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"The female body thirsts for words. A man’s words."
May 2, 2013 1:48 PM   Subscribe

She steps in, takes off the bathrobe and stands silently before two men discussing her body. "Blachman" is a new Danish TV show, hosted by Thomas Blachman. [both links NSFW]
posted by Pyrogenesis (67 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Blach.
posted by svenni at 1:55 PM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


For the life of me, I can't imagine any reason to listen to that conversation.
posted by HuronBob at 1:58 PM on May 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Sun running that story is the pot calling the kettle black arse!
posted by Jehan at 1:58 PM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


She said: “We have a programme that reveals what men think about the female body. Quite honestly, what is wrong with that?”

How much time you got?
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2013 [74 favorites]


While DR2 channel producer Sofia Fromberg also made a staunch defence of the show.
She said: “We have a programme that reveals what men think about the female body. Quite honestly, what is wrong with that?”


The Sun is The Sun, so I'm not expecting in-depth coverage or Nobel Prize-winning writing, but as opposed to the usual passive voice-reporting that comes out of Murdoch properties, and given the interesting comment from the (female) producer, I would have genuinely liked to know more about how Danes feel about this Danish television show, within the context of their own cultural and sexual mores, as opposed to vague criticism from Murdoch's usual group of unnamed critics that are really there just to give The Sun the chance to show a bit of totty. Too bad, really.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I note that the first recommended story on The Sun link is "Topless Helen Flanagan sleeps with her FHM Sexiest Woman award". It is a literal case of media hyperparisitism.
posted by cromagnon at 2:01 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


DR2 channel producer Sofia Fromberg also made a staunch defence of the show.
She said: “We have a programme that reveals what men think about the female body. Quite honestly, what is wrong with that?”


Right. Because the world is preciously lacking in outlets for men to reveal their opinions about the female body.
posted by googly at 2:01 PM on May 2, 2013 [22 favorites]


it's a sad commentary on the state of danish education to realize that their male youth have no locker rooms
posted by pyramid termite at 2:04 PM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


At least the translated page made me laugh.

"Thomas Blachman enjoy the sight of naked tattooed women with radio host and comedian Simon in July. Simon should only have children with women who can cook."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:04 PM on May 2, 2013


Feh!
posted by Splunge at 2:06 PM on May 2, 2013


I can't watch either link because I'm at work, but is it weird that, in my mind, both men look like Mads Mikkelsen?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:07 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Finally, some brave man is willing to share his perspective on women's bodies! How long have we as a people gone without knowing what men think about the bodies of women? Too long, say I!
posted by gauche at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2013 [46 favorites]


This caused an outcry in Sweden - what doesn't these days? - where TV personality Jenny Strömstedt staged a protest by doing the same thing but with a male model (nsfw). As a Swedish person, it's interesting to realize just how different Denmark and Sweden can be when it comes to social values.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


this brings to mind Emily Mortimer's scene in the 2001 film "Lovely and Amazing" where, after sleeping with an actor played by Dermot Mulroney, stands before him nude and asks him to completely and honestly critique her body.
posted by Auden at 2:10 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is inherently wrong but I'm much more interested in the female perspective. This is one instance where "balance" in media would be a good thing. I think it could be helpful if it's honest and the reviewers are well-adjusted. I certainly have my share of body issues and would like to have a more realistic idea of what matters.
posted by polyhedron at 2:17 PM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, while this seems hugely problematic, it's also pretty problematic to apply US standards to Denmark in this case. Denmark has, on one hand, much more equality between men and women than the US (they're probably not quite up there with Norway, but the Scandinavian countries are in general the best in the world on equality), and on the other hand, they're famously liberal and open about sexuality and nudity (much more so than their Scandinavian neigbours).

So I'd be a bit cautious about judging this too harshly right away. It might be humorous (and everyone in Denmark in on the joke), it might be ironic, or it might just be Danes being Danes.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:22 PM on May 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I kind of want to know what they're saying, simply because this doesn't seem sustainable as a television program. Do people really want to watch two unattractive men talk about a woman's body for 20 minutes (or however long?) Skimming through that clip it seems to be more them than the woman, so I can't imagine it'd appeal to the pure voyeurs out there.

I mean obviously its a really gross idea for a television program (so much so that my reaction was that it must be some kind of comment on the male gaze or something...)
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:24 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


She steps in, takes the podium and stands silently before a nation discussing her crazy-person eyes. "Bachmann" is a new TV show, hosted by Minnesota's 6th.
posted by brain_drain at 2:25 PM on May 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


As a Swedish person, it's interesting to realize just how different Denmark and Sweden can be when it comes to social values.

Meanwhile in Norway, they're watching people stack firewood.
posted by Kabanos at 2:25 PM on May 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


Kabanos: "Meanwhile in Norway, they're watching people stack firewood."

As a Norwegian, I can confirm that this is probably the most Norwegian thing ever, and that everything about the typical Norwegian character can be surmised from this one TV show.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:30 PM on May 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


Maybe this is how AMC will finally wrap up The Killing. We learn that Rosie Larsen is alive, but has suffered a fate much worse than death: suffering through half an hour of being in a room with these smug, clueless pricks.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:31 PM on May 2, 2013


If this were a more enlightened world, and the show explored both male and female bodies, and were objectively "appraised" as artifacts of artistic, biological, and historical significance, I would welcome this. Admiring other human bodies is a pastime we all engage in, both surreptitiously and overtly — a show that formalizes this would be very interesting to me.

However, I get the feeling the show I'm imagining is not the same as this show (which, nevertheless, seemed tastefully produced — an American version would have snap cuts to the soft bits and CG reconstructions).
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:32 PM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is where I come out as a Dane. This show has almost no viewers(less than 100.000). It is incredibly gross. Also, since there are almost no Danes in the world (we all know each other); I have met Simon and the other participants are friends of friends. Which makes no difference.

My personal view is that a few scared and damaged Danish men have too much influence in media. Someone you might know is Lars von Trier. He is not at all representative, but he is influentual among a certain segment. Because the reality of most Danish men is that they are totally cool and very relaxed with the reality of contemporary relationships, and thus extremely popular among women of all nationalities.

At the same time, Danish women are different from other women, in the sense that they don't want to participate in any games. If a Danish woman likes you, she'll tell you, and get straight to the action, whatever might be relevant in the situation. "Dating" is not a thing in Denmark. This also means that if a Danish woman is not interested, she will tell you, and Blachmann, and Lars Trier, straight up. Regardless of fame and fortune. In this country, money is embarrassing, and only pursued by hookers and con-men.

BTW, I am seriously thinking to buy a TV, so I can have the stacked firewood thing. But that is because I'm a Nordicist, something unusual for Danes.
posted by mumimor at 2:34 PM on May 2, 2013 [52 favorites]


It's been seven? eight? years since I left Denmark. DR2 was the arty channel back then (similar to BBC4). Blachman? I know him vaguely as a music mogul personal who may have been a reality TV judge ..

.. How does make any sense?

So. I googled. The show is comprised of Blachman and his buddies - mostly Copenhagen-based media people with a bunch of leftfield-comedians. The critics' responses have been savage (Google Translate, sorry).

Another TV experiment that didn't really hit the mark? It wouldn't be the first time in Danish TV history.

Oh, and nudity? Not really a big deal. Guys rating naked females? It gets an eyeroll from me.
posted by kariebookish at 2:39 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


This also means that if a Danish woman is not interested, she will tell you, and Blachmann, and Lars Trier, straight up.

CHAOS REIGNS
posted by benzenedream at 2:42 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


So this show is basically that time a kid on my grade eight hockey team got his hands on a Playboy and we all had a look at it in the locker room?
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:44 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


My personal view is that a few scared and damaged Danish men have too much influence in media. Someone you might know is Lars von Trier. He is not at all representative, but he is influentual among a certain segment. Because the reality of most Danish men is that they are totally cool and very relaxed with the reality of contemporary relationships, and thus extremely popular among women of all nationalities.

mumimor is spot on.

May I also add TV host, stand-up comedian and actor Casper Christensen? Some of MetaFilter may know of Klown which is getting a US remake, I believe? It's the same brand of "humour" or schtick as the one Blachman appears to be using. Christensen ran wildly popular TV and radio shows around the millennium where scantily clad ladies played a huge part. One sitcom featured an ex-porn star, iirc. Another TV show had underwear models as part of the entertainment.

I wasn't a fan but Christensen and his cronies form a powerful arm of Danish media - and I am sad to see their brand of entertainment extend to DR2 programming.
posted by kariebookish at 2:45 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I kind of want to know what they're saying, simply because this doesn't seem sustainable as a television program. Do people really want to watch two unattractive men talk about a woman's body for 20 minutes (or however long?)

Howard Stern did a variation on this format for years called "The Evaluators" where a woman would come to his studio to have her naked body evaluated by a panel of his staff, wack packers and celebrity guests, and he seemed to do ok for himself (although this was admittedly a once in a while segment as opposed to a regular series). I agree that this looks really boring though.
posted by The Gooch at 2:46 PM on May 2, 2013


I am having a viscerally unpleasant response to this.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:49 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It does look boring.

I can attest as a hetro male, my opinions on women's bodies are among the least interesting least revelatory attitudes I hold. Short form; I like 'em. Long form; I like 'em, some I really really like.

What do you do with the other 59 minutes, fourty-five seconds in the hour? You want to hear about who I think you should vote for, or what book to read, have I ever told you about that time Matt and I were playing golf with Brad? It's a great story.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:54 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


But that is because I'm a Nordicist, something unusual for Danes.

Please tell me you mean something analogous to an American "Anglophile", and not literally Nordicism.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 3:08 PM on May 2, 2013


I show I might watch would be one in which a person comes in (man or woman), disrobes (but you don't see any nudity), and then we watch Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn talk about everything but the naked person standing in front of them.
posted by sutt at 3:11 PM on May 2, 2013 [12 favorites]


So, the show isn't about demonstrating how banal and shallow talking about naked women's bodies is (in general)? Like, it's not a MeTa thing that proves its point by reducing to absurdity and destroying the impetus for engaging in the practice?
posted by klangklangston at 3:12 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The critics' responses have been savage (Google Translate, sorry).

I liked this quote from Berlingske Jeppe Krogsgaard Christensen: "Well, it is the two women who are naked. But it is Blachman, who has no clothes on. "
posted by Kabanos at 3:12 PM on May 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


demonic winged headgear: “Please tell me you mean something analogous to an American 'Anglophile', and not literally Nordicism.”

From your link:

“To view the definition of Nordicism, activate your Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary FREE TRIAL now!”

I agree. Whatever "Nordicism" is, it sounds pretty bad.
posted by koeselitz at 3:21 PM on May 2, 2013 [7 favorites]




There can be nearly no one for whom that was not incredibly uncomfortable and hard to watch, and that discomfort seems entirely intentional.

I don't know the players involved, nor the cultural context, but it feels like a fairly effective, appropriately disturbing art project to me.

This may not be their actual intent, but I watched for about 60 seconds* and that was the (very strong) vibe I got.

(*Oh, and I should mention that I don't speak a word of Danish.)
posted by TonyRobots at 3:24 PM on May 2, 2013


As a Norwegian, I can confirm that this is probably the most Norwegian thing ever, and that everything about the typical Norwegian character can be surmised from this one TV show.

As a Swede(-ish-American), I concur wholeheartedly.

how banal and shallow talking about naked women's bodies is

I imagine the men wearing tweed jackets, smoking pipes, and writing on stenographer's pads, seated on Danish Modern furniture, with Egon Schiele prints on the wall. I will not watch to have this illusion shattered.
posted by dhartung at 3:30 PM on May 2, 2013


It's like a really arty Benny Hill show!
posted by jscott at 3:30 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy shit the episodes are a half hour each? That's actually impressive.
posted by chunking express at 3:32 PM on May 2, 2013


Not offensive.
posted by zscore at 3:33 PM on May 2, 2013


I agree. Whatever "Nordicism" is, it sounds pretty bad.

I am pretty sure their is a topical cream that clears it right up, so don't worry.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:44 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kabanos: Meanwhile in Norway, they're watching people stack firewood.

And HD video of 7-hour train journeys, later downloadable as a torrent.

Whereas in Canada, they have a 24-hour rotisserie chicken channel.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 3:50 PM on May 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


The single most boring topic two straight men can talk about is women's looks. The conversation is almost always actually about showing what a straight man you are. Is she good-looking yes she's good-looking phwoar. I can't imagine they actually stay on topic for even five minutes, never mind a half-hour.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:59 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is hard to compete for ratings with wood splitting and stacking. I say this quite seriously.
posted by humanfont at 4:34 PM on May 2, 2013


Having lived in Copenhagen and worked in their TV and film industry (back in the years leading up to the launch of TV2 in 1988), this surprises me not at all.

I edited many a mainstream Danish commercial (shown in the theaters at that time as TV2 was the first commercially supported network in Denmark) and music video containing plenty of gratuitous nudity. The Danes treat nudity as a normal and commonplace facet of life.
posted by bz at 4:50 PM on May 2, 2013


"The single most boring topic two straight men can talk about is women's looks. The conversation is almost always actually about showing what a straight man you are. Is she good-looking yes she's good-looking phwoar. I can't imagine they actually stay on topic for even five minutes, never mind a half-hour."

Yeah, it's funny, I was just talking about this a little at work yesterday, how in entertainment, I kinda want to "queer all the things," despite being a straight guy. I'm just kinda bored of straight-dude-to-straight-lady narrative in music, movies, what have you; I want Motown reimagined with bois singing Martha and the Vandellas tunes, you know? Maybe it's because I've been in a stable relationship for over ten years, and just don't relate to that pursuit anymore? I dunno. I'm just bored with it. Queering things makes me pay attention to them in a way that I just don't if it's more straight dudes talking about how ladies look.
posted by klangklangston at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm just kinda bored of straight-dude-to-straight-lady narrative in music, movies, what have you; I want Motown reimagined with bois singing Martha and the Vandellas tunes, you know?

For you, bro.
posted by jonmc at 5:14 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm glad the dude who fled warned the public not to bite the hand that fed them. That should play nicely.
posted by angrycat at 5:28 PM on May 2, 2013


The female body thirsts for words. A man's words.

Working on the premise that there is a subset of straight women for whom this is at least occasionally true, I have to say the men providing the words here are doing it wrong. So, so wrong.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:15 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The female body thirsts for words lemon-lime soft drink. A man's words 7-Up.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:19 PM on May 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


if this was done with equanimity across genders and sexes and involved intelligent people as commentators, I think I might actually watch the hell out of it. Kinda like a mash up of "you made it weird," "X's-got-talent," and porn. Yup. Totally watch that.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:48 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The female body thirsts for words. A man's words.

Stay dead, Updike.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:16 PM on May 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


"He looks like a bunch of jello-filled beanbag chairs sort of stuck together."
"And that body acne! I think the stretch-marks are in a gang-war with the scabbed spots."
"Hobbit feet."
"And orangutang forearms."
"I think his beard was trimmed by an orangutang. Ugh."
"The gun-fighter 'stache is nice, tho."
"Eww!"
"It is! And nice brows with natural separation. No tweezing the brow-a-pillar required."
"But he's so fat!"
"He could walk through a wall without having to pause, and could change a tire without a jack or tire-iron. Look at him!"
"Yeah, but that belly..."
"I agree. Points for being big and strong and for having good facial hair, except for the beard, and points removed for being a flab-beast."
"Pass him off to your ugly friend. He'll appreciate the action."
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:17 PM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]




The single most boring topic two straight men can talk about is women's looks. The conversation is almost always actually about showing what a straight man you are. Is she good-looking yes she's good-looking phwoar. I can't imagine they actually stay on topic for even five minutes, never mind a half-hour.

I remember feeling, as a young man, that there was something deficient in me, some piece of socializing I'd missed, because I never knew what the appropriate response was supposed to be to that in-group after-the-fact leering that men seem to do. I'd be somewhere with a boss or a co-worker, and we'd interact with an attractive woman in some minor way, and after she was, or mostly was, out of earshot, he'd say something to me in this knowing way, something like "you saw her, right?" or "man, that secretary. What a piece, huh?" or whatever.

And I never knew how to respond. I'm as straight as the day is long, but it just seemed like a weird topic of conversation to me. Like, okay, there are attractive people around, but ... what is there to say about them? I don't get it. To this day I don't get it.
posted by gauche at 8:01 PM on May 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


I was just talking about this a little at work yesterday, how in entertainment, I kinda want to "queer all the things," despite being a straight guy.
it's ok to have your own identity, you dont need to appropriate someone else's
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:21 PM on May 2, 2013


Aww, man, you're doing that thing again which is being too clever to communicate clearly. Use the cream I bought you!
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


hey at least you're not bored
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:31 PM on May 2, 2013


You neither, but at least I've got weed and a Tigers game in another tab.
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 PM on May 2, 2013


The Danes treat nudity as a normal and commonplace facet of life.

Yeah, but the nudity isn't the problem. It's the 50-year-old manchild "genius" who, for some reason, thinks that he has something to say. And that he, as a white guy of a certain age, not only has a right to say that thing, but deserves gratitude for saying it, because people desperately need to know.

I mean, it makes sense that the network picked it up. In addition to kicking up a bit of scandal, it's all but the lowest budget of reality shows: it takes place in a studio, has fixed lighting and camera angles, and involves three people and a couch. It could be a little cheaper though. The men are entirely superflous, and could be eliminated. From what I can tell, they're no more than a sitcom laugh track that mires the audience's own reaction. Bonus: once you get rid of them you can sell the couch.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:22 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]




If they aren't careful, those women will realize what they want is not words but swords, and there will be a bloody reckoning in the studio if they get their hands on any.

This massacre brought to you by the letter S.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:19 AM on May 3, 2013


"Look, she has two eyes. Two legs that end in feet. Two conical breasts, each with a nipple."
"Indeed."
posted by Mister_A at 5:44 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is pretty gross, but I confess to curiosity about exactly what they are saying. Anyone care to enlighten? I'm not asking for a full translation, because as HuronBob said early in the thread, I cannot imagine actually watching this thing. But perhaps someone can give us the gist of it . . . like, is this an honest assessment of what they think? Are they being straight-up assholes? I skipped around and caught "Hello Kitty," which they talked about for a few minutes (the model had a pair of Hello Kitty tattoos on the small of her back).

Blachman seems like an idiot, and anyone who is a self-professed "genius" is likely A) not, and B) a world-class jerk.

He might very well be a great jazz musician (I'm not familiar with him) but he seems like a pompous ass (I am getting this from my gestalt impression, body language, etc. [and the whole concept and execution], despite the language barrier)
posted by exlotuseater at 5:56 AM on May 3, 2013


I'm in love with this discussion.

What was the content on the outcry in Sweden in response to Strömstedt's parody/protest?
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:16 AM on May 3, 2013


Whereas in Canada, they have a 24-hour rotisserie chicken channel.

I have to come clean and admit that when that channel was on I spent at least 20 minutes staring at that naked bird and evaluating the quality of the legs and breasts.
posted by Kabanos at 7:19 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


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