Norwegian TV: backlash against reality shows?

Perhaps you have heard of the “slow food” movement, which began as an effort to counteract “fast food”, which in many ways is symbolic of the modern lifestyle.

Norway’s NRK television network appears to be taking this idea into another arena: broadcast television.  “Slow TV” is a fairly recent (and regionally limited) phenomenon that seems to be taking that country by storm.  Slow motion storm, that is.

How about a 12-hour show about a wood fire being built and maintained?  Salmon spawning in real time – for 18 hours?  A 5-day program of a cruise ship sailing along the Norwegian coast?  Perhaps the most fascinating aspect is the viewership; the cruise show garnered a sustained 36% of the viewing public, and over a million people tuned in to watch the salmon.

And now for the fiber content: on November 1, “National Knitting Night”, they will air a live sheep-to-sweater competition!  A team of eight will shear a sheep, then spin and knit the wool into a sweater.  Since this will actually be an attempt to beat the record time of 4 hours 51 minutes, set by an Australian team in 2004, I’m not sure that it qualifies as ‘slow’, but no one else seems to be arguing the point.

Sheep in norwegian mountainNorwegian Dalasau (Dala-sheep) in summer pasture

This may actually be an idea whose time has come; an antidote to the frantic or inane fare served up on so many networks.  What a wonderful contrast to the overwhelming number of so-called “reality” shows – a program we could tune in to for a few minutes, and maybe stay for a while longer and be soothed and comforted, while the crock pot simmers our dinner.  Just let me know what channel!


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