Watched a new show, to me at least, on Netflix in keeping with my efforts to watch and review lesser known shows so that, perhaps, you do not have to. The show is a French serial, Dix Pour Cent, English title, Call My Agent!. A comedy-drama, it is the story of a Parisian talent agency, ASK, and the relationships of the agents with each other, their actors and life in general.
When the owner and primary shareholder of the agency, Samuel Kerr (Alain Rimoux) dies whilst on vacation, his widow, Héléne (Gabrielle Forest), turns up at the offices of ASK and informs the remaining agents that she wants to sell her shares in the company to the highest bidder, throwing the future of the agency into turmoil.
An excellent ensemble cast sees most of the characters taking centre stage at various points in the varying stories. If pushed to say who is the central character of the show, I would have to say, Andrea Martel, the complex, driven, sexually aggressive lesbian played by Camille Cottin.
Andrea links most of the main protagonist. Her closest friend and a man whose desire to be a good agent clashes with his moral compass, Gabriel Sarda (Grégory Montel), butts heads with her and comforts her, listens to her.
Camille Valentini (Fanny Sidney) is a young woman from Cannes who turns up at the agency and startles Mathias Barneville (Thibault De Montalembert) one of the leading agents at ASK. He is also the de facto leader after Samuel’s death.
Mathias is cordial toward Camille but seems reluctant to have anyone know that he and she are acquainted. He tries to pay her off so she will go away. Camille instead boldly asks Andrea to employ when her previous assistant walks out unable to take the pressure of working for her anymore. Andrea gives her the job and Camille becomes part of the ASK family.
Arlette Azémar is a longtime talent agent. She smokes too much and brings her dog to work. There is also Hervé André-Jezak (Nicolas Maury), the camp, gossipy assistant to Gabriel, who takes Camille under his wing, even as Noémie Leclerc (Laure Calamy), Mathias’ assistant eyes her with suspicion, having caught her on a couple of occasions in clandestine conversation with Mathias.
I watched the entire first season in two days. With episodes running at just under an hour, three episodes take up a fair chunk of one’s evening. That being said, it is not time that is wasted when it comes to this show.
Even as a non-French speaker and thus forced to read the subtitles – it has not been dubbed into English. Not a massive fan of dubbed shows anyway – I perhaps miss some of the subtleties of the native speech. Having said that, the acting is so good and the characters and stories so compelling that this show is an absolute delight.
With ASK being a fictional Parisian agency, the show still manages to have an air of authenticity by having real actors playing exaggerated versions of themselves as clients of ASK. This, I would think, must be particularly appealing to French viewers, giving the vibe of a peek into their working practices, even if one knows it is scripted.
The show is beautifully shot, utilising the city of Paris without resorting to cliched scenery. There is no Eiffel Tower on view in this show. Fanny Herrero is the brilliant mind that has conceived this show. She is the showrunner and contributes to the writing on the show.
Call My Agent! Is a truly entertaining and brilliant show and I will be watching the second season in between watching all the other Netflix fare that is available. The show almost makes me want to learn French so as to appreciate the nuances of the language. I think I’ll stick with learning Spanish for the moment but I heartily recommend this show. Absolutely worth a few hours of your time.