Willem van Dieren has handed over the reigns of his shoe polish factory to his son Hubert and taken up sculpting. Together with his wife Gaby he decides to go back to basics and live on a ... See full summary »




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1978   1977  


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Series cast summary:
Kitty Janssen Kitty Janssen ...  Gaby 16 episodes, 1977-1978
André van den Heuvel André van den Heuvel ...  Willem 16 episodes, 1977-1978
Ganci Geraedts Ganci Geraedts ...  Bea 16 episodes, 1977-1978
Manfred de Graaf Manfred de Graaf ...  Hubert 16 episodes, 1977-1978
Carry Tefsen Carry Tefsen ...  Truus 16 episodes, 1977-1978
Piet Hendriks Piet Hendriks ...  Rinus 16 episodes, 1977-1978
Ina van Faassen Ina van Faassen ...  Janet 8 episodes, 1977-1978


Willem van Dieren has handed over the reigns of his shoe polish factory to his son Hubert and taken up sculpting. Together with his wife Gaby he decides to go back to basics and live on a farm with out any electrical appliances. Hubert and his wife Bea move in next door, but they still depend on all kinds of modern luxuries, including a hired help, Truus, who is married to local postman Rinus. Written by Il Tesoro

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Release Date:

3 January 1977 (Netherlands) See more »

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User Reviews

The basics of a sit-com
27 February 2009 | by Chip_douglasSee all my reviews

In 1975 the head honcho's at VARA television got a funny idea: put comedy writers Alexander Pola and Chiem van Houweninge together and see what kind of comedy they can come up with. Over time, it would bring them two of the most successful and longest running sit-com's in Dutch television history, but only after two less successful tries had come and gone.

Alexander & Chiem's first attempt centered around the family of Willem van Dieren (André van den Heuvel) the retired director of a shoe polish factory who has given over the reigns of his business to his son Hubert (Manfred de Graaf). Willem and his wife Gaby (Kitty Janssen) then decide to go back to basics and buy a farm bereft of electricity and other kinds of modern household appliances. He also manages to make some money on the side by creating artful sculptures. For some reason that still escapes me, Hubert and his wife Bea (Ganci Geradts) move in next door. This younger couple however still enjoys all the electrical help of the 20th century and even hires a neighbor, Truus (Carry Tefsen) to help around the house. Nosey Truus often forces her postal worker husband Rinus (Piet Hendriks) to lend a hand when ever the need arises.

All the elements that make up a successful sit-com were already in place at the outset of the series. 1): Recognizable characters. Six characters divide into three couples and half of them wear the same basic outfits in every episode (Truus and Rinus their work clothes, Willem his blue knitted cap). Gaby and Bea's hairdos can also be called trademarks of sorts, as they look like they might be wigs, but this being the mid-seventies, one never knows. 2): Conflict. Not only is there a generational gap between the characters (even though the actors André and Kitty are obviously too young to have parented Manfred de Graaf), main character Willem easily gets upset when his 'back to basics' lifestyle is questioned.

Of course every comedy needs # 3): funny supporting characters. Carry Tefsen and Piet Hendriks show definite promise in this department as Truus & Rinus. Tefsen is basically playing a more restrained version of the character that would make her a household name in the 80s, Mien Dobbelstein from "Zeg 'ns Aaa", also from the pen of Polak & Van Houweininge. Also, Truus & Rinus are also written older then their actual years, especially in one episode where Jaap Stobbe appears as their son (who conveniently works at Hubert's factory). And let us not forget about # 4): a limited number of sets. Sometimes it seems the 'sit' in sit-com stands for 'sitting down' and the 'com' for 'communicating'. These shows are usually situated in a luxurious house with one big room facing the studio audience, and all the characters are talkative and love to get into discussions with one another. At one point in the series Willem sprains his leg and doesn't move from his seat for at least a whole episode. Just one iconic element was missing: # 5): catchphrases.

But even with all these elements present and accounted for, the series only managed to run for two television seasons. Part of the problem was that of the four main characters, only Willem had something interesting to say. The other three were kind of dull. Even Bea's pregnancy couldn't make her and Hubert more interesting. Therefore Bea's mother Janet (Ina van Faassen) was soon introduced so she could clash with Willem continuously. Unfortunately, Janet proved to be quite annoying, leading the public to be on Willem's side even before he got to state his case. Additionally Truus and Rinus also caused the usual misunderstandings and mishaps but these failed to break the mold and remained quite predictable comedy fare.

A & C's second stab at situation comedy, 1979's Cassata was even less fortunate (probably because Ina van Faassen had an even bigger part in that one) but the third time was indeed the charm, as the writers were reunited with Tefsen, De Graaf and Hendriks once more for the wildly successful Zeg 'ns Aaa. And they quickly prove how much they had learned from the two earlier experiences: Manfred got to play a more sympathetic character and Carry was allowed to go over the top, complete with catchphrases and was paired with an on screen husband better suited to her own age. Only poor old Piet was delegated to a supporting character who never made it past the first season.

7 out of 10

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