May 30, 2013
Borgen; 11 out of 10.
You can’t go past a good series of Danish TV. Not long ago we had ‘The Bridge’ and ‘The Killing’, which I believe was a Swedish-Danish Co-production. It was riveting TV watching and we were counting the days when it would be on again. The pepper-crackers would be out and the Stilton cheese with the Shiraz brought to room temperature together with my ear-phones. Those earphones were superfluous. The series were translated in English sub-titles but I wanted to hear the Danish language. Dutch and Danish are brother languages, (or sisters for the pc readers of this blog).
What makes these series so extraordinary is the ordinariness of it all. The prime minister lives in a modest house with the dishes piling up at an overflowing kitchen bench top, husband walking around in his singlet and their children wanting to eat Coco-pops for breakfast. She goes to work on a pushbike without wearing a helmet, and seems to have no security concerns. Husband of the PM and mother of their two children seem to have the best of a most normal of functional marriage. The odd thing is, in most of the Northern European governments, the Borgen treatment of PMs (and their royal families), it is not that far removed from reality.
The TV show apparently was difficult to obtain in the US with claims by competing commercial TV stations of piracy. I believe in California people can now see the series legally. It seems that the differences of political systems and the holders of power between the US and Denmark were seen as almost un-transferable in a TV series and, that at least in the US ‘normality of politics’ is hardly ever residing in a world of being ‘normal’. No president would go to the White-House on a bicycle and would probably have to go through numerous security cycles to just buy his wife a bunch of flowers.
The Danish TV drama shows how the PM can remain herself despite having risen to the highest office. She remains cool and normal and the series is not blown up in grandiosity like so many American dramas such as West-Wing, Homeland, and House of Cards. There are no lines of limousines or black-clad security lurking on roof tops with machine guns at the ready or hovering gun-ships overhead. No one is seen talking into their sleeves or wear Polaroid sunglasses.
The Danish way on thorny issues and legislations are resolved or passed with the parties sitting around the table sipping coffee and making sensible compromises within minutes. The Danes have a serious addiction to caffeine. What I would not give for our Australian politicians to behave like that!
We had just about given up on TV watching when Borgen rose up like Phoenix from ashes, none too late. The urgings of funeral insurances advertisements and the manic laughter of so many comedy trailers got us so depressed our intake of Stilton with Shiraz almost doubled. True, the Ancestry.com.au kept us going but soon waned when most of people restlessly searching for their ancestors ended up teary and overwrought when it was found out, their great, great, great, great grandfather had succumbed to whoring and a dose of the clap with blindness to dear Aunty Betty at birth in 1789 in Yorkshire to have been a result of all that.
We soon came to switching off the telly and just sat amongst the crackers and cheese, talked or did the after dinner washing up instead. Not anymore now though. Another five days and Borgen will be on again.
There is hope for all of us now.
Go, buy some good cheese and watch “Borgen.”