Represent Season 1 Review – As chaotically put together as its protagonist

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 2.5/5


Perhaps when Jean-Pascal Zadi and Francois Uzan sat down to write Represent, it seemed an exciting opportunity to create 2023’s first credible satire.

Their unique backgrounds and experiences were the perfect precursors to guide the show’s sensibilities. The blend of politics and drama brings a compelling horizon of themes and representations. Almost all of them do find a place in season one of Represent, albeit not as collectively appealing as they are individually. As a result, the writers fail to ensure there is nothing lost in translation from reality to screen. They nail the humour, but unfortunately Represent does not translate as a political statement.

The story centers on Stephane Ble, a sincere community monitor in a housing project in Paris. His wife, Marion, runs a salon on a business loan. Things are pacing normally for the family, with the thought of bringing a child into the world taking precedence.

One fine day, when Ble is at one of the youth centres, he notices the Mayor, Eric Andrei, in the vicinity. Boiling over the recent budgetary cuts that have forced many clinics to close, Ble confronts him amidst a slew of cameras recording the exchange.

The next thing we know, Stephane Ble is seen as a presidential candidate and must choose between his family and his one chance to bring real change to the country.

Zadi and Uzan rely on a lot of real-life cues to structure Ble’s campaign journey. As a result, we see the staple looking behind the curtain of the past where a probable sex scandal threatens to derail things, an insider trying to sabotage Ble, and an assassination attempt by the extreme right wing. A lot of the characterization of the universe is along expected lines but not in a good way. Given Represent’s substance, viewers were wary of seeing these types of events unfold in the storytelling. Hence, actually seeing that happen is not as exciting.

It dampens the appeal of the show to provide a differentiated experience for viewers who have been brutally exposed to “modern poltiics” through the art form. In hindsight, the writers mostly knew that the element of surprise was not their central focus or strength.

The format of the storytelling veers towards the choice to subtly weave the themes in the campaign itself. So, Represent cannot be faulted for being predictable. The overarching message for “liberty, equality, brotherhood” though, means that Ble must be enabled in a special way to relay his inspiration to others.

Beyond the impact, the writers clearly feel obligated to overdose their characters and discussions with diversity and ethnicities. As opposed to seeing the show’s universe as a melting potpourri like France really is, we see misfits of profiles being put together.

Through the six episodes, the narrative feels directionless. We were always heading towards a forgone conclusion but even then, the makers had no idea how to get there. All the in-betweens that were supposed to make episodes eventful came out as ill-conceived and badly executed. The Normandy event where Ble eats Crepes, police search the house for Lamine, Crozon getting played repeatedly by leaders despite having more than a decade’s experience; nothing seemed to have worked. And one gave the indication that it might lead to something else.

It was almost as if the effort here was half-hearted and without inspiration. Despite all of this, episode 5 is an exception. The debate at play here is the best episode in the series and even comes out as complementary for the show’s format. Of itself, it seems the perfect half-hour of comedy, seriousness, and relentless drama. We truly see Zadi’s potential as a character actor when he fatally starts doubting if Chahiba is really blind. His father’s introduction and Simon’s subsequent reaction are among the highlights of an episode that breezes by.

None of the actors can be singled out for their performances. In fact, it was their participation that made the sour taste a little better. Zadi is the standout and perhaps he can go lone wolf from here to create a show around his own personality. That will be something that intrigues people and brings out the fascinating person he is. Represent’s season 1 is a complete disappointment though and an easy skip.

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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