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Kampioen zijn is plezant!
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F.C. De Kampioenen was a hugely popular Flemish TV sitcom about the (mis)adventures of a local amateur soccer (in Dutch the word "voetbal", which actually translate to "football") club and their members. The series aired in 1990 and ended almost two decades later, in 2011. The show remains one of the most popular TV shows in Flanders and was mostly considered to be a family show, appreciated by children just as much as adults. The stories took place on the soccer field, but also in the local bar and the respective homes of the main characters.

The huge popularity of the show turned it into a Cash Cow Franchise, which spawned musical records, toys, a comic book series and even a feature film in 2013, a second one in 2015, a third one in 2017 and a fourth one in the making for 2019. The comic strip remains a best seller, even now that the series have ended, because older episodes are still repeated and available by viewer demand on TV.

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This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • DDT had a crush on Doortje, who was also his secretary and the only person related to the soccer team he consistently got along with.
    • Fernand also had a soft spot for Carmen, and tried to take her away from Xavier on many occasions.
  • Afraid of Needles: Pascale in one episode.
  • The Alcoholic: Xavier, who really enjoys drinking beer. Subverted in that he doesn't really like any alcoholic beverages other than beer.
  • Annoying Patient: Carmen is this in two different episodes in which she has to go to the hospital. In the first she hits the head nurse with her handbag, and in the second she manages to terrorize the medical staff of the hospital so much that she ends up in a straitjacket.
  • Arch-Enemy: DDT, then BTW and then Fernand. They really hate having the titular "Kampioenen" as neighbours. Each of them has experienced bother from their soccer matches, and has a personal vendetta with at least one of the team members. It's really closer to Sitcom Arch-Nemesis most of the time, but DDT, after escaping/getting released from prison, has genuinely proven to hate the Kampioenen above the other two.
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  • Armed Farces: There are many jokes featuring a local army bases where Xavier works as a sergeant.
  • Berserk Button: Never touch Fernand Costerman's (who is a pigeon breeder) pigeons.
    • Whenever DDT's windows were smashed by a soccer ball he went berserk as well.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Bieke was this in the earliest episodes.
  • Breakout Character: Marc Vertongen was simply meant to be a recurring radio reporter who did reports on the matches. In his early incarnation he was a pretty straight side character, but after a while Flanderisation set in and he was transformed into an infantile imbecile who provided comic relief for the children in the audience. He became a main character of the show and married the character Bieke.
  • Breakout Villain: DDT was considered one of the biggest reasons for the shows initial succes.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: The Kampioenen have a legendary losing streak, but whenever the plot demands it they will win a (bunch of) soccer games. During the period Pol played on the team, they actually had mixed results rather than being outright losers. Which is why Pol got a leg injury that kept him from continuing to play after a few seasons.
    • During the final season of the show, however, they spent virtually the entire season winning (by luck).
  • Bulungi: The third movie takes place in this setting.
  • Canon Foreigner: The comics features characters who've never shown up in the TV series.
    • Inspector Porei
    • Balthazar the dog (Yes, the characters are aware that the dog has the same name as one of them.) This dog was metoined in one of the episodes of the show, though.
  • Catchphrase: Several characters have one or more:
    • Boma: Mijn gedacht!
    • DDT: Zal 't gaan ja? and 't Is ni waar hè!
    • Fernand: Man, man, man! Miserie, miserie!
    • Maurice: Ik zeg altijd...
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Even though he did technically got Put on a Bus, BTW was never heard from again after he sold his restaurant despite being Xavier's cousin. He was only briefly mentioned once by Fernand and it is completely unknown what has become of him.
    • During the first half of the series, Boma had a close friend in Colonel Van De Sijpe, who was also Xavier's superior at the local military base. Despite playing a major role in several episodes, the Colonel dissappeard and replaced with another without as much as a Hand Wave.
  • Con Man: Fernand Costermans.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: A frequent conclusion of a plot.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: All of the female characters.
  • Cultural Translation: This series is really a local phenomenon and despite some attempts to make a foreign version never really caught on elsewhere.
  • Dirty Old Man: Balthazar Boma is obsessed with women who are generally much youger than him.
  • Distant Finale: The third and final movie ends with an epilogue set decades after the rest of the movie, which shows how the (at this point very aged) team has stepped down and have become supporters of a new, young team of Kampioenen, trained by Ronald. Bieke and Marc's daughter holds open the bar, DDT and Fernand are living out their autumn years in prison, and Oscar is Happily Married in Africa. Seeing how the show started in 1990 and time passes at the same time as real life, this means the franchise's final scene can easily take place as much as half a century after the opening scene.
  • Early Installment Weirdness and Later Installment Weirdness: The first few seasons and (to a much lesser extent) the final few seasons have some underlying seriousness and drama, as do the post-series movies, but for the large and by the series is remembered for it's slapstick-based humour.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: Balthazar Boma is a sausage salesman, but apart from him nobody thinks these sausages tastes good. It's so bad not even dogs will eat it, and when a group of hippies that had camped out on the soccer field didn't experience any negative effects from eating the sausage, the team was at it's wits end on how to get rid of them.
  • Every Episode Ending: A lot of episodes end with either characters giving a round to everyone in the bar or the neighbour expressing his frustration after the main characters foil their most recent scheme.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: A frequent conclusion of each episode.
  • Expy: A recurring character in the comics is an inspector named Inspector Porei.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: De Kampioenen are the worst soccer team in the country, but whenever they have to win a game to keep their field they always triumph...
  • Faking the Dead: Xavier fakes his death in one episode after Fernand threatens him with a gun. The others manage to make him believe that he thus has murdered Xavier, and by having the latter haunt him disguised as a spirit, they blackmail him into organizing a party for everyone.
  • Flanderisation:
    • The character Marc Vertonghen was originally a bright, straight side character, but as Characterization Marches On he evolved into an infantile, naïve buffoon and the most popular character of the cast.
    • The original seasons mixed drama with comedy, but after a while the show evolved into a slapstick parade centering around Marc most of the time, while the characters were reduced to having personalities not deeper than comic book characters. There still was the odd exception, increasingly so in the last few seasons.
    • Zig-zagged with Carmen. While her most dominant traits (such as being an Attention Whore and Gossipy Hens) do get played up, she actually becomes less of a domineering and unreasonable wife as the series goes on.
    • Pol started off as an Only Sane Man, but later on started adopting some of his uncle's traits, such as excessive greed.
    • Maurice was originally introduced as a quiet, intelligent man with somewhat of a complex personality. After a few seasons, he evolved in a slight Cloudcuckoolander with his intelligence being enormously exaggerated, including him knowing an entire encyclopedia literally by heart and making a puzzle with 1500 pieces in only a few minutes.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Bieke, as she transformed over the course of the series from a Bratty Teenage Daughter to the Only Sane Man of the cast.
  • Friendly Enemy: On their better days DDT and Fernand, despite their hate for the soccer team, also had an underlying friendship with them. Fernand, in one episode, insists on getting invited to the marriage of Marc and Bieke, and DDT was always fairly kind to Doortje, and on multiple occasions tried to be friendly with the team. Fernand even sells his shop to Bieke at a lower price in exchange for getting invited to Pascale's wedding during the series second-to-last episode, because he insists on saying goodbye to them. During the final episode, he even cheers them on during their soccer game.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: see Hurricane of Euphemisms below.
    • Boma's address is Konijnenveld 69 (69 Rabbit Field).
  • Henpecked Husband: All of the men except Maurice were this to some extent, although Marc was the most downplayed example while Xavier was by far the worst example.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Especially of the sexual kind... It's part of the reason why there are so many misunderstandings.
  • Kavorka Man: Balthazar Boma can be considered this, even though it is in insinuated that most women only love him for his money.
  • Long Runner: The TV show ran for 21 seasons, from 1990 until 2011. The comics too, debuting in 1998 will most likely last longer than the show.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Happens in the second movie when Ronald is revealed to be the result of a one-night-stand between Goedele and Oscar after the latter's departure from the series.
  • Mall Santa: One episode revolves about the male characters participating in a contest to become the year's mall Santa.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Fernand.
  • Meaningful Name: The antagonist Dimitri De Tremmerie's initials are "DDT", which is an abbreviation for a type of pesticide.
    • Bernard Theofiel Waterslaeghers' initials are BTW, the name of the subtaxes in Belgium.
    • Maurice De Praetere likes to talk. Praetere is a pun on "praten", Dutch for "to talk".
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: A very common plot device which leads to Hilarity Ensues.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Nero, the dog, was named after Nero, because Carmen just happened to see a newspaper with Nero in it when she quickly had to come up with a name.
  • Old Maid: Pascale, who was originally married to Oscar, but after the actor left the series they were "divorced" off screen. After that Pascale desperately tried to find another husband.
  • Only Known by Initials: Dimitri De Tremmerie (DDT) and Bernard Theofiel Waterslaeghers (BTW).
    • Averted, everyone knows their full names, but insist calling them like this.
  • Only Sane Man: Pol and Bieke are the most down-to-earth people of the entire cast. Pol does suffer from flanderisation as the series goes on, but even then he still has shades of this.
  • OO Cis Serious Business: Whenever Xavier is not taking any lip from Carmen, you can bet he's pretty damn serious about whatever is the matter at hand.
  • Pet the Dog: DDT, Fernand, and even BTW have all gotten to show their better side at least once.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Despite the title many episodes revolve less about soccer matches and more about the private lives of the characters. Soccer does show up every now and then, though.
  • Put on a Bus: Several actors and their characters have been written out from the series. The biggest names to have left are:
    • Pico, who cheated on and divorced Doortje in between seasons 4 and 5, as the actor that portrayed him was getting increasingly difficult to work with due to drinking troubles. He was never heard from again and he doesn't seem to care how his own son is doing neither.
    • Oscar left very abruptly at the end of season 4, abandoning everyone and everything. In a heartbeat, he made the decision to travel after his father and DDT's mother to Tenerife to make sure the two of them wouldn't start a relationship together. He didn't return home however and it was revealed by Pascal in the pilot of season 5 that he joined the Hare Krishna in Nepal. After several years, Pascal had him declared dead.
    • DDT was arrested and sentenced to prison for fiscal fraud. Due to bad behaviour, his sentence kept increasing. He was written out after season 8 because his actor left the channel on which the show aired.
    • His replacement, BTW, only lasted two seasons on account of not being very popular with the viewing audience. In the season 10 finale, he sold his restaurant to Fernand (who already made 2 guest appearances in that season) for a very cheap price after he received a fake letter which said that his restaurant was going to be demolished. In the end, it turned out that Fernand sent him the letter.
  • Real Person Cameo: Some Flemish celebrities have played cameos: Janine Bischops, Constant Vanden Stock, Jean-Marie Pfaff, Eddy Wally, Nicole & Hugo, ...
  • Running Gag:
    • DDT's windows are kicked in by soccer balls, to which he always shouts: "Zal 't gaan, ja?" (will you guys quit it already!)
    • Balthasar Boma's sausages are considered to be tasteless by everyone except Boma himself. Not even the dogs eat it. When his future son-in-law comments they actually taste kinda nice, Boma immediately accepts him as his son.
    • Strangers always seem to confuse the address of the bar with the address of the archenemy's place and vice versa.
    • Whenever Carmen is dusting off things in Balthasar Boma's office Boma will try and give her a pat on her ass.
    • Marcske always does something stupid or wrong.
    • Xavier being a Henpecked Husband.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Zig-zagged in the movies.
    • The first movie is about the characters travelling to southern France.
    • The second movie takes mostly place around the cafe and the soccer field itself, but has a sequence in which Xavier and Marc go to Thailand to search for Oscar.
    • In the third movie, the characters travel to Africa.
    • The fourth movie is the first of the film series to fully take place in Belgium, although a major sequence is set around the carnival in the city of Aalst.
  • Slapstick: This element became more dominant as the series progressed.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • After Pico (played by Walter Michiels) was written out of the series his wife Doortje was hooked up with a new character, Pol (played by Ben Rottiers), who shared many of the same character traits as his predecessor.
    • The same can be said about the replacements for the show's villain, DDT. Both BTW and Fernand were introduced in the show and immediately became the new archenemies of the team, because just like DDT they too were consistently inconvenienced by the soccer matches (BTW wanted to open a classy restaurant, while Fernand trained Pigeons that had to race on the same days as the soccer games).
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: EVERY episode!
  • Stag Party: The guys tried to have an all-out Bachelor party the night before the wedding between Marcske and Bieke in season 15, behind the backs of their wives and girlfriends. The women, however, found out and secretly rearranged their stripper and food services for themselves, sending the police after the men (for jokes). Unfortunately, this resulted in the men spending the night in jail. It gets turned around in the second-to-last episode of the series, where the men after some initial struggles end up having a fun time despite not being allowed to drink alcohol, while the women spend the entire evening bickering and having fights.
    • Of course, as far as the second party was concerned, they also had an important soccer game the next day and didn't want to drink alcohol, but their competitor spiked their drinks and sent some strippers at the party.
  • Stoners Are Funny: One episode revolves around a group of hippies camping on the soccer pitch. One of them grants Mark a space cake, which he eats without knowing what's in it. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Being the show's at the time most popular character, DDT eventually made four returning appearances; in the 20th season finale and the second, third and fourth post-series movies as the Big Bad. At the beginning of the movie, he finally got released from prison.
    • Oscar returned in the second post-series movies as well, having been gone for a full twenty-one years both in real-life and In-Universe. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of De Kampioenen, Xavier and Marc travelled to India to look for him and bring him temporarily back to celebrate along with the rest. After some insistence, he accepts. The rest of De Kampioenen had mixed feelings about his return. Oscar also finds out that he has a granddaughter and that Pascale got remarried.
    • Both DDT and BTW made multiple guest/cameo appearances in the comic book series.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Marcske.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Xavier and Carmen.
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