So I woke up last night at 2 a.m. Frankfurt time, and that was after sleeping five hours. Unfortunately I knew right away that I wasn’t going to get back to sleep any time soon so I decided to call home and then do some reading. After the call and an hour or two of reading I clicked on the TV and started surfing through the 40 or so channels of TV that the hotel carries. In the process I discovered some interesting things:
- Girls doing things to girls, if you get my drift, is a staple of German late night television. At first I thought this was an interesting departure from the infomercials that are a staple of late night TV in the states, but then I realized that they were all hawking SMS p-rn services and s-x lines. As I surfed the channels I counted at least five that ran these things, which means that over 10% of the stations had them.
I’m still trying to figure out what kind of guy would get worked up with some supposed woman sending him messages like "U R so hot U R mkg me…" Of course the wireless services here are so far ahead of ours in the US that it would be a good bet that they deliver high quality video to pervs’ phones and they’re just using "SMS" in the same way that some people call all sodas "Coke". Either way, you don’t see the "commercials" or the wireless p-rn back in the states.
- They carry Al Jazeera and I have to tell you that if it wasn’t for the little symbol in the corner I would have thought it was another version of CNN, except with real reporters. All the reporters I saw were British and considering that they were running opposite Wolf Blitzer they came off looking like geniuses. Only when you get a chance to watch BBC, Sky TV and, yes, Al Jazeera do you begin to appreciate what unmitigated crap we have for national TV news programming in the states. I think what I like best about the non-US networks is that they don’t all assume that the average viewer is ADHD and on his sixth cup of coffee in the last hour. Stories have depth, some running several minutes, and the reporters and commentators address the audience with a calm and reserve that we haven’t seen on US television in at least 20 years. What’s interesting to me is that Sky and Fox are both owned by Rupert Murdoch, but Sky makes Fox look like a production of some local high school’s Young Republicans group. Shows you what he thinks of we Amerikaners. Not that Sky comes across as particularly great, but in comparison to our junk it seems almost NPR-worthy. FYI, one of the most viewed videos on Sky’s site is the manager at the KFC in Statesville NC (about 1/2 hour from my house) fighting off a shotgun-toting robber. It really is a small world.
- EuroSport is the anti-ESPN. Nary a studio full of retired players or coaches as panelists to be found and lets just say that the sports they carry are hard to come by on the west side of the Atlantic. In the course of browsing I saw sumo wrestling, snooker and team handball. The last is a hybrid of soccer and basketball that I’d love to give a try, but I doubt I’ll ever get the chance. Note to ESPN execs: can you please dial back the BS and start just giving us the sports? You’re beginning to remind me of MTV (what happened to the music?) and not in a good way.
- It’s a trip seeing movies with German voice-overs, especially the male voices. The Germans all sound much more "manly" than the original actors, especially guys like Steven Seagall.
Hopefully that will be the extent of my German television reviews since I’d like to get at least a little sleep over the next few days.