Têtes à claques
Type of site
|Created by||Michel Beaudet|
|Alexa rank||238,960 (April 2014[update])|
|Launched||16 August 2006|
Têtes à claques is a French-language humour website created on 16 August 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 December 2017, there are 290 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.
In 2010, Mondo Mini Shows has picked up the English version of Têtes à claques and broadcasting it under the name TAC.
In January 2016, a release of its second English version, Knuckleheads. It was partly remastered to make jokes understandable for the English speaking 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 all of the episodes.
Beaudet has said that "Têtes à claques was an accident." He was originally trying to make a short video 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 by hand, but because he was "too lazy", he decided to record his own face and superimpose his eyes and mouth on the figurines.
From late 2007 to 2010, Beaudet received 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. In 2008, Vertigo Candy used Beaudet's animation and voice talent as advertising on their front page.
On 12 November 2006, Beaudet 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 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 14 August 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". Dinsmore was chosen by Beaudet because he was similar to him in many ways from looks to the eyes, so the barrier would not be affected as not many people would tell the difference between the two actors except for the language. Beaudet still performs the voices of some of the characters (Captain Cooper, Raoul and a fast food drive-in worker). The shorts were reanimated and translated to English for better humor and quality for English speaking audiences; for example, the Super Bol has been reanimated to Beat the Buzzer. Mondo Media picked up the show under the name TAC.TV and as of now, 31 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) 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 English-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 nearly 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 the English speaking 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 Characters
- Raoul Robideux
- Lucien and Monique
- Uncle Ted
- Captain Cooper
- Co-Pilot Dwayne
- Gabriel and Samuel
- Jimmy and Ray
- "Tetesaclaques.tv Site Info". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
- Michel Beaudet (2007). "FAQ". tetesaclaques.tv (in French). Archived from the original on 7 January 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
- TVA (2006). "Michel Beaudet Interview". Interview (in French). Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
- Guy A. Lepage, Michel Beaudet (12 November 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. Archived from the original on 10 May 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
- Têtes à claques. "Boutique Têtes à claques DVD-Volume 1" (in French). Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- Montreal Gazette (2008). "Now in Hinglish". Archived from the original on 17 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.