“Can it be that you want to put a cucumber in your ass to have a little fun on a Tuesday morning? ” That’s it, Without an appointment. “Finding out who you are starts with things as simple as deciding what you want to sit on to watch TV. It’s also that, Without an appointment.
Understand that the very free adaptation of the Australian web series Sexy Herpes (6 capsules of 10 minutes) bears the signature of Marie-Andrée Labbé loud and clear: the author knows how to tackle her subject head-on (mental health in Too much, sexual health here), but without losing sight of the human being, which she plunges into difficult situations.
Directed by Patrice Ouimet (It iscouade 99, the evening Mammoth), produced by Fabienne Larouche and Michel Trudeau, the series features the staff of the Lafontaine sexual health clinic. In the foreground, Sarah. Nurse-sexologist. For six years in a relationship with Maude (Mylène Mackay), a teacher who has lost the use of her legs.
We meet Sarah as she returns from several weeks’ leave. She had to take stock after one of her patients died; she considers herself responsible for the death.
To embody it, Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, to whom Marie-Andrée Labbé did not hide her admiration in videoconference. “We don’t do education on the show, but I wanted Sarah to give real advice. She is competent. And Magalie, she manages to make some lines flat… not flat. “
As Fabienne Larouche points out, Without an appointment – which journalists saw 5 of the 10 30-minute episodes – is therefore not a sitcom. The “one line, one punch” is not from this meeting. This is one of the reasons why the tandem of producers thought of Marie-Andrée Labbé: she knows how to juggle comedy and drama. On his keyboard, the term “dramatic comedy” takes on its full meaning. And the cast of his new series makes all the nuances of the genre.
Around Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, Isabelle Vincent plays Dominique, the patron saint of the clinic, mother figure par excellence despite her many clumsiness. Mikhaïl Ahooja becomes Lou / Louis-Philippe, receptionist who clearly displays to everyone (except his girlfriend) his non-binary personality. Fabiola Nyrva Aladin is Yasmine, a giant with a heart of gold, luminous and gentle.
Stéphane Crête plays the role of Dr. Gagné, in his fifties who ignores himself (as proof, his convertible and his friends are half his age). Finally, Rachid Badouri becomes Salim, the janitor who has recently arrived from his native Tunisia – hence the accent that the comedian has, for the occasion, probably borrowed from his parents.
Outside the walls of the clinic, we find Roxane, a sex worker played by Anne Casabonne – “who has complied with all health measures”, indicates Fabienne Larouche, in reference to the recent anti-vaccine release of the actress; Richard L’Arrivée, the narcissistic psychologist whom Sarah consults (reluctantly) and played by an amused Stéphane Rousseau; and Mme Sirois who, at 38, has never experienced an orgasm and to whom Marie-Ève Beaulieu lends her talent, her features… and her body.
While most patients only go through the clinic, the latter is one of the cases that feeds the dramatic arc of a series whose episodes do not come full circle. Because each character forming the fauna that inhabits the clinic has (at least) a secret.
This allows Marie-Andrée Labbé to walk on this textured tone which is hers. “Today we can play with different emotions,” she says. Going from laughter to tears is something I love, I recognize myself in it. It looks a lot like my life. [Rires.] So I never shy away from the turn towards a true emotion that is not humor. I find that in the series that I like, like Fleabag Where Back to Life. »
Intimacy … from a distance
Impossible, during the meeting, not to mention the pandemic – because of which the shooting of the series was postponed for a year. “The kisses were more problematic than the cunni”, launches the author, chuckling.
Even if, behind her keyboard, the health situation forced her to find “other symbols that communicate emotion,” adds director Patrice Ouimet, who faced the same problem. The watched episodes prove that they have managed to tame and circumvent the beast.
Visually, the result adds a touch of humor where there could have been only a graphic situation. However, the goal of the team Without an appointment is miles away. There was never any question of making an erotic series. We get straight to the point; sometimes the “goal” is even shown.
But the heart of the series is elsewhere. “I wanted above all to talk about privacy,” notes Marie-Andrée Labbé. For that, I treated sexuality like any other subject. I would have done a series on the bakery that I would have done my research in the same way. “
She carried out her research with the staff of the L’Actuel medical clinic. Not looking for cases – they come from her imagination… and she has -, but research in order to put the right words in the mouths of her characters. Respectfully. Without making fun (of people), even if laughing (at the situation) is not excluded. Quite the contrary.