German TV

Lately I’ve been watching some German TV shows to keep up my language skills. My favorite so far is “Heute-Show” from the ZDF channel, which has the same premise as the Daily Show – political news review. Sadly, Heute-Show is only once a week, but the great commentary on the country’s politicians is very entertaining and keeps me on my toes as a number of the jokes are based on misspoken words or strange pronunciations. Since the show seems so heavily language-based (rather than on visual or acting gags), I have to pay closer attention and sometimes replay clips to make sure I got the whole joke, but I really enjoy comedy news/politics shows.

I’ve also been watching “Stromberg,” which is a German version of The Office. I’m not familiar with the original English version, but I watched the American version periodically with my roommates in college. “Stromberg” strikes me as a lot more crude, but it’s probably because things like sexism and other inappropriate behavior are much more apparent through the language barrier. If they’re speaking your own language, you’re a lot more used to tuning out what you don’t want to hear. Although German offices (especially in design) aren’t that similar to Stromberg’s office (I assume), it’s interesting to see the issues they deal with and the archetypes shown in the office. It’s clear that the inhabitants of German offices fall into quite different archetypes than American offices. For example, Berthold, the whiny mama’s-boy, strikes me as a sort of standard archetype that American’s wouldn’t appreciate as much.

I also watched the Eurovision contest recently, complete with narration from Patrick about previous contests. I liked the clip he sent me, “Guildo Loves You,” (1998) an awesome contrast to this year’s significantly slicker “Taken By A Stranger,” both of which were Germany’s entries. If you watch only one of those two clips, I recommend the former, even if that singer looks like he should be driving a white windowless van.

“Doctor’s Diary: Männer Sind Die Beste Medizin” was also enthusiastically recommended to me. I’m doubtful due to the title (“men are the best medicine”) and large amounts of pink on their site, but willing to give it a try. Unfortunately I don’t know where I can watch it online! My college German class watched some of “Türkisch für Anfänger,” but I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about it and found the relationship between the step-siblings a little too creepy for my taste. It was sort of interesting to see the dynamics in the Turkish/German family, but at the same time it seemed like a lot of drama for such simple occurrences as the grandfather visiting or whatever. I guess I just didn’t relate at all with any of the characters, but if I’d watched it in my high school German class maybe I would have liked it more.

I’m taking recommendations about shows to watch, so if you know good German ones that I can watch online, please let me know what and where!

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