Series / La Petite Vie

La Petite Vie (lit. The Small Life) was a French Canadian Sitcom airing in the late 1990s. First born as a comedy routine the two main actors used to perform on tour, the routine was later expanded into a TV show.

The show centers on the highly dysfunctional Paré family, with the elderly Paré parents as the main characters. Moman (Quebec slang for Mom) Parénote  and Popa (Quebec slang for Pops) Paré are both a retired couple who has long run out of passion in their marriage. Each of them has developed their obsessions that give meaning to their otherwise now boring lives, Mom fusses over her turkeys she cooks, treating them like children, while Pops obsesses over the state of his garbage bags and of his workshop in the basement, which he no longer ever uses. The couple interact with their four children, who are as messed up as they are.

The show ran from 1993 to 1999. During its peak, La Petite Vie used to be the most watched TV show in Quebec, at one point one out of five Quebecers was watching the show's episodes on their first run. An often remembered prop of the show is the parents' bed, which was laid vertically against a wall. Originally this was used during the stage show so the audience could see the actors, but when the show went to TV, the bed was kept this way to make the show more surreal.

In 2015, the show had a Spin-Off, "Le Ti-Mé Show", a Variety Show / Talk Show where Popa receives real life personalities and interviews them with characters from the show (Most often Pogo).

La Petite Vie contains examples of the following:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Réjean.
  • Camp Gay: Jean-Lou, who seems to get more effeminate with every appearance.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Thérèse
  • Doting Parent: Mom for Rod, to the point where despite being in his 40s, Rod still depends on her to do his laundry and cook him meals for the week.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Implied to be Pop's preferred method for raising his kids. Applies to Mom, too, except for her first born, Rod.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Rénald.
  • Jerk Ass: Réjean and Popa.
  • Noodle Incident: Popa's best friend Pogo constantly starts telling of a tragic event that happened to him at a Montreal Canadians hockey game in 1972, only to be interrupted each time and never finishing the story.
  • Parental Neglect: Rénald's conception was accidental. Mom and Pops both freely admit they did as little as they could to raise him. They have only one photo of him as a kid — and it's Rénald hiding behind a tree (even there, they just wanted a picture of the tree). Even now the parents are not shy about showing their dislike of him.
  • Revised Ending: The first Christmas special has an ending where Celine Dion shows up. But there is an alternate ending only in audience where Ding et Dong show up instead.
  • Running Gag: Thérèse keeps trying to recreate Moman's shepard pie recipe which is as simple as cooking can possibly get: "Steak, ble d'inde, patates" (meat, creamed corn, potatoes). Every attempt she makes is an unmitigated failure.
  • Straight Gay: Mr. Bricole
  • Straw Feminist: Caro.
  • Take That Me: Combine with Self-Deprecation. In one episode, the family watched a comedy routine by Ding et Dong, calling them "Those two wierdos" and saying the one with glasses is way too annoying. note 
  • Unseen Character: Le beau Marco (Handsome Marco), constantly referred to but never seen until the end of the second season. Turns out, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and every character needs some urgent laser-eye surgery).
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Popa.
  • You Look Familiar: Some actor like Martin Drainville or Luc Guérin played different one shot character.