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Pandemic? What pandemic? Beautiful, corona-free television world

by Tejas Dhawan

© velimir – stock.adobe.com

For months, the corona crisis has been the dominant topic not only in Germany, but worldwide. So far, however, there is not much to notice in television series. “GZSZ”, “Sturm der Liebe” and Co. have found a very consistent way of dealing with the pandemic.

In reality, the virus is raging, but there is a corona-free world on the television screen: well-known German series want to ignore the corona crisis consistently for the time being, as a survey by the German Press Agency showed.

This applies to the “Rosenheim Cops” in Bavaria as well as the “Metropolitan Area” in the far north, for “Good Times, Bad Times” (GZSZ) and “Storm of Love” as well as for “Berlin – Day & Night”. “In terms of content, we are not currently addressing Corona,” a Ufa spokeswoman said on request. For example, the Ufa produces the long-running soap opera “Unter Uns” and “GZSZ”, where Alexander is mourned for the serial figure – with a lot of space and without comforting hugs.

This is not an isolated case – quite the opposite. All requested series want to do the same: pandemic? What pandemic? The management of “Studio Hamburg”, which produces the Hamburg classic “Großstadtrevier” and the telenovela “Rote Rosen”, says “that the Covid 19 pandemic will not play a role in the scripts and stories” – and also gives reasons for: “Firstly, viewers behave escapistically and do not want to be confronted with reality in fictional formats,” it says. “Secondly, series are repertoire-compatible, which means that they will still be used as repeats on other broadcasting stations in a few years’ time, if – hopefully – there is no longer a corona.”

Corona has a big impact on the shooting. Strict hygiene plans have been drawn up, there must be a lot of distance between the actors. The set was even rebuilt for the “Rosenheim Cops”. And in some series, the rehearsals take place with masks. But then it is shot without. In the finished episode, you shouldn’t see the masks that now shape the cityscape in reality.

“We made a conscious decision to offer our audience half an hour of time off from the Corona theme and therefore do not take up the content of this in” Dahoam is Dahoam “,” said Bayerischer Rundfunk when asked about its successful soap opera. “Many positive reactions from viewers on the Internet confirm our decision.”

Above all, RTLzwei gives very practical reasons why the virus will not play a role in “Berlin – Tag & Nacht” or “Köln 50667”, programs that are understood as “reality soaps”: in production runs of up to eight This is simply not possible for weeks. But the topic is not off the table, emphasizes a spokesman. “For example, with” Cologne 50667 ″ we support the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care in the education about the corona pandemic. Away from the series content, but very well on all relevant platforms and with great success. “

Bavaria Fiction, which produce “Die Rosenheim-Cops” and “Sturm der Liebe”, say: “The content of a pandemic does not match the direction of the two series.” That is why Corona does not take place there. “” Sturm der Liebe “is a modern fairy tale; “The Rosenheim Cops” put the villains out of business with wit and charm against the picturesque backdrop of the foothills of the Alps. ”In both series“ the viewers should consciously switch off from everyday life and immerse themselves in a fictional world, the concerns and needs of the real world remain outside in front”.

“The central consumer need that many fiction series address is that of escapism: The viewers want to escape from their real world with all the annoying details and restrictions,” says Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, Professor of Marketing and Media at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Munster.

In this respect, the series makers would probably be right with their approach, according to the researcher. But that is not entirely risk-free. “We notice that social distance and masks are increasingly becoming part of our everyday life, so fictional offers have to be careful that they are not seen by the viewers as unrealistic.”

The scripts for the series “Um Himmels Willen”, “Der Bergdoktor” and “Die Bergretter”, which are all produced by the ndf company, were simply finished and there was no longer any space for Corona, as Managing Director Matthias Walther says. He leaves open whether the stories should remain corona-free in the future. “Maybe one day the whole thing will become an issue, that will depend on the further development of this pandemic.”

The Hamburg media scientist Joan K. Bleicher sees a lack of flexibility, which is due to the structure: “Series create closed fictional narrative worlds in which references to current events have little space. Long-term production also makes it difficult to be able to react quickly to phenomena like Corona, ”she says. “The only German long-term series that reacted regularly to social developments was the” Lindenstrasse “.” [Britta Schultejans]

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  • Virus_Corona: © velimir – stock.adobe.com

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