Mot i brøstet
|Mot i brøstet|
|Created by||Tore Ryen|
Siw Anita Andersen
(season 4 onwards)
(season 5 onwards)
|Country of origin||Norway|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||141 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Tore Ryen|
|Producer(s)||Red Sand and TV 2|
|Running time||24–28 minutes|
|Original network||TV 2|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original release||22 January 1993 – 8 December 1997|
|Followed by||Karl & Co (1998–2001)
Karl III (2009)
The series begins as Karl (Nils Vogt), economist and accountant, is fired from his job and subsequently divorced by his greedy wife. After being helped out by his former colleague, Nils (Sven Nordin), and a travelling salesman, Henry (Arve Opsahl), the three become roommates as they make various attempts at making easy money or finding success.
The first three series usually focused on single-episode stories, like most sitcoms, usually involving a plot to get rich in a hurry with disastrous results. It also had a large number of celebrity guest appearances, often closely related to the schemes attempted by the main characters.
The early series also saw the introduction of many recurring characters, such as Nils' mother Elna (Liv Thorsen), and Karls girlfriend Målfrid (Siw Anita Andersen).
During series 4, Målfrid moved in with Karl - promoting Andersen to main cast, while Nils' girlfriend Trine (Hilde Lyrån) was introduced as a new recurring character; later becoming part of the main cast in series six. Trine was absent for the latter half of series 7 and first episodes of series 8, as the character worked as an au pair in Paris, France for six months (in reality, Lyrån was pregnant).
As the seventh series finished airing, it was announced that a thirteen-episode eighth series would be the last. In the final episodes, Karl is finally experiencing some success with his company, Nils and Trine discover they are expecting children, Elna marries Henry (with some reluctance from the groom), and move to Spain, while Målfrid is contemplating moving to Africa, after being offered a job with NORAD.
- Karl (Nils Vogt, main cast series 1-8), an economist and accountant who loses his job at the start of the series and later starts his own consulting firm. Known for his short fuse, temper and outbursts, and his many schemes to make money in a hurry.
- Henry (Arve Opsahl, main cast series 1-8), a retired "jack-of-all-trades" who worked as a travelling salesman before moving in with Karl and Nils. Known for his wit and wisdom, he is usually the sensible among the three.
- Nils (Sven Nordin, main cast series 1-8), a former janitor with an adolescent mind and a love for bananas, candy and Coca Cola. Nils is often the center of trouble, and frequently drives the other two mad.
- Målfrid (Siw Anita Andersen, recurring series 1-3, main cast series 4-8), Karls girlfriend and a nurse by trade, and often the one who has to clean up the mess made by the other three.
- Trine (Hilde Lyrån, recurring series 4-5, main cast series 6-8), Nils' girlfriend who is basically his female counterpart.
- Elna (Liv Thorsen, recurring series 1-8), Nils' overbearing, strict and hypochondriac mother, whos regular visits to the house drive the others mad, especially Karl.
The idea for the show came from Tore Ryen, who moved home to Norway in 1992 after spending eight years working with Aaron Spelling in California. Ryen was contacted by the newly formed TV2, who wanted to produce a new sitcom for the evening lineup, and Ryen agreed to produce a series of thirteen episodes. According to Ryen, the show was based on several American sitcoms, most notably Three's Company, but with a "very Norwegian tone and humour". While Ryen was the executive producer and director, the first series was primarily written by American television writers Joel Alexander and Willy Greenwald.
The episodes were recorded on sunday afternoons, using a live studio audience, with the first recording session taking place on 1 December 1992, two months behind schedule. Following the success of the first episodes, the series was immidieatly picked up for two further series, bringing the total number of episodes to 39. Eventually, the first three series were produced and filmed consecutively over a span of 42 weeks in 1993, the biggest television production in Norway at the time. Following the departure of Alexander and Greenwald after the first series, most episodes were written by Tore Ryen, Ellen Waaler and Nils Vogt, with occasional guest writers. 
In 1995, Siw Anita Andersen was promoted to main cast in an attempt to attract more female viewers, which was furthered with the addition of Hilde Lyrån soon after.
During writing and pre-production for the seventh series of the show in 1996, Nordin announced to his fellow cast members that he wished to depart the show after the next series, citing a growing frustration with his character and a desire to return to theatre as the main reasons. At the same time, Opsahl was struggling with increasing health issues, which had already reduced his number of appearances in the preceding series. Eventually an agreement was made to make a shortened eighth series to finish the story, which would also use more pre-recorded location footage to reduce the number of live tapings needed. As such, the twelve episodes of the eighth series was filmed in only six tapings, with two episodes filmed every sunday and location footage shot before and after. The final two episodes were taped in September 1997 and aired on 1 and 8 December 1997, four years after the first taping.
Reception and criticism
While the series was a massive success with most viewers, especially younger audiences, the response from critics was less enthusiastic and positive. One of the more critical and often repeated reviews was that of Stavanger Aftenblad, who described the series as "vulgar, childish and a terrible influence for young viewers." As the show progressed, most reviews turned more lukewarm, but the show remained controversial and heavily critisized by conservative and older viewers.
Despite a lack of good reviews, viewing figures for the series remained high throughout all eight series, with the show being the second most watched fictional series in Norway in both 1994 and 1995.
Tusenårsfesten and spin-offs
Immediately following the final tapings, Ryen and Vogt announced a spin-off that would enable the character Karl to continue on, albeit with an altered premise and cast. Footage for the first episode of the upcoming spin-off was actually filmed the day after the final taping of "Mot i brøstet", using the old sets to film an introduction that would bridge the two shows.
In 1998 the spin-off, "Karl & Co", premiered on TV2 to favorable reviews, and continued for 63 episodes until 2001.
In 1999 a straight-to-video movie entitled Tusenårsfesten ('The Millennium Party') was released, bringing together the main characters from both Mot i brøstet and Karl & Co (with the exception of Trine). It explained how Nils and Trine now had four children, triplet boys and a girl, and still lived in Elna's old apartment. Henry and Elna were still in Spain, running their Norwegian restaurant, while Målfrid had gotten engaged to an African doctor in her new job. It had its TV premiere on TV 2 in 2001, and was re-released on DVD in 2007, albeit both of these in a heavily edited form, which has caused the VHS tapes of the original cut to become highly attractive to fans.<note>The VHS version is 56 minutes, while the TV/DVD version is edited to two 24 minute-episodes, cutting a total of 11 minutes from the original version.</note>
In 2009, eight years after "Karl & Co", a second spin-off "Karl III" was announced. Now filmed on larger sets rather than in a studio, and without a studio audience, the series was universally panned by both critics and viewers, eventually being cancelled after just twelve episodes.
A total of 141 episodes were made between 1993 and 1997, spanning eight series.
During an archive clean-up at TV2 in 2002, the master tapes for the first three series were accidentally destroyed, a mistake discovered weeks later when repeat broadcasts were being prepared. Luckily, it was discovered that series creator Tore Ryen had a complete set of episodes on VHS tapes, which were then restored to broadcast quality, making it possible to air repeats once again.
Following public demand, the first five series were released on DVD in 2007, with the last three series being released the following year. These have since gone out of print as TV2 later lost the rights to the first three series. As such, the DVD boxes have become collectors items and the episodes have become popular on file sharing sites due to their limited availability. Series four through eight are also available online through TV2s online platform.
- "Karl har blitt farligere". Retrieved 2008-08-15.
- VG, 22.09.1992, page 45
- Bergens Tidende, 05.03.1994, page 24-25.
- VG, 12.04.1997
- Stavanger Aftenblad, 13.04.1993
- Dagbladet, 11.01.1996
- Interview with Tore Ryen at release in 2007.