Cooler than Jean-Paul Belmondo
In “Sic Transit Imperium,”the 4/16/2017 episode of “Billions,” it was Bobby Axelrod’s birthday. Wags gave a speech praising Bobby: “a man as steely as a Roman Centurion, cooler than Jean-Paul Belmondo. He’s a jaguar shark, an American sniper.” And we loved the reference, yet wondered how much of the audience even knew who Jean-Paul Belmondo is.
Well, we do and while we can agree that describing Bobby Axelrod as a jaguar shark is quite fitting, we just have to say that Bobby will never be as cool as Jean-Paul Belmondo, let alone cooler!
For a birthday gift, Wags gave Bobby a luxury bunker at the Arque, the “foremost luxury bunker for end times, a hedge against humanity.” That set Wags back $360K and it’s where the title of the episode came from because the Latin phrase meaning “so passes the empire” was engraved on the membership token. Bobby asked him if he had one but Wags said if humanity had to be rebuit, he wanted to be on the outside “rocking with the maurauders.” Ultimately, the gift symbolized “playing it safe” to Bobby so he gave it back to Wags. Bobby didn’t even think maybe his family would need it. Bobby didn’t even show up for his own birthday party!
Jean-Paul Belmondo would never be that uncool. Last year, on his 82nd birthday, he even came out for the arrival of his birthday cake.
What is up with that bear cake? Well, to his adoring public, Jean-Paul’s original nickname was “Nounours” which means Teddy Bear. Later it changed to Bébel. In a 2016 interview with Paris Match (in French), he explained how that happened. The press began to refer to him as “Pepel,” a character played by Jean Gabin in “Les bas-fonds.” Belmondo considered it quite an honor to be compared in anyway to the great Gabin but through a misprint, “Pepel” got changed to “Bébel” and that stuck (we assume because the misprint began with the same 3 letters of his own name).