The difference between growing up in Sweden and Brazil during the 70s and 80s

It has been a rainy Sunday, so my wife and I spent the day indoors. We ended up discussing the difference between growing up in Sweden and Brazil (during the 70s and 80s), especially children's shows on TV. It was a huge difference, until 1985 Brazil was a dictatorship influenced by USA, while Sweden was far out on the left side with the socialists and communists running the country (by mandate of the voters though).

When I watched TV in Sweden the only thing available was, either socialist propaganda for kids or educational shows, but every once in a blue moon something normal appeared. I recall preferring to play with LEGO over watching TV, as most of the shows didn't stimulate me, but since they only had one or two things for kids per day, it wasn't a too long break from my constructions. Below are some samples of things I watched as a kid.

An educational series about food and the body called Maten och Kroppen

I love the collar of his shirt and his sweater, soooo 70s!

Here is the opening of socialistic propaganda show called Vilse i pankakan, where one of the main characters Storpotäten (the big potato) clearly is a "capitalist pig". This show is said to have ruined a whole generation who all had nightmares about Storpotäten who would "own you" (put you in his pocket).

While I was bombarded with propaganda and educational programs to make me a good citizen, my wife in Brazil got to watch foreign series, like Land of the Lost or the Japanese the Spectre men, all dubbed in Portuguese. They also had a bunch of shows produced in Brazil like, Xuxa and Picapau amarelo, where the first one is and the second one. One thing that struck me when we watched clips of Xuxa on YouTube was that she was very scantily clad for a children's show, at least with my brain-washed socialist eyes.

The opening of Picapau amarelo

Xuxa - compare the clothes of the first clip and the second, when they tried to launch her show in the US.

While they got to watch tons of cartoons in Brazil, we got to watch animated clay figures from Czechoslovakia. There was only two times a year they showed "real" cartoons on TV in Sweden, during Christmas and during the summer vacation, but only once a day mind you. I guess that didn't want us to become Americanized!

The opening of Trazan Apanson the show that aired cartoons once every morning during the summer. It was the only thing that could get me up at 0900 am!

One of the TV series I clearly remember is Galaxer i mina braxer, sa Kapten Zoom which depicts our post-industrial society with phenomenon like trade, corporations, environmental pollution and democracy. It had an anti-capitalist message which became very clear in the last episode. Unfortunately it isn't available on YouTube.

One of my favorite shows were Sant och sånt, which actually was recorded in the city I grew up, but that was not the reason I liked it. They managed to combine science with humor to show how things work without taking the seriousness out of science and without making the jokes boring.

I think this show is one of the reasons I grew up to be an engineer...


When I was a child, I never know that Sweden can be called a socialist country. The only pure socialist countries were China and DPRK. The Soviet Union once was, but it was not pure then. Cuba and the east European countries once were, and they still wanted to be, but evil Soviet Union did not let them to be. However I remember there were a lot of children's shows on radio (TV was not popular before Deng's reform in the 1980s), and cartoon movies, and children's books. My favorite radio shows are "Star Porches" and "Little Trumpet", broadcast every afternoon. The first one is a little socialist propaganda and it's for "senior" children, the second one is for "juniors", mostly fairy tales, myth, historic figures, and literatures. My favorite book series is "Grandpa Use-Your-Brain", maybe that's one of my reasons growing up to an engineer.

Posted by Weijun on August 05, 2007 at 07:28 PM PDT #

Did you guys get "A JE TO!" on TV?

Posted by UX-admin on August 05, 2007 at 08:26 PM PDT #

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