Never have I expected myself to write a post about TV, although, by all means, a discovery of the few Norwegian TV shows is among the coolest things that happened to me this year. I need to start by admitting that for the last eight years or so I have been as ignorant of any TV productions as one can be. It started long before my immigration to Malta, in my family’s apartment, when our Soviet dinosaur TV eventually died right in the middle of one of the “Lost” episodes and we decided not to spend money and time on such a useless furniture item. Since then my TV ignorance have been growing and flourishing. Every time a conversation turned onto discussing “The Borgias” or “Games of Thrones” I had nothing else to do but yawn and blush, embarrassed of my cluelessness (yes, that bad).
Another curious fact about becoming a fan of TV Norge’s shows is that I could not define myself as particularly knowledgeable about Norway, its traditions and mentality in general, let alone, its TV shows. Although Hamsun, Grieg, Munk were admired and my curiosity about Janteloven had reached a level of fascination, I used to picture modern Norway as an overly satisfied socialist paradise that has nothing exciting to offer. Fortunately, as in numerous times before, my categorical opinions based on little experience were proven wrong.
It all started from watching the hilarious prank “Intelevator” by two Norwegian brothers which I found simply striking. Such razor-sharp sense of humour is only possible if based on a solid cultural background, that’s why it was difficult not to pay more attention at their other pieces. I was then grateful to my curiosity for directing me into the few other videos by Ylvis (that’s what the duo is called) which left me delighted and thirsty for more. Finally, I was conquered by the “Fake trailers” series, particularly by “Jacues et Florine” – genius satire on intellectual European films; and with the “swearing experiment” – the cherry on the cake – I have become a freshly baptised eager follower of TV Norge in general and Ylvis in particular. Since then, searching on YouTube for more “I kveld med Ylvis” (“Tonight with Ylvis”) shows have become a constant source of genuine laugh and discoveries about the mysterious northern nation.
“Norges Herligste” was another exciting set of series produced by Ylvis for TV Norge in 2007-2008. These wildly funny series were dedicated to Norway’s ‘different’ people and (oh my!) never had I seen anything more genuine, hilarious, eccentric and straight-forward all at once. Instead of seeing the commonly stereotyped as being cold, proper and inhospitable Nordic people the screen revealed cranks of all types, both cute and easy. Add to it the wonderful serenity of Norwegian landscapes and the aesthetical pleasure from the TV hosts’ perfect, cut from stone, profiles that could have been an inspiration to Michelangelo.
I love the sound of Norsk but, unfortunately, my understanding of it is limited to a few words (mostly those you would not say in public). Thus, for talentless in languages poor fellows like me the only option is waiting for subtitles to be added, luckily most of the videos get subtitled quickly. The sparkly sense of humour, endless creativity, straight-forward use of foul language when applicable make ‘Norges Herligste’ and ‘I kveld med Ylvis’ beyond comparison for all who appreciate genuine things.
P.S. By developing a soft spot for Nordic fellows I probably have become more Maltese than ever.