Rain of reaction after the disappearance of Michel Cordes: The power of soap
Last Friday we were shocked to learn of the disappearance of Michel Cordes from Plus belle la vie. A shower of reactions followed from all sides!
Roland Marci was the soul of the Mistral (in better life); Michel Cordes was the character of the entire series. No wonder the disappearance of his serial alter ego was the last major event scheduled at the end of the series. A whole neighborhood cried at Roland’s death in October. When they heard that from Michel Cordes, an entire country was in shock, right up to the highest peak of the state.
“Every night at 8:10 p.m. and for eighteen years, its bar in Marseille was the nerve center of intrigues and passions, in which the character of Roland, with accent, bonhomie and humanity, represented an art of living and conviviality that millions of spectators recognized each other”
Press release by Emmanuel Macron
Since his disappearance and whatever the outcome of the investigation, the reactions have been numerous, first from the public, who mourned the one he found on France 3 every night. Then from a lot of the actresses and comedians on the show, who cried together as one heart”the unforgettable patriarch of the mistral, the pillar of the series, the incarnation of the south he loved so much.“In fact, in a show that was meant to allow everyone to relate to the characters, both North and South, Roland was the only character on the show with a Southern accent. From the first minutes of the series, it was enough for him to open his mouth for everyone to accept that the series is set in this heartwarming South. Less than 24 hours after his disappearance, this time that of another literary figure, Philippe Sollers, appears. If the “Nobility of literature about the series“ seems to win for some media, it is the departure of Michel Cordes that finally takes everything with him. The power of serial storytelling, and even more so of the soap opera, makes it possible to understand this momentum in favor of a popular actor in the noble sense of the word.
Since its inception, soap opera has been the genre that has won over audiences. First on the radio, then on TV. Rather than the traditional prime-time series that returns week-to-week, the soap airs daily. If you hold on to this universe or/and its characters, it’s like a second family that comes to your home every day at a fixed time. A family for which we laugh, cry and tremble, but which never leaves us cold. In such a long time that goes by”like the sand in the hourglass‘ (according to the credits of days of our lives), we evolve and we age along with our favorite characters, sometimes thanks to them. Some characters come into our lives at the beginning of the series and only come out at the end of the series, or even more so at the end of their own lives, as was the case with Jeanne Cooper in The Young and the Restless Or from Frances Reid in Days of Our Lives. If Michel Cordes survived a little by the end of the series, he embodied every breath.
By positioning the location of the Mistral as a central element of the series from Episode 1 (here the Marci family appear returning from vacation), the authors have placed its resident number 1 in the same position. With a cast that has had to change over the years (by the will of the actors or the writers), certain actors have been incredible signs of stability over the past 18 years. If Michel Cordes was not the only one, his position as patriarch and owner of the place where everyone meets and “where everyone knows your name‘ (according to the Cheers credits) installs it in the position of being and therefore being the Mistral better life.
As in the life it somehow represents, the soap offers the patriarch and / matriarch a special status outside of the category: that of the lungs of the series but also of memory, which guarantees the stability of places but also the soul of a serial past that belongs to everyone. If the death of Michel Cordes shaped so much, it’s for a simple reason: whether you’re a fan from the very beginning or a casual viewer, the moment you turn on the TV and watch the series, we’re all set to smile and the eloquence of this lovable actor, whose friend or grandson we wanted to be. And this ritual has been tirelessly repeated for 18 years, night after night, episode after episode. As the way of filming changed, sets evolved, new faces naturally came into this universe, Roland Marci was the anchor that allowed us to always recognize the series a little bit because we felt like he never changed has. This stability in a world that is moving fast, even too fast, is a fundamental element that allows us to understand why we are attached to their stories, their characters, why we love them. It also allows us to understand why the soap opera is not and never will be a subsidiary genre of television, but its main cement.