And while some might choose to commemorate the 1789 storming of the Bastille with fancy wine and cheese spreads or by playing “La Marseillaise” on repeat, we’ll be camping out in front of the tube with some of our favorite French TV characters.
You might be surprised to know that there aren’t a whole lot of them, but we’ve come up with 10 who you shouldn’t have a hard time tracking down if your francophone heart wants company.
Here they are, in their mostly fake-accented and cliche name glory:
Luc Laurent (Gilles Marini), “Brothers and Sisters”
Fans of the ABC family soap were probably sad to see the series canceled this year for many reasons — but few give us more pause than the fact that we’ll no longer see Gilles Marini in our home every week. His two-season turn as the kindly french painter held our interest in the show when other storylines failed us.
Michel Gerard (Yanic Truesdale), “Gilmore Girls”
Was it ever established how Michel made it from France to Stars Hollow — or if he was technically French at all? Actor Yanic Truesdale, a Montreal native, certainly didn’t have to try too hard for the accent, but like all aspects of Michel’s life away from the concierge desk, his nationality was cloaked in mystery.
Prince Louis and Eva Coupeau (Hugo Becker and Cl�mence Po�sy), “Gossip Girl”
When “GG” kicked of Season 4, it did it in the only place more stylish
than New York, Paris. And because half of the Upper East Side had
relocated there over the summer, they needed locals to date. (One was
technically from Monaco, but who’s counting?)
Pep� Le Pew, “Looney Tunes”
A caricature so absurd, he could only be a cartoon, Warner Brothers’ animated skunk spent his days wandering the streets of Paris looking for “l’amour” with another skunk. Unfortunately, that almost always ended up with him pursuing Penelope Pussycat, a black cat who had way too many accidents that resulted in her getting a white stripe painted across her back.
Henri-Michel (Henri Lubatti), “The OC”
Not actually French and definitely not an important character, Henri makes the cut just for pushing Taylor (Autumn Reeser) into the arms of Ryan (Ben McKenzie) at the end of the series.
Yes, he’s a monkey. No, he almost certainly wasn’t born in France. But that never stopped him from adding a little multicultural flavor to one of the whitest, most American series of all time.
Danielle Rousseau (Mira Furlan), “Lost”
It’s hard adding new characters to a series about a group of plane crash survivors on a presumably vacant island — so kudos to the “Lost” team for thinking early on that they could introduce a crazy French scientist, just chilling in bunker, to spice things up.
Jean-Paul Pierre Claude Charpentier (Trent Ford), West Wing
This little jerk lasted a whopping six episodes on “WW,” despite the fact that he’s basically responsible for the awful kidnapped Zoey arc — and Ford was simultaneously appearing as Mandy Moore‘s very American love interest in the comically horrendous “How to Deal.”
Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty), “90210”
In Season 3 of the original “90210,” Brenda and Donna (Tori Spelling) went to “Paris,” where Donna’s learning disability prevented her from speaking French… but helped her become a fashion model! Brenda, on the other hand, spoke French so well she that she pretends she is French to win the affections of Dean Cain. Watch her come clean in these three minutes of pure ’90s magic: