"An alleged political comedy": how the series "Parliament" goes behind the scenes of the European institutions

“An alleged political comedy”: how the series “Parliament” goes behind the scenes of the European institutions

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The timing was well thought out. It is on the occasion of Europe Day this Monday, May 9, that the series Parliament returns for a new season. This fiction tells the adventures of Sami Cantor (Xavier Lacaille), a young parliamentary assistant. In the first season, he very naively discovered the mysteries of the European Parliament by defending a text to ban shark finning. Two years have passed and Sami changes employers in the Season 2 intro. He leaves the incompetent Michel. Specklin, a hidden French parliamentarian played by Philippe Duquesne, will join Valentine’s office. Cantel, an ambitious newly elected MEP.

We won’t tell you more about the twists and turns of Season 2, which generally offers an even deeper dive into the European institutions. The director of the series, Noé Debré, explains to us how the success of season 1 (2.5 million views on the France.tv Slash platform) allowed him to push the political side of this comedy for this successful sequel.

A shoot in the Parliament of Strasbourg

This is one of the highlights of this season 2 of Parliament. After the success of the first episodes, Noé Debré and his team had the approval of the European parliamentarians to shoot the continuation of Sami’s adventures at the European Parliament headquarters in Strasbourg (although the series takes place in Brussels).

“We shot the first season mainly in the Committee of the Regions, an annex to the European Parliament in Brussels. Strasbourg is a big playground. We shot last summer in the middle of the parliamentary recess. It was empty, so we were able to do a little bit of what we wanted. We were frustrated filming in Brussels, because we were in a very small building and we couldn’t really show the vastness of the parliament.”says Noah Debre.

A focus on new institutions

In season 1, the viewer follows Sami’s apprenticeship as a parliamentary assistant. When he arrives in Brussels, the young Frenchman knows nothing about how the European Parliament works. Thanks to his bagou, he quickly meets characters who explain to him -as well as on camera- the functioning of the institution and the balance of power that exists there.

In the opening episode of season 1, the Italian lobbyist Guido Bonafide thus explains to Sami what the mission of an MEP is. “A regulation is like a law. We call it a regulation, so as not to offend national parliaments. And your deputy’s job is to propose changes to this law.”.

“A regulation is like a law. We call it a regulation so as not to offend national parliaments”

Guido Bonafide, Italian lobbyist

In season 2, director Noé Debré and screenwriters Maxime Calligaro, Pierre Dorac and Lily Lambert focus on the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. After getting MPs to vote on his amendment on a shark finning ban, Sami must actually defend his amendment during tripartite meetings between representatives of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and Parliament.

“Because we managed to get people interested in the European Parliament, we told ourselves that we had to continue. In season 2, we follow the negotiations between the Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. So that Sami would have the amendment from him. voted in season 1, the legislative process is not over. We wanted to take an interest in that to dig into Season 1 and not start over with the same pattern.”points to Noé Debré.

A more assumed political comedy

The strong point of Parliament, is to be very funny. In season 1, the humor of the dialogues is the means used by the scriptwriters to interest the viewers in the European institutions.

“In the first season, we were afraid that the series would not be interesting, so we pushed the comedy side to hook people. But I found that in season 1, the negotiation scenes were very successful. In season 2 , we moved on. these scenes. I decided to take on more to make a political comedy.”Noé Debré smiles.

If the slider is pushed for a bit more realism, Parliament It’s still a comedy with crazy scenes. This is good, because MEPs have a lot of humor according to Noé Debré. “People who work in the institutions say to themselves that they work in the ‘bubble’. There is some vertigo, because MEPs make decisions that impact millions of citizens. And at the same time, they are “quite unknown” to imagine problems all day like French politicians, they are less rigid in the way they communicate with the media and there is a lot of humor in parliament”. judge the manager

The episodes of season 2 of the series. Parliament are broadcast every Monday night at 9 pm on France 5 starting this Monday, May 9. Both seasons are available in their entirety and free of charge on the france.tv Slash platform.

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