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Recap / Asterix and the Actress

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For Asterix and Obelix' birthday party, their parents have decided to come from Condatum. Their mothers have already arrived, bringing a fabulous Roman sword and helmet as presents, and they immediately fuss about why their sons are still single; their methods to rectify the situation, however, bring little happiness to their offspring.

Meanwhile, however, Asterix and Obelix' fathers - who run a 'modernities' store in Condatum - have inadvertently got themselves into a tight spot: an alcoholic legionary veteran (Tremensdelirius from Asterix and Caesar's Gift) has pawned a helmet and a sword in their shop - the personal weapons of Pompey, Caesar's enemy, which are now in Asterix and Obelix's possession. Of course, their rightful possessor wants them back, and to this end he employs one of his agents, Decurion Fastandfurius, and a gifted tragic actress named Latraviata. Disguised as Panacea, Obelix's love interest, who is allegedly suffering from amnesia, Latraviata is to infiltrate the Gaulish village and retrieve Pompey’s weapons.

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However, the real Panacea and her husband Tragicomix soon discover that Asterix and Obelix's fathers have been imprisoned by Pompey, and they immediately travel to their village to warn their friends. On their way they run into Latraviata and Fastandfurius, who have left the village with Asterix and Obelix (who have not yet realized what was going on) in pursuit, and the game is exposed. Fastandfurius is "menhired", Pompey’s weapons are returned to the two friends (with some "slight" damage from menhir pressure), and Asterix and Obelix race to Condatum to free their fathers and to give Pompey a run for his money. At the end of the story Latraviata is the first actress ever to receive an award for Outstanding Performance, which is believed to be how the César Award was born.


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Tropes:

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Tremensdelirius, again. In his drunken state he eventually lets it slip that Pompey is in Gaul to raise an army to take on Caesar. Naturally, a Roman who hears this immediately sends news to Caesar to warn him.
  • Anything but That!: Tremensdelirius breaks down when heard that his supposedly light punishment for stealing and selling Pompey’s weapons consist of doing two fatigues stocking up the water supply. Tremensdelirius absolutely hates water.
  • Artistic License – History: Much like Ancient Greece, only men were allowed to be actors in Ancient Rome; in addition, actors had a very low status in Roman society, so Latraviata would hardly have been a celebrity.
  • Babies Ever After: Dogmatix actually finds a mate and sires puppies in this story.
  • Bad Liar: When Fastandfurius and Latraviata run into Tragicomix and Panacea, Fastandfurius tries to claim he's a menhir-delivery man (as Obelix left a menhir in their cart), but Tragicomix rejects that explanation, informing Fastandfurius "I only know one menhir-delivery-man, and he's not a rat-bag like you!"
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Asterix gives Latraviata one after drinking magic potion while still being concussed from the punch Obelix gave him earlier.
  • Bling of War: Asterix’ birthday present from his father is a golden sword embedded with stones,and Obelix gets a golden helmet. Unfortunately, this gets both their fathers in trouble since the sword and helmet belonged to Pompey.
  • Concussions Get You High: After getting punched by Obelix, Asterix is left in a trance-like state in which he can no longer speak coherent. When he is given some magic potion on top of this to cure him, he begins to act overly excited, jumping/running through the village screaming “Yipppee, Yahoo!”, kissing Latraviata, and finally swimming out into the sea where he collapses on a rock. At the end of the story, Fastandfurius is left in a similar state when hit by one of Obelix' menhirs (something Obelix' father immediately realizes must have happened when he sees Fastandfurius).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • During their birthday celebration, Obelix wonders if he and Asterix will get their own Roman legion to fight. He got that birthday present during his birthday in Obelix and Co..
    • Unhygienix getting his fish from Lutetia is brought up again.
    • Tremensdelirius, the drunk legionary from Asterix and Caesar's Gift, makes a return appearance.
  • Designated Girl Fight: The real Panacea is the one who eventually fights and unmasks Latraviata.
  • Dirty Coward: Fastandfurius freely admits that he's a terrible coward once Tragicomix confronts him about his weak lie.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Obelix's mother calls him Obelixikins, which Unhygienix finds hilarious. Obelix threatens to bash him with the Roman helment his mother gave him if he continues poking fun at the nickname.
  • Enemy Civil War: Pompey is planning to start a war against Caesar. Later, when Caesar hears about Pompey’s plans and orders to have all his followers arrested, tension rises between the Romans and they start fighting each other. When on their way to see their fathers, Asterix and Obelix come across two groups of Romans fighting. Obelix considers it unfair.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Near the end of the story, Asterix’ father casually remarks that Asterix could use a fine woman like Latraviata. Asterix is not happy about it after having to put up with his mother's matchmaking.
  • Faking Amnesia: Latraviata, as Panacea, does this as an excuse to justify why she is visiting the village, and why she fails to recall past events or recognize people the real Panacea should know.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment: Provides the current page image; Latraviata causes a heated argument between Asterix and Obelix. When Asterix, in the heat of the moment, pushes Obelix' Berserk Button by calling him fat, Obelix punches him. He immediately regrets it though, since, while they had their arguments before, this is the first time ever he punched Asterix.
  • Ghost Town: The story begins with Asterix and Obelix returning from a board hunt, only to find the entire village deserted. Fortunately, it was all part of a Surprise Party for the two.
  • Great Escape: The climax sees Asterix and Obelix break their dads out of jail.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Latraviata goes from a vain actress who is outraged at having to stay in a barbaric village, and who is in cohorts with Pompey, to befriending the Gauls and openly stating she was wrong to consider them barbaric.
  • Heroic Dolphin: Asterix is rescued by a dolphin after he ends up on a rock in the sea, and tries to swim back to shore during a storm.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Caesar considers giving a woman a trophy for acting outright ridiculous.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: While they certainly got into arguments before, this album contains the first time ever that Obelix actually punches Asterix. Asterix later repays the favour while in a hyperactive stupor, having been given some of the magic potion while concussed.
  • I Can't Dance: Asterix uses this excuse when asked to dance by a girl during their second birthday party.
  • I Want Grandkids: Both Asterix and Obelix’ mothers want their sons to get married and start families.
  • Identical Stranger: Played with. When wearing the same clothes as Panacea and, most important, a blonde wig, Latraviata looks exactly like the real Panacea. Without the wig however, not so much.
  • The Matchmaker: Asterix’ and Obelix’s mothers starts acting as one for their sons, doing things like inviting multiple women over to their homes and organizing a second birthday party where their sons can meet a girlfriend.
  • Men Can't Keep House: At least Asterix’ mother thinks this about her son, complaining how dirty his hut is.
  • The Mole: Latraviata serves this purpose, being send by Decurion Fastandfurius to retrieve Pompey’s weapons.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Obelix immediately regrets punching Asterix after having done so.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Asterix and Obelix scuttling the pirates’ ship at any chance they get finally comes back to bite Asterix when he finds himself stranded on a rock in the middle of the ocean, and the only ship nearby that could help him is that of the pirates. Naturally, the moment the pirates see him, they flee.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Romans who stop a disguised Fastandfurius and Latraviata have this reaction when they hear the two are on their way to Obelix, and hastily let them pass. Their reaction makes Fastandfurius wonder if it was wise to accept this mission.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Getafix at least ponders why "Panacea" remembers Obelix but not her own husband, but never actually follows up on his suspicions.
  • Retcon: This story continues the retcon of Asterix and Obelix sharing the same birthday, which was first introduced in the short story The Birth of Asterix.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Prefect Bogus Genius tries this when Asterix and Obelix show up at his prefecture to free their fathers. He doesn’t get far though.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the English translation, when Asterix and Obelix's fathers warn Bogus Genius of their sons' retribution, a legionary whispers that "it's a little quirk of theirs ... they're always quoting from that play, Waiting for Godotrix", a reference to Samuel Beckett's tragicomedy, Waiting for Godot.
    • The award Latraviata receives parodies a César Award given by the French Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema (hence a golden Caesar). Latraviata herself resembles Romy Schneider, the first actress to win the award in 1976.
  • Spot the Imposter: Surprisingly averted, even when Latraviata and Panacea finally meet face to face, as Panacea quickly attacks and unmasks Latraviata.
  • Surprise Party: The entire village throws one for Asterix and Obelix at the start of the story.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Tragicomix suddenly has different facial features than from his previous appearances... for no reason (Art Evolution doesn't count since the other recurring characters look as they do). He was previously a caricature of actor Jean Marais.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: After ending up on a rock in the ocean (see Concussions Get You High above), Asterix eventually comes back to his senses and wonders how he got there.
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