France's Satirical Show, Les Guignols de l'Info, Comes to an End

Les Guignols de l'Info

Les Guignols de l'Info has come to a close after being on the air since 1988, or for almost thirty years, the telegraph reports. CanalPlus's managing director of channels, Gérald-Brice Viret, informed the staff of the show's cancellation, noting that there would be no season 30 after the summer break in television programming. The staff will likely strike, in retaliation.

The French satirical show aired on the premium cable channel since its inception and featured latex puppets that parodied notable figures, from former United States president George W. Bush to German chancellor Megan Merkel. The show was inspired by Britain's Spitting Image, which aired from 1984 to 1996. When Les Guignols de l'Info first started out, it was Les Arènes de l'info (News Arena, in English), though it did not follow the daily news. Seems ironic. When the Gulf War of 1990 became a hot topic in the media, however, the show changed its satirical focus to current events, which caused their popularity to go on the rise. They were able to contend with other similar programming, even causing Le Bébête Show (The Beastie Show, in English), another satire puppet show, to fold in 1995.

Controversial in nature, the show, which is only about ten minutes long, had created a lineup of recognizable puppets (or parodies). Some became popular and even recurring; Monsieur Sylvestre, who was known as Comanndant Sylvestre during the Gulf War, was a parody of American movie star, Sylvester Stallone. The character was made into various versions that epitomized corporate greed in developed countries and the loud, arrogant depiction of Americans. Vincent Bollore, the chairman of CanalPlus who's worth billions, was also a target of the show's satire a few years ago. He tried to end the show for its excessive mockery, though to no avail. Jacques Chirac, France's president from 1995 to 2007, was also puppet-parodied as an incompetent, somewhat likable official who had a thing for Corona beers and stole public money. The puppet's alter ego was Super Menteur or Super Liar and he had the ability to tell undetectable lies. His archenemy, Ultra Menteur or Ultra Liar, was the only one who could out-do him, and he was a parody of Charles Pasqua, a former French politician.

Les Guignols de l'Info served as inspiration for other shows, such as Kenya's The XYZ Show, Spain's Las noticias del guinol and Russia's Puppets.

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