Season 2 of the series reinvents the concept but struggles to find its tone as soon as it moves away a little from the human tornado that is Jonathan Cohen.
Exit The flamewelcome to Torch. After the insane success of season 1 of the French remake of Burning LoveJonathan Cohen and his screenwriters spent a few months writing a parody of Bachelorettebefore sending everything flying to go hunting on the lands of Koh Lanta. An elegant way to renew the formula and get out of the (a little narrow) framework of dating and seduction reality TV, while offering a new ground for XXL parody. The game therefore begins on the fictitious island of Chupacabra, where a dozen or so candidates land ready to do anything to win 450 euros (“ A nice sum! “), so Marc, already the hero of The flame and played by Cohen himself.
Most of the best from season 1 are returning (Géraldine Nakache, Leïla Bekhti, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Pierre Niney…), accompanied by a ton of newcomers, with highly “coheno-compatible” humor (Laura Felpin as a cool baba , Mister V as an influencer, Jérôme Commandeur as a Denis Brogniart-style host, Kad Merad as an alcoholic-beauf, Gérard Darmon as an adventurer with one eye less, Jonathan Lambert as a member of an ultra weird sect…).
Jonathan Cohen on Le Flambeau: “We really wanted to stand out from La Flamme” [interview]
The absurd humor that made season 1 so successful is still there, and The Torch: Adventurers of Chupacabra has no trouble channeling it to hijack survival show codes. It is therefore often very hairy, Cohen and his family regularly pushing the sliders of madness into the red, and everything goes at an unbelievable speed: barely time to dwell on a half-tone valve than a another more successful one is already taking over.
But the limits of the concept is that everything becomes infinitely less funny when Jonathan Cohen is not on screen. Like a real comic bomb, he only leaves behind a gaping crater the moment he leaves the frame. All the more annoying as the thing happens very regularly: he who was everywhere and all the time in The flame must here give ground to feed the structure inherent in the format (we alternately follow two teams, and even three at a time), making Marc a character almost like the others. The pill still passes when Darmon and Merad do their show in their corner, but it becomes much more complicated when you have to stay for long periods with the character of Natacha Lindinger, winner in chief written very (very) first degree. We have only seen four out of nine episodes at this stage, but the imbalance is quite obvious. Fingers crossed that the inevitable reunification of the teams will allow the Torch to find its cruising speed.
Le Flambeau, three episodes a week from May 23. Nine episodes in total.