Column television: bermuda triangle of ironing television

People who are sick watch TV even when normally only RTL losers tune in. And sees rows and rows of men at the stove.

There are few rules in my life – too few, my great new family doctor would say, with a stern motherly look over her glasses. So she came up with a few new ones right off the bat: no milk, no sugar, no … fun. I’d rather spare you the apocalyptic scenarios that she quickly sketched out for me earlier in her consultation. I still feel quite different myself. But my thyroid gland is of normal growth, after all.

Let’s not fool ourselves: I am a sick man – and I don’t get carried away. I even have it in writing: My great new family doctor wrote me off sick – because of a viral infection. So I was already weakened when the other bad news reached me from within. So now I’m lying in my bed again and curing myself.

After a short nap, I’ll probably move back into the living room and break the only golden rule in my life to date, as I did yesterday and the day before and tomorrow, too – at least I’m sticking to it. The rule is: no television before eight. Daytime TV is for losers like those on RTL. Or for sick people like me.

Scripted reality documentaries, courtroom shows, U.S. comedy series, soaps, telenovelas, tabloid magazines – there’s nothing too complex in the blind spot of my attention. The afternoon belongs to iron-on television. It’s nothing more than a sound carpet against the silence and doesn’t want to be anything more.

That’s why no one is bothered – if anyone even notices – by the fact that ZDF broadcasts the same program twice in a row. At 2:15 p.m., "Die Kuchenschlacht" is on, and at 3:05 p.m. "Die Topfgeldjager" – so there’s cooking in the afternoon program, too, of course. And only with water, as the similarities between the formats show: In both shows, amateur chefs compete against each other; at the end of each show, a juror, a TV chef like the host, tastes the results and judges them. Whoever wins gets to come back and continue cooking.

The only notable difference is that in "Die Topfgeldjager," host Steffen Henssler briefly sizzles something on his own and asks four quiz questions. A touching attempt to distract from the parallels. Henssler and juror Frank Rosin were previously on "Kuchenschlacht" before they got their own show in the summer of 2010, where they have maintained their lukewarm love-hate relationship ever since.

"The TV makers stand for fresh ideas and innovative concepts," says the website of the production company for both formats. They also give ZDF the innovative concept "Lafer! Lichter! Lecker!" concept. In it, TV chefs Johann Lafer and Horst Lichter compete against each other, each with a celebrity side chef.

And yet, when I’m zapping, I always get caught up in cooking shows as if they were parties in the kitchen. Today even more so! After all, watching is the only thing I have left, now that I’m hardly allowed to eat anything anymore according to the will of my great new family doctor.

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