Day 120 — Swedish TV

For the most part, TV here in Sweden is very, very different from the U.S. There are several government run stations and most do not allow advertising. I think only one does. These state-sponsored stations are heavy in the news programs and have a lot of special programming and documentary type shows.

You can get a large number of cable stations as in the U.S. and these cover a lot of different options: adventure type shows, Discovery and National Geographic, comedy shows from the U.S. and Britain, Disney, sports, etc. The shows from America or Britain have Swedish subtitles, so I can practice reading Swedish by watching them. A friend from class watches all the CSI type shows for that reason. I can’t take more than about 10 minutes of anything except sports, so I don’t watch much of anything.

We watch the news at dinner from the BBC or CNN. They have commercials every so often but they are very different from the drug commercials you see in the U.S. Mostly, they are PR campaign commercials for places like Abu Dhabi, Mongolia, Indonesia or one of the republics along the Silk Road, all aimed at increasing tourism or business investment. Not a Viagra or cholesterol ad to be found anywhere. The news shows are heavy, heavy, heavy on the mid East to the point of nausea and economic news centers, currently, on Greece with Italy coming up more and more.

I have posted shots of the oddball sports they show here and I saw a couple more this morning: bocce ball and the world weightlifting championships from Paris.

I learned something today: bocce balls are not round. They are like a more flattened version of planet Earth and the bowlers roll them on their equators and when the ball comes to a halt it flops over onto it’s pole. These balls were rolled from about 75 feet away and three of the four were right on the money.

Next, weightlifting. A couple days ago they showed 120 pound women snatching 190 pounds over their heads.


Look how much weight this guy has over his head. That is probably 400 pounds. Unbelievable.

Even more unbelievable was a show they had on later this evening. After Mariette finished watching The Dog Whisperer, the had a show called Svenskars Hemliga Liv (Swedes’ Secret Lives). It was about people undergoing transgender operations complete with pictures of anatomical parts about to be reversed, if you catch my drift. I don’t think this could be aired on American TV anywhere at anytime but here it is prime time fare. The attitudes toward such things are very much more open here. As a result, I don’t think situations like that occurring now at Penn State would happen here. People seem to be less repressed and better adjusted. Stanley Kubrick’s final movie, Eyes Wide Shut with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman aired here a few years ago totally uncut and with no commercials. Maybe that is why  there is only one  theater in town. People know everything will eventually show up for free.

There are some stations that have advertising and ads here are just as stupid and obnoxious as ads in the U.S. On the whole, except for a 24 hour soccer channel, I would say TV is better here. I use the words, “would say” because I don’t understand most of it yet. By the time this blog ends next July, I may say different.


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