REVIEW: Pørni shows all of Norway that the struggle may be real but can also be hilarious

PorniPhoto: Marius Bjellebø / Viaplay / NTB culture

The hit Norwegian television series, Pørni, is much more than just a simple “dramedy.” It shows the (hilarious) trials and tribulations associated with parenthood, responsibility, and selflessness. However, it is not all laughs and lessons. The heroine of the show is perhaps one of the most human and “real” television stars that have ever graced Norway’s screens.

Norway’s everyday battler who cares too much

Poor Pernille “Pørni” Middelthon. Her sister died in a car accident. Her ex (and the father of her two daughters) is a self-obsessed idiot. Her father has no intentions of quietly winding down and enjoying the autumn years of his life. Her love life is a mess. Add to all of this the joys (and/or exasperations) of raising two teenage daughters AND working for the Child Welfare Services and you can see why she doesn’t mind the odd glass of red wine…or two.

Yet despite all of this, she struggles hard. She strives to do the best for her daughters, for the children she has to deal with every day that life has – more often than not – dealt them with harrowing, disturbing, and/or tragic experiences. She is the definition of a struggler, an everyday Norwegian “battler” – she tries hard and is just barely keeping it together, keeping her head above water. She cares deeply about all those in her life (except, perhaps, her ex) yet this selflessness often comes at the expense of happiness in her own personal life.

Equal parts hilarity and pathos

Pørni is the brainchild of Norwegian comedian and actress, Henriette Steenstrup. As the series creator and main star, she brings a genuineness and natural humor to both the show itself and Pørni herself. However, the strength of the show is that although it centers on the trials and tribulations of the main star there is also depth and quality in the supporting cast. The various children that Pørni deals with at work are as excellent as her two daughters, Hanna (Vivid Falk Berg) and Sigrid (Ebba Jacobsen Öberg).

The show manages to deal with some heavy topics – death, life, sexuality, what constitutes a “good” parent – all with equal parts pathos and jocularity. This is mainly due to Steenstrup, who along with creating and starring in the show also co-writes it, bringing all her wealth of comedic writing and acting experience from shows like “Lilyhammer” and her time at the Nationaltheatret.

Pørni has broken all kinds of records for Viaplay. It was the most-streamed show in 24 hours since its initial release in 2021 in Norwegian history. Photo: Viaplay logo on sign. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB

A real life inspiration and a real life look at modern Norway

There is an old expression about fiction that you should “write what you know” and no more is this obvious than Pørni. Steenstrup, interviewed by Variety, spoke of her inspiration for the series. She said that “one day in a family is just as dramatic as a Shakespearean tragedy or a true crime, but the drama happens in the little things, as a family is so emotionally loaded.”

There are plenty of “little things” that are indeed loaded with emotion, especially relationships – whether between father and daughter, mother and daughters, or between a welfare case officer and a child in need. Aside from this a genuine look at the frustrations of trying to separate a deeply meaningful but often frustrating job from one’s personal life. It is also a wonderful look at a very modern depiction of Norwegian families, work/life balance (or lack thereof), and relationships.

Pørni will make you cry with laughter and with sadness all whilst dolling out life lessons and wisdom in hilarious and unique situations. This brilliant series is hilariously dramatic and dramatically hilarious and is no wonder it has broken viewerships records (it was the most-streamed series ever in the 24 hours after its premiere in Norwegian history) in Norway since its release. Season 2 recently premiered on February 22 and there is talk of a Season 3 being planned.

Pørni is available for streaming on Viaplay.

Source : #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayTravel

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