Panda in Paris

more about cliches

In this ever painful process of throwing away/packing/mailing all the junk that has accumulated in this apartment, I found more cliches about Americans written by my students from my stereotypes lesson. (See this post.)

– The americans are Great actors in life all the days. (Oh, all the days!)

– All women want to become a cheerleader. (Curse you, Bring it On!)

– American are too superficial and they all have the same hair colour: blonde. (This one is ironic because I’m likely the only American they’ve ever met.)

– Their monies are often spectacular. (I think they were trying to say some people are exorbitantly wealthy, but Andrew Jackson is a handsome man.)

– Californians live only for surf. (There was a joke my freshman year of college that when the Californians on our floor were in high school, they all surfed to school. I’m glad this has been confirmed.)

– Some have like names = Bob and Brenda and Kimberly. (Are they only watching films from the 80’s?)

– Their music sounds are everytime sometime about sex. (I’m glad this gross error was corrected.)

– Americans people say allways “damn” “oh my god!!!” (ALWAYS!)

– They know only footbowl, NBA, and base-ball. They don’t know Zidane!! (I am definitely an expert on footbowl, and it’s actually a pretty legitimate complaint that Americans don’t know Zidane.)

– They are arrogant, they think that everywhere speak english. (But everywhere DO speak English!)

– Their gastronomy is equal to the humberger. (Mmmm, delicious quarter pound humberger.)

– The village people. (There were two that said this.)

– Girl -> bitch, pompom girl, Boy -> gangster, footballeur, cowboy. (This outlines the glass ceiling and double standards regarding gender roles in American society really well, don’t you think?)

Oh, how I will miss humorously awful French teenager English.

Speaking of cliches, Matthew and I saw this romantic comedy the other day:

I don’t enjoy many romantic comedies but I think it’s tired to dismiss them collectively as a genre, and occasionally I’ll see one that rings true or is at least original and charming. This wasn’t one of them, as roguishly charming as Romain Duris is.

Essentially, Romain Duris plays a guy who runs an agency with his sister and brother-in-law in which he is hired by friends or relatives of women in unhappy relationships to stage a romantic intervention and break up their couple. They do research on the women beforehand to find out their likes/dislikes/what makes them tick, and on principle will only intervene if the woman is unhappy. Then Romain Duris sweeps in, charms them, finds something to get emotional about, kisses them, claims he’s not good enough for them, the women say “Thank you,” he says, “For what?” and they say “Just, thank you.” And that’s the trick. Oh, and they inexplicably speak tons of languages. (Arnacouer is a pun in French, combining “arnaquer” [counterfeiter] and “coeur” [heart.])

Vanessa Paradis, known in America pretty much exclusively as Johnny Depp’s girlfriend, is getting married in a week (!!!) to someone with whom she is happy (!!!!) For reasons that are left cryptic at the beginning but turn out to be pretty boring, her father doesn’t want this, so he hires Romain Duris, who originally refuses to break up a happy couple but ultimately he takes it because for some reason he owes some Serbian thugs money and he really needs the job, so he pretends to be the bodyguard her father hired to protect her before the wedding.

(uh, spoiler alert…)

So predictably, Romain Duris pulls out all of the tricks and it doesn’t really work, and then he falls in love with her, and then the night before the wedding they have an amazing night together, and then she gets all the way down the aisle before she decides she’s in love with him too, and then Romain Duris runs back from the airport and back up the hill in Monaco where the wedding is taking place and Vanessa Paradis runs down the hill and then they run into each other and kiss and it’s over.

This whole running-away-with-another-guy-who-she-really-loves-when-she’s-about-to-get-married cliche was parodied in the Baxter, the under-appreciated Michael Showalter film which follows “The Baxter”, meaning the guy who gets left at the alter. The thing that makes this cliche kind of work is that “The Baxter,” while always shown to be a great guy, is kind of a square, and the guy who steals his woman is always kind of rugged.

Not so in this film! Both Romain Duris and Andrew Lincoln (aka that English guy in Love Actually who is in love with Keira Knightly who is married to his best friend…maybe this is karma?) are charming and handsome and appealing. They present literally nothing unlikeable about her fiance, or even any real evidence that she’s not in love with him. The only mildly unappealing thing is that his parents are jerks, but so are hers. And everything she likes in Romain Duris turns out to be a lie. He figures out in his research that she likes Dirty Dancing and Wham (seriously, what a terrible character) so he sings along to Wham in the car and, in the epic climactic night they spend together, does the Dirty Dancing dance with her in the middle of an Italian restaurant. (Said epic night sequence also involves a pretty criminal use of CGI dolphins in a swimming pool.) Everything that makes her fall in love with him is based on research he did beforehand to push her buttons.

In conclusion, this movie is terrible. Matthew’s main complaint is that all Asian people in the movie were assumed to be Chinese. (Matthew is half Filipino and frequently assumed to be Chinese in France.) This connects nicely with the “Stuff Parisians Like” post about generalities about Chinese people.

In other news, I got into the American master’s program I applied to, which is great but I’m still hoping to get into the French one. Also I am going to Frankfurt and Amsterdam and have a million things to send home and no source of income so I am going to be destitute when I go back to the US.



je n’ai pas peur des americains

Posted in France by parisianpanda on January 25, 2010
Tags: , , ,

“ni des cons ni des poiliticiens
mais j’ai peur de t’attraper la main
et que tu m’esquives encore”

Mickey 3D : Matador

1) I have decided to stop complaining so much about work, because it is sort of unreasonable to complain about a job that gives me an almost-livable salary for 12(ish) hours a week of n’importe quoi. I am still going to make fun of people at work who do ridiculous things, though, such as:

a) During a lesson about cliches when I had students think of cliches they have about Americans, one girl said all of our movies have “happy hands.” Everyone in the class agreed, American movies definitely always have happy hands. I had no idea what she was talking about, so I made her show me what she wrote – “happy ends.” This is an example of hyperforeignism, because there is no aspirated H sound in France and the French often forget to pronounce the H when speaking English, so sometimes they overcompensate and put it where it doesn’t exist. This is like when Americans use the expression “coup de grâce” (“blow of mercy”/the final blow that puts someone out of their misery) and pronounce it without the “ce” sound because often in French they don’t pronounce the end of words. (In this case what Americans say sounds like “coup de gras”/blow of fat.)

Happy hand?

b) A conversation with a French teacher at the high school:

Teacher: Your name is Amanda?
Me: Yes.
Teacher: That’s weird. It sounds African. Is that a common name in your country?
Me: Yes, it’s very common.
Teacher: That’s so strange. French girls are never called Amanda.
Me: [No, because French girls are all called Anne-Laure-Sophie-Claire-Marie Dupont-Chateaubriand.] No, the French version seems to be Amandine.
Teacher: Yes, but only old people have that name.
I smiled politely.

2) I finally went to the university to inquire about enrolling with my weird transcript. I didn’t really succeed at explaining that I do not have grades, not even ABCD grades, until finally the woman said as long as they’re in English and not Danish someone will be able to read them. I will have to take a French proficiency test, which makes me nervous because I’m bad at standardized tests and because even though I get lots of compliments about my spoken French I haven’t had to seriously write in French since the last quarter at Evergreen. I would still rather take a French proficiency test ten times that take the GRE once, because I’ve realized the only reason I can add/subtract/multiply/divide at all is because of the flashcards my dad made me do constantly in elementary school and not because I actually understand how math works.

3) Yesterday David and Katarina called me out for doing this French air-puff-lip thing that involves filling your lips with air and blowing when someone asks you a question you weren’t expecting and you’re trying to think of a response. I have either picked this up from Corentin or my old host mother, because they both do it constantly. Two is not really a good sample size for calling it a “French thing” but I’m going to assume it is anyway.

4) We have started doing pub quizzes on Monday nights. It’s sort of like knowledge bowl in high school, except with more alcohol and less crushing disappointment.

5) Can anyone tell me why the little feedjit thing on the right thinks I’m in Bordeaux whenever I come on this blog from the high school? I am quite far from Bordeaux.

6) I have evangelized Community to David and Katarina. I’ve loved it ever since I went home for Christmas. How come no one told me how great this show was earlier?