Ever since I have come to Germany, I try to find the most stereotypically German things to use in sentences which begin with “I think the most German thing ever is…”. Usually its things like beer or schnitzel. But from time to time I come across something so quintessentially German that I am lost for words. A few days ago, my girlfriend was watching a show on TV which was so German that I just had to write a post about it.
You might know from an earlier post how Germans are about Ordnung. Things are done just so here, otherwise we’re no different than animals. Well, this Ordnung-ness is taken to a whole new level by this show called Achtung Kontrolle. The premise of this reality TV show is to follow around people of different professions. They can be the police – which is quite normal, really, since we all know shows like Cops and World’s Wildest Police Videos – but they can also be bizarrely mundane professions like the people who hand out parking tickets, Calibration Inspectors who check if weights and measures in places like supermarkets are correct, Food Inspectors, and the list goes on. While, I don’t want to belittle the jobs these people do, I think we can all agree they don’t lead the most thrilling of professional lives. To be fair, the show also follows German Customs and bouncers, who I assume has much more interesting stuff going on. And then there are the Ordnungsbeamter who are of course part of the show as well. Otherwise it just wouldn’t be Germany.
But these were all bureaucratic/public service professions, apart from the bouncers. The show also features the kind of people who put their lives on the line so that we can sit safe in our homes and have a full life. These are people who answer a higher calling, which requires them to go above and beyond for the right and the good. I am talking, of course, about the Fassadenreiniger. If you don’t know what this is, allow me to explain. Ze Germans like their houses to be not only clean, tidy and in a state of perfection from the inside, but also from the outside. This means the facade of the house or a building has to be the epitome of perfection. Enter the Fassadenreiniger (Facade Cleaner). This person’s job is to clean the outsides of buildings and houses and make them spic and span. This is actually the show which was on the other day. The one which my girlfriend was watching as if it was the most interesting thing ever, and the one which I was watching as the most German TV show ever.
As I said before, there’s nothing wrong with any of the professions I mentioned above. But to make a whole reality show about them is a bit ridiculous and bizarre. Watching paint dry would be more interesting, seriously. But, its a natural extension of the obsession with documentaries I guess. If you have ever watched German TV, you will see that there are a LOT of documentaries on. I leave you now with a video clip from Achtung Kontrolle. If you are interested in more videos, just click here.