16 January 2013 | rehams
Norwegian social satire meets Sopranos
Lilyhammer, the story of the New York mobster 'Johnny' taking up witness refuge in Lillehammer, Norway, is a great little gem available on Netflix.
The story is simple and gets going fast: New York mafia guy rats out his 'family' to the FBI and is entered into the witness program. Instead of choosing to go somewhere in the US (or somewhere sunny), he goes to Norway after having fond memories of the 94 Winter Olympics. As you can imagine there's quite a clash of cultures between the entrepreneurial and direct American and the quite, socialist and subdued Norwegian culture. Add some romance, crime and friendships and you've got a great little story.
Don't be fooled by the presence of Steven Van Zandt from Sopranos. This is a satire/comedy made by the Norwegian TV channel NRK and aimed at Norwegians. A lot of the show is about the absurdities of a politically correct Norwegian bureaucracy and Norwegian culture in general. The American as an outsider, becomes the character who does and say the things many Norwegians wish they could do or say. Very funny, particularly if you know anything about Scandinavian culture already. Americans and others will be able to enjoy it anyway, since the show has some good performances from the acting cast and clever script. And of course, the gorgeous Norwegian countryside.
If you find yourself entertained and amused at Lilyhammer, check out the mockumentary 'Troll Hunters' also available on Netflix.