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Series / Les Minikeums

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The original Minikeums lineup, 1993-2000.note
The revival lineup, 2017-2021.note 

Les Minikeums was a French morning and afternoon kids show with puppets, the first iteration of which started airing in 1993 on the public channel France 3. Some of the puppeteers and the workshop of Alain Duverne (which made the puppets) also worked on TF1's Le Bébête Show and Canal+'s Les Guignols de l'Info.

Its hosts were a cast of wacky characters the likeness and names of which were based on show business and sport celebrities. They provide comedic skits, parodies of pop culture franchises and full-fledged adventures in short films, as well as songs and music videos, with Work Com sketches at its core.

While its rival show from 1993 to 1997, the Club Dorothée, was credited for massively bringing animes and tokusatsu in France, this one used to broadcast of some of the finest Western Animation series of The '80s and The '90s with the likes of some Nicktoons, the DC Animated Universe, Animaniacs and more. It also used to broadcast a lot of French and Canadian coproduction animated series (such as The Adventures of Tintin), as well as a number of animes (basically the most prominent ones that the Club Dorothée didn't own the rights to, most notably from World Masterpiece Theater, and with a tighter control on violent content than the Club Dorothée).

The show's first iteration ran from 1993 to 2000. France 3 youth programs head manager Eve Baron then decided, despite great audience ratings, to "modernize" the show at the Turn of the Millennium, renaming it MNK, reducing the lineup to 6 puppets, suppressing the comedic skits and replacing the colorful and practical sets with a grey futuristic city background in CGI. Audience ratings predictably plummeted and the show was cancelled in 2002.

The first iteration of the show is still looked at fondly by many French adults who are nostalgic of their childhood in The '90s. So much so that special event reruns of it, titled Génération Minikeums, had much success, which led to a revival of the show in December 2017 on France 4, with a new lineup based on celebrities of The New '10s and The New '20s. The revival show was quietly cancelled in 2021 amidst the restructuring of France 4 and the sketches that were uploaded on the official YouTube channel were all removed.

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Series that were broadcast in the original show (with their French titles):

    Western Animation 



Series that were broadcast in the revival show (with their French titles):

    Western Animation 

Tropes for the show:

    General tropes: 
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Every human puppet was/is based on a celebrity or TV personality (previously French only, but there are exceptions since the revival) in appearance, way of talking and character quirks.
    • For the 1993-2000 lineup: Coco (director/actor/TV host Antoine de Caunes), Diva (Eve Baron, then-head manager of France 3's youth programs), Jojo (singer/actor Johnny Hallyday), Nag (TV host Nagui), M'sé (rapper MC Solaar), Vaness (singer-actress Vanessa Paradis), Zaza (singer Elsa Lunghini), Bernard (French literature/grammar-loving TV host Bernard Pivot), Josy (actress Josiane Balasko), Gégé (actor Gérard Depardieu), Mamikette (Cooking Show host Maïté) and Zidou (soccer player Zinedine Zidane).
    • For the 2010s revival lineup: Keva (actor/comedian Kev Adams), Riha (Rihanna), Pog (soccer player Paul Pogba), Loulou (singer/actress Louane), Normy (web video creator Norman Thavaud) and Nomar (soccer player Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior).

    Original iteration: 
  • Butt-Monkey: Coco is the most prone to Amusing Injuries, Pie in the Face and backfiring of his ideas.
  • The Diva: Diva, aptly so. She is bossy and takes much pride in her beauty.
  • Da Editor: Diva heads the TV channel and bosses everyone around, especially Coco.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first episodes had the Minikeums work for a sinister-looking "boss" sitting in a chair who communicated through them by voice only, and who seemed to have strange plans for them. This plot point was soon forgotten.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Whenever Coco is planning something or scheming, it's doomed to fail. Though the show occasionally throws him a bone.
  • Fake Band: The Bogoss Five (who are actually a trio formed by Nag, Coco and Jojo). Didn't prevent Real Life records of their single "Ma Melissa" from being sold, to great success.
  • Fiery Redhead: Redhead Josy is loud and can throw some epic tantrums.
  • Granola Girl: Josy is the show's resident nature-loving and ecologist militant character.
  • The Hyena: La Souris (the Mouse) laughs a lot.
  • Jive Turkey: M'sé peppers his phrases with some rapper slang (the kid-friendly kind, naturally).
  • Large Ham:
  • Nerd Glasses: Bernard is the nerdiest character, being both knowledgeable on a lot of subjects and slightly socially awkward, and he has glasses.
  • Non-Serial Movie: The one-hour Made-for-TV Movie Panikeum sur l'An 2000, which was broadcast in December 1999 to celebrate the Turn of the Millennium, with the usual characters playing other roles than their normal office ones.
  • Official Couple: Jojo and Vaness.
  • Parental Bonus: The celebrities that were parodied by the puppets were often more well-known by the parents of the kids who watched the show than by the actual target audience itself, as many of those people ran shows that weren't really targeted at kids when the show was airing in the '90s. But since so many of them also had long careers even afterwards, most people in the target audience later did catch on anyway. However, this is sometimes brought up as the reason why the show was eventually cancelled, because some of those people became increasingly irrelevant by the late '90s-early 2000s when the show ended.
  • Parody:
  • Sassy Secretary: Zaza is a busy secretary at the office, and cracks more the occasional wise. She tends to be plucky, however.
  • Sixth Ranger: Some characters became regulars of the show in its first iteration's last years, such as Gégé Mamikette in 1997 and Zidou in 1999.
  • The Slacker: Nag does everything he can not to work.
  • Smug Snake: In his most mischievous moments, Coco tends to greatly overestimate himself.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Josy has quite a firm militant stance on ecology.
  • Song Parody:
  • Speech Impediment: Zaza has a lisp when talking.
  • Spinning Paper: The 1994 opening of the show had newspapers and gossip magazines that feature the characters spinning on the screen.
  • Team Pet: Josy's koala pet Léon, introduced in 1994.
  • Those Two Guys: Nag and M'sé tend to hang together for wacky hijinks or slack together.
  • Token Minority: Subverted: Until the arrival of Zidou (based on soccer player of Algerian descent Zinedine Zidane), M'sé seemed to be the only non-white in the cast, but while it was not really evident for the watching children then, Nag's model, Nagui, is of Egyptian descent on his father's side.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: The Cinékeum short films used the show's puppets as entirely different characters in parodies of existing films or shows.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Coco is pretentious, greedy, childish and grumpy, and he's also the show's premium Butt-Monkey.
  • You No Take Candle: Josy tried teaching Léon the koala how to speak, and his best attempts to speak amounted to this.

  • Butt-Monkey: When something backfires, it's usually Keva who's on the receiving end.
  • Composite Character: Keva is as overconfident and Butt-Monkey as Coco, as air-headed as Jojo and as lazy as Nag.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: The new characters are teens who go to school instead of office workers, but carry some of the older cast's wacky traits.
    • Keva is as jolly, mischievous and situationally dumb as Coco, but he's overall nicer.
    • Loulou is the new singing blond girl, but she's smarter than Vaness was and doesn't seem to have a boyfriend, whereas Vaness had Jojo back then.
    • Normy is the new laid back klutz, and he's a reasonably responsible teen instead of an office slacker like Nag was, and he's more science-oriented.
    • Riha cares a lot about her appearance like Diva used to, but she's neither bossy nor The Diva.
    • Pog is based on a famous French soccer player of the national team and world champion (Paul Pogba) like Zidou was (Zinedine Zidane), but appears more frequently than the latter (who was a Sixth Ranger in the original show in 1999, after France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998). Pog doesn't have a Marseille accent unlike Zidou, and was actually added before France won the World Cup for the second time in 2018.
    • The team's mascot is a blue dog-like creature (Hirsute) instead of a brown koala (Léon).
  • Cranial Eruption: Keva often ends up with these whenever he gets hurt, per his Butt-Monkey status.
    • In one skit, Keva ends up with one after a blindfolded Normy walked into a chalkboard and ended up unknowingly knocking Keva down with it.
    • In another, he also received one after a box was thrown on his head by Normy's robot mailbox.
  • Gratuitous English: Riha (being based on Rihanna) peppers her (French) phrases with English words.
  • Lovable Jock: Pog practices soccer, and he's far from being a jerk.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Some lyrics of the group's songs come from songs of the 1990s Minikeums.
    • In one skit, Keva is seen reading L'Almanakeum, an almanac book that was part of invokedThe Merch of the 1990s show. The cover features the old show's logo, Coco, Nag, Josy and the Bogoss Five band.
  • Parody: "Keums Lanta" parodies the island survival Reality TV show Koh Lanta.
  • Puns: Keva loves his puns. A bit too much.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Hirsute is a cute dog-ish blue creature, although he can be a little mischievous.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Season 4 (2019-2020) introduced Tom the postman (played by Gaël Colin); who is the first character in the franchise to be played by a live actor rather than be portrayed as a puppet.
  • School Is for Losers: Keva doesn't like school and does everything he can to skip it.
  • Song Parody: "Pog Pog Style", the melody of PSY's Gangnam Style with new lyrics.
  • Special Guest: Occasionally featured from time to time, examples include Issa Doumbia and Willy Rovelli.
  • Sudden Name Change: Normy was first introduced as "Noman" in previews before seeing his name changed when the revival started airing.
  • The Smart Guy: Normy is the scientist and Gadgeteer Genius of the group.
  • Team Pet: Hirsute, a blue dog-like creature with a lion-like mane.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Riha and Loulou are the only female characters in this iteration.
  • Younger and Hipper: The 2010s celebrities the revival show's puppets are modelled after are younger than the 1990s celebrities imitated by the original show's puppets were back in the day, and the target demographic audience of most of said 2010s celebrities is younger as well. Until they reached a certain age or were told by adults, kids who grew up in the 1990s couldn't guess who most of the original generation Minikeums were modelled after with maybe the exception of Gérard Depardieu and Zinedine Zidane, while the likes of Kev Adams and Norman Thavaud are well known by late 2010s kids. Also, Keva and Normy being respectively based on the (currently) most popular comedic actor among children and teens and a web video creator who's also popular among the same demographic instead of old-school actors or TV hosts speaks volumes about the show wanting to appeal to nowadays' French youth.


Video Example(s):


Les Minikeums

When Normy's robotic postman throws a box away, it ends up landing on Keva's head, who winds up with yet another bump on his head.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CranialEruption

Media sources: