Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Message From Julkalendern 2015's Spokeswoman & Defender To The Death

Something truly divisive happens in Sweden every December: the annual Julkalendern or "Christmas Calendar". It's a 15-minute-long children's program with one episode every day from December 1st to 24th. It's different every year and it's typically a story arc, often with some sort of mystery that needs to be solved. Most seem to think that the story needs to be classically Christmassy with lots of snow and coziness, so ones like last year's, which was a pirate treasure hunt-themed story that took place in some warm vacation spot, aren't popular. But as I said, it's divisive so whatever the premise is, viewers either love it or hate it. Oh, and then there's always drama about which age group the program is appropriate for, since you can't pander to the toddlers, but it can't be too scary either because they're probably watching anyway. So that brings us to this year's Julkalender: A Thousand Years to Christmas Eve. Honestly, just thinking about it right now is making my heart pound. I'd be hard pressed to name a bit of entertainment that I've ever been more excited or enthusiastic about. Here's the premise: a real-life couple who are both entertainers and authors, travel a thoursand years through history, from 1015 to Christmas 2015, to illustrate Swedish history. It's set during a whole year, spring, summer, autumn and winter, and various children act as sidekicks in each epsisode. It takes on Swedish history from a child's perspective, with topics such as clothing, housing, livelihood, food shortages, and fear of famine and war. It's role-playing, not acting, and the kids comment on what they're experiencing throughout. They film in actual locations left standing from the particular time period the episode is set in and everything is based on research from historians and other experts. Also, it's HILARIOUS. I wish everyone I know spoke Swedish so they could understand the quick, astute, and often political dialog. For example, in the first clip above, after the dancing, the kids ask what in the world their parents are doing and the mom answers that they're illustrating with their outfits that men and women are equal. She then says that all the dancing has made her hungry so she's going to go to the kitchen and make some food for the family and they can just relax and stay where they are. One of the kids, then, comments into the camera how strange it is that they were making a big deal about how men and women are equal but then it's still the mom who is always taking care of everything in the kitchen. "I think that's a little strange," she says. Guys, I could go on and on. And I don't care if little kids don't like it or if it's not cozy enough for everybody or if everybody else hates it because it's this girl's dream show. I think it's pure magic and it's totally making my month.

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