For a long time this was the longest running original sitcom ever made in the Netherlands. You could argue that there were only two channels at the time, but still, every other attempt at a situation comedy, whether they starred established comedians or popular musicians, never got further than one season. Originally the show centered around a relatively young widow, Dr. Lydie van der Ploeg (Sjoukje Hooymaayer), who fell in love with a surgeon (Manfred de Graaf) to dismay of her two grown up children. But it was Carry Tefsen as the down to earth maid Mien Dobbelsteen and to a lesser extend her long suffering builder husband Koos (John Leddy) who really struck a cord with the audience and eventually took over the show.
Of course it's not unusual for supporting players in sitcoms to get their own spin of, since these characters are often funnier, racier and more interesting (even if they are stereotypes) than the bland leading roles. Sometimes a leading man or woman decides to leave the show altogether and the supporters take over. But in the case of "Zeg 'ns Aaa", the secondary characters grew so popular that they took top position in the credits and story lines while the original leads happily took a step back.
Of the Van der Ploeg children, Nancy (Renée Soutendijk) left for Hollywood before the first season was over and most people forgot she was ever a cast member, but Gert-Jan (Hans Cornelissen) had a lot of subplots of his own like his marriage and divorce to Pien (Monique Rosier). When he left Kiki Classen appeared as Hans's niece Wiep (they sure had a tendency to pick silly old girls names) and quickly became very popular (her Playboy spread was one of the best selling in the history of the Dutch version). Personally though, I kept pining for Pien. Meanwhile Mien and Koos got their own supporting characters in the shape of her sister Annie (singer Ria Valk) and his no good pall Jopie. It was quite a shock to see the lovable Kokki of Pepi en Kokki fame play such a scummy guy.
Eventually it had to stop as co-writer Alexander Pola was getting on and Chiem van Houweninge did not want to do it on his own, but the show left VARA Television with a spin off about two granddads that went on to run even longer than 'Aaa'. Still, Chiem and great deal of the cast reunited in 2003 for a stage version, a sequel of sorts (although John Leddy declined because he was already appearing in a Barry Manilow musical). Mien's sister could not make it either, so this time they brought in her mother to even out the slate.
8 out of 10
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