Interview with Beatrice Fournera, Co-writer of the French TV Series WorkinGirls

November 20, 2013 | By French Culture

Beatrice Fournera is one of the co-writers of the French TV series WorkinGirls (Canal + / Gazelle et Cie-Groupe Elephant). The first season of the series has been nominated this year for an International Emmy Award, which will take place here in New York City on Monday, November 25. WorkinGirls is based on the Dutch series Toren C, and takes a funny, absurd, but also surprising unfiltered, look at the lives of young women. The show has been warmly received by critics and audiences alike for its honest, humorous portrayal of the lives of working women today.  Fournera sat down to talk with French Culture in advance of the International Emmy ceremony. 

Do you see WorkinGirls as part of a new breed of comedies showing girls in a very raw but still funny way, like Bridesmaids or Girls?

I feel really proud to be compared to Kristen Wiig and Lena Dunham whom I am a very big fan of! For sure, the time has come to show that real women don't always wear stilettos and perfect nail polish. And we are sorry if we break a promise but we do fart from time to time! 

I think it is very refreshing to show women in real life like in Bridesmaids or Girls, although, we may be much more caricatured in WorkinGirls. 

But above all, it is very exciting to have a new area to explore.

When did you watch the original Dutch version for the first time ? In what ways did you try to stay true to the original and in what ways did you deviate?

I think the producer Gaëlle Cholet showed us Toren C in 2009... We were stunned by how far the two comedians- who are also the writers - were going. There are gags that you don't see anywhere else.  And that is really what we keep in mind while writing. The original series is a sketch show and the two authors are playing multiple characters. We decided to choose 6 of them as recurrent characters.

We keep a lot of their gags but adapted them for a French audience. As I was saying earlier Toren C and WorkinGirls are very caricatural. Caricature is about writing around one or two big traits.

Now, in the Dutch version the authors are not really playing anymore with the characters we chose to pick. So the issue for us- as we have just finished the 3rd season-  is to try to add empathy to our characters and therefore we are starting to have more storylines than in the original series.

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