That announced farewell on Thursday took place in the presence of what Gert Verhulst previously described as ‘the fine fleur of Belgian showbiz’. You bet a boy like me will run for cover. The extensive guest list mentioned for the occasion ranged from Leah Thys until Tanja Dextersfrom Marc van Ranst until Margaret Hermans† Herman Brusselmans indicated that he would say goodbye to Cooke and Verhulst as an inveterate fencing duo. A lacuna was already apparent on Flemish television, Herman knew. I don’t know if it was irony. And what if it wasn’t? You also got proof, as if you still needed it, that politicians were always queuing in droves to lend a hand to Verhulst and Cooke in their next poll. To crown that dubious tradition, now Bart De Wever† Conner Rousseau and Bart Tommelein sing a farewell song. None of the other attendees made a joke with ‘the Three Tumors’, which I found to be a lacuna, because every time I see such an excellence storm a scale with gusto and pulled microphone, I think: ‘blank’.
The last episode mainly consisted of one continuous look back at almost the entire shared career of Cooke and Verhulst, with old footage, which gave the feeling that you had become stuck between zapping in the ditch between an archive program and a modern, overly shiny upgrading of ‘Zondag Josdag’ in which verbatim anecdotes were retold. You just had to be there. And if you weren’t, you were lucky. What was also striking was that the majority of those apparently miraculous times had apparently taken place on ‘the boat’. The least you can say about the ‘De Cooke & Verhulst Show’ when you look back, is that, unlike ‘Gert Late Night’, there were seldom any fluctuations. Let no one read a light compliment in that, because a swing also has an upward trend just as often. Anyway, the very best moment was voted: James Cooke who blew up a condom on his head. Yes, a lacuna.
Anyone who hadn’t sat out the rest of the final week of ‘De Cooke & Verhulst Show’, and why would you, thought you might have seen the most memorable. That was not counted on Tuesday’s broadcast, because in it the now well-known trick was repeated with the outgoing talk show presenters who were the only ones who did not know who would join them that evening. Strange that this trick was not held for the very last episode, I thought at first, but when I saw Verhulst become a bit more grumpy with each new surprise, I understood things better. You recognized the growing grumpiness of someone who was used to making his own decisions, and who had no intention of resigning himself now without a fight to a reversal of the balance of power. I especially liked that Siska Schoeters, who thereby visibly faded away from her seat as ringmaster ad interim. In any case, the atmosphere contrasted sensitively with the wall-to-wall grins that were spread on Verhulst and Cooke’s physiognomy on Thursday during their very last round of schmaltz music as a farewell.
It remains for me to dwell on the most eye-catching intervention of this season, because like other daily talk shows that have not considered the legal validity of their own reasons for existence long enough before going beyond the brainstorming phase, ‘De Cooke & Verhulst Show ‘ over time also increasingly rely on the internet for stuff. That twisted entente between old and new media was best read in the posts picked on social media, which kept popping up as live commentary on what you had just seen. When Cooke and Verhulst received a daredevil in the studio on Monday who had invested all his possessions in bitcoin, one Monique for example, hinting some expertise in the matter with the text ‘Yes, bitcoin is worth it!’ After Monique’s intervention, I suddenly needed some healthy contradiction, I noticed, because I didn’t trust that bitcoin bobo at all either.
When Cooke was suddenly surprised on Tuesday with a device with which men could get a true impression of menstrual cramps, it was a matter of time. Lesley to use the screeching voices of the people. ‘Awesome! Let him suffer!” the message read under Cooke’s pained features. I won’t say that sentiment was foreign to me at the time, but I think the difference between bad and dangerous people lies in the bold disclosure of your bloodlust. Politics can be fun too! Exactly the new Romeos!’, one miscreant had managed to type it in the last episode, during the musical number of the aforementioned political formation. If only it was fun. Nice, nice, nice. A nation gets the politicians it deserves, they say. This also applies to television programmes.
So, guys. A promise is a promise.
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