Reviews of En himla många program (1989) and related work
- Sequel: “Bananavsnittet” (1996)
En himla många program (1989)
Brown-themed Alan Preussen presents a cozy near-evening of varied television.
A sketch comedy, much of it parodying trends in contemporary Swedish TV, both state and commercial. Probably the most famous skit is a heavily edited acrobatics display (“Han har fastnat i vinkelvolten!”) but my favourite upon seeing the show again in 2020 is Tunga hörnet, about how dour political fora on SVT used to be. From seeing the show as a child, I best remembered the silly Farbror Frej, whose second-to-last appearance is a Hitler mustache gag that you can view either as an incongruous mark of diverse hands, insensitive or a deliberate contradiction of the host’s debile, cozy topos.
I also remembered the nose-severing violence of metafictional Perkele, where the subtitles are at war with the ostensibly Finnish actors, but most of the content is family friendly. The best musical number is “Wavrinskys plats”, which I can now appreciate properly, having moved to Gothenburg. I think Per Fritzell acquits himself marginally better as an actor than the rest of GAS, playing various sex symbols as well as the sublimely non-threatening host of a cooking show (Kock-Per) and optimistic co-host of På vinden, a special-interest program promoting surreal new boating products.
There’s a sense here of commercial television offering real competition. The apparent pace within each hypodiegesis is sometimes provocatively slow, and there’s very rarely any drama, yet the content is abridged and abbreviated to keep the real show moving quickly enough.
References here: Varan-TV: Stories (2022).
‣ “Bananavsnittet” (1996)
Seen in 2020.
Extra skits from the 1989 production, rejected at the time. The overall quality is the same. The film reviews are a highlight.