Friday, 27 May 2005

Observations on German TV

If I recall correctly, I remember the Economist noting that cultures have preferences for dealing with American imports - some use subtitling, like the French, while others, like the Germans, prefer dubbing. So over the last two weeks I had the somewhat surreal experience of watching Law & Order and Charmed in German. Some people get stuck with really lousy dubbed voices, such as Jesse L. Martin, who loses all the bass in his voice - on the other hand, Billy Crystal, who was in some obscure movie that I caught one Sunday, sounds more macho.

TV Total

Among the cool things I saw was T.C. Boyle (when did he stop being T. Coraghessan Boyle?) as a guest on TV Total, a Letterman-esque chat show, to promote his Kinsey novel, Dr Sex. Danged it, if I'd stayed in Cologne I could've caught him at the E-Werk. TV Total was my new pleasure, with its somewhat off-kilter sense of humour. (Or maybe it's a perfectly normal sense of humour that seems off-kilter to me thanks to my imperfect German.) Since the North Rhine-Westphalia election campaigns were on, they went on the streets carrying pictures of two politicians and asked men on the street who they were... the only one who was clear about everyone's identity was a scrubby looking guy who was drinking an open beer in the middle of the day, who immediately knew who everyone was. And the host's desk actually moves thanks to a control, which I think is pretty nifty.

Also caught Frauen-Spieler, which is either a dubbing of the British show Footballers' Wives, or a German version - either way, a total soap, complete with a woman fainting during an interview. And, completing my junk-TV watching, I also watched what seemed to be the German equivalent of Cops, where someone is protesting that the Handy (cellphone) is really his own, and is promptly being cuffed and put into the Polizeiwagen.



In Mukachevo, Ukraine, I watched "The Rock" on television. They'd dubbed it, but without completely stripping out the existing vocal track. So I could hear the faint ghosts of Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery, swiftly followed by the louder Ukrainian translations.

Weird, weird, weird.

Here's a whole discussion of German television from BerlinBlog that might interest you.


I fell asleep while watching "The Rock" in the movie theatre... so I'm not even completely certain the original is entirely in English :)

Thanks for the link!


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