F.C. De Kampioenen (1990–2020)
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The early exit of original cast members Walter Michiels and Carry Goossens occurred at the same time but had different reasons.
Michiels (Pico) did not leave but was fired because of continuous disrupting of filming. He had a serious alcohol problem by the time of filming the fourth season (1993). During the course of the season, cast and crew complained about not being able to work with him any longer. Michiels made himself impossible, of which the bottom low came when he touched the bosom of both a fellow actress and her mother. The daughter was to guest star on the show (4x1, "De Motorfiets"), namely Ann Ceurvels.
Goossens (Oscar), on the other hand, did leave the show to sign for the then recently established commercial broadcasting company VTM. His departure was written into the series and unlike Michiels, his character got a final send-off (4x13, "Love Story"). Goossens's character was controversially written out of the series by a surrealistic act of magic from Xavier, an ending that was later re-worked by the writers. Oscar leaves for Tenerife in the alternative ending. Edit
Jacques Vermeire's final episode ("Spoorloos", 8x13) revolved around a storyline that had Dimitri forging a radio contest where the winner gets a tanning bed. Dimitri wants to open a tanning saloon. When it is revealed that Dimitri forged the contest, the police arrests him. De Kampioenen are in his garage mocking him and the police officers do not mention another crime. Dimitri, as a result, seems to fly behind the bars due to fraud of a radio contest. In reality, however, this would have been a rather strict verdict. The real reason for his imprisonment was revealed at the start of season 9.
The ending of Jacques Vermeire's last episode seems to show that Dimitri was arrested because of his actions concerning the radio contest. However, during the first episode of season 9, it is revealed that Dimitri had been cheating on his accountings and that he was penalised for this. This makes sense, as they could've found proof when getting a warrant/search for evidence in his dealership. Edit
The origin of his nickname was never revealed but he may have been called "Kampioen" because he clearly was massively popular among the players and everybody closely associated with the team. The name of the cafe and club canteen was "Cafe De Kampioen". Oscar and Pascale were running the cafe.
Oscar may have had a long history of coaching the team and may have been a "legendary" player in the past, which could indicate Oscar may have played for the team over an indefinite period of time. In "Bekers" (2x2), Oscar mentions he played with Leon De Wals, a player who was active in a respectable division. This could mean Oscar was a good player in his day. In "Het record" (1x4), Pascale mentions Oscar was actually a good player despite F.C. De Kampioenen being a disastrous team. In "Cinema, cinema" (4x6), it was revealed that Oscar briefly played for the Belgian national youth team but slipped up by scoring an own-goal. However, the provenance of the nickname was never truly explained. Edit
Balthazar Boma's voice changed considerably because actor Marijn De Valck had a real-life motorcycle accident in 1996, by the time season 6 was being produced. His voice got a distinctive nasal tone. The motorcycle accident almost cut off his vocal chords, since De Valck got electrocuted (reportedly a wire of a meadow) as he fell off his bike. De Valck, however, miraculously recovered from his injuries and retained his damaged voice. The accident forced him to stop singing for some years, as he was also a professional singer-songwriter under the name Marino Falco. Production of season 6 was delayed but resumed when De Valck had fully recovered. Edit
Oscar entered a cult in Kathmandu, the Hare Krishna. This is mentioned by Pascale early on during the season 5 premiere ("De Nieuwe Start"). In the movie "Jubilee Général", during which Oscar dramatically rejoins his family and De Kampioenen after all those years, he stated that he wanted to bring his darma and karma back into balance. The surrealistic ending to "Love Story" (4x13) featuring Xavier's successful magical trick, and whereby Oscar disappears, was ignored. The alternative ending was kept for continuity. This ending has Oscar leave for Tenerife. After that, Oscar must have entered the Hare Krishna cult.
Pico started a relationship with a colleague, Ria De Stekker. Due to actor Walter Michiels's timed dismissal, Pico left Doortje off-season. In other words, this is not shown on television. As seen during the final moments of the episode "Love Story" (4x13), Pico was sitting on a barstool either watching Xavier's magical trick succeeding or failing. Everything was peaches and cream as he and Doortje were still married. Upon leaving Doortje, he's never heard from again. Pico was mentioned once in a while, more specifically on five occasions.
Billie, Pico and Doortje's son, leaves town somewhere after the events of "Het geluid" and "Lange vingers" in season 18. Billie goes to college and rents a dorm room with some friends. He's already done that before effectively leaving the series. The writers simply decided to drop him out of their storylines. Actor Rob Teuwen returned for the Christmas special in 2020 where it's revealed Billie joined the Chippendales in the USA. Edit
Marc Vertongen was a recurring character between 1990 to 1993 and did not even appear in season 2 (1991). Herman Verbruggen was not a cast regular but a (cautiously) recurring actor. The screenwriters didn't have any plans with Verbruggen until they decided to have him date Bieke in "Liefdesverdriet" (4x8). Before that, Marc didn't contribute to any fun parts because he was just a radio host for Radio Hallo, Boma's radio station.
When Herman Verbruggen's status got upgraded to series regular, Marc did not instantly turn into the likeable knucklehead he eventually became. Since his parents wanted him to become a doctor, Marc seemed to be a rather shy and intelligent young man who still made a few mistakes. Example were Marc accidentally knocking down a cup of coffee in "Liefdesverdriet" (4x8) or forgetting to press the record button and get Dimitri's deception as a corrupt referee on tape during "De scheidsrechter" (4x10). For the remainder of season 4, Marc would stay like this personality-wise. This gradually changed as of season 5. Edit
Jakob Beks, the successor of Jacques Vermeire (DDT), had stated he wanted to quit the show. His character Bernard Theofiel Waterslaeghers was extremely unpopular. The character displayed a certain amount of arrogance, loudness and self-proclaimed wisdom on a weekly basis, which wasn't appreciated by a significant amount of viewers. Moreover, as Bernard, Beks was spoken to personally on the street - and in a negative way - about portraying the character. Beks stated this badly affected him as a person. Years later, Beks would indicate he never liked playing Bernard.
As far as bad ratings were concerned, season 10 prevails. Ratings dropped massively for the first time since the outset of the series in 1990. The screenwriters and directors recognized they made a mistake by creating the character. Even though Beks was still a cast regular, the writers introduced Fernand Costermans. Fernand, played by Jaak Van Assche, first appeared when Bernard was still there, namely the last two episodes of season 10, and buys Bernard's restaurant for a song.
Despite being Xavier's cousin, Bernard did not appear in any latter episodes and was only mentioned one more time. That was until he had a cameo in the fourth film, "Viva Boma", which shows him working as a pâtissier. Edit
Pico and Xavier aren't bribed. As an intermediary, Dimitri is being cheated on by Bemelmans all along. Their conversations on Doortje's dictaphone aroused suspicion that Pico and Xavier are going to be approached to lose the match on purpose. The women discover the corruption plans and buy expensive clothes, knowing they're taking a rain check, in other words, they realize they will cash bribe money later on. However, Bemelmans knew De Kampioenen were a bad team and they would surely lose against his team De Knokkers, only for them to crown themselves champions. As a result, Dimitri receives an empty enveloppe whereas Bemelmans promised him 10,000 francs. Pico and Xavier were in fact also promised 10,000 francs, as this was also part of Bemelmans's lie. Pico and Xavier would never get involved, since Bemelmans makes Dimitri believe that he will get his money. Dimitri is double-crossed by Bemelmans and the players have nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, the women have spent a lot of money for nothing. Edit
The original ending of Love Story was effectively intended as a final send-off for leading actor Carry Goossens, who's character Oscar Crucke was the "pater familias" of the football team (F.C. De Kampioenen). Oscar always seemed the character most respected by the others (mainly as the coach of the team) and was very popular among fans of the series. However, the ending was controversial due to its surrealism, namely through an act of magic by the character Xavier Waterslaeghers (Johny Voners). Oscar literally disappeared and was never heard from again or as long as the series ran. Carry Goossens reprised the role of Oscar Crucke in the second feature film, released in 2015.
This episode features two endings. The original version only aired on television around Christmas 1993. Oscar was originally waved away by an act of magic from Xavier. This ending was controversial and was re-recorded. Oscar moves to Tenerife in the alternative version, which appears on DVD and was included as part of re-runs of the series.
Oscar eventually hears that his father Amedee and Dimitri's mother Georgette are travelling to Tenerife but he does so only after Xavier's magic act, no matter what. Amedee never told his son that he planned on going. This counts for both versions. As a result, in the original ending he never knows about this at all. In the original ending which contains Xavier's successful magic act, Oscar is already gone by the time Marc and Bieke enter the cafe and tell the others they dropped off Amedee and Dimitri's mother at the airport. Dimitri, who didn't know about their departure either, is shocked but Oscar has disappeared by then. When Pascale asks him to do something, Oscar doesn't respond. Pascale removes Boma's overcoat from Oscar's chair. She discovers Oscar is gone and that Xavier's trick worked.
Oscar did know they were a couple, since only the ending was re-recorded. In the original ending Oscar never learns the couple is already on the plane. The audience, however, learns that Oscar isn't okay with his father Amedee falling in love with Dimitri's mother in both versions. Amedee and Dimitri's mother are already travelling to Tenerife in both versions of the ending but Oscar didn't know that until Xavier finished his magic act. In the original ending, he disappears and never knows it. In the alternative ending, he does and chases them.
In short, the main difference is that Oscar doesn't chase his father Amedee in the original version. This very surrealistic version received much criticism and contains the successful magical trick from Xavier. Oscar disappears and isn't able to go after his father. In both versions, Xavier convinces Oscar to be a guinea pig for his magic act. In the alternative version shown on DVD and on re-runs, Xavier's trick fails and Oscar makes haste to Tenerife. As soon as Oscar hears the couple is already moving to Tenerife, he does chase his father to stop him from starting a relationship with Dimitri's mother and never returns. His last words were "Guys, if you need me, I'm in Tenerife", with actor Carry Goossens standing at the door of the club canteen as "pater familias" of F.C. De Kampioenen for the last time on the show. Edit