Borgen Series 3-final series
Some excerpts from the first episode:
Episode entitled: Child Of Denmark.
“Halfway through my journey I found myself in a dark wood”
(Dante-The Divine Comedy)
(The TV1 Newsroom)
“Juul & Friss”
Kaspar & Katrine.
“Don’t forget his stuffed dog, he really missed it last time”
“It’s a cat”.
(Man in Hong Kong Hotel to Birgitte in her doorway)
“I’m so sorry I seem to have lost my way to my room..”
(Birgitte’s boy friend! Jeremy Welsh)
(Torben meets the new Newsroom TV1 Station manager Alex).
In the Hong Kong Restaurant.
“Everything for you Mr. Welsh”
Mr. Welsh to Birgitte:
“Did you read the Guardian this week?”!
“The other tourist says you can’t out run a leopard…”
“So the other tourist says, I will have to run faster!”
(this is a joke)
Birgitte does not say:
“Don’t you know who I am?!”
(when Security won’t let her in)
Birgitte to Leader of her old party:
“I have missed you!”
“and I miss working with you…”
So Julls & Fris is Torben and Kaspar.
( The Party Speeches).
“Why didn’t they applaud more?”
“They are called Moderates for a reason,”
“they don’t want to appear too folksy”!
So Lars Hesselboe is the Prime Minister or Statsminster now.
Jacob Kruse gives a speech:
“The well meaning, well spoken and well dressed Birgitte Nyborg,”
“Nyborg’s pipe, dream and the real world..”
(distant sirens wail)
Birgitte views a cool warehouse run down of course but already with fabulous blue pillars.
“What are you going to do with it?”
“It’s going to house a new party”…
end of excerpts
Episodes 1 &2
Well I’m sorry but i seem to remember calling Borgen boring towards the end of the last series.
Now i can’t understand why i was so excited about Borgen returning.
Episodes 3 & 4
Still mostly boring,boring, boring. Perhaps it is a series too far. Myself, I was never that enamoured of the politics apart from appreciating the shenanigans involved. Tantamout to watching Dallas or Dynasty back in the day.
I always preferred the human interest side of Borgen. The soap opera deluxe if you like.
Episodes 5 & 6.
So Borgen has gathered pace: a bit. Yet it is all somewhat/ a tiny bit tedious. I mean they are all so damn smug. So impossibly right on. Nobody needs to be paid for a start. & They could all do with a bit of a laugh. Where is their sense of humour? Nowhere, that’s where.
Yes, it’s escapist watching an apparently elysian land. Where people trill along happily on bicycles on cobbled streets and no lorries (or buses) are ever around to knock them down. Nurseries have extra long hours and children are taken for walks down delightful paths in the sunshine.
Birgitte has to downsize from her perilously high skyscraper flat with no curtains but her new flat is even more fabulous to me. With hand painted flowers on friezes on square mouldings on the walls. Even the shabby chic warehouse has paint chart colours in the walls.
The saintly Jeremy, Birgitte’s new boyfriend is ostensibly English which means he & Birgitte break into English and he makes Bread & Butter Pudding when he finally gets to meet the now perfectly behaved kids.
Although Jeremy’s lack of Danish allows Birgitte & the kids to make Danish jokey asides about him when he is there. It’s all so damn twee. He he.
Perhaps it is reading a newspaper or two every day and dutifully watching the news that leads me to reject any interest in the political hot potatoes of the day. Since they are all so current it makes a distinct and dreary lack of escapism.
& That is what i must want from watching a drama i deduce. Even if it involves blood and gore. Well it would be a bit worrying otherwise. If blood and gore were day to day too.
Yes, yawn, immigration. Then the improbable subject of pig farming and poor little piggies’ tales being chopped off. I really think they chose that storyline on the basis that Saltum, when angry, would turn into a facsimile of a pig himself.
It was all a little too League Of Gentleman for me. Then we are onto prostitution, lo and behold, just been ruled on by the French.
What slowly becomes clear upon all of these subjects is that shockingly or not, and i know Birgitte is not an official politician just yet-but let’s call her one anyway: yes-politicians, we realise, rule on things they appear to know absolutely nothing about! & have no experience of whatsoever. Oh dear.
Hilarious it was when the:
“Pakistani prophet of doom” Nadia,
told it like it was to Birgitte and her merry band who all live in la la land.
(beep, beep, does not compute!)
The above quote, i hasten to reiterate, was not mine, since this phrase resulted in hushed and horrified voices and faces and ultimately a complaint of racism for the innocent Torben who heard it from Rupert Bear scarf wearing Alex, his new boss.
Yet frequent off hand comments from Torben to his crew about how:
“hot” various women were, passed completely unscathed.
The lady in question, Nadia, i doubt would have had a problem with this description of her heritage.
(pretty sure she used the P word herself)
If that was racist then so would, say, The Danish doom-bringer be. As an alternative description of Nadia’s straight talking but unpalatable truths about the economy.
Torben is now a sleazeball! We are meant to feel sorry for but I no longer do. Since he is getting down & dirty with pie-eyed Pia on the controls in the edit room and touching her her up in the office. When he has a beautiful wife called Caroline who had Rupert the Bear transfixed in wonder as she walked, Super-model like, across the room.
Alex, or Rupert the Bear (as i am naming him here) is rather a dreadful stereotype of the younger media type who can only talk in incomprehensible mostly business/ politspeak. Which alarmingly descends into sinister suggestions of gender dividing the news! The politspeak clashing and losing to business speak.
Rupert: haven’t you noticed this is meant to be sexist-free Scandinavia?! Torben too, whilst we are at berating mode.
Rupert, most amusingly, has insanely shaped objects in his Google-like play/office. I wondered if they were meant to be good for your back as he lay and wriggled and stretched out on one giant white Tobelerone-shaped chair/couch/thing. But it looked far too uncomfortable.
A lot of Borgen III is compromised of extended teaching moments. Which makes it all rather tiresome. Even the characters are subject to this. First, we are metaphorically prodded with dramatic guilt by association in the laborious and impossibly right-on speeches of Birgitte over immigration:
“is this the sort of person I have become?”
A recent ruling on “misdemeanours resulting in deportation” is never explained. As if nicking some sweets from a corner shop might result in such action or not putting some rubbish in a bin.
The doleful faced “right-wing” member of the new independent party is forgiven and seen as human on the grounds of his wife being Ethiopian. He mutters about parental fears for their son and his lawyer wife’s refusal to let him their son wear a hoodie-ever. As if there were snipers on the rooftops just waiting to aim and shoot at the sight of a hoodie wearing youth.
Update and final review on Borgen Series 3.
So i may be guilty of nailing something to a mast if i dare to say that whilst i certainly fell under the sway of Birgitte and her coterie they were all mostly annoyingly irksome in the perfectness and lofty la-la-land ideals.
Perfect perfect perfect. Perfect Birgitte and her perfect life. Her perfect children. her perfect ever annoyingly supportive yet unctuous and wooden officially English boyfriend, Jeremy.
Whose English speaking scenes with Birgitte have the curious effect of deflating them of any emotion. Odd.
Juxtaposed next to Danish, the spoken English sounded strangled and strange. Like someone gargling whilst they spoke.
I do wonder if they gave Birgitte the healthcare storyline simply to puncture some of the punctilious perfectness. Likewise with Pinnochio stand in Jeremy, his admission of using prostitutes was his officially un-perfect moment.
Upon which (dare i say shocking) admission, Birgitte became trapped in the same default conundrum that I, in discussing the politics in Borgen and the rest of the characters fell into. Which is that if you don’t agree that this is all impossibly right-on-whatever it is-then you are a nasty, nasty, person.
In the same vein, Birgitte could not leave her boyfriend. Even though her body language expressed rejection as she moved away. Her mind rationalised that to reject Jeremy for sleeping with prostitutes would be uncool. So she must stay. When the most sensible question would have been about condom use one would have thought.
( Nb. Jeremy knocks at Birgitte’s hotel room door at night-in a possible pointed reverse scenario of his admission)
This theme was repeated over and over again in Borgen. As in the prostitution issue with the sex worker’s reasonable points versus the other viewpoints. As Katrine learnt more, she capitulated into accepting the sex worker’s viewpoint. & So did Birgitte.
To do otherwise was to be accused, as the sex worker lady did, of being very nasty people. This translated, for Birgitte and Katrine, as not being right-on enough. & That, simply will not do. Hence they must support this issue regardless.
When, nice and cosy as the sex-worker’s small cottage industry of known clients may well have been: the very concessions she was asking for have all been granted by Frankfurt in Germany recently and have had completely the opposite expected effect.
A giant mega brothel has sprung up, taken over and run by the the previously “underground” pimps and criminals themselves. Trafficking has not been reduced & street walkers remain. The sex workers, although legal, could not get insurance for their job.
As with the little piggy problem and their wee little tails. Such a photogenically useful project: if you agreed with piggies, cute little baby ones, having their tails cut off-then you were a nasty nasty person. & so on.
Whilst politically practised enough to pinch the piggy tale for just this nice/nasty projection, Birgitte and her coterie relentlessly fell subject to it themselves. Yawn.
Was this then politics predicated on emotion and was that meant to be a woman’s prerogative? I hope not.
Personally i felt that Birgitte fell at the last post and although esteemably steely and hard headed generally in her decisions: she should have taken the deal. So she may have been averse to the Freedom Party’s opinions. I note, I am not informed on them.
However whatever happened to Shakespeare’s advice via Julius Caesar:
“keep your friends close but your enemies closer”?
“let me not have men about me that are fat”
“but those who are thin and hungry”
or that may have been Mark Anthony.
Would slimy Hesselboe
(who looked like he just could not believe his luck and was barely suppressing incredulous laughter)
have selflessly acquiesced a possible Prime Minister-ship in lieu of his lofty ideals and aversion to a particular political party and dutifully have fallen on his sword declaring:
“I will do right by my country?”
Would he heck.
That is why Hesselboe was Statsminster and Birgitte was not. She blew it. After all it was a coalition and as she herself said, she could have had all the authority she wanted over the others as Prime Minister. Why, Birgitte, why?!
Indeed the smooth move all along would have been to use the concerns of the populace expressed by voting for the Freedom Party and incorporate a genius rebuffal of such views from becoming more extreme, by encompassing them and acknowledging them as fit for discussion and debate.
Birgitte missed that golden opportunity early on by baulking at those very concerns forthrightly stated by Nadia. The unwritten rule being that if Nadia had said them in a debate, then they cannot possibly be declared as racist. Those concerns would then be detoxified from such terrifying terminology and safely and reasonably discussed.
Job done. Voters wavering and having to pick and choose parties would be neutralised and brought over to their side, ha ha.
So Birgitte stalled at this thorny jump and didn’t make it over a second time. & ended up being a Foreign Minister instead of a Statsminster/Prime Minister. What a cop out really. So what was it all for then, other than to make a point and form a new party? & some new MPs (Members of Parliament).
Did the new MPs get to stay in government? Even if Birgitte’s party, the New Democrats, was not part of it? I think so. Would the New Democrat MPs promote their party’s views if not part of the coalition? Would the New Democrats have any real power? Who knows. Probably they will be Backbenchers in Parliament. But were not most of them MPs before?
As for the human interest side of it, Borgen 3 was just bland, bland, bland. Katrine was a light relief from gazing at the fixed and unrevealing emotionless life of super saintly Birgitte. Except for Birgitte’s: I’m-not- so perfect-and -together- really- and -maybe- treating- my- health- scare- like -a- set -of- Dentist’s appointments -was- not -so- wise-after -all-official freak out in the cab moment.
However we were subjected to a rather tedious narrative arc as reviewers like to call it: of signposted spoilt, as in near foot stamping, Katrine. Who was only ever grieving over the end of her relationship with Kaspar. But no, this was selfish and spoilt of Katrine and she must be taught the error of her ways by the finely honing tough love of Birgitte.
Fine. In the blink of a few eyes, Katrine was all mature and newly independent. In official drama land.
Then Borgen 3 became even more boring. Meanwhile we were mercilessly subjected to the painfully embarrassing love-life and tribulations of Torben. A successful news Director who we were meant to believe was inherently incapable of dealing with management. & Prone to impromptu shagging in what seemed to be a love triangle with pie eyed Pia in the control room and Torben’s stereotyped harridan wife.
Torben’s cartoonish crumpling of face at unpredictable intervals and sorrowful eyes throughout his love tribulations culminated in an inexplicable breakdown of staggering proportions: when Torben collapsed into his handsome male co-presenter Eric’s arms one night.
After hyperventilating silently to such an extreme extent I thought it was the dramatic left arm clutching heart attack demise any time soon. But no, Torben was upset.
Then Torben too, grows some cojones, becomes an official man, well sort of. With the help of Hanne and handsome Eric and stands up to the Rupert the Bear Scarf wearing management media type, Alex..
Torben’s final cutting line of goodbye:
“Alex,if you want a fairground, go to a fair”.
was obviously considered by Torben to be Clint Eastwood-esque in style and proportion. Sadly not. Sigh.
I realise I was meant to be rooting for Torben indeed feel sorry for him. I only felt sorry for Pia. To whom Torben acted like a prat.
After the boring dearth of any real humanity or interest in the human interest side of Borgen which kind of defeats the object: I fell upon the sight of Troels from The Killing as a real walking talking character of flesh and blood, like a vampire starved in a desert.
Troels made the rest of them look like zoned out shoppers waiting in an interminable queue.
In fact for me, Troels acted the rest of them off the screen. Simply by smiling slightly, sporting some raggedy grey stubble and negligible beard and loping about with impossibly long skinny Jean-clad legs.
Then they had to pair Troels up with Katrine. Who nearly sucked the life out of their every scene. Nearly. Troels saved the day.
A special mention must also go to the wonderful bit part of the ex-KGB agent whom Katrine meets in the delightfully spy-like setting of the empty fairground in Oslo.