Where Are the Jobs?

The Guignols of Canal + went for the jugular this week, showing no mercy to unpopular French president François Hollande after the catastrophic first round of municipal elections.

In this brilliantly–and painfully–funny bit, the puppet Hollande sings his desperate search for jobs, looking everywhere for them, including in bookcases and under his car. “Emploioutai!” he sings “Jobs where are you?”

Originally broadcast last September, it’s based on the hit song “Papaoutai” by the talented young singer Stromae. In Papaoutai, an angry young boy demands to know where is father is, while his father (the eerily beautiful and strange looking Stromae) sits inhumanely stiff with a fixed and desperate smile on his face. Visually stunning, “Papatoutai” is actually a very sad song about failed fatherhood and disappointed youth.

This Guignols parody hits especially hard for several reasons.

  • Young French kids know – and love – Stromae’s orginal song, so as they watch Hollande’s puppet’s ludicrous search for “jobs” they’re hearing Stromae’s heartbreaking lyrics about an angry boy’s search for a father worthy of the word.
  • Unemployment in France, particularly among the young, continues to rise from an already unbearably high level. If you want a simple, one word explanation to France’s hard right turn, unemployment – and Hollande’s inability to do anything about it – will probably do. So the topic is well chosen.

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