Who are they and why are they famous?
Filip and Fredrik, as they are commonly known, consist of 34-year-old Filip Hammar and 35-year-old Fredrik Wikingsson, two recovering journalists who discovered it was more fun to make entertaining television than sit behind a desk at a Swedish newspaper.
They made their small screen debut during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney on Sveriges Television’s “Hello, Sydney”, a forgettable performance which was followed up two years later with “Ursäkta Röran (Vi bygger om)” (‘Excuse the mess (We’re remodeling)’) on TV4.
Part candid camera, part guerrilla talk show, the programme included more edgy segments, like “SM i nazireferens” (‘Swedish Championships in Nazi References’). The network pulled the plug on Ursäkta Röran after only four episodes following a flood of complaints to the Swedish Broadcasting Commission. But the show succeeded in securing Filip and Fredrik’s future as dare-to-be-different Swedish TV stars.
But that was a long time ago, what have they done since then?
Well, in 2003 Filip and Fredrik moved to Kanal 5, a channel even more willing to push the limits of decency, where they launched a show based on their wanderings around the United States in search of B-class celebrities and has-been stars.
Christened with the purposefully misspelled title “High Chaparall”, the show featured interviews with the likes of Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson, Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills 90210 fame, porn star Ron Jeremy, and outspoken NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman.
The show even managed to cause a stir in the US tabloid press when Filip was caught on film exiting a New York coffee shop beside Monica Lewinsky, prompting rumours that the former White House intern had found a new love.
High Chaparall returned with a three episode run in the spring of 2008, one of which featured a rather surreal encounter with boxer Mike Tyson which is perhaps best described as television road kill.
I know I’ve seen these jokers before, but which one is which?
Well, Filip Hammar is a bit shorter, pudgier, and often sports a goatee. Fredrik Wikingsson, on the other hand is rather tall and lanky, with somewhat of a mop-top haircut and a bit more of a high pitched voice.
How did they hook up in the first place?
Oddly enough, both of them worked for a time as entertainment reporters for the tabloid Aftonbladet in the mid 1990s. But their friendship was cemented during a road trip in the United States in the winter of 1996. They’ve been working together and traveling to the US regularly ever since.
Seems like the United States is a running theme with these guys.
Yeah, nearly all of their shows had US-inspired names (High Chaparall, Boston Tea Party) and they even hosted an all-night live election watch programme during the 2008 US presidential elections.
According to Fredrik, this preoccupation with the US of A is a lingering side-effect of growing up watching US sitcoms and listening to US pop music.
And things continue this spring with a “Söndagsparty” (Sunday Party), a talk show to be broadcast live in Sweden from New York City.
No, in Swedish—for the most part, but it stands to reason that there will be some English spoken from time to time, as they plan on having American guests as well as “man on the street” interviews with everyday New Yorkers.
OK, but I’m still not convinced. Why would I want to watch these guys?
For starters, they’ve got great chemistry and complement each other well. Second, they’re young, daring, and energetic – three things which, until recently would not be words one would use to describe much else on Swedish television.
Put simply, they’re consistently entertaining, self-deprecating, and aren’t afraid to try new things – and have probably carried out interviews with one of the most wide-ranging, eclectic list of celebrities and no-names of anyone on TV in Sweden today.
I mean, who else can bring you heart-to-hearts with Pamela Anderson and Mike Tyson, sing Eric Clapton songs with the Prime Minister, and introduce you to a guy who’s invented ‘man-boobs’. And who could forget when they met up with the women whose pictures fueled both Filip’s and Fredrik’s adolescent sexual awakenings.
You mean they interviewed the women to whom they…ahem…first danced around the May pole, so to speak?
Yep…of course, that episode was not nearly as attention grabbing as the one in which Filip and Fredrik sat in a hotel room while a couple had sex in the background—in the name of science, of course.
The point of the “experiment” was to gather data about which sexual positions burned the most calories burned for the man and the woman.
Wait a second…they taped a pair having sex, while they were in the room?
That’s right. Welcome to Swedish television.