Saturday, July 28, 2012

Watching TV

One of the great helps in learning a language is TV. There are lot of channels which enable subtitles for dutch programs. It's like killing two birds with one stone, you can both hear the language and  actually understand something when seeing the text as well. Sometimes in real-time things (such as the news) the timing is slightly off which makes it more confusing than actually helping.

It seems in the Netherlands there are really no social boundaries in what you can say / show on TV. Many times I've sat on the couch and thought that if that would've been in Finland, it would be such an faux pas. But here it seems to be completely OK to bring people on TV (even against their will) and ask very personal questions and find ways of making people look just simply bad/sad/strange or weird.

Few interesting shows either for language learning or spotting akward social situations are

  • Lingo - a great program for learning language, as it is about guessing dutch words with different amount of letters. Everything is also spelled out very c-l-e-a-r-l-y.
  • Spuiten en slikken (Shoot and swallow) - the few episodes I've seen were either about people using drugs in the most sadest places or then something to do with prostituion.
  • any program with Mart Smeets - He is the icon of dutch sports (who looks like it's been few years since he has been actively sporting), and most probably you will spot him during Tour de France sitting in a beautiful French chateau drinking some nice red wine and talking to the lucky ones, who have gotten the honor to appear by his side on TV.
  • De wereld draait door - discussion program that seems to be on EVERY DAY. And EVERY DAY there is the same guy with his strange hair. I heard that once the program was cancelled as he got sick during, but otherwise he must be the most seen face on TV.
  • Interviews of famous people - these are always good, especially for spotting akward social situations. Latest example was an interview of a family of a famous dutch woman cyclist. Her brother had some issues with mental health, and the interviewer, tactful as always, asked: "So how did it make you feel that while your sister was winning the world championship, you were sitting inside a room and staring at the wall and having a nervous breakdown?" Like, did I miss that this was a contest of how low can you go with your questions..
  • Talkshows - One talkshow decided it was a good idea to have a surgeon cut out a piece of flesh from both hosts, and then they would eat a piece of each other while the one who was "being eaten" watched. How gezellig! Another one arranged a debate between a association for pedophiles and on the other side the parents of the victims of pedophiles. You can imagine the atmosphere in that room..
  • Reality shows - shows such as "will you go out with me" where 20+ girls say either yes/no to a guy who walks on stage, can be also quite brutal. Or how about a show, where a teenage boy comes out of the closed in front of his classmates - would not work in Finland :-) Also one nice one is Marry my son, where moms are trying to find wives for their sons.
  • Boer zoekt vrouw - my favorite! People from dutch countryside are looking for husbands/wives. Only worry there is (or the Dutch guy has), is that I get this countryside "boer" accent :-)
  • Grenzeloos verliefd - stories of people who move abroad to be with their loved ones. This one I can relate to!

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