La Petite Vie

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

La Petite Vie (lit. The Small Life) was a French Canadian Sitcom airing in the late 1990s. First born as a comedy routine the two main actors used to perform on tour, the routine was later expanded into a TV show.

The show centers on the highly dysfunctional Paré family, with the elderly Paré parents as the main characters. Moman (Quebec slang for Mom) Paré[1] and Popa (Quebec slang for Pops) Paré are both a retired couple who has long run out of passion in their marriage. Each of them has developed their obsessions that give meaning to their otherwise now boring lives: Mom fusses over her turkeys she cooks, treating them like children, while Pops obsesses over the state of his garbage bags and of his workshop in the basement, which he no longer ever uses. The couple interact with their four children, who are as messed up as they are.

During its peak, La Petite Vie used to be the most watched TV show in Quebec, at one point one out of five Quebecers was watching the show's episodes on their first run. An often remembered prop of the show is the parents' bed, which was laid vertically against a wall. Originally this was used during the stage show so the audience could see the actors, but when the show went to TV, the bed was kept this way to make the show more surreal.

Tropes used in La Petite Vie include:
  • All Men Are Perverts: Réjean.
  • Cloudcuckoolander : Thérèse
  • Doting Parent: Mom for Rod, to the point where despite being in his 40s, Rod still depends on her to do his laundry and cook him meals for the week.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Implied to be Pop's preferred method for raising his kids. Applies to Mom, too, except for her first born, Rod.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Rénald.
  • Jerkass: Réjean and Popa.
  • Parental Neglect: Rénald's conception was accidental. Mom and Pops both freely admit they did as little as they could to raise him. They have only one photo of him as a kid — and it's Rénald hiding behind a tree. Even now the parents are not shy about showing their dislike of him.
  • Revised Ending: The first Christmas special has an ending where Celine Dion shows up. But there is an alternate ending only in audience where Ding et Dong show up instead.
  • Straw Feminist: Caro.
  • Take That Me: Combine with Self-Deprecation. In one episode, the family watched a comedy routine by Ding et Dong, calling them "Those two wierdos" and saying the one with glasses is way too annoying. [2]
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Popa.
  • You Look Familiar: Some actor like Martin Drainville or Luc Guérin played different one shot character.
  1. Played by the same male actor that played her on the comedy tour
  2. For those unaware, La Petite Vie has started as a comedy routine in Ding et Dong and Claude Meunier (Pops' actor) is the one with glasses.