Samson (left) and Gert (right)Samson en Gert
(Dutch for "Samson and Gert") is a hugely popular Flemish children's program that ran from 1990 until 2005. A movie was made in 2008, along with a Christmas special. In 2010, a 20 year anniversary special was made.
The show revolves around Samson, a talking bobtail, and his owner, Gert. Samson is a hand puppet who usually sits inside his dog basket. He is a very naive, but well meaning character who frequently mispronounces words and has to be corrected by Gert or the other humans in the room. The show relies heavily on Catch Phrase
Samson and Gert are frequently visited by friends, usually in function to the plot. Some characters (like neighbour Joop Mengelmoes and Jeannine de Bolle, the mother of Octaaf) were only present in early seasons and then replaced by new characters. Other former invisible characters
were later played by actual people. The most prominent characters over the course of the show's lifespan are Alberto, an Italian barber who enjoys singing opera; the major of the town, who is interested in toy airplanes; and Octaaf de Bolle, the selfimportant owner of a grocery store and hobby gymnast. Every episode closes with a moral and a Everybody Laughs Ending
The program quickly became an enormous success, which was increased once the show was broadcast in the Netherlands. It was also dubbed in French. It became a huge Cash Cow Franchise
with aggressive merchandising which spawned Studio100, one of the largest European entertainment companies. Samson's name has lead to comic strips, bread, clothing, toys, a magazine, films, Christmas shows, CDs, DVDs and even an amusement park.
This series provides example of:
- Accentuate the Negative: Whenever Mrs. Jeanine's son Octaaf does something wrong she claims he got that from his father's side. Whenever he does something right she claims he got it from her.
- Acting for Two: Walter De Donder (who plays Burgemeester) also played his twin brother Basiel in several episodes. Ditto for Walter van de Velde (Octaaf) who played his identical cousin named Walter
- Always Camp: Alberto is a flamboyant hairdresser who enjoys singing. Come on now.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Many plots feature one or more characters cheating, pretending to be someone else or being dishonest. They always lose in the end.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Samson mispronounces words all the time, but manages to change them into other existing words with different meanings sometimes.
- Ate It All: Regular plot device whenever greedy Alberto comes to visit Samson and Gert.
- Big Eater: Alberto can be bribed into doing anything if you promise him food.
- Black and White Morality: Samson is always nice, honest and morally incorruptible. The other characters, including Gert, aren't afraid to cheat now and then.
- Butt Monkey: Usually the character who cheats receives his comeuppance in the end.
- Alberto is frequently made fun of by the other characters, even though he's not necessarily any more or less incompetent than everyone else.
- Catch Phrase: Several times during the same episode
- Every character says "Ik moest kloppen want de bel doet het niet" ("I had to knock, because the doorbell doesn't work"). It's even a song.
- Alberto's "Ten eerste is 't "Alberto"." ("First of all, it's "Alberto"!), whenever Gert calls him Albert.
- Octaaf's "Dat is toevallig één van mijn specialiteiten" ("Coincidentally, that's one of my specialties"), which he says about pretty much everything.
- Jeannine often blames everything her son Octaaf does wrong on his father's side of the family. All the things he does well are, of course, from her side of the family.
- Samson's "Dag, meneer die ik niet ken!" ("Hello, sir I don't know!"), whenever someone visits their house who he's never seen before.
- He also mispronounces the word "problem" at least once each episode as "plobrem". The rest then loudly reminds him its pronounced "A PROBLEM".
- The Cameo: Several Flemish and Dutch celebrities have had special guest appearances in the show.
- Character Focus: The Minister's Assistant during the last two seasons.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Several characters have been written out of the series over the years. Sometimes they are still mentioned, but always off screen like Octaaf's mother Jeannine after the actress (Ann Petersen) who played her died in 2003.
- Octaaf's daughter Miranda also disappeared, though she is frequently mentioned afterwards as an extension of Octaaf's catchphrase concerning his specialties.
- In probably the most accurate example, Gert's insane neighbour Joop Mengelmoes was actually the first character to appear other than Samson & Gert, but left without explanation after about a year on the show.
- Cross Over: Done way back in 1990, with Bassie & Adriaan, two highly famous performers from the Netherlands (at the time and still now).
- The Danza: Gert Verhulst as Gert. Although in the first seasons, he wasn't playing a character. It was a case of actor being himself. Only when the series became Cash Cow Franchise, Gert decided to distinguish himself from his fictional counterpart.
- Demoted to Extra: Alberto during the last few seasons, luckily he was still part of the main cast.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Alberto does not like to be called by his real name, Albert. Ironically, he allows his mother to call him like this.
- Drop-In Character: Everybody except Samson and Gert.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The first few seasons were more glorified continuity announcements than a sitcom, with characters frequently breaking the fourth wall to announce cartoons, read letters from viewers or hold contests. Later, the sitcom was made completely in-character and the other elements would appear in a surrounding show taking on various formats, such as Samson & Gert sitting in a news studio or in a caravan. This made it a lot more convenient to rerun the sitcom episodes later.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: Used regularly.
- Fantastic Comedy: It's a sitcom, with a talking dog.
- Flanderization: For both Samson and Gert. Gert started out as the straight man who would attempt to moderate the outlandish schemes of the other characters, but this eventually morphed into him being quick to shoot things down and being a bit of a Jerk Ass. Though Samson's naive personality hasn't been enlarged too much, his speech style has changed considerably. In early episodes, he simply has a low voice and fairly standard speech outside of his mispronunciations, but the later and more recognizable version has him speaking with a very gravelly voice while frequently using filler words and starting sentences with "Wah!"
- Friend to All Children: Samson sings in his theme song that he likes all children.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: The show has his share of invisible characters:
- Marlène, Gert's love interest.
- Bobientje, Samson's love interest.
- Jean-Louis Michel, the snobbish guy Marlène usually likes more.
- Fred Kroket, the French fries seller.
- Alberto's mother.
- Octaaf's father. Octaaf
- Octaaf also had a daughter, Miranda, for a few seasons, but his wife was never mentioned, nor seen.
- Jerk Ass: Except for Samson himself, EVERYONE can be this. They get their comeuppance though.
- Some of the guest characters (usually a villain) can be worse than them.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: All other cast members will lie, cheat and fight with each other, but Samson always remains the voice of reason and feels himself to be above all this quarreling and dishonestness.
- Just Eat Gilligan: Seriously, if the characters, especially Alberto, lived in Real Life, they wouldn't survive long. In their universe, the reason they get away with their behaviour is because no one else in the village (or the country) does anything about it.
- Karma Houdini: Some characters get away with the jerkish things they do, especially Alberto and the Minister's Assistant (the latter having a high position).
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Home video releases are rather limited, and while the show is still regularly rerun, many episodes are left out due to various reasons, including the episodes not having been remastered in HD, the earlier episodes having a different format or the broadcast tapes just straight up being lost.
- Large Ham: Gert, who has a tendency to over-act tremendously.
- Leitmotif: At the start of each scene an instrumental arrangement of the song "Kijk, daar heb je Gert en Samson" can be heard. There are usually several variations: a quiet piano version, a loud fanfare sound,...
- Also, almost every sad scene has Carillon by Sky playing in the background.
- Man Child: Every character acts particularily child-like, sometimes with motivations like candy or cake. Alberto is the most childish of all.
- The Movie: In 2008, "Hotel op Stelten"
- Mad Science: Often happens. In fact, one of the first characters was Joop Mengelmoes, who was really an inventor.
- Meaningful Name: Samson is named after the biblical character of the same name, presumably because he has long hair.
- Fred Kroket, who sells French fries. A "kroket" is Dutch for a croquette.
- My Beloved Smother: Octaaf's mother is very dominant and belittles him every chance he gets.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Gert has a tendency to call Alberto "Albert", which is his real name, yet Alberto prefers to be named Alberto, because it sounds more Italian. Therefore, whenever Gert mispronounces it Albert will shout: "First of all, it's ALBERTOOOOOOOOOO!" Strangely enough, the major calls him by his last name "Vermeersch" and Samson even manages to change it into "Meneer Spaghetti", but he doesn't seem to be that irritated by those names.
- No Name Given: The Minister's Assistant's real name is Roger De Zeper, but nobody, nor himself, calls him like that.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Samson has a tendency to mispronounce even the least complex names, verbs and nouns. Especially the word "problem" is a "plobrem" for him.
- One Steve Limit: A Real Life Aversion: there are three main actors having Walter as first name.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Since Samson is unable to pronounce most of the other characters' names right they become their personal nicknames to him.
- The major is called "Mister the Major" by everyone, despite having a real name (See No Name Given above).
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Oh yes, sometimes even multiple disguises in the same episode. In one episode, Octaaf dresses up as a little girl with pigtails. No one is bothered by his bushy moustache.
- Parental Bonus: Many of Samson's misspoken words are words kids have never heard in their life.
- Puppet King: The major apparently isn't that powerful. Whenever he insists on having things going his way the others don't automatically obey him, despite having a higher function than them.
- Put on a Bus: Many characters during those 15 years, cutting down the cast to only six as of 2012. One of the actors is considering to leave, making it five.
- Recursive Canon: The show has a lot of Product Placement for its own merchandise.
- Rule of Three: Whenever Samson is all alone in the room and needs Gert he shouts his name three times before Gert comes rushing in.
- Running Gag:
- The door bell doesn't work. So everyone knocks on the door and says, before entering: "Yes, I had to knock because the bell doesn't work."
- De Burgemeester is usually secretly playing with his toy planes in his office whenever someone calls him by phone or door bell.
- Gert calls Alberto "Albert", to which Alberto shouts: "First of all, it's Albertoooooooooooooo! And second of all..."
- Samson mispronounces words and names and is corrected by the others. Especially the word "problem" will be mispronounced every episode.
- Whenever someone announces he's going to say something there'll be a sudden knocking on the door. The character then says someone's at the door, while all the other characters believe that was what he was going to say originally.
- Alberto visits Gert and Samson, goes into the kitchen and eats everything there.
- Jeannine claims that all of her sons' good habits are from her side of the family and his bad habits are from his dad's.
- Octaaf says that a certain activity just happens to be one of his specialities.
- Saturday Morning Kids Show: From 1994 to 1996, a studio show.
- Shout-Out: Alberto is a parody of the cliché of a typical barber and opera singer.
- Somewhere, a Palaeontologist Is Crying: In the song "Joebadoebadoe" it is implied that the prehistoric version of the Burgemeester rides a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The music video also shows cavemen with dinosaurs.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Usually played for laughs (especially Octaaf), but his mother Jeanine literally believes she's better then everyone else.
- Standardized Sitcom Housing: With a front door on stage right and a door to a kitchen on stage left.
- Special Guest: Some famous Flemish and Dutch celebrities have had cameos in the series, including Mark Uytterhoeven, The Radios, Frans Bauer, Hans Kazan, Margriet Hermans, Bassie & Adriaan, ...
- Straight Man: Gert. Sort of.
- Talking Animal: Samson.
- The Other Darrin: Samson has been voiced by two actors.
- Three as of 2013, though the current voice (Dirk Bosschaert) has only appeared in live performances.
- Three-Wall Set: The rooms are all sets.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The main character is a talking dog. Nobody, not even the people who only appeared in one episode, think this is strange.
- What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Gert is always at his house, but it is never explained what he exactly does for a living? It could be argued that most of the episodes presumably take place during weekends, because all the other characters, who do have clearly defined jobs, are often seen randomly appearing at their house.
- Writing Around Trademarks: The song "Joebadoebadoe" is about life during the age of cavemen. The refrain "Joebadoebadoe" sounds suspiciously similar like "Yabbadabbadoo" from The Flintstones.