A French Gender Bender live-action series. Yep, this thing exists. It's a low-budget, very obscure series that aired in 2004 and 2005 in France. A rare curiosity, that is. The show lasted two seasons of 13 episodes each.
Thomas is an Ordinary High-School Student who, after being struck by an electric arc in a laboratory while his friends (Aude, Marc, Laurent and Nath) were protesting some experiments on animals, finds out he turns into a girl every time he hits the scar on his elbow. The duration of each transformation appears uncontrollable at first. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues. Thankfully for him, the transformations are not instantaneous, so he usually has some time to find a safe place where he can change, when it happens.
While in female form, he takes the identity of Emmanuelle in season 1, then Julia in season 2, after a change in how the transformation works.
Sadly, the series is now only available in Bulgarian on Youtube (which means that even French-speaking people can't understand it!) in addition of being Out of Order and not even being present in its entirety. Thankfully, for French speakers, it's still possible to get information about the series here and here.
This show provides examples of:
- Accidental Pervert: Subverted once when Thomas manages to turn back into a girl before being caught as a male, during a Slumber Party. Also once, his transformation having been activated by accident, Thomas has no choice but to change in a locker room. He chooses the girls'. Hilarity Ensues.
- Alliterative Title
- All Therapists Are Muggles: In one episode, Emmanuelle transforms back into Thomas while wearing girl clothes, and he's seen by his parents as such. They take him to a psychologist to investigate what's going wrong with him. The psychologist initially believes Thomas just has dreams where he turns into a girl, until he actually transforms in front of her. This does not end well.
- Animated Outtakes: in the style of Lizzie McGuire, very brief segments showing Thomas (sometimes other characters) in Super-Deformed style, living short cartoony experiences matching their emotional states. Note that the animated characters are supposed to represent the inner thoughts of the live-action characters, so that's why animated Thomas stands in for Emmanuelle and Julia when they appear on-screen.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: In-universe, several male characters (including Thomas' best friend, Marc) fall in love with Emmanuelle and/or Julia.
- The Aughts
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Emmanuelle in an episode, in an unusual way (ultimately downplayed or subverted, though).
- Depending on the Writer: Each writer duo has their own style. The Belland-Paoletti duo wrote the introductory episodes, as well as other, rather conventional episodes that exploit the main premise reasonably well. The Reznikoff-Ducassou episodes show Thomas and his female stand-ins interacting with groups of people, with his secret being at stake. The Boda-Mars duo wrote the more obviously Ranma ½-influenced episodes, and the rest is more Drama- or Black Comedy-oriented. And that's just the first season.
- Different for Girls: Implied, because French is a gendered language, so men and women use different forms of the adjectives to refer to themselves. This doesn't seem to be brought up that often (if at all) in the series, though.
- Expy: The characters of Justin and Aude are clearly based off Secret Keeper s Annie Mack and Ray Alvarado respectively, from the series The Secret World of Alex Mack; one being a Teen Genius sibling of the main character, while the other one is his opposite-sex closest friend. Possibly also Bastien, who, in the episode he appears in, fills a role that is quite similar to that of Tatewaki Kuno (except he's a rather mundane soccer player and a one-shot character).
- Freak Lab Accident
- Gender Bender
- Gender-Bender Friendship: Thomas attempts this on his crush Ally, first as Emmanuelle then as Julia in season 2. It eventually turns out she's a pretty manipulative person.
- First Law of Gender-Bending: Thomas is a guy turning into a girl. He never manages to get rid of his "curse" (as he himself calls it once).
- Second Law of Gender Bending / Third Law of Gender Bending: Heavily downplayed (if not downright averted at first), and more apparent in season 2, where Thomas seems to be more accepting of the change.
- Jerk Jock: Bastien
- Lightning Can Do Anything
- Long Hair Is Feminine: Emmanuelle and Julie both have long hair.
- Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Downplayed. Emmanuelle waits until Episode 2 to do this, and we only see her looking at her breasts by glimpsing inside her shirt. Not much else is shown, probably because of the intended audience (teenagers) and to maintain content ratings low.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Thomas' personality remains the same, but he grows more accustomed to his female side by the end of the series.
- Secret Keeper: As mentioned above, Justin and Aude. Marc becomes one as well, once he learns that Thomas is a Gender Bender.
- Sobriquet Sex Switch: Subverted: Thomas chooses the names of Emmanuelle in season 1, and Julia in season 2. And unlike in some Japanese works, this is Serious Business here. Note that neither of those names has anything to do with "Thomas"; it's because the female version of the name (Thomasine), while it exists, is very rare, and could have been seen as too cheesy and too obvious as a clue for the main character's identity.
- Strapped to an Operating Table / They Would Cut You Up: Thomas fears that this will eventually happen to him, especially in season 1.
- Surrogate Soliloquy / Mirror Monologue: A variation. Thomas reveals his inner thoughts and comments while talking to his webcam. Sometimes subverted, as his brother Justin does appear in the field of the camera a few times.
- Transformation Ray: A bit literal in this case, but note that the first transformation is even less instantaneous than the other ones: Thomas realizes he's changed into a girl only the next day when he wakes up.
- What Could Have Been: The original version had Thomas transforming with a very specific cell phone ringing that was in fashion at the time in-universe. And all of it because of sex-changing shrimps.