The videos are in French, so they followed by an explanation of a few of the jokes to help us English speakers capture the quirks that make Brusselians, well, Brusselians!
You will see how a goofy bunch of comedians cleverly characterize the Brussels native of today. The cast includes Sophie Frison, Cathy Immelen, Thomas Ancora, Derc'hen Coster, Clément Manuel, James Deano, Kody, Jean-Luc Couchard, Benny B, Mourade Zeguendi, Dan Gagnon, Virginie Efira and Pingouin.
“Quatre saisons dans une journée même!” (0:51) – Four seasons in one day! This sums up weather in Brussels. People joke about it, but it really is true: you wake up and it’s freezing and raining, midday it’s sunny and warm, and at night it’s cloudy again. Completely normal, right? In Brussels, yes.
“Je pars en Erasmus...à Anvers” (0:59) – I am going to study abroad… in Antwerp. This is a joke that plays on the linguistically/culturally split Belgium. Antwerp is but 50 km from Brussels with one tiny change - whoops you’re in Flanders! Might as well be in another land for French speaking Brusselians…
“Non peut-être.”(0:07) – Meaning: yes of course (sometimes employed in a sarcastic manner.) No, this does NOT mean no, maybe. One of the most classic Belgian expressions, this is something to watch out for in Brussels to avoid any major miscommunication.
“Est-ce que c’est bio?” (1:33) – Is this organic? The girl keeps repeating this phrase and then smells a vegetable to determine it is indeed organic. This is in reference to the hipster, bohemian crowd in Brussels. Like many big cities in the world, there is a major trend of all things organic, local, artisan, and antique in Brussels. But those who take it too far are getting made fun of.
“Les bruxellois ne savent pas danser.” (0:27) - Brusselians can’t dance. This is in reference to a popular song by Belgian singer James Deano which goes, “White people can’t dance. The only one who can is Michael Jackson.” And pouf! There shows up James Deano in the clip, claiming that he is the only white guy who can dance.
Third episode: in the countryside
This episode is one big parody of Brussels city people who go to the countryside. For example, they joke about bringing their passports, “Passports, check!” (0:19), being the first to check in with Foursquare in that location (“Vous êtes le premier de vos amis Foursquare de publier un check-in ici”) (1:22), and comments about the clean air - “Ca manque un peu de pollution ici” (Pollution is missing here!) (2:25). The actors marvel over how green everything is “C’est vert… c’est verrrt!” Yet at the end, when asked to choose between a 200 m² house in the countryside and a 50m² apartment in the city, they would all still choose the flat in the city (duhh!).