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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Successful comedy on ZDFneo: Berlin vs. Brandenburg – media – society

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Outside Neukölln, in the commuter belt, in “a nice little house with a garden for relatively little money”. Theo (Benito Bause) and Mari (Maryam Zaree) dream a petit bourgeois dream. Despite annoyance from Mari’s daughter Zoe (Helena Yousefi), they line up at the garden gate in front of the chosen property in Brandenburg, unaware that the so-called agent will soon be her future neighbor. In fact, your chances tend to be zero. Former police officer Andi (Milan Peschel), who lives next door to him with his wife Tracy (Minh-Khai Phan-Thi) and his son Rocco (Minh Hoang Ha), leaves no doubt that he prefers to the Reimers family as the new owners would. Because they’re so blonde “like in the margarine commercial,” as Andi benevolently comments. The fact that things are different in the first episode of the comedy series “Doppelhaushalb” is due to the mishap that Andi had previously made in the bathroom.

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A comedy series can be about family, love and friendship, neighborhood problems, or office chaos. But it is always about communication, about the thousand misunderstandings of human coexistence. The greater the mutual ignorance, the more pronounced the prejudices and the more boldly the series deals with the supposed taboos and language prohibitions, the funnier it is.

[ „Doppelhaushälfte“, ZDFneo, acht Teile, ab Dienstag 21 Uhr 45, jeweils dienstags zwei Folgen, sowie ein Jahr lang in der ZDF-Mediathek]

There is no lack of exaggeration, speed and dialogue humor in the “Twin House” series, written (and in part also directed) by Grimme Prize winner Dennis Schanz (“Skylines”) and Christoph Mushayija Rath. Though not all episodes are equally entertaining: “Two House” mixes clever humor and slapstick, and none of the main characters are so ridiculous that one can’t sympathize with their misadventures.

Milan Peschel plays the ex-policeman Andi, who meddles in everything and always talks too loud, the typical broad-legged man who doesn’t like to doubt himself and who suits the sound of the loud-mouthed Berliner perfectly. However, Peschel plays this essentially unsympathetic character not as a hateful and angry character, but as a tragicomic petty bourgeois who failed as a police officer and now at least prides himself on being a strict law enforcement officer in his private sphere. Although Mari in particular gets on his nerves, Andi ends up supporting his attempt to organize a festival.

mari tries

Unfortunately, Mari, who always tries to use politically correct language and works as a diversity manager at a “big electric car manufacturer” (she probably means Tesla), mostly has to settle for the role of an annoyance. The strongest female character is Tracy, the daughter of Vietnamese contract workers in the GDR, who also speaks the not always considerate simple language of the suburbs and has her Andi in check at all times. Minh-Khai Phan-Thi amazes with her Berlin dialect and calm demeanor as the resourceful owner of a beauty salon.

But can racism be a viable source of comedy? Why not, as long as no jokes are made at the expense of the victims. Rather, Schanz and Rath, who was born in Rwanda, use the exemplary variety of this diversity comedy for witty and funny moments. No one can escape your prejudices here. Tracy automatically reaches for the baseball bat because “an African” (Rocco) is at the door. The friendly music teacher Theo, always trying to find a balance, reacts to his silence with the question: “Do you understand me at all?” Thomas Gehringer


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