16 December 2005

Better with Butter?

Rachel and I went to see a movie a couple of days ago. I'm not sure what was better: temporarily losing myself in a Hollywood story, or eating a vat of popcorn and washing it down with a bottle of Coke. But, as is the case with most things I do here, this little excursion proved to be yet another learning experience in French culture.

Rachel and I both ordered popcorn, though she had the self-restraint not to get a carbonated beverage to accompany it. As I paid for my tasty treats, Rachel tasted the popcorn and immediately asked, "Est-ce que vous avez de beurre?" ("Do you have butter?" -- apologies, Rachel, if my indefinite article is wrong!) The woman at the counter gave us both a really odd look, and said no. So, the lesson of the day: the French don't butter popcorn.

The next afternoon, while chatting with Isabelle, I decided to verify this apparent new discovery. Not only did she confirm it, but she was rather disgusted to learn that we would put any butter on our popcorn, much less extra butter like so many people love to do. She was quick to point out that this would be very unhealthy and "très gras" (very greasy), which I confirmed with a contented, wistful sigh. Of course, I added, it's probably not real butter, but some version of margarine. I know, that doesn't improve my case in any way, but I wanted to be clear that we don't typically use real butter like they do exclusively around here.

Geez, it's no wonder more Americans than French are obese.

In far more exciting news, tonight is the big finale of Star Academy 5! Finally, we will learn the answer to the question on the tip of everyone's tongue: "Who is the most mediocre of mediocre French singers this year?" It's down to one boy, Jérémy, and one girl, Magalie. (In this version of American Idol, they have two semi-final shows to pick a girl winner and a boy winner, rather than letting either gender fill the top two spots.)

Everyone already knows the answer to this big question, though. Jérémy is going to win. It's a bit of a scandal that Magalie has gotten this far, since she's (unfortunately) referred to under everyone's breath as the "fat chick." She's NOT fat, but she's not super-skinny like all of the other female contestants. In a lot of respects, it's refreshing that the viewers of Star Ac' picked her in spite of her less-than-anorexic appearance.

Tonight, however, Magalie faces the heartthrob of the competition. There's just no way she'll be able to compete with teenage girl hormones. Plus, Jérémy was allowed to bring his dog on the show a couple of weeks ago, and how can you go wrong with a dog?

In the end, however, it doesn't really matter who wins. Neither one of them will be a success outside of France unless they have some kind of weird accident that gives them the ability to sing better than they already do. And, even if that happens, they need better songwriters than they'll find in France, so it's a lost cause. Nevertheless, they are guaranteed lots of radio time here, since the French government requires French music to be played 40% of the time on the airwaves.

Too bad we don't have some buttered popcorn to eat while we watch the grand showdown tonight...


As is the case with most things French, I was wrong about Star Ac's outcome tonight. Magali won by a healthy margin (57 percent of the vote), much to my surprise. Also adding to my surprise was the person selected to give the award: Mariah Carey. Yes, the same Mariah Carey that first split our eardrums back in 1990 with notes that make Didge cringe to think about them. Apparently, she thought that eating a tub of extra-buttery popcorn would help her repeat the French phrases being piped into her earpiece because she looked ... well, tubby. As for her French ... a parrot could have done a better job. Heck, I could have done a better job!

So, congrats to Magali, though I doubt sincerely that she is a fan of my humble little blog. She won Star Ac' and lost 30 to 40 pounds in the process. All in all, a good job for four months' work, n'est-ce pas?


At 16/12/05 22:12, Blogger Lazy Susan said...

French music is rather unique. We do have some good stuff though, Johnny somebody, I think. A French neighbor made us a tape. He is sort of a young Elvis type.

Are the women on French tv skinny? I didn't watch tv there. I did notice that the women on the street were neither skinny nor chubby. They looked normal and healthy to me. I felt too skinny, except for my shoes which felt fat and clumsy on French soil.


At 18/12/05 02:24, Blogger Linda said...

Don't be too hard on Mariah. I'm pretty sure that her "fat" was purchased at an expensive salon in Beverly Hills and skillfully slipped under her pectoral muscles. I think that she needed that fat, or "phat" as they currently describe it, in order to reach the "dogs only" note. She is simply a walking advertisement for The Doppler Effect. Yep...her I.Q. is estimated at 245!!!!

Sabra's Mom


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