The ‘Eelsoap’

For a short time now we are witnessing the so-called ‘Eelsoap’ on non-commercial Dutch television. “A reality series in which the camera follows everyday life of well-known and unknown citizens of Volendam”, TROS, ‘Holland’s largest family’, reported. For the sake of curiosity I watched the first two episodes; after all seeing is believing.

I can tell that I’ve seen them and they were unbelievable.

In episode 1 the manager/driver of  Holland’s most successful singer gives notice of his intended marriage. The registrar (was he real or fake?) asked whether the groom’s witness lives in Holland. A a matter of fact, this witness is the successful singer about whom we already know everything because of his own reality series. The conscientious public servant also let the bride and groom know that throwing rice after the wedding-ceremony (4 weeks later!) is not allowed. To top it all the groom shook hands with his bride. Shook hands! Later we saw the happy couple buy a new caravan, with state-of-the-art technology.

Let’s move to another striking event in the episode. The Volendam artists which are allied to the agency of the above-mentioned groom’s father – a very nice person, by the way – were to be photographed together for a black tie event. To avoid risks, the photographer – probably learned the hard way – had taken care of suitable attire. Mind you, 1.4 million viewers(!) witnessed the negotiations of the pretty well-off singer of what once was Holland’s best selling pop group, just to get the jacket for free. But, he replied, if that wasn’t possible, he was willing to pay a suitable price. Later the public was informed about the fact that this famous Volendammer has a garden behind his house, and that the maintenance is done by himself together with his wife. At least, when the cameras are rolling.

Episode 2 raised also some eyebrows, to put it mildly. Holland’s most successful singer’s little sister already had two singles released, so she believes it is high time to take guitar lessons. For that reason a relatively expensive instrument was ordered from a mail-order catalog(!). Regretfully, on delivery the guitar turned out to be damaged. Severely damaged. Instead of breaking into tears madam proceeded to the order of the day. As if the ordered doormat had the wrong colour. That’s the spirit!

Further, we witnessed the word game scrabble. The singing gardener, without free jacket but with his wife, and his former drummer with his wife were sitting around the scrabble-board. The word was ‘voorvocht’. (the Dutch equivalent for pre-ejaculation fluid). Believe it or not, this word ‘voorvocht’ gave rise to a lengthy debate. The drummer’s wife wondered how to use this fluid: “do you have to rub it on the skin?” Finally, there was a footage of the driver’s wedding. Remember: the hand-shaking groom. We had the opportunity to enjoy philosophical conversations about an extra hole in the belt, the absence of new shoes for the groom and the outfit of his father.

In the next episode, I can hardly wait, a member of Holland’s most popular duo is going to buy an automatic waste-bin and two members of a well-known trio mess around with some domestic gear. The lead-singer of the trio then declares with self-mockery and/or vision: “Do you know how dumb we’re gonna look on TV? Maybe this outstanding vocalist means: “zeros make the millions”.

To move as a result of this ‘eel soap’ is a little overdone, I think. But I’m staying home for the time being.

Specs, January 2009