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Customer Review

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does power corrupt?, 4 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Borgen - Series 1 [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Borgen is an absorbing Danish political drama in which each episode focuses on a different issue, as we trace the path of Birgitte Nyborg, the party leader who unexpectedly finds herself in the position to form a coalition government. Bearing in mind that the Danes are used to this form of government, the wheeler-dealing and spinning involved suggests a certain tongue-in-cheek mix of humour and cynicism over their political system. To be honest, I am not sure "Borgen" is a good advertisement for coalitions!

The series introduces non-Danes to some interesting problems, such as relationships with Greenland which has clearly suffered socially from a leaching of its population and a lack of local opportunity. There are also the more familiar topics of sexual equality for women, reducing pollution, corruption in high places, and attempts to control the media.

The characters are mainly strongly developed, with an on-off relationship between two ambitious, attractive characters: on one hand the cynical spin doctor Kasper who is too good for Nyborg not to employ, and on the other the photogenic TV presenter Katrine who cares deeply about free speech and exposing the truth, except, of course in her personal life.

At first, Nyborg's family life seems too good to be true: a handsome husband who has put his career on hold to be the prime carer of their two children. I feared for a few episodes that the series would degenerate into an admittedly well-acted and entertaining soap, but the later episodes gradually inject a darker side, as Nyborg is perhaps inevitably changed by the experience of power. We see how her dedication combined with growing confidence and skills in politicking at work impact on her personal life, where by turns negotiating and acting tough to get one's way are not always either appropriate or sufficient.

My single reservation is disbelief over the lack of domestic support employed by Nyborg to help with her children and running the home. Many working couples with much lesser jobs would have a nanny, and you could say that the Nyborgs' failure to sort this out is implausible and smacks of incompetence.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Feb 2012 21:00:59 GMT
tallpete33 says:
Great review, I really enjoyed this series.

I agree about the family - the marriage was too good to be true for the first few episodes but that was soon sorted !

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Feb 2012 00:01:28 GMT
Antenna says:
Thanks for the feedback. But I also think the marriage went pear-shaped rather quickly!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2012 23:04:57 GMT
M. S. R. Cox says:
I agree, it seemed to happen rather quickly and while asking him to quit his new CEO job was an awful thing to do, I would have thought he would have understood the need to put his career on hold while she was still in office. It seems that things fell apart far too quickly, they went from idyllic to divorced over a few episodes.

Also I noted the lack of support at home was ridiculous, by boyfriend didn't even notice - perhaps women are always more likely to consider the practicalities of organising the home?

Anyway, great review Antenna. Thanks!

Posted on 4 Jun 2012 09:21:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jun 2012 09:38:51 BDT
Birgit says:
Speaking as a Dane: Nannies are largely unheard of over here. Sorry. Only the royal family seems to have them.
We have lots of daycare institutions though, also after-school 'clubs' where the children go until the parents collect them. These also cater to older children, though older teenagers would probably go straight home to the 'empty' home and do their homework or go home with a class-mate and do the homework there. That is how it has been since the mothers started working full time in the sixties.
You might have an au-pair girl in a reasonably wealthy family if both parents work nights a lot or if you are a single parent due to death or divorce, and that might certainly be an option for Birgitte Nyborg's family, otherwise people usually balance it so that one parent is at home at night if the other parent has to be away working. Or you hope you can persuade a grandparent to babysit or a neighbour's teenage daughter, but that will only work for the odd evening not for every evening ...
And by the way: I also thought the marriage went pear-shaped rather quickly - after all Ms Nyborg has had a political career for a good long while and been through a hectic election campaign without a murmur from the husband, so why the sudden change? It shouldn't surprise him OR her that a top executive job in a private company might cause trouble, quite the reverse. A slower, more subtle approach to the failing marriage would have been more convincing.
I may add that towards the end of season 2 a few comments are given about political marriages and the sacrifices needed to be made by the politicians' partners .... I am looking forward to season 3 on Danish television.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jun 2012 15:41:53 BDT
Antenna says:
Thanks for your comment. Writing in rather slapdash English, I was really thinking of an au pair, plus it is also true in the UK that most people can't afford live in help plus their homes might be too small to accommodate this and they wouldn't like the continuous intrusion into their private lives BUT I still think that, however egalitarian her instincts, as a Prime Minister, Birgitte's attempt to "carry on as usual" in her domestic life are unrealistic to the point of being ludicrous.
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