TV review | Helping farmers looking for a balance between work and rest

It was Tuesday evening and it was time for some good news. Two new programs were launched, one with an even more optimistic description than the other. So go, turn on the TV and rub those hands: good news, come on.

It started promisingly on NPO1, because Joris Linssen only had one episode Out of office (KRO-NCRV) needed to find the cure for burnouts. “If you live very quietly,” said the former Hello Goodbyepresenter, “and be well structured, and just be happy and positive – then life is much easier.” Linssen had learned this lesson from the assistant farmers on a care farm, where the “experiment” of Out of office took place: five people with a burnout would build a new clubhouse here together with the relief farmers within six months. The idea was that the two groups could learn a lot from each other about a healthy balance between work and rest.

In the first episode of Out of office (which is not entirely new, but the Dutch version of a Flemish concept), it seemed that it was mainly the overstressed participants who learned something from the aid farmers and not so much the other way around. The assistant farmers, “who enjoy going to work every day,” were depicted almost exclusively as ever-cheerful counselors; the viewer learned little else about them. When Linssen eventually sang a self-written song in which the participants with burnouts were all assigned a few personal rules, the care farmers had to make do with: “You are now our heroes, who immediately told us how to calm down.”

Out of office It is a hot program, it must be said. Yet you could wonder: will these people with an intellectual disability (or with “special qualities”, as Linssen rightly respectfully described them) be portrayed in this series as the full-fledged persons that they are, or will they mainly remain at the service of the participants with burnouts? And: how helpful are advice such as “live a very calm and structured life” and “just be happy and positive” for the average overstressed viewer?


For fear of further cynicism, the undersigned tried to satisfy the hunger for good news with Boxing for you (RTL4), can be found in the TV guide as a ten-minute snack in which John Williams knocks on the door of Dutch people “to show that, in his opinion, they are already working more sustainably than they think.” This time, within a minute, Williams passed through Evron’s house like a whirlwind to congratulate him on the vegetarian pasta he was cooking, his thermostat that was set “nicely low” and his linen shopping bag. With this, Evron earned “a big fat punch.” And an even bigger box with Albert Heijn products, because Boxing for you turned out to be a turbo advertisement for the supermarket chain.

Then no good news. There was still one more thing to complete that pessimistic turnaround We’re all going to die (also Valerio Zeno) from PowNed, in which Zeno experiences an apocalyptic doomsday scenario per episode. This Tuesday evening it was the turn of supervolcanoes: volcanoes that once erupted in which they ejected 10,000 cubic kilometers or more of material. There appeared to be at least nine of these in the world.

But when this viewer wanted to surrender to the predictions of lava, ash and hunger winters, Michel Dückers, professor of crises, suddenly showed compassion. “The whole history of humanity is a series of disasters,” he told Zeno. “At the same time, we are still here.” (Here it comes!) “So if you look like this…” (Here it comes!) “…then you can be quite positive.” So: good news.