“A touch of America” in the ARD media

the Süddeutsche Zeitung is got hold of an explosive document. It is a tape record from the ARD’s Writers Room. The scriptwriters Johannes Rotter, Jo Baier, Christoph Mathieu and Ben von Rönne were gathered there. They were given the task of writing a six-part, Netflix-capable series that could possibly be sold worldwide, which deals with the burden of German history and does not neglect the entertainment factor. For reasons of privacy protection, the names of the respective speakers are anonymized as A, B, C and D; but they share responsibility for “A Touch of America”.

B: We need a narrative.

A: Luther in front of the emperor at the Reichstag?

B: Is through.

C: The Scholl siblings, the leaflets in the university atrium, the guillotine.

B: There are several.

D: 1950s: economic miracle, east against west, but with petticoat and rock’n’roll. A dance school?

B: It already exists, “Ku’damm 56”. But German history would be important if told from the people’s point of view.

A: A village chronicle, from the horse-drawn vehicle to the first vacation in Italy in the Beetle.

B: We had. “Heimat” by Edgar Reitz.

A: It was black and white and way too long. How about: Two German families on one side and the Americans on the other. But this time not the liberation in 1945 with ironed uniforms, Hershey chocolate and chewing gum, but a few years later. So in the barracks, black and white soldiers are separated. We pick people up with racism.

D: The Germans are even better racists and don’t rent rooms to negroes. This is how a shoe becomes out of it!

A: Can you still say that today – Negroes?

D: We even have to, we have an educational mandate. Back then they used to talk like that, the N word over and over again, really bad.

B: Then we write in the opening credits, uh: “This historical miniseries contains racist language and other forms of discrimination that reflect the reality of life at the beginning of the 1950s …”

C: Real life is good, there is a special fee for this, but only with the addition “… and still exist today”. That is exactly the reference to the present that the editors have asked for.

A: I thought it was about the narrative?

B: “Narrative yes, but with flow.” The lead editor specifically said. The viewers have a right to see what they have seen a thousand times!

D: So?

B: So: two worlds, Germans and Americans, victor and vanquished, conflicts, corruption, affairs, the shadows of the past. With the Americans in the Palatinate, there is something for everyone: the golden fifties, jazz, nylons, the adventurous girls, the Americans with their money, with their music. There’s a new world out there.

C: Remember the sentence, we need it.

D: Love story?

B: That too, but better. We contrast the two families: one is poor, but honest. Potato farmers, only one cow in the barn.

D: Just one?

B: Just a cow! In addition: water from the well, outside toilet, kerosene lamps. There are nice chiaroscuro scenes, I’ll just say Kubrick.

D: The other lives in a big house, the husband is the mayor, the wife is overwhelmed, the daughter is easygoing, her best friend is the daughter of the poor farmer. The son is missing, but …

B: … he comes back surprisingly. Traumatized returnee from Russia.

A: I have the perfect sentence for him: “I think you have to get there first.”

B: Okay, that’s what his fiancée, who bravely waited for him for six years, said right away.

C: And quickly he catches her with a Ne. . . with a black!

A: This is Fassbinder, “The Marriage of Maria Braun”.

B: Anyway, nobody knows anymore anyway.

A: And how do you get to know each other? The thing. . . the black and the German girl?

B: He accidentally drives his tank into his father’s field.

A: Symbolk, ick hear you trap!

B: I imagine it to be sepia-toned, archaic, the women pick potatoes behind the plow, a little blood, a little bit of soil.

C: The black one is very dear. And the German a huge asshole. Brutalized by the war. His fiancée has to choose between love and duty, between the American and the German.

D: What we definitely need is a Nazi.

B: The mayor.

D: Formerly local group leader, but that is not discussed in the village, complicit silence.

A: My God, I’ve got it: the Nazi is not just mayor, but also the building contractor, he does business with the American colonel who …

C: … has a frustrated woman who drinks but is good will and …

A: … and changing clothes for the peasant girl and giving him tutoring in modern art, Franz Marc, Picasso, all that stuff.

B: The girl has a Gretl hairstyle, still completely Adolf Ziegler school. Until then she had drawn her cow, now she should be abstract, but not plemplem. That’s what we’ve got re-education also inside.

C: But the narrative, what is the narrative?

B: Gretl’s name is Marie, and her friend is a horny slut. She catches an American soldier from the barracks.

D: But a white man.

C: She hopes he will take her to America with him.

D: It won’t work, but she gets pregnant and has to keep it a secret.

B: The abortion goes wrong. Bad thing.

A and C: Man, good!

D: Can I still have the reality of life, please? What is missing is a bigoted pastor, the sadistic monastery sister, the nice whore, a tortured black man and betrayal of friendship. Something like that.

A: I have an idea. (Since he apparently only whispers it in his neighbor’s ear, this passage is missing in the transcript.)

B: East Berlin??

A: But with that we also have the new countries on board. A bow for Haseloff. (chuckles)

D: But you don’t seriously believe that someone is buying this nonsense from us?

“A Touch of America” ​​with Elisa Schlott, Reomy D. Mpeho, Franziska Brandmeier, Jonas Nay and Dietmar Bär; Director: Dror Zahavi; is already in the media library and will run from December 1st at 8:15 pm on ARD.

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