For one of my college courses, my professor asked that we watch a TV show in another language with subtitles in English. After scrolling through Netflix, I found a German show called, “Altes Geld” (“Old Money”). I watched the first episode was called “Buschtrommeln” (“Jungle Telegraph”), and can be found right here. The show focused on the very rich family of Rolf Rauchensteiner. Although extremely wealthy and powerful, Rolf finds that it is extremely difficult to find a liver that he needs to stay alive after being diagnosed with hepatitis. The show really depicts the materialistic views that the whole Rauchensteiner family has. When Rolf tries to explain to his wife that he is going to die within a year he tells her that he has some bad news. She responds by saying, “Have you donated your fortune?” After answering no she says, “Then it can’t be that bad.” This shows what is truly important to his wife. She doesn’t seem to even be too concerned when he officially breaks the news to her. Additionally, the show focuses on the beautiful houses that each family has and the Mercedes Benz’s that they drive. The remainder of the first episode deals with various wrongdoings. These include a gambling addiction that one son has, another son’s estrangement from the family, suicide attempts from the daughter, drugs and an affair between one son and the step mother. Despite being wealthy, nobody in this family truly loves each other.
I found that this show was not too far off from American culture. It is often said that rich, materialistic people are the least happy in life. True happiness comes from genuine human connections. The saying “Money can’t buy everything,” applies in this show because Rolf has all of the money possible yet cannot actually buy a liver. He must, instead, find somebody who loves and wants to help him. When Rolf tells his kids about his disease, they only care about the will. This shows the lack of connection between the family. Another similarity to American culture was that at one point the daughter met a man at a train station and he said that he knew her from Facebook. This shows how globalized social media really is. No matter where you are in the world, America or Germany, anybody can know anybody from online. One last similarity was a character who was in the “Green Party,” of politics. This man was very focused on cleaning up the environment and preserving the Earth. I feel no matter where you are, saving the environment has become a worldwide concern. Rolf tried to offer this man 7 million dollars for his liver but the man declined.
Some cultural differences I found were that the characters talked extremely fast throughout the whole entire show. Conversations would go from one character talking to the next in the blink of an eye. Additionally, a creepy piano tune played throughout the whole entire show. I found this interesting because I don’t remember ever hearing that on an American show before. It also seemed like the characters were less friendly in this show to one another than we are here in America. It was hard to determine if this was due to their wealth and arrogance or due to their culture. The architecture in the show was beautiful. The show took place in a city with buildings which were beautifully designed and looked almost like castles. I could really notice the European-like style to them. I have never seen buildings like that in America before. Also, at one of the clubs a son attended, all of the bartenders wore duck masks. I found this interesting as the bar was called “Dark Duck.” No scene really depicted any of the characters eating, yet they did drink wine in multiple scenes. The weather was very nice throughout the whole show.