Future Landscapes


Terkel in Trouble. What the effing crap.

Okay freaky deaky Danes. We need to have a chat.


That stands for something my mom is not allowed to read at her age, but those of you experienced in acronyms can fill in the rest.

Before all the normal people are like 'why are you watching that crap?' Let me explain.

I went to a social gathering tonight. We had delicious tea, good conversation, and Chilean cookie-things filled with something like dulce de leche. Most of the people were foreign. The girl who's house we were at is a boarder living with a Danish family. The owners have two kids, aged 10 and 15, and they're all on holidays right now. When it was time to decide what movie we wanted to watch, the boarder brought out two movies which had been recommended to her as 'typical Danish comedy' by the family she lives with. One of them was 'Terkel in Trouble.'

I think as a group we were pretty curious as to what constituted Danish humor. Would it be sarcastically hilarious like the British? Lame and non-existent like the Dutch? Would it be a series of unfortunate events like the Spanish?

No. Turns out it's just abrasive, embarrassingly bovine, and offensive to nearly all people.

The 8 of us watched in gape-mouthed horror as Terkel, described in the synopsis as a 'normal'... okay you know what? I'm just going to let you read what the synopsis actually says.

Terkel is a normal boy who's in 6th grade at a secondary school together with his best friend Jason, who carries an iron pipe with him at all times. Terkel and Jason are playing a Game Boy in the schoolyard one day when a strange man in a green panda sweater approaches them. The man, Gunnar, tells Terkel that he has sat on a spider. "Nothing to worry about. They're just jeans. They can be washed", Terkel says and after that the nightmare starts...

Snippets of the rest of the movie:


-Terkel's teacher gets fatally run over, and the class's new teacher is the strange 'Gunnar.'

-Terkel's parents get married and the two "bad boys" in his class, Sten and Saki, manipulate Terkel to steal beer for them.

-One day the overweight girl in the class, Doris, approaches Terkel with a love letter. When Sten and Saki notice, they start teasing the two of them, calling them a couple. Terkel is torn: he wants to defend Doris, but instead, because he'd rather save face in front of the cool kids, he says "I'm certainly not in love with a fat cow like that!" Doris gets so upset that she jumps out the window from the fourth floor and dies.

-After that Terkel starts receiving death threats: on his desk, painted on the ceiling of his room, on a stone which breaks his window, in his notebook... His parents aren't of any help - his mother tells him about all the diseases he might develop and his father only seems capable of one word: "No".

-Gunnar decides to arrange a school camping trip to study salamanders, but Terkel doesn't want to go. He begs his parents to let him stay at home, but they refuse. He finds out that Doris was actually his 'best friend' Jason's sister, and begins to think the death threats are from Jason. This appears to be confirmed when Terkel finds a dead cat in his sleeping bag, and gets a text message from Jason's phone saying 'I'm coming to kill you.'

-Terkel runs to Gunnar's tent, but it turns out that Gunnar has Jason's phone... The plot unravels, and it turns out all the death threats and messages had been from Gunnar as a revenge for Terkel sitting on the spider when he first met them. Terkel flees, and a thrilling race through the woods commences. Just as Gunnar has Terkel cornered, he is saved in the nick of time by Jason, who finally puts his iron bar to use. During the struggle the pipe is smashed into Gunnar's head killing him.

Now here is a disturbing piece of information:

Terkel in Trouble was nominated for several awards in 2005, winning the Audience Award, the Best Children/Family Film, the Best Original Score, the Best Song and Best Sound awards at the Robert Festival, where it was also nominated for best screenplay. It also won Best Danish Film at the Bodil Awards, the grand prize at Zagreb and was nominated for Best Feature at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Let's summarize.


1. This film is meant for children and families.
2. The main plotline of the film includes 6th graders stealing booze from adults, death threats, seriously obscene gore from people dying, making fun of suicide, singing racist songs, and talking SERIOUS smack about people's moms being whores. All overcast with filthy language.
3. This is a film written by a popular Danish stand-up comedian (and failed rapper), Anders Matthesen. With the film's widespread success and the popularity of it's author... one can only assume that this kind of 'humor' is considered just fine and dandy by most Danes.
4. The one Swedish person in attendance assured us that this brand of comedy is very common, and she also found it funny. She seemed taken aback that the rest of us were confused and... well, horrified.

Quite frankly I am appalled that something this awful exists not just in a small niche of films that should be destroyed but for some reason there are like 20 people who like them, but that this is a MAINSTREAM FILM ENJOYED BY FAMILIES ENOUGH TO WIN AWARDS.


This 'humor' is only comparable to the most base episode of South Park that you've ever seen, but without the culturally self-effacing irony. At least in South Park, YOU KNOW that when they make offensive jokes, it's to showcase stereotypes and demonstrate how ignorant most people are. Not so much, in this film.

I know you have it just sitting there... KA BLAM! You're playing the free speech card.


I do NOT subscribe to the notion that every single person on earth has the right to exercise free speech. Yes, I know it's the law in most 'free' countries. But, like the bibble and smoking and Zwarte Piet and many other things, just because it's lawful, doesn't mean it's GOOD. You know what? Don't bother arguing with me about this unless you swear on my signed autograph of Jeff Martin that you will not say something patently stupid like, 'you're just a conservative North American who obliterates all things questionable from existence.'

No. If this was a world run by me, you would have to pass several basic intelligence tests in order to determine if what you are about to say is going to have any real value for the greater human community. Because you see, I don't think that intelligence has anything to do with brains, but more to do with 'usefulness.' That is, if something is 'stoopid', but it's a little bit useful in some way, then it's actually intelligent.

This shoddy piece of tripe has no underlying usefulness, not even as a foil to good human behavior. Capiche?

I don't advocate violence but apparently the Danes do, so let's go that route.