A Streetcar Named Nezir
Episode 5 of Standing Up (Drôle) begins with Aïssatou quietly crawling on the floor to keep her daughter from waking up. Laying in bed with Vlad later, she realizes her period is late.
She takes a pregnancy test that night–it’s positive. While Aïssa stares in shock, Vlad waves his hands excitedly.
When Apolline gets home, her mom inquires about her last day of exams. She knows Apolline is lying to her, but she doesn’t say anything.
Aïssa and Vlad go to the doctor to ask about their options. They learn she is 8 weeks pregnant, and the legal limit for abortion is 12 weeks.
Bling meanwhile has been at home with his baby bird. Nezir comes to check on him one day–really to ask for the money Bling owes him. He can only give him part of it, so he asks him to come back tomorrow.
He also asks Nezir to hang out with him for a bit. Nezir initially leaves, but turns back later. He approaches the door the same time Bling opens it. It swings into Nezir’s face, breaking his tooth.
Bling convinces Nezir to take a little morphine before they go see his dentist (Bling’s brother). In the waiting room, Bling confesses his worries and regrets. Nezir says he should talk about these real struggles in his standup, but Bling says he doesn’t know how.
Vlad and Aïssa have opposing perspectives on having another baby. Vlad tries to convince their daughter a brother or sister would be great, while he’s really trying to convince Aïssa.
After a set at the Drôle, Aïssa apologizes to Nezir about ditching him the other day. Fans and people wanting to interview her repeatedly interrupt. Nezir leaves while she’s occupied with someone else.
Aïssa is to appear on Talk Tonight, but Nezir claims that he shouldn’t write jokes about her. Still, the producer asks Nezir for facts about her, specifically asking about her first viral sketch.
Apolline continues to hone her act at the Drôle. She sends a video of her act to a comedy website called the Laundromat, then tries to plan a meetup with Nezir. They book a hotel room.
When Apolline leaves the house, her mom goes through her things. She finds records of her comedy gigs and her relationship with Nezir.
When they get to their room, Nezir asks who Victor is to her. She says she just sleeps with him occasionally, but finds him kind of boring, and Nezir insists that he doesn’t mind this. They then sleep together for the first time.
Nezir later takes Bling to a nursing home where he can perform and hone his acts. He does extremely well. Afterward, he dances with residents. He tells Nezir it’s been so long since he felt useful like this.
When Apolline’s act gets accepted by the Laundromat, she shows up at the venue. She’s surprised to find that it’s actually a laundromat, with only a microphone in the middle of the room.
While Apolline does her act, her mother lurks outside the laundromat to listen. When Apolline sees her, she stops her act to chase after her. Nezir follows. Her mother tells Nezir to leave her daughter alone, then runs off.
At home, her mother says she doesn’t know Apolline any more. She thinks she’s going through a manic phase, so she’s going to schedule a doctor’s appointment for her. Apolline packs a suitcase as if she’s moving out… and then moves to a maid’s room on the sixth floor.
Vlad continues to try and convince Aïssa to keep the baby, which stresses her out right before she goes on Talk Tonight.
The host brings up personal details Nezir gave him about Vlad’s reaction to the sketch that was about him. Aïssa insists their source is misinformed.
Nezir tries to apologize immediately after the show, but Aïssa slams her dressing door in his face.
Nezir comes up to Apolline’s new place. When they have sex again, Apolline can tell something is wrong. Nezir says she’s the first girl he’s slept with who has to touch herself when having sex.
She says she does it because she feels comfortable with him. But it makes him realize she doesn’t need him in any aspect of her life. She assures him he’s changed her life for the better.
After they sleep together, Nezir notices he lost his tooth again. The episode ends with both of them laughing about Apolline having swallowed it.
The Episode Review
Episode 5 of this French comedy balances multiple storylines nicely. Aïssa and Vlad have the most typical, tired arc, but the rest of the comic crew own compelling narratives.
The moments between Bling and Nezir are especially touching, giving us hope for a redemption arc. This redemption shouldn’t come so easily, however. Little accountability has been expected of Bling so far–so an easy absolution and comeback for the failed comedian would be deeply unsatisfying.
We also get our real sense of what Apolline is getting herself into by pursuing her stand-up dreams. With her mother convinced of a “manic phase,” I’m slightly worried about what actions she’ll take in the season finale to prevent her daughter’s happiness.