Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spaß an einem Samstag Nachmittag


I don't watch much television, and when I do, it tends to be very odd selections. For example, right now I'm watching the Pennsylvania Farm Show Sheep to Shawl Competition. If you're not familiar with the most amazing sport on the face of the planet, teams of five have about two and a half hours to shear a sheep, spin the wool, and weave it into a shawl (over six feet long, minimum). I don't know why, but this is absolutely gripping television to me. Between the race to the judges' table and the following auction (one sold for $3400 last year), I just can't not watch it.

Honestly, I can't say I have any "favorite" television show, although I've admitted that the only television show I've ever cleared my schedule to watch was The Mole. It was probably one of the very few reality television shows that had a true play-along element (as compared to a phone-in element), and the entire setting of espionage in a foreign country sucked me right in. Sadly, ABC never really respected this show and always shoved it to late hours, then wondered why it never got higher ratings.

I have a tremendous aversion to German, by the way. (Really, this is leading somewhere.) I don't know where exactly my phobia of the German language began, but I'd like to think it has something to do with my former life as a Music Ed major. German is "an incredibly easy language to understand" to everyone except me, apparently. Memorizing German is almost impossible for me, which is a shame, because some German art songs are stunningly beautiful. I've noticed that lately though, I've been spouting random German phrases to people, like "nein, das ist verboten" or random German counting (for numbers less than ten). Perhaps this aversion is slowly wearing off.

This may or may not explain my recent fascination with a little show called Schlag den Raab (Beat Raab). In it, a contestant (selected by a live vote) faces off against German television personality Stefan Raab in a serles of challenges. The first challenge is worth one point, the second is worth two, and so forth to game 15, worth 15 points. The first to reach 61 points (out of 120 possible) wins. If the contestant wins, they receive a jackpot that starts at €500,000 and increases by €500,000 every time Raab wins.

The challenges widely vary in nature, from traditional sports (volleyball, handball, ping pong) to trivia or puzzle challenges (identifying the title of a book by its cover, buzzing in as soon as an item that doesn't fit a category shows up on a screen, naming a celebrity that's reading a passage by listening to their voice) to more extreme challenges (driving ATVs on an outdoor course, egg-and-spoon races on beams suspended off the ground) to more ridiculous stunts and things you'd challenge a drunk person to do in a bar (hammering nails into a board 2 feet above one's head, flicking a coin into a glass, combining five keyrings into one keyring)... Pretty much anything's up for grabs.


One trend of shows I've noticed in Germany (possibly in other countries, I'm not sure) is the popularity of periodic shows such as Schlag den Raab, which only air a few episodes per year, and take up the better portion of an entire night. Wetten, dass..? is another show that follows this trend, and is watched by well over half of German speaking folks across Europe. Schlag den Raab usually runs for at least four hours (think about it, there's a minimum of 11 games to play, plus commercials and musical guests) and starts airing at 8:15 on Saturday nights (in Germany, obviously), so it's an evening pretty well based around the television set.

The next episode airs this Saturday, January 16, and starts 2:15pm EST with a contestant playing for a €1,500,000 jackpot. I plan to watch the show as I finish packing to return to school. There's just one hitch... There's not really any legal method to watch it live in the US. There's a bit of hunting involved to find a website that's streaming the channel live. If I find something then, I'll be sure to post a link to it on Saturday, and I'll admit that I'll most likely be obtaining the link from Bother's Bar, so you'd be best off watching for a link there.

That said, keep watching this space for an update, and we'll see you Samstag.

Update: Show over, yanking this link. Yikes, that was a smidge embarrassing for the contestant. For those of you who missed it, Stefan won 63-15, after round 12. The contestant, Torsten, won only rounds 1, 5, and 9. A definite highlight worth noting: A game where some bread was loaded into a toaster, and the first to buzz in started a timer. If the toast popped before ten seconds, whoever buzzed gets a point. My definite favorite though was the backwards music game. Give it a shot, it's a lot of fun. For a bit of a play-by-play/commentary on everything, I will again link you to the Bother's Bar discussion.

1 comment:

zxo said...

I'd say written German is easy to understand - it's a cousin of English, but less of an analgam of other languages, so there's fewer oddities to it.

Spoken German is a totally different beast.