This comedy show originated from various skits in the French Canadian program Le Grand Blond avec un show sournois (The Big Blond with a Devious Show), which parodied various Soap Opera tropes through the lives of fictional archetypes of this kind of genre. The skits proved so popular that these characters finally got their very own TV series ; so was born Le cœur a ses raisons (The Heart Has Its Reasons).
The show, which originally aired on TVA, is entirely dominated by Rule of Funny and is willingly trying to be absolutely terrible in terms of quality, in an hilarious way. Every single trope originating from soap operas is mercilessly parodied, although the creators confess that sometimes they failed to attain the degree of ridiculousness some actual soap opera shows possess.
The show more than often verges on absurd humour, surrealism and postmodernism. However it also has its own plotlines and shocking twists, as strange as they may be, and many spectators actually grew to like the stereotypical characters. With three seasons, the show was cancelled after the incredible revelation of the series finale, due to lower ratings.
See also the Character Sheet.
This show provides examples of
- 555: The series' only known phone number is Ashley's, which is "555-0100".
- Actor Allusion:Crystale to Peter: "But you're an actor, right? Why are you wearing a wig?"
- Africa Is a Country: And a small one at that, as Criquette manages to locate Brett in a matter of hours.
- Air-Vent Passageway : In the third episode of the show, Ashley, Brett and Peter want to leave the hospital as fast as possible. Having to chose between the door ("simple, efficient, probably infallible") and the air-vent passageway ("complicated, completely inefficient and potentially dangerous") they chose the latter. Worse, after that escape, they find themselves at the starting point and chose the air-vent again.
- Anvil on Head: A safe, to be precise. On top of Madge's head, of course. Thrice.
- Back from the Dead: One of the early exploits of the show was to kill off every single character in the first season's finale, only to see them resurrected in the second season. The shocking twist was actually that one character did die in the earthquake. The show pulled it off in a more classic way with Brittany and Brenda, who died in one season but returned in another through convoluted explanations. Granted, we had not really seen their respective death scenes per se.
- Backup Twin: Parodied with the return of Peter in trying to explain why the twin hadn't been mentioned before. Peter n°1 and Peter n°2 had the misfortune of having the same clothes, so, when one wanted to go out, the other had to stay at home in his underwear.
- Bait-and-Switch: This happens when Criquette introduces one of the best voices of St. Andrews to sing a Christmas song. Ridge walks in before she announces that it's Lewis, and he immediately frowns from disappointment before promptly leaving the room.
- Blind Driving: A temporarily blind Brett once drove a car, agitating his white cane from out of the window and warning poeple to get out of his way by shouting. He is as dangerous as this sounds.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: From Ridge, after being beaten up by a big Manitoban for extensively insulting them live on his newscast:"I only fear fat Manitobans. And intimacy. But mostly the fat Manitobans. And perhaps intimacy with fat Manitobans."
- Brick Joke: A whole truckload of them. Some examples:
- At the end of the first season, everybody gets hit by a woodbeam during the earthquake. Near the end of season 2, Ashley gets hit by another one just as she was reanimated. Brett comments that the beams really aren't sturdy.
- Brenda's champagne flutes in Attack in St Andrews
- Broken Echo: When Brett rescues Criquette from hanging from a cliffside, he screams her name to find her and it echoes... but ends up being very abruptly stopped mid-word. And the, Criquette shouts his name in return, and the echo repeatedly screams "GEORGES!" instead of "BRETT!".
- Buried Alive: Brett had to face this delicate situation in the show's second season. He got better, thanks.
- …But He Sounds Handsome: When she first appears, Brenda says she heard her brother Brett was a handsome man. They're both played by Marc Labrèche.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor, poor Madge. Over the course of the show, she got punched countless amounts of times, run over by a car, shot with tranquilizer darts, crushed thrice by a safe, sprayed with teargas, hit with a car muffler and many, many, many more.
- Calling Your Attacks: A Cat Fight between Criquette and Brenda features this, complete with dramatically echoing voices.Brenda: CAPILLAR ATTACK!
- Cliffhanger: Some of the episode endings. Played for laughs of course.
- Converse with the Unconscious: Lampshaded when Brett says he probably looks ridiculous talking to Criquette while she’s unconscious. She nods.
- Chair Reveal: When Criquette reveals that she is St. Andrews' TV station's new director.
- Chalk Outline: In an early episode, Criquette freaks out at the restaurant as everything in the place reminisced her about her murder attempt from some weeks prior: the walls, the tables... and even the silhouette of her body on the floor. Though it turned out that the silhouette rather was of a food poisoning victim.
- Christmas Special: The Montgomery decide to make a Christmas TV show... in April. Because Christmas magic lasts all year long!
- Clean, Pretty Childbirth: There are two births on the show, both of which leave the mothers with their make up and hair flawless, their clothes (ans even shoes) on, and almost no pain: Becky just keeps saying in a monotone voice that she is in pain, and Criquette's baby literally springs out of her.Becky: He was born in pajamas!
- Coconut Meets Cranium: Brett suffers this while in Africa.
- Credits Gag: There are two In-Universe examples:
- In the first episodes of the series, the credits of news program Info Action 24/7 consists of an endless list of preposterous roles ("Bitter majorette sinking in alcoholism", "Helmet-less but nonetheless prudent cyclist", etc), all being performed by Ridge Taylor. The sole exception being "Mr Ridge Taylor is dressed by: his mother".
- The credits of Brett's medical drama (aptly named "Medical Drama") consist solely of the word "Credits" scrolling upwards.
- Damned by Faint Praise: At one point in the third season, Brett and Criquette play a couple game called the Ball of Complicity: they must throw the ball at each other and say a quality of the other every time they receive it. Starts mellow, but then they run out of ideas and completely lose it.Brett: Pretty.
Brett: Always gives the exact change when shopping.
Criquette: Ow! Makes noise when eating.
Brett: Farts in bed!
- Death Is Cheap: Parodied with the ever-resurrecting Britany. Also, season one ends with a "Everybody Dies" Ending, while season two begins with all of them alive... except for Peter.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Brenda revealing her evil plans while Criquette right beside her. She was talking to the camera, so she probably thought Criquette could not hear her.
- Dissimile: This exchange:Crystale: I once had a terrible experience when saying "Allô"* . I once said "allô" and spend the subsequent ten years in a brothel in Calcutta.Brad:Oooh, the same thing happened to me.Crystale: Oh?Brad:Yes. Except it wasn't in a brothel but in a supermarket, it wasn't in Calcutta but on the other side of the street and it wasn't me it was another person. But the rest was the same.
- Downer Ending: Parodied with both season one and season two's endings. Season one ends with Brett cursing God for letting Criquette die causing God to make an earthquake that destroyed St-Andrews and killed everyone with a beam of concrete. They are all alive for season two only for it to end with the Montgomery's mansion to be burned with everyone inside. Only for them and the mansion to be alright in season 3.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Everyone at the end of the first season, by ceiling beams. Only Peter ends up actually dead.
- Dumb Blonde: Ashley and Googy, but most notably Megan.
- Easily Forgiven: Invoked. Ridge kidnaps Doug Doug, and attempts to murder Criquette. They are forgiven just by giving Brett flowers and candies, and a cranberry-scented candle for Criquette.
- Evil Laugh: Brenda and Becky share one in season two.
- Evil Twin: Brad and Brenda both went to some extremes to get rid of their brother Brett. And yet in the finale they still go along.
- Failed a Spot Check: When Ashley arrives for a medical urgency related to Becky (she was about to give birth), she attempts to identify the victim by repeatedly looking at Becky and Brad. Even after Brad tries to nudge her towards Becky (who very obviously needs treatment), Ashley initially decides to treat Brad.
- Flashback: Nearly every episode has at least one flashback. They begin with a bright white light and feature a distinct music that only plays during those. It, of course, is always played with, the characters are well aware of them and "gaze" at the flashbacks to trigger them. Ashley even claimed once that her eyes hurt because of the flashback's white light effects an put on sunglasses before the next flashback was triggered. One episode even has a Flashback Within a Flashback (that of course is lampshaded by Criquette within the first flashback)."You'll notice that this is a flashback within a flashback."
- For Inconvenience, Press "1": Happens twice in the series:
- When Brad calls 911 as Becky goes into labour (in the end, the interactive voice response would tell him to stop bothering them and to hang up)
- Brenda also comes across an exceptionally bizarre and hilarious one while trying to give a simple phone call to Becky.
- Frying Pan of Doom: In an episode, Criquette knocks her fiancé Brett out with a frying pan to avoid telling him about her pregnancy.
- Gag Dub: The show actually manages to be a gag dub of itself. There are two reasons for this; the first to stick with the traditional reputation of soap operas in Québec, the actors do not speak with a Quebecian accent but with a French one, since most of these shows are dubbed in France. The only character with a Canadian accent is Brad. Criquette tries to pull off a French accent and constantly fails at it, making some of her words unintelligible in the process (you have to speak French to understand how it's funny). Secondly, most of these shows are usually English ones, often badly translated. Therefore the writers of the show modify the wordings of the character's sentences in order to make them sound badly translated from English... although the characters do speak French in the first place. For example the characters always say "je vais quitter" (I'm going to break off) instead of "je vais partir" (I'm going to leave), which seems like a common bad translation of "I'm going to leave" where "to leave" can mean "to break off" or "to exit a place" depending on the context.
- Gag Lips: Impressive ones are sported by the heavily cosmetic-surgeried Crystale.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: One of the many, many, many Amusing Injuries suffered by Madge.
- Having a Heart: This line from Crystal after being qualified as a grandmother:"I am not a granny! I have the body of a 20 years-old woman! I keep in the trunk of my car for organ transplants."
- Hollywood Tourette's: Parodied during Ridge's rambling about how much he deserves a promotion.Ridge: [cites many other qualities] "...and I adroitely control my Tourette syndrome. *suddenly screams like a madman* KILL THE FATSOS WAAHAHARGHHH!"
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: Brad and Becky do this when talking about sex, although Brad eventually gets Sidetracked by the Analogy.
- Instant Sedation:
- When Megan tries to chloroform Criquette. Criquette is completely unfazed, and warns Megan that her chloroform doesn't work at all. Megan therefore curiously sniffs her rag and instantly falls unconscious. And she does it twice more over the course of the episode.
- Happens when Madge and Brenda are shot with tranquilizing darts.
- Jerkass: Ridge.
- Lampshade Wearing: A deleted scene parodies this: by just taking a puny sip of alcohol, Brett acts completely drunk and quickly places a lampshade on his head."Whoopity Whappitty WOW! Quick! A lampshade!" [Dances wildly]
- Latex Perfection: Played straight then parodied: when Brad reveals that he used one to pass as Lewis to spy on his wife Becky, she reveals that she wasn't Becky. She proceeds to tear off her own mask to show that she was... Becky. Brock even tells her that is was a very bad choice for a mask.
- Line-of-Sight Alias: "My colleague, Doctor... Bedside Lamp. Who studied at Bedside Lamp University of Texas. Married to Mrs. Beside Lamp Bedside Lamp."
- Low Count Gag: Criquette's telethon allows her to collect ten whole dollars.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Madge is Brett's mother.
- Medical Drama : Brett, Ashley and Crystale played in a Medical Drama aptly named... Medical Drama.
- Melodrama: Many jokes are based on the character's complete overreaction to mundane events (like the entire episode on a lack of pitchers).
- Macho Masochism: Peter Malboro suffers from a rather extreme case of this trope. For example, he once refused to take a seat in a car running at high speed in order to prove his masculinity... by staying on the car's roof instead.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: Played for laughs when Ridge gets slapped by Criquette. Criquette didn't want to chip her nails, so she hit Ridge with a weak-looking slap that had him reeling in pain and sent him falling backwards into a pile of cardboard boxes.
- Never Found the Body: Becky, Brenda.
- Newhart Phonecall : Used on occasion, and always with some kind of twist. One particular call has Criquette exaggerating the Repeating So the Audience Can Hear trope to its most possible extreme while talinkg in a shoe.
- No Fourth Wall: The source of a boatload of gags. The characters are constantly commenting on how the series' special effects are superb (when they are absolutely pathetic), are aware of the series' soundtrack, bump into the cameras, etc. In the series finale, Clifford even goes out of the scene into the backstage, with Criquette protesting as it "destroys the illusion".
- No-Respect Guy: Madge is mistreated by basically the entire cast: Brett sees her as a depraved woman and Criquette continuously mistreats her.
- Ocular Gushers: Invoked by Ashley, who warns Peter that she is about to "cry with the same intensity as a Japanese cartoon character" before doing just that.
- Open Secret: The fact that Megan is a drug addict. It doesn't help that Brett initially blurted it out loud when she was the subject of discussion, even during a conversation between Crystale and Criquette that was otherwise meant to be private.
- Orphaned Punchline:
- In the second season, Britany goes on a seemingly hours-long rant about how she survived after being sucked in quicksand. We never hear anything she says except from the very end: "Finally, I gave birth in a submarine, and my fourth finger grew back!".
- A deleted scene from the same episode shows another sequence of the same kind, this time about an anecdote about dancing. The end of it? "And so my voice managed to open the space shuttle's landing gear, and my duck à l'orange was a success!"
- Overly-Long Gag
- Overly Long Name: Doug Doug Skippy Bob Dracula Perceval Trevor Ricky Jack Lancelot Baby Bat Benny Benny Bo Benny Bananana Bo Benny Benny Bo Benny Montgomery-Rockwell.
- Pair the Spares: Everyone attends the ball of the last episode with a date. Brett with Criquette, Brad with Drucilla, Ashley with Peter #2, Becky with Kookoo the Clown, Reverend Mc Dougall with Brittany, even Madge and Lewis share a dance. The only major exceptions are Crystale and Brenda, who came with a picture of the absent Bo as a date.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Used rather often, but the most shining example hails from a scene from the third season, when Brett masqueraded as sister Brenda solely by putting a name tag reading "Brenda" on his suit. And it worked.
- Parental Neglect: From what we see during the show, Crystale was not interested in her kids at all if not downright dangerous. To name a few, she abandoned her daughter to be raised as a mare in a stables, sent them to the laundry room during their holidays pretending to be a beach vacation, tried to abandon them in the wild and gave them alcohol and cigarette while in the crib. Of course, everything is entirely Played for Laughs.Crystale: I've never had any maternal instincts. To me, children are nothing more than a reserve for organ donations.
- Poison Ring: Brad has one adorned with a tortoise he refers to as a "discrete tortoise ring". The catch is that the ring is easily as big as his hand.
- Portrait Painting Peephole: Ashley uses this trope to spy on Brad's confession of burying is brother Brett alive... except she is merely standing in the middle of the room while just hlding the painting in from of her face. Also, she makes a hole for her mouth and nose too. And it works.
- Quicksand Sucks: How Britany dies in Africa. She gets better.
- Recovered Addict: Brett used to be an alcoholic, to the point that he forgot to put his napkin on his lap one time. He has a couple of equally dramatic relapses.
- The Reveal: The series ends with Brett's grandpa revealing that Madge is Brett's mother.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Most of the main cast are socialites (as they're generally related to the wealthy Montgomery family in some way), and they're really daft at doing the simplest things at times.
- Scrabble Babble: Parodied in one scene where Criquette and Brett play together. Apparently, the "wqt", the "ffiffu", the "zzz" and the "txtxtx" all are nocturnal aquatic animals. Hmm. That being said, in a later episode, Becky's answering machine mentioned the wqt and gave the same definition than Criquette did when playing Scrabble, so it might be a real animal in the series' world.
- Shovel Strike: Such fate befalls poor Madge twice, in the same night. Earlier in the show, Criquette had Madge write a letter where she formulated a plan to murder her that exact same way.
- Show, Don't Tell: The characters often tell the audience about how they feel instead of showing it. Sometimes they do both.
- Show Within a Show : There are lots, including the news report Info Action 24/7, Medical Drama, Help, You’re Ugly!, Brett’s Dictation and Name a Number from 1 to 10.
- Slapstick: A prominent source of gags in the show.
- Snowy Sleigh Bells: The Christmas Episode features little tunes featuring jingle bells during the intermissions between sequences. Also, in the Christmas Episode of Medical Drama has sleigh bells ringing each time Brett says the word "Christmas".
- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: They tried (as a parody, of course) to invoke this with Chris, Becky's baby, despite the fact that only a few months have passed in-universe. Except that...Becky: When I left, Chris was a boy. A black boy.
Brad: Yes, but children change so fast, now she's a white girl.
- Some Call Me "Tim": Brett and Criquette's son full name is Doug Doug Skippy Bob Dracula Perceval Trevor Ricky Jack Lancelot Baby Bat Benny Benny Bo Benny Bananana Bo Benny Benny Bo Benny Montgomery-Rockwell. They usually go with Doug Doug Skippy Bob Dracula Perceval. Hopefully, one can call him simply Doug Doug.
- Speed Sex: Parodied several times. One occurence had Brett and Criquette "making love" solely by bumping their nether regions together while still fully clothed, and another lasted approximately the time of a quick camera swoop, unclothing time included.
- Split-Screen Phone Call: A staple, and of course almost always played with.
- Stylistic Suck: It's a parody of a no budget soap opera.
- Suddenly Shouting: The characters have the habit of doing this quite often. This gets lampshaded once:Peter: You are no doubt aware that I have a witness who could identify Criquette's assailant, and that witness is none other than YOU, BRETT!
Brett: GOOD LLLLORD! But why do we always end our sentences BY SCREAMING?!
Peter: I do NOT KNOW!
Brett: Then continue. The witness IS THEREFORE...!
Peter: You, Brett.
- Super Doc: Brett is a gynecologist, but is only seen performing actual gynecology once to help Criquette in her ridiculously easy childbirth. The rest of the time, he's considered to also be an expert in psychiatry, first aid, pneumology, open surgeries and God knows what else.Brett: As you all know, my formation as a gynecologist taught me the language of dolphins.
Ashley: Yes, we all knew it.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: The characters keep saying out loud how they feel to make sure the audience understands.Criquette: "I’m sad. You can understand that I am sad, because I'm crying while holding my sister's picture."
- That Poor Cat: Happens on occasion when characters move in a very cumbersome manner.
- Theme Naming : The triplets Brad, Brett, and Brenda, obviously. This had led Epileptic Trees to consider Brock, Brooke, and Britanny as their possible estranged siblings.
- Thinking Out Loud: They all do this quite often, sometimes leading to some characters telling their evil plans out loud for everyone to hear. See Did I Just Say That Out Loud?.
- Tightrope Walking: Subverted. Ridge is supposed to do such an act at the Telethon, but because of insurances, he will have to execute it on the ground. Which he does. And fails.
- Token Minority: Brock Steel.
- Tongue Twister: Brad and Ridge engage a series of these, when talking about the financial situation of Montgomery International. Ridge even states his follow-up report in the format of one.
- Unexplained Recovery: How Brett got out of his coffin during the second season remains unseen. He even lampshades it (breaking the fourth wall in the process) by telling that if his life was a TV show, every detail of this spectacular evasion would be included in the DVD edition. Which wasn't even the case.
- Wham Line: Parodied in the series finale after Brett gives a speech about his family giving him support.Clifford: This is not your mother! (referring to Crystale)
Brett: What did he say?
Criquette: He said "This is not your mother"!
Clifford: This is your mother! [points to Madge]
- Who's on First?: When Ridge states that he wants to have a talk with Megan, she goes to look for "her" (despite clearly being the only person in the studio with that name). It takes several minutes for Ridge to get her to understand that he wants to talk to her specifically.
- Another such incident with Ridge occurs when he looks for Brenda in the Montgomerys' mansion, who states that she is here. Cue confusion as to whether she is "here" or "there".
- Worst News Judgement Ever: Naturally happens on Info Action 24/7, with Ridge occasionally glossing over more important news in favor of completely trivial ones. It reaches its apex when he shows far less concern about a bomb scare at the St. Andrews Hospital and more to his chair having been stolen.