Looked at my Chinese horoscope today: "Women born under the sign of the Snake do well in housework but are irritable." Pretty much had that figured out already.
Talked to a woman about my age who has lived in the village all her life, as has her husband. "Oh," I enthused, "I think it's wonderful when you share childhood memories."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"You know, like memories of school together."
"Oh, no," she said, "There's nothing like that. I was in the class ahead of him."
Tatort began with a 'flash mob' beating (missed the opening credits and the very beginning). A shock of recognition as the investigators went to inform the ex-wife of the victim -- felt she looked like me (!! AUGH!) She was very obviously MIDDLE-AGED and, truth to be told, lying in a typical 'Dorf Diva' mode, on the couch and sleeping. The home -- or workplace, or home/workplace was a 'Wascherei', and I felt a shock of recognition there, too -- could have easily been one of the apartments we lived in while in Berlin. Floor to ceiling tiled kitchen, crumbling gray Putz on the outside walls, old-fashioned appliances. Been there, done that. Jolt of gratitude that I escaped to a snug 'Neubau' house with a garden. But I fully signed up for life continuing on in an apartment in Berlin, and man I was brave. Would be so miserable living there now.
So ex-Frau had my sympathy for the beginning. For some reason, the 'Lebensgefährten' (German has a sensible word for this when English doesn't) and the victim shared a totally modern, lovely house. In fact, the live-in girlfriend opened the door wearing a wedding gown (??) and only when she sat in the couch before a woodland scene framed her floor-to-ceiling picture windows, looking like a fairy princess, did we find out she was actually meant to marry the victim the next week. So there was a reason she was wearing a wedding gown, it wasn't simply to make that beautiful scene. HAH. Yes, the princess in the woods scene was beautiful and totally worth any amount of plot contrivance necessary to wedge it in.
The scenes of the investigators were stressful as they shouted a lot at each other, seemingly unnecessarily. They only seemed panicked when together: they took their time with the victims. The victim's daughter, Anna, was beautiful and a very effective actress, although I somehow thought the script seemed like it had been written for a younger person than Anna appeared to be (20? When the daughter should have been about 14?). The mother of the suspects was great and very effective.
German sentence I loved for its lack of sentimentality: "Hapsberg (the victim) wird heute wohl abgeschaltet." (The victim was on a life support system that was going to be turned off).
To my surprise I felt very warm toward the 'kooky' commissioner. They didn't make him as 'alternative' as he has been in previous episodes. Somehow he had a very 'German' face, although I couldn't think of who or what it reminded me of. Perhaps the baby on the Brandt Zwieback tins? Anyways, enjoyed him. His female sidekick had VERY little to do in this episode, except remind me of my eighth grade teacher -- had she worn a red ponytail instead of a nun's habit on her head.
Also appreciated the introduction of a DS child with not fuss or special notice taken of him. His father was played by an über-yuppie control freak type, but it seemed like natural casting. I enjoyed that little side-plot.
There was reference to a back-story which I barely got. It had probably been heavily edited.
In short, enjoyed the Saarland Tatort way more than I expected. Thumbs up.
So, Simone Thomalla, Leipzig commissioner and one of my favorites, is not having her Tatort license to kill renewed. Only two more Leipzig Tatorts will be produced. WHAH!
And tonight is Saarland. I don't think I can force myself to watch that without R. around to share the stupidity with. Saarland Tatort has generally sucked, nämlich.
Bodensee. One of my favorite investigators, Fr. Blum, with her sidekick Herr Perlmann and the dogsbody Beckchen. Fr. Blum is a German triumph, as she is a 'matronly' older woman who never seems intimidated by criminals or embarassed at her own dowdiness. She has dignity. Perlmann is one of the better-looking guys in Tatort. Beckchen is 'keck', or was when I first started watching Tatort -- now her 'interesting' clothes and hair-dos are starting to make her look a bit 'mutton dressed as lamb'. But that is another German triumph: I doubt you'd see this type of person in an American show. A very unusual type.
The murder victim was Bodensee-rich and it was a pleasure to look at the design of his house. The costumer and set designer on this Tatort did an excellent job. Also, I was truly scared at parts of the show.
There was sort of a twist at the ending. The way Perlmann insinuated himself into the milieu was totally unbelieveable and they lost me a bit. The stupid side characters were a time-waste except for the wonderful scene in the boutique, where a customer complains that there is lipstick on one of the wares. "Let me get the 'Flecken-Schere' suggests the boutique owner. And cuts out the offending lipstick stain. The customer's reaction was overdone, but it was a wonderful moment in TV.
I dozed off a bit throughout the second half of the show until I roused myself and played Candy Crush at the same time to keep me awake. R.'s opinion was that the Tatort writers have t
Angry at the world for finding out we missed several good Tatorts over the Christmas holidays, including two of my favorite cities, Kiel and Leipzig. Also realized that I had missed several key moments of the Hessen Tatort with the circus right at the beginning which would have made the episode a LITTLE more comprehensible.
Polizei Ruf is no longer the unwanted stepchild of Sunday night viewing for me: I was happy to see the Rostock officers again (have got to figure out the English word for these kommissars). We even remembered their backstory without prompting: I recalled that the woman (WHAT is her name?) has some kind of DDR flight childhood trauma and R. remembered that Sascha's wife is having an affair with his colleague.
This wasn't a great thriller. There seemed to be too few scenes and all the characters habited them: the neighborhood of Sascha and -- I'll call her Lena -- these neighborhoods seemed incredibly similar. Do they live in the same neighborhood? The police station. The hospital. There was no private sphere where one character was and no one else was, except a CHEAP hotel, where Sascha's wife (a Mr. Burns look-a-like) bonked the colleague, and then celebrated with champagne in bed afterwards, eliciting the comment from R.: Schleimig.
Of course, betraying the police officer husband is not allowed, so there were juxtaposed shots of the wife going at it while her son cries in panic over a sudden asthma attack. Rabenmutter, get thee back to thy child. It was way beyond all subtlety and just annoying.
Also, we saw for the first time that Sascha wears a very brightly inked compass rose on his back with 'Vivian' tattoed underneath. How can you betray someone who has your NAME inked on their BACK?
Side note: Vivian seemed like such a different type from both Sascha and her lover: could not see any chemistry between them at all.
Things I liked: These commissioners are real German types: no effort made to style them or pretty them up. I love that about German TV. Lena is fit, but wears awful clothes, no make-up, and her hair in an unflattering hairstyle. Sascha is rumpled, disheveled, and has a pot belly seemingly just stuck on to his body, as his limbs seems quite normal. I like the police colleagues crazy hair -- long curls put into a sumo wrestlers knot --, but it didn't fit to his character, which seemed uptight and permanently on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I don't think he altered his expression once during the whole episode.
I have to go... let's just say the magic wand of coincidence also generously spread its stardust all along this episode as well. It was obvious who the murderer was after 45 minutes and
Tonight two Tatort programs ushered in the new year. We watched only the first one, through a jet-lagged fog. The second one was advertised as being 'brutal' -- not interested.
Joachim Krol as the investigator in Hessen was an interesting screen presence. However, his character was a drunken wreck and it was difficult to believe he hadn't been thrown out of work months before. His young assistant was charming in a Lena Dunham 'Girls' sort of way -- a physically clumsy, big-boned gal: the actress played the awkwardness so convincingly I wondered whether it was her actual physicality.
This Tatort was marred by the unbelievable set of piled on coincidences. The investigator just happens to witness the murder, executed by the man who just happens to be the lover of his ex-wife (and her former student). No, I'm not riding this Tatort train of impossibility.
It was meant to be a surprise that the ex-wife's lover was her student, but the viewers knew it immediately. In fact, he looked so young, it took me quite a few moments of misunderstanding the dialogue to realize he wasn't her CURRENT student and that the ex-wife had no inkling she had ever taught him. The ex-wife was petite and attractive: there was one poignant moment when she looks with her lover at a photo of herself as a young woman: beautiful and fresh. She asks, "Would you prefer me this way?" and the look her lover gives her is so honest. Instead of getting into a snit, she laughs and throws herself into his arms. This was a surprising reaction and the highlight of the episode for me.
The rest was basically dreary and I understood less and less as it went on, especially the involvement of the US Army in the plot. Lost on me. But it could have been my jet lag.