Tuesday, March 06, 2012

In Netflix's Lilyhammer, the joke is on liberalism

Lilyhammer is Netflix's first original scripted series and it comes with an interesting political twist. The series is a comedy starring Steve Van Zandt (of The Sopranos) as an ex-New York mobster, Frank Tagliano, who is in the witness protection program and hiding out in Lillehammer, Norway. Most of the humor comes at the expense of Norway's dysfunctionally liberal government. To find a job, Frank has to go to a government bureaucrat who cannot find him a job but does assign him to unhelpful training classes. He wants to open a nightclub but the same bureaucrat tells him that the paperwork makes it nearly impossible. When his new girlfriend injures herself skating, Frank finds that the hospital emergency room admitting staff gets itself lost in its forms. When he does find a doctor, the doctor refuses to treat the injured woman because he is "on lunch break." Frank meets a local farmer who is losing livestock to a wolf but, because of zealously enforced animal rights laws, cannot shoot it. Using his skills as wiseguy, Frank solves each problem in turn.

I have found the series funny. It would, however, be easier to laugh if its depiction of Norway's socialist bureaucracy did not so closely resemble Obama's vision for the future of America.

If you are an HBO subscriber and don't like your monthly fees supporting Bill Maher and other left-wing programming, Prof. Reynolds suggests switching to Amazon or Netflix. Lilyhammer is one more reason to make the switch.

This review is based on the first two episodes. In North America, Lilyhammer is available exclusively through Netflix. In Norway, it is broadcast on NRK. In Britain, it will be available on BBC4.

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