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Series / Kulderzipken

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Kulderzipken is a Flemish fantasy television series for children. The series is written by Hugo Matthysen and is well known for its use absurd humor and wordplay in combination with a fantastic fairytale atmosphere. It ran from 1995 to 1997 during two seasons with ten episodes each, but the series got frequent reruns on the Flemish public network in subsequent years.

The series takes place in a fairytale kingdom ruled by King Jozef and Queen Angina. In the first episode, the king organizes a competition to find a husband for his daughter Princess Prieeltje, which is accidentally won by a simple farm boy named Kulderzipken. The boy is granted a stay in the royal castle, but King Jozef isn't happy at all with the idea of his daughter marrying a simple peasant. The first season primarily focuses on King Jozef's attempts at coming up with impossible tasks with the goal of kicking Kulderzipken out of his castle to prevent his daughter Prieel from falling in love with him. In the second season, the marriage between Prieel and Kulderzipken is finally being prepared, while King Jozef teaches his son-in-law all there is to know about being a king.

Other recurring characters are the Grimm Brothers, two inventors who make up the entire household of the castle, and nearly every episode revolves around one or more guest characters coming to the castle and causing trouble for it's inhabitants.

This show provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: The Grimm Brothers.
  • Accidental Misnaming: The Grimm Brothers have a very hard time remembering Kulderzipken's name and call him all sorts of random names. They only managed to get it right twice: once when they were drugged by hallucinogenic mushrooms, and in the last episode when they get to read it out loud from a written paper.
  • All Myths Are True: The three golden hairs on the chin of the Devil's Mother, the pearl in the flower on top of the highest mountain in the world, the Invisible Emperor... Of course, this is a fairy tale.
  • An Ice Person: Aunt Hildegarde is a sorceress who needs cold and ice to be able to perform magic.
  • Berserk Button: Queen Angina is by far the nicest person in the castle, but even she is pushed when her childhood friend Havanna insults her.
  • Big Fancy Castle: The series mainly takes place in King Jozef's castle.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Devil and his Mother are main characters in the first season, but they are completely absent from the second season and they are never mentioned again, as the Devil's Mother was kicked out of the castle for trying to kill Princess Prieel.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The Grimm Brothers are always busy with ludicrous inventions and projects. Specifically in the second season, they are obsessed with finding a way to become able to fly.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The Grimms are told by the King to address everyone with "sir", but they even apply this title to women like the Princess and the Queen.
  • Cool Chair: While the King and Queen's thrones are fairly straightforward, Princess Prieeltje sits on a suspended swing.
  • Crystal Ball: The Devil's Mother owns one.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Literally.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In one episode, Kulderzipken travels into King Jozef's dream so he can obtain the pudding he's been dreaming of for weeks.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: When Queen Angina starts preparing dinner in her pretty dress in front of her childhood friend Havanna, Havanna can't contain her astonishment. Queen Angina reveals that this is simply the only dress she has.
    Havanna: "You're not even wearing an apron!"
    Angina: "I don't HAVE an apron!"
    Havanna: "WHAT? You don't HAVE an apron!?"
  • Every Episode Ending: In the first season, each episode ends with a dance in the throne room, as the camera backs out of the room and the doors slam shut. In the second season, the final scene always takes place at the dinner table.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Names like "De Blote Bosmens" (the Naked Bushman) and "de Vervelende Vent" (the Irritating Guy) don't leave much to the imagination.
  • Faux Death: Princess Prieel at the end of the first season.
  • Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: For the first few episodes of the second season, Queen Angina tries her hand at, among others, sculpting, painting and carpentry, before finally settling on playing trombone.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The villain of every episode usually ends up at the ball or at the dinner table on good terms with the castle's inhabitants.
  • Heir Club for Men: Part of the premise of the series, as King Jozef is obliged to find a husband for his daughter who he thinks is capable of becoming the next king:
    King Jozef: "That girl... she has so much energy. Such a shame... SUCH A SHAME SHE'S NOT A BOY!!"
  • Homage: The Grimm Brothers are named after the real Grimm Brothers, who are famous for writing many well-known fairy tales. But apart from the name, the characters have little in common with their inspirers.
  • Impossible Task: During the first season, King Jozef does his very best to think of these to get rid of Kulderzipken, yet somehow Kulderzipken always succeeds.
  • Invisibility: The Invisible Emperor.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: While not really providing a valuable life lesson, Kulderzipken's wise Uncle Oom Nonkel (Uncle Unkle) shows up in one episode and provides a lot of philosophical questions and answers.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: As part of the Kingly Essentials, King Jozef tries to teach Kulderzipken how to hunt, even though King Jozef is a terrible hunter.
  • Momma's Boy: The Devil keeps getting bossed around by his mother. He does stand up for himself every once in a while.
  • One-Shot Character: Nearly every episode.
  • Off with His Head!: In the final episode of the first season, the only way to save Princess Prieel from dying is by chopping off the head of the person she loves the most.
  • Rags to Royalty: Kulderzipken starts out as "just a simple farm boy". In the final episode, he marries the Princess.
  • Regularly Scheduled Evil: Every seven years the Knoerifast awakens for a day and causes trouble wherever he goes. Luckily, he has been imprisoned in the castle's dungeon for over 400 years.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: In a Dutch-specific variation on the trope, the Knoerifast can only be calmed by the "ge-ur van growentensojep" which is should read "geur van groentensoep" ("scent of vegetable soup"), but it is pronounced incorrectly by the Grimm Brothers by mistakingly reading out the diphtongs "eu" and "oe" as seperate vowels. Kulderzipken discovers this at the end of the episode, and saves the castle from the Knoerifast.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: King Jozef's sister, Saint-Lutgardis, goes around punishing sinners by locking them up in mustard jars.
  • Sibling Rivalry: King Jozef, his brother Diederik and his sister Saint-Lutgardis aren't on great terms.
  • Spot the Imposter: After Havanna magically clones Queen Angina, there is heavy discussion as to who the real Angina is.
  • Standard Hero Reward: In the first episode King Jozef organizes a contest for wich the hand of his daughter is the reward, but he doesn't mention the reward for the contest publicly.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: "The Devil" is a wimpy manchild who is Affably Evil at most, much to the frustration of his truly wicked Mother.
  • Tempting Apple: In the final episode of the first season, Prieeltje is fed a poisonous candy apple. The common nature of this trope is lampshaded:
    Grimms: "A poisonous apple, a device often used in fairy tales."
  • These Questions Three...: In an episode from the second season, Kulderzipken has to solve three impossible tasks for the emperor of Alsdanië, to prevent everyone in the castle from being transformed into toddlers and himself from being turned into a nesting box.
  • Tomboy Princess: Princess Prieeltje is a perfect example. She is rebellious, has dreams about fighting and refuses to do her ballet exercises, but prefers to jump on her father's bed.
  • Villain of the Week: The plot of every episode is basically that the castle's inhabitants have to deal with one of more weird persons or creatures that they encounter.
  • Villainous Harlequin: The Potsenschouwspelgoochelzanggrapjas is a travelling jester with three legs who intends to rob King Jozef.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The Ghost in the first episode of the second season was banished from the land of ghosts because he couldn't remember a hopscotch rhyme.