I am spoiled and so are my girls. We love our American TV and seem to watch quite a bit of it. Although, if I am to be truly honest, I watch loads more than both Becka and Ally combined. Part of the reason we watch so much TV in English is that German TV isn’t so hot. At least, not in my opinion. Of course, there are great kid’s shows like Wissen Macht Ah! and Logo, but most of the cartoons are American shows dubbed into German. My argument, which has been taken over completely by both girls, is that: If the show is in English, then we will watch it in English. Even though we had the opportunity to see the press showing of High School Musical 3 via the film group, Ally didn’t want to go. She said: “I think I’d rather see it in English first. I don’t think the German is translated well enough.” Wow!!
I have always said that I can’t be the only resource of English for my children, so starting with Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, my girls have watched English DVDs. They worked their way through the Disney line up and are now interested in other things such as Night in the Museum 2, High School Musical 1-3, Hannah Montana for Ally, and Gilmore Girls, 7th Heaven and the O.C. for Becka. Yes, I have had to import quite a bit from the USA., but it is worth it to have that extra external English boost for their vocabulary and grammar. I’d like to think it was a wise decision to expose them to so much TV when their German friends didn’t watch as much. Their English is smooth, accents are OK and they don’t usually have to grope for vocabulary when talking with their American cousins.
I like watching American DVDs, whether movies or TV series, just for the cultural aspect. The longer I live in Germany, the further I feel I am moving away from my American culture. Through TV series, I can continue to be a part of the culture on the other side of the Atlantic and can hold my own around the water cooler, so to speak. I know what is happening on the most popular shows and that gives me the feeling of still “fitting in” back home.
We have recently subscribed to Kabel Deutschland and now have access to the Engllish programing. I have to say that I am not too tickled with it. Sure, I can view some American and British shows, but not when I want to watch them. Most of the interesting things are shown in the afternoon, when I am in the midst of helping with homework, tutoring in English or grocery shopping. I guess I could tape them and watch them at my leisure, but I enjoy the fact that I can pop a DVD in and enjoy my favorite shows for however long I have the time for: 30 minutes, an hour or more! The nice thing is that I am not the only one who does this. Many of my English-speaking girlfriends buy seasons of TV shows, too, and we trade them around like baseball cards. We each invest a minimal amount individually and reap the benefits of each others’ purchases.
Sometimes life is truly grand!
originally published in Currents Jan/Feb 2010