If this fireplace had its own TV channel, I would probably watch it. Provided that it also spoke sometimes and things got thrown into its mouth. Just small things like Hayden Panettiere.
To experience such joys though, I will have to move to Norway. Because there, they understand the entertainment value of fireplaces. So much so that on Friday, the state TV station NRK broadcast TWELVE straight hours of riveting footage of a burning fireplace. They livened it up with “cultural segments” including poems and music (presumably about incinerating things) and expert advice on topics ranging from setting fires, putting out fires, stacking wood, unstacking wood, and placement of wood within your fireplace. Somehow, Norway is only #91 internationally for suicides.
NRK pitchman Rune Moeklebust does a strong job selling the show: “It will be very slow but noble television.” Perfect. I usually just set my DVR to record anything noble. Unfortunately it usually just catches Last of the Mohicans and Indian in the Cupboard.
If my name were Rune Moeklebust I would have a way better job. Probably as a modern-day Norwegian folk hero who saves windmills from German wood-boring beetles, an underwear model or Stieg Larsson character.
Fireplaces aren’t a new phenomenon in the country. Norway’s second best-selling book of 2012 (second only to Fifty Shades of Grey) was a “firewood book” by Lars Mytting, “Norway’s biggest firewood celebrity.” How many are there? If I move to Norway and start lighting fires on the streets and demonstrating proper ax-handling techniques can I be Norway’s second biggest firewood celebrity? Fourth?
When it comes down to it, this firewood show is actually a sure bet, since staring at pine sap and watching the dryer are national pastimes. In 2011, 3.2 million people tuned in at some point over 134 hours of non-stop coverage of a cruise ship steaming along the coast to the Arctic. And in 2009, 478,000 watched the footage from a video camera strapped to a turtle’s back as he walked the staggering distance from Olso to Tromsø. And every year, if you want a TV to watch these triumphs of the silver screen, you have to pay a $300 television license fee.
Two truths and a lie, Norway edition. Take a guess.