Hugely popular Dutch children's duo who have been active since 1978. "Bassie" (played by Bas van Toor) is a naïve, but jolly clown who always cracks jokes. "Adriaan" (played by Aad van Toor) is the more intelligent, serious but nevertheless also happy-go-lucky acrobat.In real life the actors are brothers who for more than 20 years had great succes as an acrobat duo named “De Crocksons”. Near the end of the 1970s they started making TV series for children. First with help of Dutch tv producer Joop van den Ende, but later (after their cooperation with Van Den Ende ended because of an argument) they started producing and directing the series themselves. Most series feature treasure hunting or other traveling adventures which took them to exotic locations. They are often spied and shadowed by a group of stupid crooks. Several villains made their appearance over the course of the series, the most famous ones being a crime lord named “De Baron” and his henchmen "Vlugge Japie" and “B2”.The franchise was a huge Cash Cow Franchise in both the Netherlands as Belgium and also sold to other countries like France and China. Besides the tv-series, several music records, comic strips, radio drama's, short series, theater shows, etc. were made and since the actors kept all the marketing and merchandising rights they became rich. Since 1994 no new shows with both characters have been made, but due to frequent repeats, media appearances and parodies Bassie and Adriaan remain popular and famous. Also, Bas van Toor went solo afterwards and released two series of his own.
The series (and the translated titels):
De Plaaggeest (The Bully or The Teaser): When Bassie fails to set the alarm clock, he and Adriaan oversleep and miss the departure of the circus to the next town. Since neither of them knows where the circus is now, they are forced to find a new job. They are however followed by a costumed villain named “De Plaaggeest”, who loves to play nasty pranks on everyone and keeps sabotaging all the duo’s attempts to find work.
Het Geheim van de Sleutel (The Secret of the Key): two crooks named B1 and B2 rob a bank and hide the loot in a train station locker. When they mistake Bassie for the man who would be send by their boss to retrieve the key of the locker, they give the key to him. Realizing their mistake, they follow Bassie and Adriaan when the two depart for their holiday in Spain in an attempt to get the key back, eventually going so far as to kidnap Bassie.
De Diamant (The Diamond): B1, B2 and their boss escape from jail and seek revenge on Bassie and Adriaan. Disguised as Bassie and Adriaan, B1 and B2 steal a valuable diamond. Naturally, Bassie and Adriaan are blamed for the theft and now have to find the real culprits to clear their name.
De Huilende Professor (The Crying Professor): a strange phenomenon hits the Netherlands; people suddenly don’t feel like laughing anymore and only feel sad. When Bassie and Adriaan investigate the matter, they discover a mad scientist named Archibald Chagrijn is behind this. From his hideout on the Canary Islands he plans to use his invention, griengas (cry gas), to eventually make the whole world stop laughing. The two try to stop the professor ,who takes a personal interest in Bassie when it is revealed that Bassie is somehow immune to the effects of his gas.
Het Geheim van de Schatkaart (The Secret of the Treasure Map): when shopping on a flea market, Bassie buys an old painting behind which he and Adriaan find a piece of parchment. The parchment contains a riddle that, when solved, will reveal the location of a treasure. Bassie and Adriaan of course attempt to solve the riddle. Meanwhile, their old enemy B2 escapes from jail and joins up with the crook Vlugge Japie and his boss Baron van Neemweggen, simply known as “De Baron”, to find the treasure as well.
De Verdwenen Kroon (The Missing Crown): after escaping from jail, de baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 steal a valuable crown and demand 1 million guilders (the Dutch currency before the Euro) as ransom. In reality however, this is all part of a plan to get revenge on Bassie and Adriaan.
De Verzonken Stad (The Sunken City): Bassie and Adriaan go on a holiday to Greece. During a diving trip, Bassie finds a round stone tablet with strange signs on it. Curious, they send a photo of the stone to their robot Robin (who is staying with a friend in Belgium) to translate the signs. As the signs are slowly being translated, it becomes clear the stone might be the key to some sort of treasure. But like always, de Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 are after this treasure as well.
De Geheimzinnige Opdracht (The Mysterious Assignment): Bassie and Adriaan suddenly keep getting letters from an anonymous sender. He asks them to visit the (at that time) 12 countries of the European Union, and in each country they have to find a package for him by solving a riddle. Meanwhile, De Baron is released from jail and hires two new crooks, B100 and Handige Harry, to help him get revenge on Bassie and Adriaan.
De Reis Vol Verrassingen (The Journey full Of Surprises): The Baron, inspired by the mysterious assignments Bassie and Adriaan received in the previous series, sends the two a new assignment in an attempt to lure them to the island Curacao and into a trap. Naturally, he fails. Back in the Netherlands, Bassie participates in a quiz show and wins a trip for two to America. The rest of the series follows Bassie and Adriaan as they visit several places in the US, while being followed by the three crooks.
Provides the examples of:
Adaptation Distillation: "Het Geheim van de Schatkaart" was adapted from a radio drama Bassie and Adriaan made a few years earlier. In this radio drama, the third crook was a Chinese named Pingpoen. Aad van Toor however considered this character to be too unrealistic for a tv-series, and replaced him with the already familiar B2. Also, for budgetary reasons, several scenes had to be changed or left out (for example: in the radio drama, the crooks burn down the circus, but putting this in the tv series would be too expensive)
Bilingual Bonus: In the season "De Geheimzinnige Opdracht" Bassie and Adriaan travelled to the (in 1992) 12 countries of the European Union. They sang a few songs where they translate words in a certain language (French, Spanish, German, Danish, Italian, Greek, Portugese) into Dutch.
Big Bad: De Baron can be seen as the big bad of the franchise as a whole, even though he did not appear until “het geheim van de Schatkaart”. The nameless crook boss and professor Chagrijn are the big bads of their respective series.
De Plaaggeest was originally planned to be a semi-recurring villain but the character was dropped after parents complained he was giving their children nightmares.
Bluff The Eavesdropper: In "het geheim van de schatkaart", when finding out the crooks have installed a listening device on top of their caravan, Bassie & Adriaan pretend that they have figured out the riddle on the treasure map and will depart immediately to find the treasure, but Adriaan clearly states they will leave the map in their caravan. The crooks fall for it and immediately go to the caravan to steal the treasure map, resulting in the baron getting arrested.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Bassie and Adriaan frequently address the audience at the start and end of each episode by saying hello and goodbye to the children at home. At the start of a new episode they will explain to them what happened in the previous episode. And the musical numbers in between are always sing-a-long songs.
Briefcase Full of Money: used twice. In "de Diamand", Bassie and Adriaan offer one of these to the crooks in return for the diamond, however only the top layer of the briefcase is actually filled with money. The rest consists of pieces of white paper and fireworks. In "de Verdwenen Kroon", the ransom for the crown is delivered this way.
Butt Monkey: B100 will always be injured or unlucky. It's even his catchphrase: "I'm always unlucky! They always want me."
Cassandra Truth: In "de geheimzinnige opdracht", Bassie notices at least once per episode that B100 is following them throughout Europe (although he doesn't know yet that B100 works for The Baron), but every time he tries to show this to Adriaan B100 is gone again and Adriaan does not believe Bassie. That is, untill in the last episode Adriaan finally sees him too.
The Cast Showoff: Bassie and Adriaan frequently get to show off their singing talents, since almost every episode of each series contains a song. Also; up untill "het geheim van de Schatkaart", Adriaan frequently got to show his skills as a (former) acrobat, untill he had to undergo surgery in 1986 which made it impossible for him to perform anymore stunts.
"Wazeggie? (...) Je hoeft niet zo te schreeuwen. Ik ben niet doof!" - B2
"Foutje, moet kunnen, baas." - Handige Harry
""Drommels, drommels, en nog eens... drommels!"- De Baron
"Stommeling, uilskuiken, bal gehakt, frikandel, zak patat, bitterbal, bamihap!"- De Baron
"Ik voel het aan m'n neus, die heeft me nog nooit in de steek gelaten." - B100
"Ik heb ook altijd pech. Ze moeten ook altijd mij hebben." - B100
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bassie & Adriaan's robot friend Robin, who was a main character from "De Huilende Professor" to "De Verzonken Stad", is never seen or even mentioned in the last two series. He does appear in some other Bassie & Adriaan media made after the series ended however, including a car commercial and (along with Adriaan) in a Sinterklaas Movie.
Cigar Chomper: the nameless crook boss from "Het Geheim van de Sleutel" and "De Diamant" always carries cigars around. Ironically, he never actually smokes them but only crushes them in his hand when he gets angry. This is even lampshaded by B2 when he is send to get new cigars.
Code Name: The crooks B1, B2 and B100; the B in their name is derived from "boef" (Dutch for bandit).
Conspicuous Trenchcoat: In "Het Geheim van de Sleutel" and "De Diamant", the three crooks all wear trench coats. B100 also wears a trenchcoat in "de geheimzinnige opdracht".
Disabled Means Helpless: The villain B2 is stone deaf and understands everything incorrectly. Yet when people scream at him he says: "You don't have to scream at me. I'm not deaf!"
Dream Sequence: Bassie often has these. They are mainly used for elseworld scenario's that put the two main characters in situations they can't encounter in the shows regular setting, like showing what it would be like if Bassie and Adriaan lived in the American old west or if they were James Bond-like secret agents.
Engineered Public Confession: used in "De Diamant" to prove B1, B2 and their boss are the real thieves of the diamond, and again in "het geheim van de schatkaart" to gather enough evidence against the three crooks to get them arrested.
Every Car Is a Pinto: in "het geheim van de sleutel", after Bassie en Adriaan jump out of their sabotaged car, the car itself goes off a cliff and catches fire. Downplayed however in that it doesn't explode like in most Hollywood movies, but simply starts burning.
Exact Words: the hypnotised mooks of professor Chagrijn take their assignments very literally and to the letter. For example; when they are chasing Bassie and Adriaan and the two jump off a cliff into the sea to escape them, the mooks immediately stop their pursuit because their assignment was "run after them", not "swim after them".
Flanderization: happens mostly to the baron. In his debut series and "de verdwenen kroon" he is indeed a criminal mastermind (maybe not as big as he thinks he is, but still) who can come up with decent plans and from time to time actually poses a threat to the protagonists. In the last two series, he becomes more and more a Harmless Villain who is overly obsessed with getting revenge on Bassie & Adriaan, gets angry (to the point that he can break a phone in half) at the slightest mistake from his minions or setback, and rather than come up with a decent trap keeps insisting of using Handige Harry's unreliable homemade bombs to take down the protagonists.
Flowery Insults: With this being a childrens series, real curse words were of course not allowed. So whenever De Baron gets angry at his henchmen and starts cursing at them (which happens a lot), he uses fast food names instead, like "meatball" and "bag of fries".
Freak Lab Accident: not seen on screen, but it is mentioned that the mad professor from "De huilende professor" was once a good and highly respected scientist, until a freak accident with some sort of gas drove him mad. He gets better at the end of the series.
Game Show Appearance: In-Universe, Bassie participates in a (fictional) game show in "de reis vol verrassingen", and unlike most other examples actually wins the finale. In real life, both Aad van Toor and Bas van Toor have appeared in the Dutch game show "wie ben ik?".
Good Is Boring: Adriaan is the less enjoyable character in the series, since he is very normal and has no special eccentric characteristics.
Heel-Face Turn: Both de plaaggeest from the first series and professor Archibald Chagrijn from "de huilende professor" eventually realize the errors of their ways.
Heroic Fire Rescue: in De Diamand, when Bassie and Adriaan come home from a party, they discover their caravan is on fire. Bassie immediately rushes into the burning caravan to rescue their pet parakeet Sweety, and Adriaan follows close behind to rescue Bassie. In the end Adriaan and Sweety get out unharmed, but Bassie has to be taken to the hospital.
Hypno Fool: the hypnotized mooks of professor Chagrijn. His hypnosis gas puts them in some sort of trance, after which everyone can give them commands by saying "you have been given a new assignment, do....". When Adriaan finds out he too can thus give the mooks commands, he greatly uses this to his advantage.
Instant A.I., Just Add Water: Robin; a robot made from an old radio and alarm clock, that somehowe gained sentienence and a distinct personality due to a short circuit.
Just a Machine: in "het geheim van de schatkaart", Robin the robot is the only one who witnesses De Baron breaking into Bassie and Adriaans caravan and stealing the painting behind which the treasure map was hidden, and thus the only one who can testify against the baron after he is arrested. But unfortnately, the law does not allow robots to testify in court so De Baron is realeased again.
The Key Is Behind the Lock: happens to the crooks' car in "De Reis vol Verrassingen". Their attempt to open the door by blowing up the lock goes horribly wrong.
Laser Hallway: averted. In "De Verdwenen Kroon", the museum in which the crown is located has a laser security system, but it consists of infrared laser beams just like in real life, thus being invisible to the naked eye. De Baron has to use infrared goggles in order to see the beams.
Mad Scientist: professor Archibald Chagrijn from “de huilende professor”, who wants to make all the people in the world stop laughing because he is under the impression that laughter is a waste of energy.
Meaningful Name: Archibald Chagrijn; "Chagrijn" is the Dutch word for "Grumpy". Also Baron van Neemweggen; his last name is a play on "neem weg", Dutch for "take away".
Mooks: Professor Archibald Chagrijn has a great number of henchmen, who he keeps under control with the help of hypnosis gas (a side effect of which is that their face turns green).
Missed Him by That Much: Since in several series the main protagonists and villains were played by the same actors they are seldom seen in the same scenes together. Most of the time the villains spy and shadow Bassie and Adriaan but each time they are about to close in something goes wrong and without knowing their luck Bassie and Adriaan manage to continue their walk.
Musical World Hypotheses: Bassie and Adriaan's adventures are frequently interrupted for a sing-a-long musical number, despite the fact that their adventures take place in the real world.
My God, What Have I Done?: "Het Geheim van de Sleutel": when B2 thinks he accidently killed Bassie and Adriaan because his attempt to sabotage their car went horribly wrong, he breaks down in tears stating he is now offcially no longer an ordinary crook but a hardcore criminal, and regrets he didn't listen better to his mother. He gets right back to his old ways when the two show up alive and well though.
No Water Proofing In The Future: In "de huilende professor", Bassie, Adriaan and Robin are forced to jump from a cliff into the ocean to escape capture from the professor's mooks. Unfortunately, Robin is not water proof, and the experience almost proves fatal to the little robot.
No Woman's Land: there are surprisingly few female characters in the series. All the main characters are male, and the only woman in the series appear in one episode only roles.
Non-Fatal Explosions: Villains plotting to take out the titular heroes with a bomb, which more often than not ended up exploding in their faces instead.
Police Are Useless: played with in several series, where the protagonists have to do most of the investigation to find the crooks. The police are useful in the end though when they arrest the crooks.
Put on a Bus: several characters, mostly the villains. Examples include B1 and the crook boss after "De Diamand", and Vlugge Japie and B2 after "De Verzonken Stad". In the second case, Japie does have a brief appearance in the first episode of "de geheimzinnige opdracht", where he is seen abandoning the Baron.
For Japie The Bus Came Back in the last series; he has a role during the Curacao story arc.
Reverse Mole: In “De Huilende Professor”, Bassie and Adriaan receive help from an anonymous ally who provides them with information about professor Archibald Chagrijn and equipment. In the end, their ally turns out to be a Belgian police detective who had infiltrated in the professor’s organization.
Road Sign Reversal: this is one of the pranks De Plaaggeest plays on Bassie and Adriaan. Because of it, the two accidently set up their tent on a soccer field rather than the camping place they were looking for.
Robot Buddy: In "De Huilende Professor", Bassie accidently creates an intelligent robot named Robin while trying to make a clock radio out of a broken alarm clock and a broken radio. Robin remained a main character up till "de verzonken stad".
Rule of Three: When Bassie cries Adriaan will ask him twice what is wrong and only the third time, when he actually asks him why he is crying Bassie explains the reason of his grief.
Bassie often says "Dat moet ik eens even aan de binnenkant van m'n ogen bekijken." ("I have to look at that from the inside of my eyes."), upon which a dream sequence follows.
Bassie is excited at the prospect of eating whipped cream cakes.
Whenever Bassie is sad or frightened he starts making high pitched squeaking sounds. Then Adriaan asks him twice "what is wrong?" until the third time when he asks: "Bassie, why are you crying?", whereupon Bassie finally explains the reason of his grief.
Bassie often teases Adriaan by making jokes at his expense, whereupon Adriaan always laughingly says: "Wacht, ik zal je!" ("Wait, I'll get you!")
One of the villains, Handige Harry, usually prepares bombs that explode in the faces of the villains themselves because Harry did something wrong. This causes the Baron to become furious.
Whenever his henchmen lose track of Bassie and Adriaan the Baron crushes his (cell)phone in furious anger.
Secret Identity: De Plaaggeest. We never get to know who he really is, because he only appears in costume and when he does his Heel Face Turn, he just sends a letter to Bassie and Adriaan to apologize but does not unmask in front of the camera. It is however strongly suggested throughout the series that he is in fact their friend Douwe.
Sequel Goes Foreign: the first series was entirely set in the Netherlands, but every series afterwards is partly or entirely set in a foreign country, exept for "De verdwenen kroon".
Spider-Sense: In the last two series, De Baron has become so frustrated about constantly being thwarted by Bassie and Adriaan, he actually developed some sort of sixth sense for detecting them. If the two of them are near, he always gets nervous.
Stupid Crooks: most of the antagonists of the series fall into this category.
Vehicular Sabotage: in "Het Geheim van de Sleutel", B1 and B2 sabotage the protagonist's car in an attempt to leave them stranded in the middle of nowhere so they can steal the key back. Unfortunately, instead of the radiator, B2 accidently sabotages the breaks.
Terrible Trio: most of the series have three crooks as the main villains: In "Het geheim van de sleutel" and "de diamant" they are B1, B2 and their boss (officially the former series also has two additional villans named B3 and B4, but they only appear in two episodes), from "Het geheim van de schatkaart" to "De verzonken stad" the trio consists of De Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2, and the last two series the trio consists of De Baron, Handige Harry and B100.
in "De huilende professor", Bassie & Adriaan use a tracking device to trace Joris when he returns to the professor's hideout afther the police deliberately allowed him to escape from his prison cell (see also Trick-and-Follow Ploy below). When the professor discovers the tracking device, he has Joris and his mooks use it to set a trap.
in "de geheimzinnige opdracht", after B100 keeps losing track of Bassie & Adriaan, Handige Harrie sends Bassie a walkman that contains a tracking device, allowing the crooks to follow them on a GPS screen. Ironically; despite this new advantage, B100 is still unable to keep track of Bassie & Adriaan, especially because the device only works when Bassie is actually using the walkman. The device is even turned against the crooks when Bassie loses the walkman in Belgium and B100 finds it, causing Handige Harry and de Baron to think that Bassie & Adrian are coming to them when B100 is on his way back.
Done by Bassie and Adriaan themselves in "De Huilende Professor". When they are being chased by the Professor's mooks, they jump from a cliff into the ocean.
Done by Vlugge Japie in "De verdwenen kroon". To escape from Bassie and Adriaan he drives his car into a river, revealing it to be an amphibian vehicle which the protagonist's car is not.
Worthless Treasure Twist: the supposed treasure from “De Verzonken Stad”. The partial translation of the signs on the stone suggest it is gives the location of sources of wealth and/or power. But in the end, it turns out the stone actually contains a philosophical message about the 3 greatest treasures someone can have: freedom, health and happiness.
Subverted in “Het Geheim van de Schatkaart”. Upon finding the treasure chest, it turns out it is filled with black pepper; which in the time the treasure was hidden was still a very valuable spice in Europe, but by todays standards has become something ordinary. All in all, it appears the treasure is worthless. Later however, it turns out the chest itself is actually made from solid gold, and is thus the real treasure.
You Have 48 Hours: in "de Diamant", after Bassie and Adriaan are arrested, but it is revealed their finger prints don't match those found at the crime scene, the police commander lets them go but informs them that they will be arrested again if no new evidence that they're innocent is found in the next 3 days. Thus begins a race against the clock. Bassie actually keeps a pocket clock with him to keep track of how much time they have left.