Not the crying cheese-grinder nor the outraged shoe
It truly is a joy to be able to watch all of Wim T. Schipper's work in the correct order, because many characters that are introduced as supporting characters in one series will return with expanded parts in the next (or vise versa). Of course this does not prevent me from posting these reviews in a different order, as indeed the various series were released in an alternate order on DVD.
Despite the harsh criticism Wim's opening show of the 1980 Holland Festival received, the VPRO thought highly enough of his 'modern humor' to contract him to develop a sitcom in 1981 to be called De Lachende Scheerkwast. Unfortunately by the second episode it became clear that rather than having a well rounded story arc in mind, writer Wim was making things up as he went along. At the start of the series, Rein Scheinbergen (Lex de Regt) appears to be the main character. But he soon takes on a supporting role and sometimes completely disappears amongst an ever increasing cast of crazy characters.
Five actors from Schipper's 1978 series Het Is Weer Zo Laat return as more or less the same character: Waldo van Dungen (Dolf Brouwers), who turns out to be Sjef van Oekel after all, despite going by the name of H. van Dalden for a while. His estranged wife Gé Braadslee (Mimi Kok) who now runs a flower shop. Pianist Jan Vos (Clous van Mechelen) who tries to pick up his love affair with Gé as soon as he bumps into her. Boy Bensdorp (Rob van Houten), now the owner of the world's dirtiest café and Barman Thijs (Rob Romkes) who still tends bar, but now at Café 't Oude Lulleke.
Some of the more important new characters include but are not limited to the following: restaurant owner and would be heir to the Dutch throne Henk J. Pal (Cees Schouwenaar) who would go on to appear in every subsequent Schippers production. Jacques Plafond (Schippers himself, who is sometimes referred to by his real name by characters that are aware he's writing their lines). Absent minded old lady Loes de Wilde (Truus Dekker). Then there are also Rein Schaanbergen's wife and daughter, Ria (Mies de Heer) and Irene (Annebé van Oort). And one of Irene's boyfriends, Otto Drissen (Dick van den Toorn), who spends almost the entire second series in a hospital bed.
You see, broadcaster VPRO, at the time desperately in need of new supporters, soon realized the show wasn't the groundbreaking hit they were hoping for. So they insisted the twelve part series took a break after only half of the episodes were broadcast. And this despite the pleas for new supporters thinly disguised as a quiz (announced by faux pas anchor lady Marijke Vlug (Marie Kooyman) at the end of every installment. Quite enraged, Schippers made sure some mini-episodes were broadcast on radio in the intervening weeks to keep interest alive.
When the show returned for what would now be called it's 'second season' in Februari 1982, the author (whether it was Schippers or Plafond) had turned the entire setup and most of the characters living accommodations upside down. Many of the characters now had at least one thing in common: they all worked in the same office building (though exactly what kind of business they was never revealed). This was presumably an attempt to turn the Scheerkwast into a parody of the popular prime-time soaps of the era such as Dallas, Dynasty and their Dutch equivalent De Fabriek (the latter being referenced several times).
Typically, whenever the storyline was written into too many unrelated sideways, somebody would pull a 'Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland' and put on a show. De Scheerkwast featured original songs (by Plafond and Vos) in every episode anyway, but both of the season finale's revolved around a musical get together that brought together the entire cast, most of whom would take center stage to perform a song one by one. Naturally, both episode 6 and 12 ended on a cliffhanger, but alas the second one was not to be resolved as the VPRO did not ask for another series. Not to worry though, most of the crazy characters did return in Schippers' 1985 TV series "Opzoek Naar Yolanda".
8 out of 10
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