“Standing Up” (Drôle) has been on Netflix since March 2022, and if you haven’t already watched it, I highly recommend you check it out. Created by Fanny Herrero (who also made “Call my agent!” - Dix Pour Cent), the series follows several aspiring comedians as they try to make it in Paris. Here’s a few reasons why, in my opinion, it’s by far the best French show streaming on Netflix right now.

#1 - The real Paris
I have a deep and long-lasting love for Paris, where I lived for several years in my 20s, and nothing is more infuriating to me than movies and shows that excessively romanticize the French capital (take a hint Emily)! How tourists can travel to Paris and not be disappointed after consuming so much misleading content on the “city of light and love” is beyond me. Because let’s face it, the real Paris, like every big city, is pretty grimy: it’s overwhelmingly busy, there’s not a lot of green space, and well, honestly, it smells like pee in the metro a lot of the time. And I love it! It’s home to me, and I love seeing it represented in a true and realistic way. “Standing Up” does that job, and it’s like seeing a person without makeup: so much more unique and beautiful!

#2 - The talented cast
The four main actors of the show are Younes Boucif (Nezir), Mariama Gueye (Aïssatou), Elsa Guedj (Apolline) and Jean Siuen (Bling). Not only is the entire cast more diverse than French comedy has made us used to, the actors look beautiful and at the same time like you could cross paths with them on the street. Their talent therefore shines through all the more. They are truly an admirable bunch of actors! Several of them come from a theater background (graduates of the “Cours Florent”, a theater school in Paris where many talents begin their career). Mariama Gueye has the longest resume with several shows for French television to her name (La Smala s’en mêle, Prise au piège, Gloria..)

#3 - The thought provoking scenario 
An essential quality in the scenario is the breadth and depth of themes addressed. Indeed this Netflix series is not only about rising comedians and their aspiration for success. Much more importantly, the show is about sex, misogyny, social class, poverty, immigration, race, disability, aging parents, drugs, addiction… The writing is clever and subtle, and will give you much food for thought and emotion.  

I dare anyone who watches the show not to immediately fall in love with Nezir, who is just about the sweetest human being you will ever hope to meet. Far from being one-dimensional, he brings a touching and refreshing presence to the screen, and his love story with Apolline is inspiring for young couples. How about you, what’s your favorite plotline or character?

A dual citizen of France and the USA, Sonia grew up between the Midwest and Brittany. After obtaining her BA in Philosophy and Modern Languages at Oxford University in 2015, she spent several years in Paris, working in classical music and studying voice & opera at the Conservatoire. She moved to Boston in the fall of 2020, where she now performs as a singer. Sonia is thrilled to also be a part of the French Library’s team, where she can put her deep love of French literature to use while working as Librarian.

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