#58. A semi-educational moment: Everyday French with Pierre Escargot

French or Spanish?

It’s a month before your first day of junior high and you’re staring at your elective class request form, which is due tomorrow. With a simple check of a box you’re about to commit yourself to learning one language for the next six years.

It seems like a fairly easy choice, since there doesn’t appear to be any real world application in being able to speak French as an American. Still, the fantasy of being semi-fluent in French has its appeal.

For one, the thought of learning the language makes you fantasize of one day navigating through the country on your own to finally try a croissant that didn’t come in a Costco-sized 12-pack (you always started off strong, but by croissant #3, you were already fuckin’ sick of them), and also to find answers to those burning questions you had about French culture…

Such as:

1) Do students there really dress like Madeline? (Awesome?)

2) What is the official French stance on french fries? Is it similar to how Canadians call Canadian Bacon, ham? And what’s with dipping it in mayo?

3) If there really is no age limit for alcohol, are the streets in Paris filled with extra-wobbly toddlers? And if so, would this scene be funnier than having the kids replaced with drunk, belligerent dwarfs in leprechaun outfits?

That’s a Tuborg bottle on the left, which means these are some Danish babies. Skål!

Yes, these are questions that need to be answered, but what is more important are the skills you will hopefully learn from the classes.

Such as:

1) Developing a slick French-English accent.

This would obviously be used to smooth talk girls like Pepe Lepu/The Mask, or to just make boring English words sound much cooler.

2) Being able to dish out insults with ease.

You’ll have the ability to taunt bullies for a second time-ah.

“Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!”

3) Perhaps the most important: developing a vocabulary large enough to be able to concoct your own French absurdities like Pierre Escargot.

Maybe it was his ridiculous accent and hearty laugh, Yo-Ho-Huh! Maybe it was the fact that you were never quite sure if what he was saying was French at all, (though you always believed him). Maybe it was simply the fact that Fat Albert was in a tub wearing a yellow rain coat and flippers… (there is definitely something funny about being silly in the bath)

Either way, he was definitely the funniest segment on All That, providing timeless classics such as:

“Oh no! The babysitter exploded!”

“May I pop my pimple on your lasagna?”

“Hey! Who put that bacon fat on my toilet seat?”


“That’s not bubblegum! That’s Porkboy the Breakfast Monkey!”

However, in the end you decide that having the ability to order tacos with a line better than a Gringo’s “Yo quiero Taco Bell” is more valuable than spouting off French absurdities.


On a side note, it’s kind of amazing how Kenan Thompson, being on a kid’s version of Saturday Night Live, is now actually on SNL. What’s crazier is that 17 years later, the dude still looks like the same fat kid who loves cooking with chocolate.


Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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