Têtes à claques adding English version

After attracting 520 million francophone visitors in two years, the web sensation - which translates to 'Faces you'd love to slap' - is now trying its luck with anglophones.

The creators of the wildly popular Têtes à claques Internet site – the biggest pop culture phenomenon to hit la belle province since the TV talent show Star Academie – are now taking a major risk: launching their satirical online skits en Anglais.

The much-anticipated English version of TAC.tv – which translates to ‘Faces you’d love to slap’ – reached out to the English-speaking world on Aug. 16 with little fanfare, says its creator, former adman Michel Beaudet.

‘When I did the French version, I sent an email to 50 friends. Three months later, it was the most popular French-language site in Canada,’ he explains from his Salambo Productions studio in Montreal. ‘We aren’t making a big deal out of it. The media are waiting for us. Even if we have a quarter of the success we had in French, we will be happy.’

TAC.tv – which spoofs everything from infomercials to flying on commercial airlines – follows the exploits of ugly but oddly compelling clay animated characters with human lips and eyes. Beaudet’s cast of creatures includes a farting frog, a greasy want-to-be playboy and a paranoid, dimwitted airline pilot.

More than 520 million mainly francophone viewers have visited the TAC site since its launch 24 months ago. They include self-declared fan Quebec Premier Jean Charest. The DVD version of the first 45 clips sold 100,000 copies in Quebec by the end of 2007.

While the site may appear culturally specific to an outside observer, Beaudet – who uses his own voice, lips and eyes for most of the clips – maintains that his irreverent humour will cross linguistic and cultural lines: ‘My clips are universal. I’m sure they will do well.’

While the skits will remain the same on English TAC.tv, Beaudet says the characters will be voiced by actor Bruce Dinsmore (The Myth of the Male Orgasm) and will have several accents. ‘We have Scottish, British, Texan, Indian. The accents will make it interesting for people from all over the world.’

‘These characters aren’t specifically Quebecois,’ explains writer Howard Schrier, who is helping adapt the French-language clips for an English audience. ‘They are everyday people in everyday situations which we take to the extreme.’

Sponsorship opps for the anglicized Têtes à claques are still up for grabs. Future Shop is a major sponsor on the original site.


From Playback Daily