Skip to content

The Lernen to Talk Show: Episode 31 – Behind the Scenes at Roche & Böhmermann!

May 15, 2012

As I mentioned a few episodes ago, I’ve been working since February at the greatest production company of all time, BTF. After discovering The Lernen to Talk Show, they entered into a frenzied bidding war with countless other studios around Germany, desperate for my creative input with a new (real) talk show they were producing called Roche & Böhmermann*. In the end BTF prevailed, and I relocated to Cologne as their newest Praktikant. I was quickly put to work researching guests for the show, editing photos for the intro clips, and, as you can see in this video, painting floors. It was exciting to be a part of such a huge undertaking, and having seen the final result, I am proud to have it be my first television credit.

Roche & Böhmermann has turned out to be a smash hit on its humble network ZDF.kultur. You can watch a full episode here on the ZDFmediathek! Originally conceived as a “talk show for people who don’t like talk shows,” I was first attracted to it for its retro look and beautiful image quality. When I first saw the pilot, I did not realize right away that I was watching a TV show. It looked more like a movie about a talk show, with its shots of the cameramen and classic feel. That was last October. It wasn’t until my German had improved a little more that I re-watched the pilot and realized that the discussion was hilariously casual and surprisingly crass. The response has been polarizing. We’ve received a ton of positive feedback (in the form of ratings and otherwise), but also a fair amount of criticism from appalled viewers. I guess some people aren’t ready for a TV show that is actually interesting. It truly is a show unlike any other I’ve seen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some cheap imitation of it pop up in the U.S. next year.

Working on the show has been an amazing help for my German, as I got a chance to meet plenty of new people and do actual work in the language. Having added pressure like that always helps when it comes to language learning, and having it here came with the added bonus that I now know a shocking amount about German celebrities. It’s probably fair to say that I am now better informed about German pop culture than American pop culture at the moment.

Another added bonus was that I was able to film the most meta episode of the Lernen to Talk Show yet! Episode 31 is the first episode to be filmed on the set of a different talk show. Granted, it would be more interesting to have filmed the episode during an episode of R&B, but this will have to do. Join me and Frederic (and plenty other drop-in guests) as we discuss the trials and tribulations of installing a black floor on top of another black floor and much more! I’ll be the first to acknowledge that this episode is a bit chaotic, but I think it also effectively captures the ambience of the studio the night before the first episode was filmed. As a matter of fact, that episode is the one that I link to above, so check it out!

*Embellished for dramatic effect.

0:37 – It’s hard to be bossy in broken German.

0:42 – Amateur mistake… “Jetzt müssen wir streichen” would have been correct.

0:47 – Also grammatically wrong, but understandable. Even though people would understand that sentence, it’s still terribly frustrating to know that I’m not saying it correctly.

0:56 – It would take forever to address every mistake in this episode, so I think I’ll just generalize my mistakes by saying that I attempted to say a lot of complex things, and it ended up making me look a little stupid. I was also pretty tired that night.

2:37 – Sprichwort is the word I was looking for, meaning “proverb”. Instead I say “Dichtwort”, which would mean “thick word”.

2:43 – Not the Sprichwort I was looking for, but better not to argue.

3:12 – It’s actually seven microphones for five guests and two hosts.

4:01 – Here I say “Morgen um halb fünf Uhr”, which is a repetitive way of saying 4:30 (I didn’t need to say “Uhr”). It literally translates to “tomorrow at half five hour”, or “4:30 o’clock”.

4:04 – This is what happens when you parrot something back without understanding the grammar. Patrick had told me that “come to life” is translated as “zum Leben erweckt wird”. My ears heard that as “zum Leben erweckwird,” when in fact he was just using future tense, hence the “wird”. Then I sort of flipped the grammar around, keeping the “wird” at the end when it should actually be at the front of the sentence. You’ll notice that I actually do correctly say “wird” at the beginning of the sentence, but then because I misunderstood what Patrick said I say “wird” again at the end. What a weird mistake!

4:12 – Sometimes opposites work differently in German. Then again, that turn of phrase wouldn’t have worked in English either. But still, no matter how stupid I look I will continue to try to play with the German language. I think that’s the best way to learn, and I encourage everybody else to do it too.

4:35 – … zugeschaut habt! HABT!

4:40 – Sorry Frederic! We have to do another episode!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Avital permalink
    May 16, 2012 02:14

    Congrats on your first television credit!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: