Advent Calendar TV Shows

In Norway we have a tradition where each year the television channels air shows with a Christmas theme that has a new episode each day between December 1st and December 24th.

December 24th is the main day of celebration in Norway, so a British or US TV calendar would end at the 25th instead. 

 

I think this is a tradition that would be great for other countries to adopt aswell!

But until that happends, here are a few great TV calendars to check out, if you can find any DVD’s with English subtitles.

 

 

Jul i Skomakergata (1979)

Translated as ‘Christmas on Cobbler Street’, this is the second ever Christmas series to be made in Norway.

It may be slow and bare-bones by today’s standards, but it is a classic, and it is almost single-handedly responsible for this tradition.

It is a sweet little story of a friendly neighbourhood cobbler, and it aired for many years before any other show could even contend with it.

 

The Julekalender (1994)

This is a remake of a 1991 Danish calendar by the same name.

There was also a Finish remake in 1997.

It is a comedy about three individuals of a mythological creature from Nordic folklore, known as a nisse.

 

Nisses are commonly said to live around farmland, often in stables, in the mountains or in the woods.

They are similar to gnomes or the Scotish brownie.

Nisses are so prevalent in Norwegian folklore that we even named Santa “Julenissen” when he was introduced to us.

 

The story of the show revolves around three nisses from America who return to Norway.

They speak half English and half Norwegian, making them sound very silly.

 

The best parts of this show are the humorous songs they perform, and the husband and wife living at the farm close-by, who has to play hosts to an annoying vampire-like creature who is hunting the nisses.

The three nisses and the three people at the farm are also played by the same three comedians.

 

Amalies Jul (1995)

Translated as ‘Amalie’s Cristmas’, and made for children, this was my first ever Advent Calendar.

 

This one also revolves around three nisses.

A father, a mother and a daughter, the daughter being the main character.

Each day she has to do a prank or a good deed to a human living on her farm, in preparation to taking a test on Christmas Eve to determine if she can earn her long red stocking cap, a proof of her nisse maturity.

 

Mysteriet på Greveholm (1996)

A Swedish calendar, translated as ‘The Mystery of the Count’s Islet’.

A family moves into an old castle, and have to deal with burglars and ghosts.

 

Sweden has an even bigger culture around TV advent calendars than Norway, having produced a new one every single year since 1960.

 

Jul i Blåfjell (1999)

Translated as ‘Christmas in Blue Mountain’, this is a follow-up of sorts to ‘Amalies Jul’.

Instead of focusing on the traditional red nisses, this show stars a tribe of blue nisses living deep inside a mountain over a small Norwegian town.

The two types of nisse would later meet in the crossover series ‘Jul på Månetoppen’, and there would later be made a film based on the series, with the English title ‘Magic Silver’.

 

Vazelina Hjulkalender (2000)

This is a hokey but fun comedy show made by the Norwegian rockabilly-band Vazelina Bilopphøggers.

The band works at a scrap yard, and has to help Santa when he crash-lands in front of them.

They also have to contend with the rich people at the local hotel, who attempt to have their scrap yard closed down.

 

Olsenbandens Første Kupp (2001)

Also a remake of a Danish predecessor, this is a prequel to a series of comedy films about Olsenbanden, a small group of bank robbers.

The show is set in the 50s, and features child-versions of many of the characters from the films.

 

Nissene på Låven (2001)

‘The Nisses in The Barn’ is a parody of ‘Big Brother’, where several people compete for a money price by trying to not get voted out of the barn until December 24th.

While they are there, they can only wear a Santa costume, only eat Christmas porrige, and they all have to compete in Christmas-related competitions.

 

The same group of comedians would later go on to make another reality-show parody with people dressed as Santa called ‘Nissene Over Skog og Hei’, this time parodying wilderness reality shows.

One of the most popular characters would also get his own talk-show calendar, namely ‘Asbjørns Julekalender’.

 

Jul i Blodfjell (2017)

While the name is a parody of ‘Jul i Blåfjell’ (with “blod” meening “blood”, while “blå” means “blue”), the plot has nothing to do with that show.

This is a comedy horror/murded-mystery show, with a new murder-victim each day/episode.

The characters are all very funny, and the plot is genuinely intriguing.

 

 

I also have a list of fun Christmas films, if that is more your cup of eggnog.

Happy Holidays!

 

My Favorite Tim Minchin Songs

tim minchin heritage orchestra ten best songs

Tim Minchin is an Australian musical comedian, usually performing with a grand piano, and sometimes with an entire orchestra.

In later years, he has won several awards for his Broadway musicals ‘Mathilda’ and ‘Groundhog Day’, but I will always associate him with his stage comedy.

Here are ten of my favorite songs of his, in no particular order.

 

Prejudice

A song about a word which has been used to put down a particular group of people for decades.

 

I’m in a Cage/Nothing Ruins Comedy

A song which looks askew at how fame and popularity can negatively impact an artists work.

 

Rock And Roll Nerd

This feels like Tim Minchin’s most autobiographical work, and I must say that I feel some kinship to him.

And that’s part of why I like him so much.

 

Not Perfect

A really sweet song about being happy with what you have.

 

5 Poofs and 2 Pianos

Minchin has sometimes been invited onto talk shows, and asked to come up With a New song for the occasion.

Here he is on the ‘Friday Night with Jonathan Ross’ show, attempting to ingratiate himself into the show’s house-band, ‘4 Poofs and a Piano’.

 

3 Minute Song

This song was made for Ruth Jones’ ‘Easter Treat’ show, and is an expression of Minchin’s frustration over having to restrict himself to fit into certain musical norms when performing on talk shows.

 

Cont(ext)

This is a song which seems like it has a horrible message, until you Reach the middle of it and realise what has happened.

I actually got told to turn it off after I put it on at work once, as the woman who asked me to turn it off was scared that other employees would get insulted.

Fair enough, as this could easily be misunderstood.

 

Song For Phil Daoust

This is a song that was written in response to a very negative review Tim got early in his career.

I used to wonder if this was a real occurrence or not. It turns out it was.

 

The Fence

A song about the value of not jumping to conclusions or believing everything at face value.

 

Dark Side

This is one of his longest songs, and it is epic!

It may be a faux attempt at being edgy and dark, but he still hits it out of the park.

 

An Introduction to ‘Ninja Sex Party’

An Introduction to NSP

‘NSP’ is a musical comedy duo consisting of Dan Avidan and Brian Wecht, commonly known as Danny Sexbang and Ninja Brian.

 

Their comedy is usually based on absurdism, both as part of their lyrics and as visual jokes in their music videos.

Danny may be singing a raunchy love song, while Ninja Brian casually murders random people in the background.

 

A lot of their jokes also revolve around Danny’s inflated sense of self-worth, particularly over his own coolness and sexual prowess.

Even when he sings about how awesome he is, that is not how you are supposed to see him.

 

An Explicit History

 

Danny Sexbang used to be a ninja like Brian, but he hung up his robes once he found his true calling.

Dance!

 

Not long after, Danny met Ninja Brian, and the two started making sweet, sweet music together.

By that, I mean that they started a band.

 

While the duo usually work well together, sometimes there have been disagreements.

But these disagreements are usually quickly forgotten.

 

The two are also very charitable, and more than willing to help people in need.

 

This sense of duty to help their common man culminated in an event in which the band liberated the oppressed masses in the loveless year of 6969.

They say that there have never been a band more awesome than ‘Ninja Sex Party’.

Specifically, Danny Sexbang says this.