As a child I was always told not to watch too much TV. At the time I felt it to be a rather unfair demand, especially when the alternative was to go outside and stand forlornly hoping it would stop raining. Although I still consider my semi aquatic upbringing to be some of the best years of my life, I have never regretted watching too much TV. If I hadn’t spent so much time in front of the box I would certainly never have learned so much useful information.
For instance, I learned from the A-Team that should I ever be captured by enemy combatants there will always be enough crap lying around to build a fully functional harrier jump jet. Even more importantly no matter how many bullets are fired or explosions going off no one ever dies. Another important lesson from my formative years was that in New York it is entirely plausible for four reptiles and a rat to not only live a harmonious existence in the sewers of that fine city, but that they will be capable of fighting off evil in time for a pizza delivery. With these lessons in hand, I believe I have been prepared for anything.
Here in Germany, there are a multitude of new lessons to be learned, after you work out what the hell everyone happens to be saying. Lesson one; thanks to a fine show called Bauer sucht Frau (Farmer seeking a wife) I now know that all farmer types, with incomprehensible accents, come with fully functional subtitles. This is very helpful when you happen to be standing in front of their combine harvester. Another fine moral I managed to decipher is that should the worst befall me in the future I can always resort to crop cultivation, safe in the knowledge that some ladies find one tanned arm, buck teeth and tractors kind of attractive. Oh, and milking cows in German is actually rather interesting.
Second; no matter where you are in any city, town or village there will be a camera crew available to record some largely negative footage of my personal, familial or business crisis. So prevalent are these “structured” reality shows, I now know what to do in all these eventualities. After the aforementioned breakdown the camera crew will appear on cue for me to give an emotional, yet incoherent and poorly acted recreation of events. Following this, a helpful talking head psychologist will arrive to tell the waiting audience what went wrong for me and how I can fix it through some kind of spa weekend, or by drinking more water. Sadly, this psychologist will never actually visit me personally but I’m sure I’ll get a summation of his prognosis in the mail.
Third; I don’t have to be human to receive a full psychological examination. Dogs, cats, horses, cows etc. are all sources of edu-tainment This will help should I either buy and angry dog or through some Kafka-esque transformation become a troubled pooch myself. From around the corner will appear a handy film crew and a pet psychologist to solve my anger issues through teaching my owners how to correctly throw a ball or some such idiocy.
Fourth; Deutschland, like Britain and America before it, also has talent. The only exception is that here they have better teeth, and that’s just the pirouetting dogs.
Fifth; there is at least one police based drama for each of the eighty million people living in Germany. Do you like village police dramas? We have those. How about city based police dramas? Yep, we have them in spades. Comedy police dramas? We have a hat full. Despite my basic TV education, namely that one man’s junk is another man’s tactical nuclear weapon, or that eating pizza for every meal can be finally balanced by karate kicking the ever loving crap out of some forlorn looking mutant types, if I had grown up watching German TV I would be the next Sherlock Holmes but with house shoes and a love of curry wurst.
I can only conclude that at some point the German government feared that they might run out of policeman and made a conscious decision to subliminally deputise its entire population. I am convinced that should some one be murdered in my street, all my neighbours will have carefully gathered evidence, questioned the witnesses, suffered a painful personal epiphany, had a car chase and arrested the malevolent perpetrator before any of the real police have actually arrived. In Germany, there is absolutely no point calling the police when you simply need to knock on the nearest person‘s door. Sure enough whoever answers will be more than qualified to crack the case.