Borgen :11 out of 10


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 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.”

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19 Responses to “Borgen :11 out of 10”

  1. Lottie Nevin Says:

    You’ve sold it to me!

    I rarely watch tv in Jakarta, in fact in nearly 2 years of living here I can count on one hand the amount of times I have. In fairness it’s partly because I’m not a huge fan of tv but also because out of lord knows how many 100 channels that we have, there is never anything worth watching. Take last night for example, for once I was in the mood for slumping in front of the tv. After 10 minutes of scrolling through the endless channels I found something on Nat Geo that I thought might be ok. I caught the last 5 minutes of a program about anacondas and then was reduced to watching something on the same channel called ‘Animal Aliens’ – need I say more?

    I’m going to see if I can get hold of the previous series on dvd. Thanks for the recommendation Gerard 😀


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I remember Indonesian TV being big on medicine (obat) adv. with husbands being very ardent after having taken some kind of medicine with the ever adoring wife smiling seductively.
      You had some amazing photos today on your blog and the macro lens sure did a good job. The close up shot of the giant spider made me look under the toilet seat.
      Australia has many toxic spiders, some are known to frequent toilets. I am not sure why that is so.


      • Lottie Nevin Says:

        You always have the best stories! I watch so little tv that I don’t know anything about the adverts but nothing would surprise me. As for spiders hanging around toilets, that sounds a bit dodgy to me! Thanks to Nat Geo I’m well up to speed with all of Australia’s poisonous snakes, spiders and jellyfish. I’m longing to visit and hope that we will have an opportunity to do so soon


  2. helvityni Says:

    House of Cards is a British show, I’m pretty sure of that, loved that one as well…


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The House of cards was a re-born effort by the Americans of the British show.
      I can’t remember ever having watched it, not that is meaningful. I have never taken to TV viewing very well. I was forced to watch ‘Bonanza’ while with my friends. I still quiver and almost feel like calling an ambulance when somebody mentions ‘I love Lucy’.


  3. auntyuta Says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Gerard. We too often can’t find anything worthwhile to watch on TV. But I’m sure we’re going to look out for Borgen! 🙂


  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    We watch Netflix streaming and PBS. I’ve never heard of the shows you mention, but will look it up today. We are now watching the Danish “The Eagle” which is quite good.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Hello sweetkayti.
      Yes, I remember “The Eagle.” What is Netflix Streaming? We have an E- box that is supposed to be able to download thousands of movies through the TV.
      Our grand kids know how to do all that. We are not savvy in that world of passwords and pin numbers anymore and have gladly surrendered those skills to the next generation.
      I find that if a movie is excellent I need time to digest it and to mull over.
      Now-a-days young people can by-pass the time to digest things and happily watch movie after movie.
      I hope I don’t come across being an incurable curmudgeon.


  5. auntyuta Says:

    Did you watch Q & A last Monday, Gerard? What Bill Gates said about washing the dishes prompted Peter aka Berlioz to write a little sketch about this subject which is very humorous! You should go to Berlioz1935 to read it!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that was a good show. I do the washing up and even though we have a dishwasher, we rarely use it. I find the job relaxing and find the noise of the dishwasher rattling away unsettling.
      I’ll have a look at Peter’s blog right now while sipping my first coffee. It is 6.30am
      I had a look at
      A hilarious sketch of life’s marital delights.


  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Rats! I checked out all your suggestions, but could not get them on Netflix. Netflix is a subscription company for movies. If you buy the entire thing you have access to everything, but we found we didn’t have time to watch the DVD’s they sent us, so we downsized our account to simply “streaming”, which is internet . They “stream” what they will let you have and it is very cool, for $8 per month. You are somewhat limited, but we like foreign movies, and they have a variety. We started House of Cards, but there is enough govt. stuff on the news as it is, You are right the kids know more than we do about these things! I lost my internet guru with my son-in-law, and my 7 yr old gr. granddaughter lives too far away!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, our E-Box gives us a library of movies which we get charged with on an E-account. I found it complicated and good foreign movies were rare. A lot of sport movies and old football matches with an oblong ball and grapling males running around all sweaty and over- excited.
      I long for the days of Bertolucci ‘The Conformist’ etc, but what can we do?
      We watched an excellent German movie at the theatre yesterday. It was called ‘Barbara’. 5 out of 5.


  7. Patti Kuche Says:

    Will look out for Borgen, it must be somewhere on the internet where a post teenage boy, always handy to have around, should be able to find it! Enjoy your next round of cheese and shiraz Gerard!


  8. solidgoldcreativity Says:

    I had a Borgen binge over Christmas, Gerard. Watched the two series on DVD and loved every minute.


  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, it’s a great TV miracle. We love it.


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