Terrifying German Culture Hour — Shows!

TV Shows, what a grande theme. The thing you have to realize at this point, is that when germans hear „show“, they don’t think of Law and Order or Baywatch — those are Serials in our lingo. A show is a grandiose affair, usually reserved for saturday evenings.

On top of that, there is a very german variant of the talk show, which invariably has a group of at least 5 to 6 people sitting around a table and, well, talk.

So, shows. If you’re american, you now probably think of either Rat-Pack-style entertainment or at the very least Larry King or David Letterman. Well, no. We instead got a guy licking pencils but more on that later.

So, to give you an idea how these talk shows looked, and to confirm all your suspicions on how perverse sexually liberated germans are, here’s Nina Hagen demonstrating how women can masturbate. During prime time TV.

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There were also small-scale talk shows for the regional programming. Things were a bit rougher there:

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(no, this was not staged. Yes, the guy with the axe is a musician)

But the big saturday evening shows reigned supreme. You could safely expect a large live audience, some well-known band or musician performing and, this is inevitable, a small band of text running at the bottom at some point, informing you that they are already over their allotted time-slot, meaning that the news that were scheduled for 10pm will now be shown at 10:30pm or even later. and most of the time, the entertainment involved ordinary citizens being either skilled, talented or at least clever. They were the precursor to todays game shows, but apart from five minutes of fame, there wasn’t much to win. Still, the intros got imprinted into the brains of those who grew up at that time:

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(You might want to hold on to the image of the cartoon at the beginning. Those two were made by Loriot, and he will figure in a later installment!) Still, if a german suddenly makes a spooky voice at you, intoning „Risiiikooo“(Riiiisk) at you, then that’s where it’s from.

Another thing in terms of intros was that some shows were deemed to be big enough that they were aired via Eurovision, meaning that they were broadcast to not only germany, but also into the neighbour countries! Such a momentous affair usually got announced with an extra fanfare:

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And now we’re finally at Wetten Dass — the german game show that Will Arnett waxed forth about mightily in US TV already. This is a show where ordinary people made claims about being able to do extraordinary things. Pull a truck by pure muscle mass. Have all lottery numbers from the past 20 years memorized. Have a dog that can destroy 100 balloons in under 60 seconds. Then celebrities were invited to bet on the outcome of the attempt. Wetten Dass was the holy mountain of all saturday evening shows, and the cases where the host was switched out were subject to a major national crisis and debate.

Wetten Dass was such an important show that the premier german pop duo used it to announce it’s reunion (in a fake Blind Date format):

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Anyway: Here’s a guy who can tell you the colour of a pencil by licking it:

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The Great Saturday Evening Show died somewhere around the turn of the century, got briefly revived by a former butcher and is now consigned to the graveyard of memory.

Terrifying German Culture Hou- wat?

There’ve been a few „this was terrifying, why?!“ comments in the side channels to the last blogpost. Let me explain a bit, why Terrifying German Culture Hour exists:

Click 4 Big

I’m a nerd. And so is the girlfriend. Being nerds, our interests are often… eclectic. And cynical — as anyone who ever worked with computers, we sometimes want to retire to a farm, so, when the conversation shown at the left side happened, there was only one possible answer:

One-up her and assert dominance! So, I posted this:

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Which is, despite what you might think, actually sung in german. And as I did that on her Facebook timeline, innocent bystanders got blindsided, and demanded an explanation. I finally found the relevant Facebook post again, so I can make you suffer reconstruct this explanation here:

Have you seen „A most wanted Man“? You should, it’s a great movie. If you’ve seen it, there’s a german bureaucrat in there, who is played by Herbert Grönemeyer. You can briefly see him in this YouTube clip. He’s the chap on the left:


Kinda unimpressive, right? But the fact that the video headline mentions his name and the word „comeback“ should tell you that he might be a bit of a thing here. And yes, he is. Maybe you do remember Das Boot? He was in there too, as a reminder, here he is:

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So. Grönemeyer, actor, that’s it, right?


Grönemeyer is a german national treasure, and not because of his acting (which is top notch), but for his music, dummy! Us germans, we love Herbert for his music, here’s his hit:

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And no, this is not something weird and one-hit wonder by some random actor-trying-musician. Herbert fills stadiums! 

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And he stayed active as a musician quite a while, making videos that put Werner Herzog to shame:

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If there is any doubt in your mind, he is so beloved, he got to sing the official soccer world cup song!

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Should you still be unconvinced, rest assured, he is so famous, there are cover songs of his work:

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And next time, I’ll do the Die Ärzte thing, promise.

Terrifying German Culture Hour — The Punk Edition

When one lives together with ones girlfriend who has been socialized in the US, and only caught the occasional glimpse of german TV, there is great fun to be had. At least for me, the girlfriend just kinda suffers through it. We call it „Terrifying German Culture Hour“. This one is about punk rock. In the 80ies, german language punk rock got kinda big — and, on occasions, terrifying.

So, to break you in gently, let me introduce you to Die Toten Hosen, performing a song for the Clockwork Orange stageplay:

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Yes, you got that right: Germans made a stageplay out of that beloved dystopian book, and got a young and eager punk band to provide a live soundtrack. You should get the whole album, it is good stuff, and nicely catches all the different moods and themes of the book.

But an earlier song, and especially the video made for it, put them on the map:

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In case your german isn’t that good, here is a translation of the truly brilliant lyrics, which are repeated quite a few times:

Ice cold Bommerlunder
Bommerlunder, put on ice

Ice cold Bommerlunder
Bommerlunder, put on ice

Add a bread with ham — HAM!
and a bread with eggs — EGGS!

Those are two breads,
one with ham, and one with eggs

That song was the equivalent of the annual summer smash hit, maybe even more so. It still is a big hit at parties, thanks to those easy-to-shout lyrics. To give you perspective, it was such a success that the record label immediately commissioned a remix with Fab Five Freddy, a bona fide New York hip hop artist:

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What you just saw here is a live performance, but of course there exists an official music video. And when I write official, I meant horrible. And with horrible, I mean really really horrible. Seriously, it includes the german punks as cannibals in blackface.

Now, at this point you probably think „ok, wacky germans, business as usual.“ But you fail to grasp the enormity of this band. They fill large sized concert halls and arenas. Not only in Germany, but they also made it big in Argentina:

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Die Toten Hosen isn’t the only german punk band that made it big outside Germany. Their eternal rival, Die Ärzte, made it in Japan, so there are folks who subtitle their songs in japanese:

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But all the glory about Die Ärzte will be covered in another post. Prepare for controversial songs that make fun of bestiality, incest and the alleged domestic abuse perpetrated by the then german chancellor..

Mord nach Rezept

Vor einiger Zeit hat sich mein jahrzehntelanges hartes Bloggen ausgezahlt: Ich bekam ein kostenloses Produkt zugeschickt, mit der Bitte um Rezension.

Was gab es? Die Mord nach Rezept Krimidinner Box. Was so ein Krimidinner ist, muss ich glaube ich nicht mehr im Detail erklären, das ist ja schließlich schon seit Jahren ein Standard. Vor einiger Zeit verbloggte ich schon einmal so ein Erlebnis. Die Box von Culinario Mortale ist ähnlich hübsch gestaltet, und hat auf den ersten Blick, alles was man so braucht:

Anleitung, kombinierte Rollen- und Einladungsheftchen, Platzkarten und ein Ereignisheftchen. Die Heftchen haben einige Abschnitte, die mittels Perforation gegen unabsichtliches aufblättern geschützt sind. Hier soll man nur zu bestimmten Zeitpunkten weiterblättern. Die Platzkarten sind unbeschriftet, und in anderen Boxen fand ich auch noch Umschläge für den Postversand. Das braucht man alles nicht, und bei einem Preis von 23 Euro auch zu verzeihen, aber dennoch, irgendwie schade.

Schön fand ich die Idee, dass es je nach Spieleranzahl anscheinend andere Gruppenzusammenstellungen gibt. Damit wird sichergestellt, dass alle Mitspieler ausreichend Verbindungen haben. Warum auch diese Information per Perforation geheimgehalten werden muss, erschloss sich mir erst später: Der Mörder (oder die Mörderin) muss ja zwingend in allen drei Varianten enthalten sein, während die anderen Figuren ja ausgetauscht werden können. Weiß man das, engt es den Tatverdächtigenkreis schon stark ein.

Ein Kritikpunkt bei dem letzten Krimidinner war ja, dass die  Zeitlinie zu unübersichtlich war. Culinario Mortale splittet den Abend dafür in zwei Hälften, so dass man sich erst über die ersten paar Stunden und später über die letzten paar Stunden bis zum Mord streiten wird. Inwieweit das für mehr Übersicht sorgt, wird sich im Spiel zeigen müssen.

Die angebotenen Rollen entsprechen den gängigen Klischees des Genres, was ich persönlich ja immer gerne habe. So haben Einsteiger sofort feste Bilder im Kopf und haben etwas zum „entlanghangeln“. Wie üblich gibt es zwei Ereignisse, die weitere Hinweise geben und den Spielheften konnte ich entnehmen, dass jede Figur auch eigene Ziele verfolgt. Sowas kann sehr viel zusätzliche Spannung, allerdings auch unnötige Ablenkung bringen.

Der Box liegt übrigens auch ein Support Code bei, mit dem man bis zu drei Spielerheftchen herunterladen kann, für den Fall dass jemand das eigene verloren oder vergessen hat. Die Limitierung auf drei finde ich persönlich etwas albern. Was spricht dagegen, einfach alle herunterladbar zu machen?

Ich freu mich auf jeden Fall schon darauf, das Dinner in hoffentlich nicht zu ferner Zukunft mit Freunden zu spielen. Danach kann ich dann auch sagen, inwieweit der Fall auch wirklich unterhaltend und spannend war.