“I won’t support a candidate that half the voters call a whore.”
Ouch. Things are not looking too bien for the nascent Visage campaign now the news about Anne and the Pres is out. There’s definitely something to be said about the hypocrisy of this: nobody’s calling Dead Pierre any names, although he was the one who was married and cheating, and our angry PR men both seem to view Deleuvre’s secret love in a much more humane (if slightly incredulous, because nobody can quite believe Deleuvre loves anybody or anything other than himself) light than Anne’s, but, as ever, the woman is the one who gets the public villification for the illicit sex.
Plus ça change.
In what seems like a missed opportunity to me, though, neither the hypocrisy nor the villification is explored in any detail; Simon (a married man who also had an affair, but it’s apparently ok for him) throws a bit of a strop at first but, like most of Simon’s strops, they’re more about what he thinks he’s owed, rather than anything else. He soon settles down, remembers he’s pretty close with Mrs Dead Pierre (no slouch in the political operative department, herself), organises a photo op so obvious it practically has a giant neon sign above it et voila! The Visage is back on track.
Crisis number un averted, then, the focus then snaps back to securing the support of some fellow called Petitjean and, I think, the Centrist (?) Party, with Bruiser Palissy doing a bit of horse-trading with Ministerial appointments and such, because France might well need a new visage (a very simple joke which the terrible subtitles still manage, unbelievably, to ruin), but French politics, it would seem, still involves a lot of old tricks. One of which Palissy himself falls for far too easily, causing crisis number deux.
To his credit, though, Palissy refuses to buckle to blackmail, calling the PM’s slimy ssidekick all sorts of names which make me chuckle, before Simon steps in with a little blackmail of his own, because principles only take a person so far. This in turn gives us the only scene Bruno Wolkowitch and Gregory Fitoussi share all ep – a fun, but exceptionally old-school, and therefore presumably more symbolic than definitive, exchange of incriminating photographs on a bridge. I mean, these cutting-edge political operatives know about digital files and electronic copies and whatnot, right?
It’s a good scene, though, and interestingly, there’s more than a hint of regret on both sides at the compromises they’re making and damage they’re doing in the process. In fairness to Simon, this is the one time I actually believe what he says is rooted in genuine human decency. Ludo’s regret, however, is clearly rooted in annoyance at having to swallow another defeat in a battle he thinks he could and should have won.
While the men jostle for top-dog status, meanwhile, the women have a mixed time of it. Ironically, given how the ep begins, Anne ends up having quite the successful week: once AffairGate blows over, she bounces back, courtesy of the world’s weepiest speechwriter, with a barnstorming state of the campaign address and the Centrist (?) Party safely tucked up in her back poche. Apolline, meanwhile, is hot on the trail of the missing witness to the “state falsehood” (FFS), but the police and now Ludo, also thanks presumably to the world’s weepiest speechwriter, are hot on her trail too, so Dieu only knows what’ll happen if/ when she gets to Mali. And as for the world’s weepiest speechwriter herself, well, the supremely irritating Valentine gets all teary and clingy at the office, teary and clingy at Anne’s big event, and teary and clingy on the phone to the exasperated Ludo who invents a new lover without breaking stride. “Is she good?” weeps the pathetic Valentine. “Yes.” is the cruel but also quite funny answer. Get a HOLD of yourself, girlfriend.
Bafflingly, though, all the crying actually seems to work for her as she manages to seduce both Simon and Ludo in the same ep, a feat which is both highly impressive and thoroughly depressing because FFS, can’t these two geniuses see she is the WORST? It’s also, obviously, very French-tv, which, at the moment, is probably Spin’s defining characteristic.
The show’s not quite as sharp or as smart as I thought it would be as yet (although I still think the clumsy sub-titling has much to do with that), and, as I said last week, it does seem oddly old-fashioned, but it’s reasonably entertaining, looks absolutely stunning and Gregory Fitoussi’s in it, so I’m enjoying it nonetheless.