Samuel Meyering came up with an interesting idea for an anthology series: to have each episode fashioned by a different production team, as long as each story resolves around somebody leading a double life (hence the title 'Dubbelleven'). The end result is eight very different Television plays, some funny, some sad and some slightly disturbing. Each completely different from the others, showcasing a wide range of Dutch talent both in front of and behind the camera and all broadcast within two months of each other during March and April 1978.
As is so often the case (though in this kind of series less so than usual), the first episode broadcast was the most enjoyable. "Prettig Weekend, Meneer Meijer" stars Gerard Thoolen as a mousy office worker who pretends to be a big shot Italian movie director during the weekend. For some reason this particular episode turned out more lighthearted than the ones that would follow (despite the fact that the protagonist is a con artist). It also appears to have a slightly larger budget than the others.
The stories can mostly be split into three subjects. Number one involves people who are pretending to be two different persons (like Meijer from episode one). A similar theme is used in "Jaap Dolder, Nooit van Gehoord", about an unemployed man who pretends to be a cool biker.
Then there are the stories that feature characters who are trying to make sense out of their own sexuality. One of these revolves around a female teacher who is cheating on her fiancé with a colleague of the same sex. Another is about a young man who is much more comfortable wearing women's clothing and a third stars a sixteen year old boy who would rather be with an older woman than a schoolgirl who loves him.
Finally there are three stories about people who switch into a different mode as soon as they leave their day job (don't we all). Here we follow a female police officer who lets a no-good playboy she met during a holiday manipulate her, a lady lawyer who falls in love with a man she ends up prosecuting, and an orderly at an old person's home who gambles all his earnings away at night.
The joy of watching this series more than three decades later comes from spotting all the talent on screen. It also makes one wonder why some of the promising young actors and actresses were never seen again. And while certainly not every episode will be to everyones taste (the Jaap Dolder story had some especially unpleasant images of a neglected, unclean household), each installment is a pleasant way to spend about 50 minutes with.
7 out of 10
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