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Series / Samson En Gert

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Samson (left) and Gert (right)

Samson en Gert (Dutch for "Samson and Gert") or (Fred et Samson in Walloon) 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. In 2014 and 2017, respectively, two spin-off winter and summer series were produced.

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 Catchphrase jokes.

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, a barber who enjoys singing opera; the mayor of the town, who is interested in toy airplanes; the mayor's hyperactive secretary Van Leemhuyzen 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 note .

Beginning in 2008, a Walloon version of the show known as Fred et Samson begun airing in the French regions of Belgium alongside newer actors playing the actors. Similar to the original Flemish version, the Walloon actors also make live appearances at various stage shows.

On November 2019, Gert announced that he was leaving the series. Studio 100 decided to create a special farewell song sung by the titular duo. In December 2019, Samson got a new companion named "Marie" and the show was retitled "Samson & Marie".

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.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Used in a few episodes, most notably Burgemeester dronken and Chateau De Bolle.
  • 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.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Whenever there are extras, for example at an event on the town square or in Alberto's barber shop, they always appear completely apathetic towards the shenanigans of the main cast.
  • Ascended Extra: The mayor's secretary Eugène Van Leemhuyzen was originally The Ghost, but he became a regular character after the eight season.
  • Ate It All: Regular plot device whenever greedy Alberto comes to visit Samson and Gert.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Gert learned this the hard way in "Miss Lenigem" where he thought to teach Alberto a lesson that Miss Lenigem can't be easily interested in him by prank calling him and making him think that Miss Lenigem accepted his marriage offer, this somewhat backfired as Miss Lenigem actually showed up, but only to take Alberto, Burgemeester and Octaaf on a date instead of marrying them, leaving Gert devastated.
  • Big Eater: Alberto can be bribed into doing anything if you promise him food.
  • Big Fun: Alberto.
  • Birthday Episode: The special to celebrate 20 years of Samson & Gert.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The video clip of Het Allerlaatste Liedjenote  was this. As it was the last new song from Samson and Gert before Gert ended his thirty-years of work on the franshise, it was packed with references to and footage from different songs, characters, live shows and episodes.
  • Crossover: The music video "Droom" which celebrated the series' 20th Anniversary features various Studio 100 characters such as Piet Piraat, Kabouter Plop, K3, and Bumba all singing about them. Samson & Gert also had episodes where they were visited by the girls from K3 and one episode featured two female character from the series Spring. Both these franchises are owned by Studio 100.
    • During the early seasons of the show, an episode called "De Poetsvrouw" had a guest appearance by actress Loes van den Heuvel in the role of her "FC De Kampioenen" character Carmen Waterslaeghers. Gert also calls with her husband Xavier (though he does not appear in the episode) on the phone and mentions the character of Balthazar Boma.
      • The clip "Wij Willen Voetballen" features several extras from "FC De Kampioenen" as well as Ben Rottiers in the role of Pol De Tremmerie.
  • Catchphrase: 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.
      • Sometimes a variation is used where a character says "Ik moest niet kloppen, want de deur ging al open" ("I didn't have to knock, because the door already opened")
    • 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 specialities"). Usually, it's not.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The series has made a habit of never properly writing characters who leave the series out, but rather leaves them Out of Focus without a proper explanation as to why they never appear again. Main characters like Miranda, Jeannine, Octaaf and Frieda Kroket did still got mentioned in the dialogue for now and then, which essentially demoted them to The Ghost,
    • The most blatant example was Joop Mengelmoes, Samson en Gert's first neighbour, who disappeared after 1992 and his existance became largely forgotten in later seasons. This became only subverted 25 years later, when Joop's brother Jaap Mengelmoes appeared in the 2017 summer series.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the early seasons, the characters regularly broke the fourth wall to organize contests for the viewers and collect fanmail, and even introducing short cartoons interrupting the programme. This practise is one of the reasons the earlier seasons were almost never transmitted again on television.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The 30th anniversary song, "Het allerlaatste liedje" serves as an official farewell song from the titular duo. While the series isn't over, Samson got a new human companion named Marie. The series was retitled Samson & Marie with a brand-new song.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Most of the main characters, even Gert can be found guilty of this.
  • Furry Confusion: Consistently avoided throughout the franchise. Although Samson has been in contact with lots of animals through the years, no other dog has ever appeared alongside Samson to avoid confusion with the fact that Samson is, obviously unlike real dogs, able to talk, which no one in the franchise's universe seems to consider as something unusual. The only other dog that has apppeared in the franchise is Samson's girlfriend Bobientje, but she is never seen (apart from a non-speaking cameo in a music video) and is otherwise implied to be somewhat of a female version of Samson.
  • Human Mail: In the episode Reisbureau Octaaf, Octaaf opens a travel agency that offers cheap holidays archieved by sending his customers by post to their destination. The method is tested by having Alberto bring Samson and Gert in a box from the town hall to their home. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All of the main characters wear the same outfit in every episode, or at least variations on the same type of clothing. Only Gert had an Unlimited Wardrobe when the series started, but he also ended up with this trope around 1996-1997.
  • Long Runner: The series started in 1989 and new episodes were produced until 2005, however live performances are held until this day. In the meantime, the show continued to exist in a movie called 'Hotel op Stelten', two special episodes and two spinoff series.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The lyrics of the song Met de jeep door het oerwoudnote  describe animals from the African savannah like giraffes, hyenas and lions as living in the jungle.
  • Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker: Alberto uses this trope in the episode Alberto Slaapwandelaar as a way to steal food while pretending to be sleepwalking.
  • Parental Bonus: Not so much in the television series, but the live shows have always tended to include little gags that are meant to amuse the parents that accompany the children in the audience. The occurance of these gags has however clearly increased in later shows, mostly from those of the late 2010's on, in which the cast and crew have begun to deliberately sneak in content that isn't really targeted at children (mostly subtle double entendres, Lampshade Hanging and self-referential jokes). This tendency can be explained by the fact that the cast en crew of the franchise have become aware that most parents who take their children to the shows in the 2010's, have likely grown up with the franchise themselves in the 1990's, and thus pretty much enjoy the characters from their youth being involved in some ironic 'adult' humour.
    • The parental bonuses were taken up to eleven in the Farewell Concerts of Samson en Gert in 2019 and 2022, of which they also organised late evening shows that were specifically targeted at nostalgic adults. In these specific shows, most sketches were purposefully spiced up with all kinds of Demographically Inappropriate Humour, verging into the territories of Self-Parody.
  • Pie in the Face: Very frequently used in numerous episodes.
  • Pirate Song: Samson and Gert's famous song Piraten-potpourrinote  is all about this.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Koen Crucke, the actor who plays Alberto, had lost so much weight by the time the 2017 summer series was in the making that his character's gluttony would not be believable any more. To solve this problem, it was told in the series that Alberto, while on holiday, had been lost in the jungle without food for weeks before finding the way to his hotel.
  • Running Gag: The show features several:
    • The fact that Samson and Gert's doorbell doesn't work and therefore people who want to visit them have to knock on the door. They always apologize themselves with the Catchphrase "Ik moest kloppen want de bel doet het niet" ("I had to knock, because the doorbell doesn't work").
    • An additional running gag is that people always tend to knock on Samson and Gert's door while one of them is in the middle of a sentence, which frequently causes confusion in the conversation.
    • In early episodes, Samson and Gert would frequently be called up by local snack bar owner Fred Kroket on the most inappropriate moments, only to ask them if they would be interested in buying mayonnaise and pickles. Not even in five-liter jars.
  • Sick Episode: The episode "Gert is ziek" features a bedridden Gert. It's one of the rare times the bedroom is seen in the series.
  • Slice of Life: Follows the daily live of Samson & Gert and their constant disturbance by their silly friends, mostly leading to hilarious situations.
  • The Ghost: Gert's Girlfriend Marleneke is often spoken about and alluded to but never shows up. Other examples of this trope include Gert's rich rival Jean-Louis Michel, Alberto's mother, the mayor's houskeeper and local snack bar owner Fred Kroket.
    • Octaaf De Bolle, his daughter Miranda and his mother Jeannine all became this when their actors respectively left the show.
    • Van Leemhuyzen originally was this before he became a regular cast member.
    • Marlene slightly subverted this trope on three ocassions: In the episode "E.H.B.O", the viewer could hear her voice while the movie and the 20th anniversary special featured a physical appearance of the character, though she was only seen from behind in both occassions in order to keep up the mystery.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Although the series has featured three different main female characters over the course of its run, there has never been more than one at the same time. The first female character was Octaaf's daughter Miranda, who only appeared in 1993. The second was Octaaf's mother Jeanine from 1994 to 1999, and the third one was snackbar-owner Frieda Kroket from 2000 to 2003.
    • Other female characters have been featured as guest characters throughout the series's run. The most prominent of them was Sofie, the Mayor's niece, who starred sporadically in a few episodes from 1995 to 1996.
  • You Look Familiar: Some episodes feature the same guest stars, but in different roles. These are usually actors that Studio 100 uses in many of their productions.
    • Sometimes, a guest starring role is even filled by a main member of the cast, like the mayor's twin brother who is played by the mayor's actor.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The location of the town where the series takes place is never revealed; even its name is a mystery.
    • This became subverted in a radio interview where creator Gert Verhulst revealed that the village is called 'Ons Dorp', which literally means 'Our village'.