Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Les Guignols de l'Info
Les guignols de l'info (English: Puppets of information) is a satirical latex puppet show on French television. Hosted by a puppet facsimile of TF1 news anchor Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, "Les guignols" are the French equivalent of Spitting Image. They appeared every weeknight on the Canal+ program Nulle part ailleurs , with a weekly recapitulation on Sundays. While Nulle part ailleurs no longer runs, the Guignols are still running.
Impact on popular culture
The Guignols have had a tremendous impact on French popular culture, in many case introducing or popularizing phrases. For instance, à l'insu de mon plein gré ("without the knowledge of my own free will"), repeated by the puppet representing Richard Virenque, is now humoristically attributed to people who deny hypocritically having willfully committed some acts.
In many cases, people who watch the show begin to perceive public personae through their puppet character. Many young people, normally uninterested by politics, probably follow political actuality mainly through the Guignols.
The characters in the Guignols are either inspired by real personalities of the political, economical or artistic world (generally, by anybody who appears in the news), either fictional. Some of their characters based on real-world people actually have behaviors that are far caricatures from the original.
- PPD is a caricature of Patrick Poivre d'Arvor (aka PPDA), a well-known news anchor. He is depicted as a rather cowardly journalist who tries to get along with the mighty and the powerful. He is also offering a wide variety of hairstyles, trying to mask his receding hairline.
- Commander Sylvester and Mr Sylvester are fictional characters. During the first Gulf War, the Guignols had a character called Commander Sylvester with Sylvester Stallone's face. Cdr Sylvester would explain the war in broad terms, like "here we're the Good people, and here are the ragheads, so we'll kill everybody there...". After the war was over, Cdr Sylvester changed into Mr Sylvester, the ubiquitous executive from the military-industrial complex, the corporate world (all mixed into the World Company fictional holding), and the CIA. Mr Sylvester is dressed with a suit and tie and wears a security badge. Mr Sylvester has twin copies of himself in all such positions (some with greyish hair).
- Jacques Chirac is depicted as a kind of beer-guzzling, lying, impulsive incompetent pilfering public money. The Guignols went as far as to introduce the character of Super Menteur (Super-Liar), a super hero, into whom Jacques Chirac changes in times of need (see Clark Kent/Superman). Super Menteur is capable of uttering the most unbelievable lies, while not getting caught.
- Joey Starr and Doc Gynéco: The gangsta rapper Joey Starr , convicted for various violences, is portrayed as a brutal individual. He is often coupled with rapper Doc Gynéco to discuss matters related to the consumption of cannabis.
- Bernard Tapie is represented has a bully, speaking in a very vulgar way. However, he is often used by the authors to present their own viewpoint.
In the recent political life, the Guignols have portrayed:
- Xavière Tiberi as an aggressive, vulgar and greedy woman;
- prime minister Lionel Jospin as an exceedingly boring, competent and honest person;
- ecology minister Roselyne Bachelot as an incompetent airhead.
- former President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing as repetative and instructional, usually seen wearing his official apron, as he is a member of the Académie française.
George W. Bush
Las noticias del guiñol is a show in Spanish Canal+ inspired by Les Guignols. It focuses on Spanish politics and football. Programs of the Guignol family exchange latex moulds, and puppets representing foreign celebrities can be used as "normal people" in countries where the celebrity is not known.
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