From left to right: Gaus, Brumund and Roms DalBrødrene Dal
(the Dal Brothers) is a trio of fictional explorers featured in a series of Norwegian television shows and a feature-length film. Written and portrayed by Lars Mjøen, Knut Lystad and Trond Kirkvaag (known collectively as KLM - the Norwegian equivalent to Monty Python
), the three brothers are Gaus (Mjøen), the straight-faced, natural leader of the group; Roms (Lystad), the most easy-going brother, sometimes to the point of naivety; and Brumund (Kirkvaag), the most quirky member, identified by his distinctive propeller hat
Apart from the three brothers, the only recurring main character is the Narrator, played by comedian Tom Mathisen, who follows them around
(in the early series, just as a voiceover, but in later series he began making more physical appearances) and chronicles their adventures, tells the audience to keep following the series and at the end of each episode makes increasingly absurd predictions about what will happen next time.
Their escapades have them encounter several hurricanes of puns
, sight gags
and clever, if not exactly easily translatable, wordplay.
List of Brødrene Dal productions:
- Professor Drøvels hemmelighet (The Secret of Professor Uvula), their debut series, had them in search of missing explorer Professor Drøvel, traversing Overfloden, an uncharted river crowded with absurd characters and events.
- Spektralsteinene (The Spectral Stones): while searching for a special substance to cure the common cold, Roms receives a ring containing mysterious blueprints for what turns out to be a time machine from an alien. They travel through time, including the Viking Age, Ancient Egypt, Medieval France and Nazi-occupied Norway.
- Legenden om Atlant-is (The Legend of Atlant-Ice): Summoned by a mysterious shaman, the brothers are tasked with retrieving the mysterious twin urns Urk and Irka which have been stolen from the Sami people. It turns out the urns are the keys to the lost city of Atlant-is which hides the Fountain of Youth. However, a corrupt "snow research company" are after the same thing ...
- Mysteriet om Karl XI Is gamasjer (The Mystery of Charles XII's Spats): The brothers travel through time (again) to find the lost spats of Norwegian monarch Charles XII, a key instrument in the continuation of Norway's independence; if they are not retrieved by the 100th anniversary of Norway's Constitutional Day, Norway will be considered part of Sweden once again. A mysterious organization known as "Pavo" attempts to thwart their attempts to do this at any cost. (This series also introduced the "next generation" of Dal siblings; nephews Snerting and Joste and niece Mette-Mari.)
- Vikingsverdets forbannelse (The Curse of the Viking Sword): Feature-length film based on recordings of an original theatrical production, cleverly edited into a feature. As Kirkvaag had died in the interim, he only interacts with the brothers via a video screen.
Tropes Associated with Brødrene Dal:
- Acting for Two: The central trio in every single installment of the series.
- An honorary mention goes to actress Marianne Mørk, who managed to cover two different roles in one single episode in the original series from 1978. As far as we know, she is the only one besides KLM who did this.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Actually, they refer to themselves as "explorers" rather than archeologists — though they are shown participating in actual archaeology once or twice.
- Ascended Extra: The Narrator. He was a fairly normal voice-over narrator in the first series, but his role increased, and by the time of the third series he was as essential a character as the brothers themselves.
- Badass Family: The Dal family, ancestors and descendants included.
- Bag of Holding: Let's just say the brothers' "traveling backpack" has an inordinate amount of space.
- Battle Discretion Shot: Parodied in Spekstralsteinene, when the famous battle of Stiklestad is about to start, and the Narrator suddenly shows up on-camera to inform the viewer that this battle was much too bloody to be shown on TV. He instead holds up a copy of Halfdan Egedius's famous illustration of St. Olav's death◊ for the camera.
- Been There, Shaped History: All three brothers are this in both series that deal with time travel. Among other things, they inspired Egyptian slaves to dig the Suez Canal...
- Bootstrapped Theme: "The Eye of Wendor" by symphonic prog group Mandalaband, while referred to as the main theme by media, is actually the end credits theme; every series has its individual main theme.
- Boring Return Journey: Played with in the final episode of Professor Drøvel's hemmelighet the narrator states that after they found the egg, the journey back was just as tough as their journey down the river, and they experienced the exact same events, but in the opposite order. He explains that the reason we don't get to see these events again in the opposite order is because it would've made the final episode over three hours long.
- Bound and Gagged: Impostor Brumund in Atlant-is, Mette-Mari in Karl XII.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Frequent aside glances, and sometimes the characters are even shown consulting the script or talking directly to the audience. Crowning honors go, of course, to the Narrator, to whom the fourth wall does not seem to exist.
- Call Back: In the first series, the brothers finally find Professor Drøvel, who is unable to talk and can only cluck like a chicken after spending several decades inside an egg (it barely makes sense in context). In the final series, twenty-six years later, the Professor makes a couple of cameo appearances... and he still only clucks like a chicken, which makes his new job as a talk show host a little awkward.
- The Cameo: In total, a veritable cross-section of reputable Norwegian actors and other celebrities from all eras, especially in the two latter series.
- The brothers themselves, with Drøvel inside the egg, cameoed prominently in another series, rescuing the heroes from an impossible situation.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Literally, in the case of the pirate captain on Robinson Caruso's island (no, that name is not misspelled) who has a license that reads "Occupation: Pirate".
- Catch Phrase: The Narrator has two. The first is one he always repeats at the Cliff Hanger endings, when he urges the audience to keep following the series ("Følg med!") in order to find out what happened. This was played with a couple of times, such as the third-series episode that opens with the Narrator being followed around by a huge number of people who had misunderstood and thought he'd told them to keep following him.
- The second Catch Phrase is the less-used one but probably the most popular one: The Narrator opened the first series with a really pompous presentation: "The Universe — an eternity of stars and planets. Nobody knows how big or how old it is." This line got so popular with the audience that Tom Mathiesen was frequently asked to "do the Universe line." So in subsequent series, this line is treated more or less like the Narrator's Catch Phrase, and he'll occasionally say it in order to identify himself to someone or because he's been asked by a fan to "do the Universe line."
- Gaus, Roms and Brumund share one: "Guys! Guys!" Used whenever one of the brothers wants to catch the other two's attention, or call their attention to something. At a couple of instances, when there were only two brothers present, the line was "Guys! Guys! Uh.. I mean.. Guy! Guy!"
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Did you even read the list up there?
- Cliff Hanger: Every episode ends with one; usually, these initially precarious situations are quickly defused as a joke when the next episode comes around.
- Clown Car Base: The brothers' tent. Is roughly the size of a two-story house, contains creature comforts such as a stove, radio and television, and it all fits in the aforementioned Bag of Holding!
- Cloudcuckoolander: Basically, anyone and everyone.
- Not to mention the "Problematic Institute" from Legenden om Atlant-is, whose every tenured professor seems to engage in... let's call it less-than-useful research (such as the square wheel).
- Continuity Nod: Several in Vikingsverdets forbannelse, particularly in the CGI opening credits.
- Cousin Oliver: Joste, Snerting and Mette Mari Dal (respectively the brothers' nephews and niece), introduced in Karl XII's gamasjer.
- Damsel in Distress: Mette-Mari briefly becomes this in Karl XI Is gamasjer when she is kidnapped by two thugs. She ends up bossing her kidnappers around so much that they end up throwing her out and telling her to get lost, just in time for her brothers to show up to "rescue" her.
- Darker and Edgier: Spektralsteinene is this to its immediate predecessor, containing genuinely scary instances, whereas the first (mostly) played instances of horror for comedy. See also Downer Ending below. [note]This was actually done as a response to audience reactions; the writers found to their surprise that most of the children who watched the first series had missed that it was supposed to be a plotless comedy and just viewed it as a sort of action-adventure that was occasionally really scary. Hence they deliberately made the second series a lot more plot-focused and included more genuinely scary stuff. On the whole, the kids thought the second series was even better than the first thanks to this.[/note]
- A Day in the Limelight: Legenden om Atlant-is often focuses on the Narrator and his misadventures. Indeed, he is actually the last main character seen in the series. Of course, he remained an unseen character for the first two series, so I guess he'd earned it.
- Disguised in Drag: Brumund disguises himself as a member of a harem in Spektralsteinene, inevitably causing the sultan to fall for "her".
- Downer Ending: Spektralsteinene ends with the Kurium 82 smashed against the ground, ending humanity's hope for a cure for the common cold, not to mention the other efficacious properties it is implied to have possessed...
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first series doesn't really have a plot and is just a series of loosely-connected skits and jokes, many of them completely unrelated to the main action, and the Narrator is played a lot straighter than in subsequent series; he's not even a character here. From the second series on, the adventures began having actual plots, the funny asides dominated less and the Narrator really evolved into the Large Ham character he's known as today, essentially becoming the fourth main character.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In the movie, Sigurd (son of the ailing Viking Chief) demonstrates this when talking to his men:
Sigurd: We've done our duty as Vikings! Right, men?!
Sigurd: Have we fought?!
Sigurd: Have we stolen?!
Sigurd: Have we plundered?!
Sigurd: Have we smashed?!
Sigurd: Have we teased?!
Vikings: Ye — *pause* No.
Sigurd: *nodding pleasantly* And why haven't we teased? Well?
Vikings: Uh... *pause*
Sigurd: Because it's not nice to tease people!
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Narrator, or "Fortelleren" in KLM's native Norwegian. In fact, it's hinted that this might be his actual name.
- Excuse Plot: Professor Drøvels hemmelighet has the trio embark on a boat ride of assorted weirdness, with practically no plot development until the final episode.
- Follow That Car: * In Legenden om Atlant-is, the brothers try to follow the villain's car... By jumping into a trolley and telling it's driver to "follow that car". The trolley driver actually tries his best but predictably loses the villains rather quickly.
- Foregone Conclusion: Charles XII is killed. Turns out he managed to avoid the bullet meant for him, but accidentally shot himself immediately afterwards.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Spoofed hilariously in a time travel episode where Roms ends up in a archetypical western town, and orders a non-alcholic beer at the local saloon. The regulars all laugh at him, and the bartender exclaims: "Here, stranger, we drink nothing but skimmed kefir!!note . Then the regulars force him to drink several rounds.
- In Legenden om Atlant-is, the brothers ask for a bottle of champagne to celebrate. When they receive what appears to be a bottle of soda pop, the waiter explains them that since this is a kid's show, they had to change the label.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In contrast to the Gosh Dang It to Heck! example below, there is a character in Legenden om Atlant-is who speaks backwards. At one point, he utters a relatively offensive term, only it's backwards!
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Professor Ernst Muffens, conniving scoundrel though he may be, still respects the confines of a kid-friendly show and acts accordingly. After a particularly big rant, he even casually Breaks the Fourth Wall to Lampshade this fact, telling the viewer that normally he would have used much stronger language, but he won't because he knows children are watching this show.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The Nazis guarding the location of Hitler's secret weapon. They are unable to see through Brumund's Paper-thin Hitler disguise, and after he leaves, rationalize that Hitler must have been wearing a fake mustache all along.
- Happily Married: In the fourth series, Brumund is this with a woman who lives in his room. For some reason, he keeps this hidden from his brothers...
- Historical-Domain Character: Mostly Norwegians such as Snorri and Roald Amundsen; where international characters are concerned, they are mostly fictional ones such as Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers. However, there is the notable exception of Adolf Hitler (though he does not appear in person).
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Eh, kind of averted. In Spektralsteinene, they foil Hitler's plan to use some sort of infernal machine for his evil ends. This has no negative repercussions in the future and is implied to be a devastating blow dealt to the Axis powers during the war, so it seems more like a Stable Time Loop situation.
- Horny Vikings: Mostly averted; when vikings appear in the series, their clothes and helmets tend to be fairly historically accurate. The few exeptions to this are parodies: the viking family (father, mother and son) we briefly meet in Sepktralsteinene all wear horned helmets and never take them off, though nobody else wears such helmets. In Vikinsverdets forbannelse which takes place in the Viking ages, the costumes are again historically accurate and the only Viking who wears horns is Fimbul the sorcerer, the Large Ham villain.
- Hotter and Sexier: The franchise is inherently kid-friendly, though the fourth series (which is aimed at a slightly older audience) has instances of some more adult humor — and even one instance of full-frontal (female) nudity.
- How We Got Here: The first episode of Atlant-is opens with the brothers in a reindeer-drawn sled, being chased by wolves. After a couple of minutes, the Narrator speaks up, asking the viewers if they're not wondering how the brothers got into this situation. We then flash back to earlier to get the answer.
- Hurricane of Puns: Covering the entire pun spectrum (no pun intended), from groan-inducing to disarmingly covert ones.
- Interactive Narrator: Gets increasingly so with each series.
- The first series has him as a pretty standard voiceover narrator who is never acknowledged by the characters.
- In the second series, he starts making on-screen appearances, meeting the brothers for the first time in the last episode, surprising them because they had no idea they had a narrator.
- In the third series, he's become a fully-fledged character who often interacts with the brothers both when he's doing the voiceover and when he makes onscreen appearances.
- And in the fourth series, he's got his own Running Gag subplot going, where he's trying to cash in on the series' success (writing his own unauthorized biography about the brothers, trying to make a reality TV show about them, selling clothes and effects with their names and images).
- In the movie, however, he's back to being an observer who doesn't interact with the brothers, though he retains his Large Ham qualities and makes several on-sceen appearances to comment on the action. (The lack of interaction is explained by the movie being put together by tapes of a "hitherto unknown" expedition the brothers went on, and that the Narrator missed that particular expedition because he was sick — and so he makes up for it by watching the movie along with the audience and providing exposition and commentary.)
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: There are some rare, out-of-print LP and CD releases featuring Brødrene Dal.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The narrator constantly. At the end of the first series, when The Unreveal is presented, the three brothers, or actors (who also wrote the script), look straight into the camera and bursts into laughter in an understated Take That, Audience! moment. And that is the end of the series.
- Lemony Narrator: The Narrator, especially noticable in the Cliff Hanger endings.
- Large Ham: The Narrator is one of the most legendary Norwegian hams, ever. Professor Ernst Muffens (played by Lars Mjøen) deserves the label as well.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There really are a lot of them, though the degree of characterization or spotlight they are given varies intensely.
- Long Runner: The first series aired in 1979. Of course, now, with Kirkvaag's death, it appears there will be no further productions.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The brothers are in search of Kurium 82 in this form, however, they ultimately obtain it in its pure, distilled liquid form.
- The eponymous Spectral Stones are this, as they power the time machine and almost each episode is about the brothers looking for the next stone to take them sometime new. Near the end it appears that the aliens had them gather the stones for their own ends.
- Nephewism: Lampshaded and mildly parodied with Joste, Snerting and Mette-Mari, whose parents are never identified. Gaus, Roms and Brumund do know that the kids are their nephews and niece but aren't certain who the parents are, and are too embarrassed about it to outright ask. The kids themselves are no help at all when the uncles subtly try to figure out just how they're related.
Gaus: How — how are your parents these days?
Mette-Mari: Oh, fine.
Roms: And your father, he's still... uh... *makes some vague hand gestures* ...doing that thing he was doing back when he... *makes more vague hand gestures* That is, if he ever did...?
Joste: The same old, yeah.
Brumund: And you still live in — at the — that place where you used to, outside the —
Snerting: Yep, same place we've always lived. Nothing new there.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In Karl XII's gamasjer there appears a pirate character known as Kabel-Satan.note
- Nice Hat: As depicted in the trope picture, they each have their own, distinctive hat. Brumund's hat, namely a pith helmet, features a distinctive, motorized propeller strong enough to be used as a makeshift boat motor.
- Only Sane Man: Of the three brothers, Gaus is the one least involved in their more frivolous activities.
- Overly Long Gag: Sometimes, though most would agree a majority of them pay off.
- Power Trio: Brødrene Dal, as well as their nephews and niece.
- Pungeon Master: The Narrator concocts some truly unforgettable ones in Professor Drøvels hemmelighet. Although really, most characters are guilty of this at one point or another.
- Punny Name: A staple not only of Brødrene Dal, but KLM as a whole. Notably, the brothers' names when combined with their last names are the names of Norwegian locations. This goes for their relatives, as well. In fact, the official KLM fanclub allows members to create their own fictional Dal relative.
- Rule of Funny: And we wouldn't have it any other way.
- Running Gag: Ever so often. The first series had doors standing alone in the middle of nowhere. Usually, one character passed through the door (with the river and main plot on the one side of it), and entered a street in Oslo, a shop of some kind, and in one particular case - a church! A variation of this was a painter who painted a TV set, pressed the button, and turned on the telly. All this was to show completely unrelated skits of classical KLM staple.
- Scare Chord: The melody snippet heard whenever the episode ends on a Cliff Hanger still strikes fear into the hearts of all who remember it: DUN-DUNDUN-DUN-DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN! (Or, alternately, DUNDUN-DUNDUN-DUN-DUNDUN.)
- Scooby-Doo Hoax: In Spektralsteinene. While there was no musical maze-of-doors chase, there was, (un)fortunately, enough eerie horror to go around.
- Sketch Comedy: Both Professor Drøvel and Spektralsteinene frequently segue off into tangential, often absurdly unrelated sketches, while subsequent installments attempt to follow the story closer, relegating nearly completely unrelated sketches to episode beginnings (and endings).
- Small Name, Big Ego: The Narrator.
- Something Completely Different: The final episode of Brødrene Dal og Spektralsteinene ends with an elaborate, ten-minute chase scenes between parties interested in obtaining the vial of Kurium 82.
- Stylistic Suck: A lot of the special effects look deliberately fake and cheesy, partly as a budget thing and partly for comic effect. It's especially prominent in the first series, but happens every now and then in the subsequent ones as well.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Muffens' henchmen Birger and Hroar from Legenden om Atlant-is, as well as the two hired thugs in Karl XII's gamasjer.
- Those Wacky Nazis: The Nazis featured in Spektralsteinene flip-flop between this (see above) and a more realistic, possibly even chilling portrayal.
- Time Travel: A staple of the franchise. The second and fourth TV series both heavily featured time-travel, as did the stage play/movie.
- Twist Ending: The giant egg the brothers find in Professor Drøvel actually contains... Professor Drøvel himself, who is now acting like a chicken.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Legenden om Atlant-is features a relatively static depiction of early '90s Oslo.
- Unobtainium: Kurium 82.
- The Unreveal: Professor Drøvel shows up at the end of the first series, unable to make anything but "cluck-cluck" noises. Thus, we never get to know what his secret actually was. The look from the brothers in the final shot intend they (as creators of the series) had it planned all along.
- Visual Gag: A whole lot. Perhaps the most well-known is the sarcophagus shaped like a Moomin; in Norway, their name is very similar to the word for "mummy."
- We Sell Everything: A local gas station (and popular 50s greaser hangout for... some reason) has all the doodads, thingamajigs and whirligigs needed to build a sophisticated piece of alien time travel technology, apparently. The one thing they don't sell is... gas.
Manager: We stopped selling gas ages ago. It got too expensive. Now we're just a station.