I have a guilty secret. The introspective, introverted bookworm watches television. It's not something I'm proud of. After all, I'm an intellectual. I never exactly learned how to be an intellectual. It's not exactly a certificate earning course of study. However, I'm pretty sure they don't watch television. What makes it worse--this show is on late Saturday night--another embarrassing time, as I ought to be out with others. Only I have no other with whom to go out. So I alone am watching the German sitcom, "CRIME SCENE CLEANER." Aha, I know what you're thinking. "Ach, a German sitcom?" "Isn't that an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp?"
I'm multifaceted. I interact with my 1-D friends from literature and with my 1-D friends from videos. Viggo Mortensen as Strider. And now Bjarne Madel as Schottke, the hangdogged face, stooped postured, laconic working slob crime scene cleaner.
It's a more somber sort of sitcom. First of all--no laughtrack. Yay. I find laughtracks embarrassing. I think the actors should be embarrassed. The laughs are titrated for some unknown audience, and allow actors to go flat and not learn from their mistakes.
Ach, but I digress.
"Crime Scene Cleaner" is about a crime scene cleaner, a "ganz normal" job--he has a contract with the police to come in and clean up after the German CSI team has finished. You see discrete shots of blood strewn rooms, and Schottke (the cleaner) scrubbing it clean. He is proud of his career--after all, he has to know all sorts of chemical reactions and how cleansing agents react. He is too casual and somewhat of a slacker. He'll walk in, turn on the victim's television, watch soccer, make himself a snack. In the first episode, the victim's prostitute walks in. Schottke pours them glasses of champagne (she feels faint upon seeing the scene) and arranges for her to fellate him on the scene. But before she does, he uses the still bloody bathroom, slaps on some of his host's cologne, and finds the host has clean underwear, which he dons.
So far I've seen four episodes. My favorite--last night's. Schottke walks in and finds the victim was the leader of a neo-Nazi "private club." Hitler memorabilia adorns the room. The leader tries to convince Schottke to join. Schottke at first tries to argue back, then realizes, the leader isn't listening and doesn't care. When Schottke brings up the death of six million Jews, the leader scornfully replies, "Why do we have to be defined by the Holocaust?" The leader invites Schottke to come to a meeting, and Schottke replies, "Unfortunately, I'm meeting my friend Abi for some kebob." The leader responds, "I have nothing against them, but that they put their kebobs in our German women." Schottke decides to go to work and the leader leaves, putting a brutish ape of a man in charge to "supervise." The ape asks if Schottke is homosexual, because he has an earring. Schottke tries to educate him about which ear is the gay ear, but the ape can't comprehend such subtleties. The ape demands Schottke remove the earring. Schottke has a brief fantasy of beating the living daylights out of the ape, but soon realizes how easily the tables could be turned. So he tells the ape that he "can't, because the skin grew over and he would need surgery to get it out." He puts some solution into a testtube and starts telling the ape about the specialized training he received to understand chemical reactions and how to problem solve cleaning issues. He soon realizes the ape knows nothing about this topic. He purses his lips and tells the ape that the solute reveals the presence of roach eggs all over the memorabilia. The ape becomes alarmed. Unless all the memorabilia is removed and taken to a special cleaning site, poof--roaches will hatch and take over the room and swarm all (in a satirical parallel, I suppose, to the Nazi's brutal conquest of Sudentenland, Poland, and the other uber alles. The ape is alarmed, He is helpless before the spectre of a roach infestation. Schottke tells the ape that the solution to this problem--he can call for a truck and they will take all the memorabilia and have them specially cleaned. The ape is unsure--he doesn't have the authority. Schottke reassures him he does, and he will get receipts for everything. The ape wants to leave and agrees. A truck with several dark haired, dark skinned men arrives-and Schottke papers the ape up and down. As soon as the ape drives off, the truck is revealed as a garbage truck and the workers, with little care, start breaking the memorabilia and tossing them all around and into the truck. When the first Neo-Nazi leader returns, Schottke is all alone. He tells the leader that the ape told him that he had the authority to remove the memorabilia and repaint the room. The last scene--we see the room has been cleaned, is bare, and is a dusky rose color. Can you imagine a similar comedy in this country? Politically incorrect.
Another episode which left me feeling wistful and in withdrawal from this series (no more shows until next week). Schottke is called to clean the apartment of a man who died of a heart attack and collapsed on the floor. Schottke,as is his wont, goes into the apartment and makes himself at home. The man was a magician and Schottke is playing with the gadgets. All of a sudden,the fey lover of the closeted magician pops up and accosts Schottke. The lover is in denial of the wife's right to bury her husband as she pleases. He is trying to hide the body and prevent the mortician from collecting him. Schottke gets in the way and is tricked and bound hand and foot, then gagged so the lover can do as he will with the body. He drags Schottke into a closet like device (where the assistant would walk in, tap a fake wall, and disappears. Schottke persuades him to take the gag off, as he has nausea. Then Schottke is upset--he has claustrophobia--his sister used to torture him by locking him in closets as a child. But the lover reminds him that as a straight man being in close proximity with a gay male is probably worse. Schottke and the lover struggle and the closet tips over, falling on the ferret which one of the friends had left on a lease nearby. Schottke and the guy are now hugging and the lover is on top of Schottke. An amazing sight gag--handdogged Schottke, and trim, tidy fey guy.
Soon they are exchanging confidentialities. The lover wants to know if Schottke is happy and Schottke takes a long pause. He confides that he would like to be a father and imagines what it would be like to have a son or daughter. He worries that he would make the same mistakes as his father, and hopes that he at least wouldn't. It is such a heavy moment. Finally, they both come out of the closet and make a date at a gay bar. Schottke says he will drink "warm Prosecco." The lover says, "Oh no you won't. You'll drink vodka and I will drink you under the table." In the last scene, Schottke is walking down the street, and dumps the dead ferret in a garbage can.
No, dear reader. My German is not fluent. Es tut mir leiden and herzliche grossen is my limit. Add to that sachertort, S-bahn, Hoffluge, Ansgang, Aufgang, and farfenugen and you have the span of my conversational abilities. "Crime Scene Cleaner" is subtitled.