Trwa ładowanie...
d27cgkn

The Wisdom of Bolek i Lolek

Years ago I frequented two pubs in Warsaw's Pole Mokotowskie, one called Bolek and one called Lolek. If I ever gave any thought to the names, I probably assumed they were local gentlemen of leisure who used to sleep on park benches nearby. It wasn't until years later that I discovered their more innocent origins. Thanks to YouTube, I have now watched as many episodes of Bolek i Lolek as anyone who grew up in Poland. This is what I have learned...

Share
d27cgkn

Lolek will really hate Bolek when he grows up…

I understand that Bolek and Lolek are brothers, and that brothers tend not to be pleasant to each other growing up, but Lolek gets an amazingly hard time from his older sibling. Lolek is clearly not very bright. He has no understanding of risk, zero impulse control and, if anything is going to be accidentally lost, smashed or set on fire, he will be the culprit.

Bolek takes merciless advantage of these character flaws. In any dangerous, dirty or potentially suicidal situation, Lolek gets sent in first while Bolek watches from a safe distance and issues orders. Bolek is clearly going to grow up to be a manipulative bureaucrat with an alcoholic wife. Lolek will, one day, understand that his older brother spent much of their childhood using him as disposable body armour and become a deranged sociopath.

Women are perfect and men are idiots…

In the famous episode 'Tola,' the brothers learn that their female cousin is coming to stay. Their first reaction is to spend all their money on romantic bouquets of flowers and chocolates to woo the young lady. This is a uniquely Polish idea. When I was Bolek or Lolek's age, my first reaction to the news that a female cousin was coming to stay would have been to plan the kidnapping of her dolls.

d27cgkn

Tola does not live up to the brother's expectations – she is boyish and ordinary looking rather than a fairytale princess. They decide to punish her for this with all kinds of boyish tricks involving fake mice and sheets made to look like ghosts. Tola is ready for them every time and always manages to reverse the trick. In fact, in all 30 episodes that feature Tola, she is never outwitted by the boys and is always better behaved, more responsible and ready with chocolates and sandwiches to keep them happy. Every Polish woman I know has learned the lesson that men are irresponsible and easy distracted with food.

It's possible to build anything from junk…

Bolek's status as the clever one is confirmed by his ability to build anything from a hot air balloon to a submarine to a fully sentient robot using only piles of discarded junk. This is usually done in the shed while Lolek waits outside tripping over his shoelaces and trying to count his thumbs. At the climax of these engineering projects the shed explodes, for some reason, and a new means of creating havoc is revealed. Tola can be seen in the background baking a cake and shaking her head at the foolishness of men.

It's easy to see where Poles have acquired the belief that anything can be repaired in a shed as long as you hit it hard enough and have plenty of barrels lying around. I'm betting that Poland's first satellite, launched recently, was largely contracted from an old fridge and will soon fall into a factory chimney, causing a bunch of mustachios men in blue overalls to shake their fists at the sky.

Nature is dangerous…

The boys spend a lot of time in the healthy outdoors. Early on in the history of Bolek i Lolek they tended to be at the seaside or in the Polish countryside camping, hiking or starting forest fires. Later on they could be found trekking through Amazonian jungles or across Arabian deserts, Wherever they went, any animals they encountered immediately tried to kill them. Bolek and Lolek have been chased or assaulted by a greater variety of viscous animals than a Roman gladiator.

d27cgkn

When I was growing up, all the animals in cartoons were domesticated and friendly. Winnie the Pooh was the wildest animal that threatened my childhood dreams. In the episode Strzelba i Wędka our heroes are attacked by a pike, a stork intent on drowning them and a homicidal elk, though admittedly the gun and the fishing rod may have had something to do with this. In Kruk the boys spend much of the episode being outwitted and physically harmed by a criminal crow. I'm amazed Poles have the courage to go outside.

Jamie Stokes

d27cgkn

Podziel się opinią

Share
d27cgkn
d27cgkn
Więcej tematów