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  • Eye Prefer Paris is an ex-New Yorker's insider's guide to Paris. Richard Nahem writes his blog from his fabulous 18th century apartment in the fashionable Marais district of Paris

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A French I Love Lucy?


Imagine that Lucy is now French, Ricky is American, and they live in the house from the Dick Van Dyke Show. 

It seems a little far-fetched but it’s almost true. A few nights ago, I was fishing around on You Tube, and something came up about a TV show called “Angel” from 1960, shot in black and white. The premise of the show is how a sparkly French gal marries a straight-laced American guy and how they both deal with their cultural and language differences in a lively and comedic way. 

In the first episode we find the bright-eyed Angelique Smith (of course, her married name) played by French actress Annie Farget, cooing up to her all-American husband John Smith, played by the tall and handsome Marshall Thompson. They discuss the logistics of giving their first dinner party as a newly married couple, and John asks if Angelique is nervous about entertaining their guests and if she has “butterflies”, as in butterflies in her stomach. She doesn’t understand the meaning of butterflies, and then cutely says “I’ll put them on my grocery list”. Another funny routine is when she is trying to better her English and to figure out how to pronounce words with “ough” at the end and stumbles each time there’s a different way of pronouncing ough, including the words enough, through, cough, and bough. Similar to Lucy in nature, Angelique is animated but has a short temper, frequently losing her cool in a childlike way. 

In the next scene Angelique goes market shopping and has a humorous altercation about buying a melon with a Frenchman who works at the fruit and vegetable station. 

The dinner party, consisting of two middle-aged couples, is an unbridled success, as the husbands ogle over Angelique’s cooking and personality and the wives are impressed with her ease and grace.

I won’t tell you more about the plot, as not to spoil it to for you but the dinner party goes almost too well, and the war of the sexes ensues, where the women gang up on the men to get back at them, and it later blows up in Angelique’s face. 

Angel was created and produced by Jess Oppenheimer, who was the head writer, and what Lucille Ball called the brains behind “I Love Lucy”. You can see the I Love Lucy stamp and style all over Angel, with hallmarks such as the outlandish antics, site-gags, physical humor, and classic comedic timing. The style of filming, the laugh track, and the musical score (by Wilbur Hatch who scored I Love Lucy) is also similar. Oppenheimer also cast some familiar faces from I Love Lucy, including Doris Singleton, who played Carolyn Appleby, Lucy’s arch enemy.

Unfortunately, Angel only ran for one season, but there are 33 episodes to enjoy. 

Episodes of Angel are available on You Tube.

If you watch Angel, let me know if you laughed out loud like I did. 





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