Jetzt geht’s richtig los! Oh man, am I excited! Tonight is the premiere of the new season of Deutschland sucht den Superstar (Germany Seeks a Superstar), a reality show in the style of American Idol. I have never been able to get into American Idol, but for whatever reason, I love DSDS. It was one of the shows I remember from my first year abroad, and I was psyched to learn that it still on the air. Here‘s clip from an audition tape from one of this season’s contestants. (Skip the first 2 minutes to jump directly to the audition.) Brief translation and summary: DSDS contestant, Guillaume, has had to work at a hotel until he makes it, which just breaks his girlfriend’s heart.
Is that a single, sparkling tear on your cheek?
I enjoy German television. In terms of genre, it’s really not that different from TV in the US, but it is often overly dramatic. In the clip above, judge Bruce Darnell had to theatrically compose himself because he was so touched by the contestant’s performance. Meanwhile, the judge that looks like Simon Cowell was mentally swept away to a tropical beach. As you can see, the level of both cheese and schmaltz in DSDS is off the charts. In addition, who doesn’t love hearing new renditions American top 40 hits? Isn’t this the basis of Glee‘s appeal? This is good stuff!
Here are some other terrific German television shows:
- Tatort – (Scene of the Crime) A crime show that, like CSI, takes place in several different German cities. Unlike CSI, you never know which city you’re going to get. (Münster is the best!)
- mieten, kaufen, wohnen – (rent, buy, live) Just like the American program House Hunters: uncompromising people with a ridiculous sets of demands and idiosyncrasies try to find a place to live with the help of a real estate broker.
- Bauer sucht Frau – (Farmer Seeks a Wife) A reality show in which bachelor farmers from all over Germany are paired with single men and women, whom they hope to marry. This show offers further proof that unlike in America, you don’t have to be conventionally attractive to appear on German television.
- Schlag den Raab – (Beat [Stefan] Raab) German TV personality, Stefan Raab, competes against a single contestant in a series of strange and infinitely long feats of skill and strength. It’s really fun to watch, but I can’t help but think that this would never fly at home. For example, here is a 10-minute long game of cornhole, all which was broadcast, that was only ONE of the tasks. (Jump to minute 3:50 to skip the trivia part and get right to the game.) One episode lasts at least 3 hours.
- Berlin Tag & Nacht– (Berlin Day & Night) Trashy reality program about a bunch of people sharing an apartment in Berlin. If you loved The Real World, this is for you.
- Bernd das Brot – (Bernd the [Loaf of] Bread) This children’s show starts a puppet loaf of bread with floppy hands. It’s creepy as hell, but a bunch of my roommates in Freiburg dug it. Here is a clip of Bernd as Rapunzel, and here‘s an article from Der Spiegel that uses Bernd to prove that Germans are, in fact, funny.
- Germany’s Next Top Model – I haven’t actually seen this yet, but Heidi Klum hosts it, and I LOVE America’s Next Top Model; there’s no way GNTM could be bad.
- Die Harald Schmidt Show – late-night show like Letterman or Leno. Also, could Harald Schmidt be Tim Gunn’s long-lost German brother? This viewer says “ja!”