Five questions for Yannick Éthier, author of Lou et Sophie

Five questions for Yannick Éthier, author of Lou and Sophie


Yannick Éthier has made it his job to write programs aimed at young people. He wrote words for toddlers with 1,2,3…Giant!, Knock, knock, knock and The Argonauts. Then, for the slightly older ones thanks to Subito texto. And he's tackled a long-neglected audience, teenagers, diving into projects like The Cottage and < strong>The Academy. 

With Lou and Sophie, his first solo series , he invites us into the daily life of two childhood friends, newly graduated from high school, who do not want to spend an ordinary summer. All means are good to go on a road tripand bite into freedom before reality catches up with them.

What is the main challenge for an author to speak to a teenage audience?

With Lou and Sophie, the challenge was to find the most authentic way of speaking to young people who do not recognize themselves in what television offers them, to be as authentic as possible in their way of thinking, of speaking, as closely as possible to their tone , their level of humour, their language. But the big challenge is also the question of discoverability, of showing that the series exists, of reaching 15-20 year olds whose social networks change very quickly. 

Have you had to meet young people to write the series, to inspire you?

To find authenticity, I based myself on my experience, that of my spouse, of my producer. We had very similar friendships. I didn't want to have a documentary tone, but rather a universal authenticity. I didn't want to be too close to reality to please everyone.

Adults who will watch the series will find themselves there. I understand that we want to get closer to young people for their language, but I didn't want it to be off-putting for someone who is not their age or those references. The two actresses contributed to making the series as authentic as it is universal by adding their expressions, by putting the text in their words. The adult characters are also endearing. Our goal was co-viewing. It's a free interpretation of a certain reality. 

Yannick Éthier

Lou and Sophie are very different. Is it important to have opposite characters when creating a series?

The basis when building a group of characters is that they are different to allow conflicts to be revived. Lou and Sophie are complementary. I wanted to show an ironclad friendship. They have known each other since they were 5 years old. They were built together, had no major conflict. It is with others that they have a lot of conflicts. It's them against the world.

The series takes place during the summer at the end of high school. Why did you choose this period?

This is a very pivotal moment. Friendships, when you embark on CEGEP, it withers. We have often seen this period as leaving childhood behind. Lou and Sophie, what they want is to leave their suburbs. They want to keep each other. This summer will allow them to solidify their friendship.

Were there any topics you wanted to discuss to join the teens or limits that were set for you? At 15-16 years old, young people consume American content, the reality of which is quite harsh. 

I didn't put any limits on myself and I had total freedom from the producers. In the series, sexuality is not approached as a subject. Same thing for the relationship to drugs. Everything had to be organic. I wanted these subjects to bring something to the story. This is what characterizes the characters. I have no message to convey. 

For example, it was important for me to show a sexualized character (Sophie) who is not judged, which is contrary to several series for teens . I wanted to explore what young people experience in a way that we see less on TV. Lou is not interested in sex. She doesn't know where she is. We see less of that. It's natural, blurry. They are often asked to make choices. It's okay at that age not to know what the next day will be like, to experience things before settling down. It's okay to live that way if it can help take the anxiety out of making all your life choices.

The series is available on the ICI Tou platform. tv extra