Parlement, the 2020 TV series

Somewhat late to the party, we've been watching the first series of Parlement, a comedy set in and around the European Parliament. Here's a trailer:

It is the story of Samy (Xavier Lacaille), a naive young French chap, who comes to Brussels in early 2019 to work for Michel Specklin (Philippe Duquesne), a French MEP who has been successfully practicing invisibility for years, and is appalled when Samy lands him with responsibility for fisheries legislation banning shark finning. British parliamentary staffer Rose (Liz Kingsman) steals every scene she is in. Here she and German staffer Torsten (Lucas Englander) put Samy right about the nice Swedish girl (Elvira Tröger) who he has just met.

Here is Samy's disastrous attempt to get his boss to role-play a confrontation with their group's adviser, the sinister Maurice:

Meanwhile Rose's Brexity boss (Jane Turner) is trying to solve the Irish border issue (this was still 2019). My friend Jennifer makes a cameo appearance as the reporter at the end.

Here's the opening of the ninth episode, which catches the surrealism of the Strasbourg buildings:

It's a sitcom, but it's rooted in reality. My own most vigorous lobbying of the European Parliament in my almost 23 years in Brussels was also on a fisheries issue, and I winced with recognition at several of the scenes, to the point where I wondered if the writers had been standing behind me taking notes back in 2011. The most egregious variation from real life that I noted was the lobbyist who argues for one side of the issue in an early episode and for the other side in a later episode – not because this never happens, but because Samy and his friends find out by consulting the Transparency Register, which is not usually updated in real time. I would add that the European Parliament staff in the show are more ethnically diverse and less Eastern European than in real life. But speaking of real life, Pascal Lamy, a fomer European Commissioner (and Director-General of the World Trade Organization) turns up a couple of times playing himself.

I have no idea how one could get hold of it in other countries, but it's well worth hunting down. Apparently there is now a second series as well. Also Liz Kingsman is doing a one-woman show in London these days, and if I can possibly catch it I will do so.

One thought on “Parlement, the 2020 TV series

  1. If you did not make it through Downbelow Station…

    I rather liked it, but I understand your point.

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