Posted by: ingogulde | March 20, 2012

How TV changed in East Germany

The fall of the wall is exciting. So many things change in our lives. So do our TV programs. Overnight, we have access to all these new TV channels. Actually, there are only three new channels but that means our TV options have doubled. Finally, after 40 long years of yearning for good and entertaining TV, we have it all.

“The Wheel of Fortune” is the first show I watch on one of these new stations. It is a smash hit! I am probably more excited than when the wall came down. All this energy and passion radiates right into our living room. It is ecstatic.
“I want to buy an ‘E’,” demands Werner, the contestant.
Bing, bing, bing.
Applause!
“I want to solve. The word is ‘Wiedervereinigung’ (=Reunification).” says Werner.
Wow! At that moment, I am standing on the couch, scream ‘Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’ (which means something like ‘yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees’) at the top of my lungs, and jump up and down like if Germany just had won the Soccer World Championship.

The Pfeiffers (name is changed) share my excitement for the show. Mr Pfeiffer is our Physics teacher and his wife our Math teacher. Their declared mission is to get on this show. No matter what and how long it takes. They are so serious about it that they manage to get on the show after only two months. Watching this historic moment becomes a mandatory requirement for passing both of their classes.

The show is about to start. My eyes are fixed on the TV. A spotlight randomly selects three contestants from the audience while the lights are dimmed in the studio. The beam of light dances through the audience. It stops. Rita from Düsseldorf is the first contestant. The studio is dark again. It is so quiet that you can hear the light racing from one end to the other. Then it stops again. Horst from Munich is the next lucky one. He stands up and raises his arms to a victory pose. This is the last chance for the Pfeiffers. The spotlight flickers again. I wish it would stop at Mr or Mrs Pfeiffer. But it does not. What a bummer! But there is still a chance that I see them in the audience. “There! There they are!” I cry out. One, two, three tenths of a second. There they are sitting, smiling, and clapping. It is one meaningless moment for the show, but a big moment for our little town.

The next day, the Pfeiffers arrive at school. The two superstars get off their private jet (I meant to say car), put on their sunglasses, and walk in slow motion, it seems, into the school building. People line their way left and right. Cheers, tears, applause. The Pfeiffers made it. They arrived at a pinnacle of fame.

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