Les Bougon - c'est aussi ça la vie!
was a popular Quebec sitcom
broadcast by Radio-Canada
, written by François Avard
and Jean-François Mercier
and produced by Fabienne Larouche
. The show won three Gémeaux
in 2004. The show aired its first episode January 7
and its last episode on April 17
The show follows the antics of the Bougon family, who have sworn to do anything they can to cheat the system. They plan all sorts of schemes to scam money out of normal citizens and businesses, which are easily accomplished thanks to their many accomplices, who are just as crooked as they are.
The brains of the family. His current lifestyle is the result of being disillusioned after attempting to denounce illegal trafficking at the harbour where he worked, only to be told to keep quiet by his union, his bosses and the judicial system. Ever since, he has taken an openly defiant attitude against the rules of good citizenship and expects his family to follow suit.
Paul's vulgar, alcoholic, chain-smoking wife. Although she spends a minimum amount of time cooking and cleaning, she maintains an unconditional love for her family and adopts the same defiant attitude as her husband. She has no qualms about doing whatever she wants no matter how appropriate or inappropriate the behaviour.
As the aspiring star of the family, obese Junior fervently puts his father's teachings into action and attempts to do the most outrageous stunts he can think of. While he is a successful crook, he has little education and culture, and his lifestyle doesn't appeal to the women he attempts to attract. Multiple times he has shown his lack of common sense, logic and reading ability, and often missuses words to funny effect. He also lacks a sense of social decorum, burping in the face of anyone, even women he's attracted to. Despite his idiocy, he has a good heart and is very protective of all the members in his family.
One of the reasons for his lower level of intelligence and his learning difficulties could be the fact that Rita smoked and consumed beer throughout her pregnancy, as she explains later to a pregnant Dolorès.
As the only family member to attempt to get back into the system, he is often the butt of jokes, especially due to his idealist views about the world. His attempts at getting a real job always fall flat as he realizes his co-workers also follow the Bougon lifestyle. He is constantly disappointed that people are not as honest as he would like to believe they are. Throughout the series, he consistently fails at most things he attempts such as finding and keeping a job --- he usually gets fired for being too "good" --- or even trying to commit suicide
. Despite how much the family dislikes him, they still manage to show him their affection at appropriate times, such as when Paul, after reading his suicide note, scolds him and tells him "he won't take away his only brother".
A low dollar prostitute, she is several years older than Junior. She has a reputation for bringing work home after her shift; a running gag is that she's always followed by a different man (or, on one occasion, a woman) as she comes out of her bedroom each morning. Easily swayed by instant pleasure and gratification, she sometimes deals drugs behind her parents' back, but is discovered the two critical times she's had any. She also once joined a cult
, which she was brainwashed to think was a religious group that believed in the "srevinu;" the universe's mirror. In the end, it was nothing more than a sex-based sect, from which Paul and Rita managed to get her out of. Out of all the family members, she's one of the least supportive, often replying with bad temper to distress calls from her siblings, such as when Junior told her he was going to commit suicide and she yelled out whether she was the only normal member of the family.
An adopted Chinese child who was considered an investment by the family. They believed an Asian kid would know about computers, hacking and the Internet. Mao loves the family and considers their lifestyle to be nothing but a big, fun game. She skips school to take part in her siblings' escapades. During the first season, Mao was thought to be a boy, but during that season's final episode, it was learned that she is a girl. We learn in the second season that she was lovingly adopted by Paul Bougon when he worked the night shift in the Port of Montréal. One night, he heard moaning and gasping from a ship container arriving from China and discovered 15 Chinese stowaway refugees dying or dead from asphyxiation and starvation. Mao's mother was still alive when Paul delivered the girl but died seconds after giving birth. Paul brought the infant home and raised her as his own child.
"Pépère" to the immediate family, until his death in 2004
. He never spoke, in fact spending all his time in a wheelchair in a state of vegetation
, usually hunched over, eyes nearly always closed, mumbling incomprehensibly.
The straitlaced landlord
of the duplex
occupied by the Bougons is constantly aggravated by their shenanigans
. More than once, he has attempted to sell the house just to evict them.
Ben Laden, the family pet
A little dusty white dog (name derived from Osama Bin Laden)
who isn't really appreciated by anyone but Paul Senior. He is permitted to do pretty much whatever he wants, whether eating on the counters or drinking beer. He understands human speech; he growls at Fred for having referred to Ben Laden negatively in his TV scripts.