with the punch lines etc etc. I think that this is true to a certain extent but as the script is so lively, this is somewhat compensated. On the subject of the humour itself, I wonder really if anyone outside the UK could laugh at the "painting of the falled Madonna with the big boobies". There are all sorts of funny repeated detail which are hallmarks of the series ( Leclerc, "tis I, Carmen Silvera trying to sing, the policeman massacring the English language with French pronunciation etc etc ) but you have to be a real fan to appreciate. It's as typically English as Monty Python. I have yet to see a comedy serial on French television about the German occupation and would be even more surprised if there was one on German TV. The closest I have seen would be the French film "La Grande Vadrouille" starring BOurvil and Louis de Funès.
The serial is set in what I had thought to be the mythical village of Nouvion. In fact, Nouvion does exist, in the Pas-de-Calais department in Northern France, just north of Abbeville and east of St Valery sur Somme. Whether the authors of the series were aware of this, I have absolutely no idea!
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