Discovering Quebec Culture: Occupation Double
By Alessandro Mortellaro
Reality TV is the runway where modern cultural movements take off. Where would we be without the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo, Big Brother, and the Bachelorette/Bachelor? If you were able to answer that question, you are likely an anglophone. So, what about the francophones? Where do their Kylies and Vanessa Grimaldi’s originate? Well, brace yourself, because you’re about to discover Occupation Double.
O.D. (Occupation Double) is a reality dating show. Like most, it uses its viewers' opinions to determine which couple wins and loses. However, the contestants themselves decide who gets eliminated weekly.
While it originated in Quebec, the majority of its seasons take place in foreign countries. However, this year, they were forced to return to their roots and film the show right here in Quebec after what had been eleven years. Hence why this year's season is called "O.D.: Chez Nous."
The show usually has a minimum of two houses that divide male and female contestants. This year the show featured a third house called the "Maison mixte," where both male and female contestants would be allowed to hang out together for a limited time.
Contestants go on one trip per week where they explore the local culture. Destinations vary between museums, amusement parks (Laronde), tourist attractions, and Quebec destination staples. Contestants also participate in various activities like themed parties, performances from local musical talent, rock climbing, fishing, helicopter rides, and more. Ultimately, all of these things aim to get the contestants to socialize with each other.
Past a certain point, once relationships are established, contestants must do what they can to avoid elimination, which means maintaining your relationship and remaining likeable to the audience. Most fans appreciate a contestant that is honest, true to themselves, and who doesn’t stick to a strategy to keep likeability. Above all, however, your likeability as a couple on the show determines your chances to win.
There is no doubt that OD has been a silent influencer of Quebec culture. There are numerous Facebook groups, aside from the ones run by OD based on the show. They are home to memes, gossip, and news. The same can be said for Instagram, of course. But none of that compares to the commentary and general content that is found on YouTube. While this past season aired, several Quebec YouTubers/influencers uploaded videos reacting to episodes, commenting, or generally using the show as the main topic for their videos.
All of this shows that OD has a strong presence in QC’s culture, and perhaps more anglophones should jump in on the hype. Suppose you’re yearning to watch the next Vanessa Grimaldi (Montrealer who won The Bachelor, Season 21) rise to stardom and meet their next match. In that case, you should definitely consider turning into next season’s Occupation Double. If you think about it, you would be witnessing multiple Grimaldi’s, because they would all be locals!
With the show already dominating Quebec culture, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing a “Love Island Montreal” any time soon. However, sometimes we forget that we have a whole culture that’s always a few clicks away, just waiting for us.