Extr@: the show for those learning French / Spanish / English / German Extra
Understanding Spoken French in TV shows or movies was always very difficult for me and I was recommended this show that was a Friend’s like sitcom for those who are learning the language to start off and train my ear. I wasn’t feeling too hopeful but I looked it up and checked it out and I have to say it was exactly what I needed.
As mentioned the show was made for people learning french and while you can see some Friends like influences, it’s really its own thing. The premise is that an American named Sam Scott goes to France to visit a friend in France Sasha and there she meets her roommate and neighbor Nico The show does reek of edutainment but in a good way since it’s fun instead of also feeling like a cheap sitcom. It really hits a nice balance.
The characters don’t speak too fast and they don’t use grammar that is too complex nor difficult vocabulary so it’s quite easy to understand most of what they say. At least for me I understood almoste everything but even if you don’t it’s easy to follow the story. They can repeat words but it’s not obnoxious since it usually works int he context of the stories. It’s especially easy if you turn subtitles on.
The plots of the episodes can be rather basic but they work and I had no problem with them, I wasn’t expecting comedy gold here, just a way to get better at French and it does that job wonderfully since the episodes are entertaining enough to get through “practice” instead of it being a chore. While it may seem that most episodes will be standalone, there is continuity and the writing gets better and more complex in other episodes, that’s more than I ever expected from it.
The show does have a small budget as most of the action takes place in only one set which is the apartment, but there are a few other sets that begin to appear in other episodes so it seems that the budget increased a time went on which helped make more complex stories. In the same way you don’t see a lot characters outside of the 4 except on rare occasions in the beginning but as the show goes on it becomes a regular thing and even having reccuring characters.
The show came out in 4 different languages: French, English, Spanish and German. All shows use the same scripts, there are only a few dialog differences when it comes to some jokes that use vocabulary and certain situations. The cool thing is Lars Oostveen who plays Sam Scott plays the same character in the Spanish and German versions but besides that the rest of the cast is all different. I have to admit that we got the ugliest cast of the group in the French version but based on the episodes I saw of the other show, we did get the best actors at the very least. The French version mixes comedy well while the other ones are a lot more goofy because of the acting.
Overall there are only 13 episodes in the shows except for the English version which got 17 more. After the 13 episodes we get some small dialog telling us that all of this happened in one year and who know what else will happen next, luckily we do have an idea of what happened to them. I found this image and I wonder if there was a website for students to interact with back in the day but sadly I couldn’t find any information about it. Bottom line is that it’s a show worth watching if you’re learning French as it really helps you get better at your listening comprehension abilities. To see what was going to happen in the second season click here.
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