I’ve been watching the Norwegian TV series DAG recently. It’s quite interesting if nothing less! The protagonist DAG is an oddball, dysfunctional, ornery therapist who doesn’t have much sensitivity to his patients or faith in relationships in general. He is addicted to valium, and is shown regularly advising marital therapy couples to divorce. A few of his patients end up worse off. It’s presented as a bit of a comedy.
I’m currently watching the third season. The second season ended with relationship-phobic, recently dried out Dag being told that he has a son from a woman he was dating. Dag is terrified, he is afraid of closeness with anyone but now he has a son and apparently will have to be close or risk damaging the child the way his father did to him.
I was touched watching girlfriend Eva going to visit her elderly father and introducing her son to him and seeing her sadness and disappointment when she encounters the fact that he just doesn’t care for her. It’s hard to watch her sob. I guess it hurts anyone who finds out that a parent doesn’t care.
It’s interesting to watch Dag relate to single mother Eva and her son. Though he wonders if they have room for him in their life or he is intruding, he doesn’t treat Eva as if her child is extra baggage or she is not relationship material because she has a child. It’s interesting to watch him naturally pick the baby up and carry him around.
Benedikt, Dag’s dysfunctional “playboy” best friend, who cannot say no to sex. He is also potentially too good looking. He seems to have a never ending supply of beautiful women willing to sleep with him. Every man’s dream right ? He ends up being beaten up (often deservedly so for he breaks the hearts of so many women) in practically every episode of the show because he gets himself into bad situations because he just cannot refuse sex. It’s interesting to see this portrayal of the virile and sexually insatiable “masculinity” taken to the often comedic though sad extreme here. It challenges the idea of a man always being ready to have sex at every opportunity and shows that this is not always a good thing and can be harmful. DAG shows how a man can hurt himself by having too much sex and calls on the viewer to empathize with him in the way that he is hurting himself. It’s also an interesting exploration of the rarely explored angle of men protecting their well being by setting boundaries about sex and refusing unhealthy sex. He is an interesting contrast to DAG who cannot seem to sleep with any woman, just as much as Benedikt has no boundaries with respect to sex, DAG has his walls firmly up and cannot take them down. I also found this to be an interesting exploration. It is refreshing to see the portrayal of a man who does not want sex all the time and has a problem saying “yes” to sex, a characteristic that is usually ascribed to women and would be seen as feminine.
I was struck by the unconditional love, acceptance and loyalty Dag has to his best friend Benedikt. Dag is always there for him no matter what trouble he gets into. Dag sees what his friend does as harmful but he doesn’t judge him, shame him or guilt him.