Têtes à claques
Type of site
|Created by||Michel Beaudet|
|Alexa rank||238,960 (April 2014[update])|
|Launched||August 16, 2006|
Têtes à claques is a French-language humour website created on August 16, 2006. Over one million short videos are watched per day, making it one of the most popular francophone websites in Quebec (and eventually Canada as a whole). As of March 2011, there are 184 videos. The most popular of these include Le pilote, Le Willi Waller, and Halloween.
The creator, Michel Beaudet, has expressed surprise at the popularity of his site, saying it has reached an audience he never anticipated.
As of 2010, Mondo Mini Shows has picked up the English version of Têtes à claques and broadcasting it under the name TAC.
In December 2015 a release of its second English version, Knuckleheads, was announced to come out by January 2016. It was partly remastered to make jokes understandable for the North American audience (for example, the Prime Minister was made similar to Stephen Harper).
The skits feature characters sculpted from modelling clay that are fairly simplistic. Michel Beaudet creates the figures himself, by superimposing his own moving eyes, mouth, and sometimes nose on their faces with a computer. In addition, Beaudet has a set of fake, grotesque teeth, which he puts in while his face is being filmed. The phrase tête à claques translates loosely as "a face so ugly, you want to slap it".
The site has also become very popular in France, not only because of the intentional humour and wit, but also because of a stereotypical Quebec accent. This differs greatly from pronunciations used in France, and thus provides its own humour, in addition to the frequent anglicisms (English words or expressions inserted into speech).
The site features a page for mobile phones that presents snippets of episodes.
Beaudet has said that "Têtes à claques was an accident." He was originally trying to make a series using stop motion animation, but quickly discovered that "90% of the time it takes to animate is spent moving the eyes and mouth." He tried doing it the regular way, but because he was "too lazy", he decided to film his own face and superimpose his eyes and mouth on the figurines.
Every day, Beaudet receives new offers from telephone companies and television stations. Incidentally, the first offer was from a French, not Canadian company. The popularity has surged to the point that Beaudet has employed two other people, Simon Parizeau and Hugo Caron, to help with the production at his home in Boucherville. Work is underway to convert Têtes à claques to formats viewable on cell phones and iPods. Currently, Vertigo Candy is using Beaudet's animation and voice talent as advertising on its front page.
On November 12, 2006, the creator appeared on the Quebec television show Tout le monde en parle (Everyone's Talking About It) hosted by Guy A. Lepage. He noted many employers have blocked access to the site because it has become so popular that workers were watching it during the day. Numerous schools across Canada have blocked access to the site, mostly for its heavy use of mature language and swearing.
In 2007, Têtes à claques started pre-sales of its Region 1 DVDs. The DVD includes the first 45 clips, the history of Têtes à claques, character bios, and English, Quebec French and international French subtitles.
On August 14, 2008, the beta version of the new bilingual "Têtes à claques" website was launched. Beaudet has recently admitted that making English versions of the comedy shorts is in his "game plan". As of August 2008, Têtes à claques started producing videos in English.
The first English version of most dialogues is interpreted by Canadian voiceover actor Bruce Dinsmore best known for the classic PBS series "Arthur". Bruce was chosen by the creator because he was similar to him in many ways from looks to the voices; so the barrier would not be affected as no one would tell the difference between the two actors except for one difference; the language. The creator Michel Beaudet still performs the voices of some of the main characters (the pilot and Raoul and a fast food drive-in worker). Also, some shorts were reanimated and translated to English for better humor and quality for English speaking audiences; for example, the Super Bol II has been reanimated to Beat the Buzzer. Mondo Media picked up the show under the name TAC.TV and as of now, 40 translated episodes are in English. Also, Le Willi Waller sketches have the products renamed because the episodes were produced later than when the product was made for example Willi Waller 2006 becomes the Willi Waller Gold Edition and the LCD Shovel 2007 becomes the LCD Shovel Full HD because it was produced in 2008, later than 2006 or 2008. Some fans complain that the jokes are meaningless since one of the main purposes of the series is to poke fun of the Quebecois accent which the English version did not follow. Others appreciated the translated jokes having some good humor and non-French speaking viewers could now understand and watch the videos.
The second English version, entitled Knuckleheads, featured remastered episodes of full 22-minute Têtes à claques episodes (most of them now animated with CG and After Effects). Canadian actor Joe Cobden interpreted all of the dialogue and has played all of the characters in each cartoon. This English version was developed by Toronto-based playwright Bobby Theodore. Just like TAC.tv, Knuckleheads' made several edits and changes to make jokes understandable for North American audiences. They also made numerous name changes, even some different from TAC.tv such as the famous used character Uncle Tom now renamed as Uncle Ted (possibly to avoid any racial issues). The series finally premiered on Adult Swim Canada on January 2016, making it the first time Têtes à claques aired on English-speaking television.
List of shorts
This is the complete list of Têtes à Claques shorts in order of appearance, since the first broadcast August 16, 2006...
- "Tetesaclaques.tv Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- Michel Beaudet (2007). "FAQ". tetesaclaques.tv (in French). Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- TVA (2006). "Michel Beaudet Interview". Interview (in French). Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- Guy A. Lepage, Michel Beaudet (12 Nov 2006). Tout le monde en parle (TV-Series) (in French). Boucherville, QC: Radio-Canada.
- "Bell Canada first to give Canadians a laugh with the Têtes à claques phenomenon". 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
- Têtes à claques. "Boutique Têtes à claques DVD-Volume 1" (in French). Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- Montreal Gazette (2008). "Now in Hinglish". Retrieved 2008-08-16.