If you’ve ever watched Dutch children’s television you are probably familiar with Buurman en Buurman. It’s a stop animation show about two neighbors who (in each episode) try to build, fix or invent something. It almost, always goes horribly wrong. It does not take long for some small mistake to escalate as they try to find a creative, not well thought out, and sometimes life threatening solution.
I love this show. Because it was originally animated in Czechoslovakia without any dialog the humor and storytelling is very visual. Everything on screen is fine tuned to communicate the story and timed perfectly to tell the joke. The fact that the Dutch have dubbed in voices somehow enhances the show even farther (rather than detract from it). It’s a great show…
…that I recently discovered we cannot watch with my father. I discovered this during their recent Christmas holiday visit, while my five year old daughter and my sixty-nine year old father were sitting on the sofa watching a few episodes.
It is important to note that one of them is a child who watches each episode in wonder with a smile on her face, laughing and giggling at the humorous events unfolding on the screen, mesmerized by what might happen next. The other is an retired builder.
“That’s not how you do it,” comments my father as Buurman en Buurman try to build a wall by throwing some bricks together.
“You need proper foundations first,” he remarks as they try to make a greenhouse out of empty jam jar pots.
“Use a spirit level at least,” he complains as they try to put up some shelves with randomly found bits of wood.
“Told you so,” he adds later when the shelves falls down.
Before long he was trying to explain the finer points of the building trade to his five year old granddaughter. She was very confused. I think he lost her at, “foreman oversight.”
I’m glad we have not shown him Bob the Builder. I think he might take issue with the talking sentient vehicles.