The shallow man has recently sat through several Dutch TV programmes. The quality of these varies from appalling to downright insulting to the intelligence. The person I blame for this sorry state of affairs is John De Mol, one of the creators of Big Brother. The shallow man remembers the original Big Brother series shown in the UK not long after the original Dutch version and the impact it had on television globally. Television companies realized that instead of spending a considerable amount of money on expensive original drama productions, they could give the public what they obviously wanted: reality TV.
The production costs of Reality shows cost significantly less than that of drama, which often features actors and actresses who spent years learning their trade and are able to demand good fees for appearing in such shows. Reality TV, on the other hand, is cheap, featuring egomaniacs who are so desperate to appear on TV that they will practically work for free to get exposure.
Without Big Brother, we would not be subject to the lives of the Kardashians (yes, even too shallow for the shallow man), Geordie and Jersey Shore, The Valleys etc. TV networks also realised that another way to exploit the viewer’s endless love of reality TV was to create scripted reality drama. These are shows that are allegedly based on real events and feature actors who are too talentless to appear in the Theatre or any film or TV productions of quality and are therefore cheap and willing to appear in anything. This has led to programmes such as the only way is Essex, Achter Gesloten Deuren, Beschuldigd and the subject of today’s post, Overspel in de Liefde.
The father of the shallow man used to say that you can only fall lower when you fall once. Well, today, I’m proving Mr Shallow Man senior correct. I’ve fallen, from Achter Gesloten Deuren, to Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden even lower now to Overspel in de liefde!
Casting policy for Overspel in de liefde
If you are too old or not attractive enough for Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden, and can’t read lines off an autocue quickly enough, an essential requirement for Achter Gesloten Deuren, then you will be perfect for Overspel in de liefde. Think of the cast of GTST as C listers, Achter Gesloten Deuren, E listers and those sorry souls that are snapped up from poverty, uitkering and ruin and given a role in Overspel in de liefde as F listers. F as in well and truly F****d and they know it.
Net 5 and RTL television compete to see who can create the dumbest, most patronizing, and of course, cheapest television possible. Normally I would say that RTL has the edge, but having sat through Overspel in de liefde I’m no longer so sure. The concept is yet another scripted reality show based on “actual” events. Have you ever been in a relationship and had your partner cheat on you? Well, of course, the most natural thing in the world is that after having been through this, to tell the intimate details of the relationship to the good people of Net5 so that it can be featured on Overspel in de liefde. Natuurlik!
The show is shot in a kind of mock documentary style, so that when for example, the cheating partner is confronted for their infidelity, a film crew is also shown off camera. It is shouted at in quality Dutch style “sodemeter op!!”. Confused? You will be.
The plot of an episode over “vreemdgaan” that I caught up with on the Internet
Linda lives just over the border in Belgium with her partner Ron. At the moment, Ron is in Amsterdam as he is often there on business and sleeps at an apartment they own and kept after moving to no man’s land, Belgium. Linda happens to be in town at the same time to meet Ron. Being somewhat devious, she sits in the back of a car, with a film crew, outside their Amsterdam apartment and sends him a text asking him where he is. He responds by saying that he’s on his way. Linda is not easily fooled, she’s sure she saw movement behind the curtains.
As the sad story unfolds, you learn that Ron and Linda used to visit Amsterdam a lot together, but recently he’s been going there on business a hell of a lot, on his own. She also received a text message from Ron that was obviously addressed to his ex-girlfriend, so she’s suspicious that he might be getting his Lion King hair and other parts stroked by his Ex.
The relationship was going well, they’d opted not to have children nor get married as it’s a “Burgerlijk gedoe.” Things have changed in the bedroom, he acts as if he’s been watching porn. Sadly, she fails to say if said pornography was German or American, as there is quite a difference.
The lovely Linda then does something I hope is not common amongst Dutch women. While Ron is at work in Amsterdam, she lets herself into the apartment and then bugs it with state-of-the-art equipment, cameras and microphones of the type that you’d normally associate with spy films. Where she managed to get hold of such sophisticated equipment is not explained, as if it’s perfectly normal for a middle-aged woman just to have this kind of gadgetry in her handbag. Men, be warned!
She then returns home, where with the aid of an Ipad, she can playback footage of what has taken place with Ron in the apartment. There is a phone call with a friend, where he describes his ex Evy as a “Lekker Wijf” with whom sex was like not having to pay the bill at the end of a date. Fantastic! Poor Linda listens to this and is 100% sure that he’s doing rude things with Evy, so she does the natural thing, returns to Amsterdam and confronts Evy, who confirms that everything is fine and that she and Ron are just good friends. The actress playing the Lekker Wijf is attractive but speaks each sentence as if she’s been in a coma for five years and is just remembering how to talk.
Relieved, Linda, who you can be sure is happy because she starts smiling, decides to surprise Ron with some racy underwear and a sexy outfit at the apartment in Amsterdam. Sadly, Ron is busy entering another woman when she enters the place. A huge row erupts, with many choice words, including Ron yelling at the camera crew to Flikker lekker Op!
If you like your television, cheap, predictable, and so non-engaging that you can read a book, eat dinner and still not risk losing the storyline, then Overspel in de Liefde is for you. The secret of de waarheid over vreemdgaan in Nederland might be better left alone.
No out-of-work MILFs were hurt during the writing of this article.