Posted by: Chelsea Novak | January 12, 2003

What ARE my neighours watching?

One of the drags of living in an apartment that was once a huge luxurious living space that was chopped into smaller living spaces by the communists, is that the walls in some places aren’t very thick. Add in the fact that our neighbours are an older (read: slighly deaf) couple, and that fact that their TV is right up against the thin little wall that separates our apartments and you have a situation where we always know what they’re watching on TV. Our neighbours next door have some seriously bad taste.

TV in the Czech Republic is pretty bad. True, there are no reality shows, but somehow they only seem to show the worst of American sitcoms, soap operas and movies that have been dutifly dubbed into Czech. There are a couple of bright spots in a couple of Austrian and German cop shows (Komisar Rex, an Austrian show about a really cute and smart German Sheppard police dog and Cobra 11, a show with a massive budget about crimes committed on the Autobahn. It’s much more fun to say the name for Cobra 11 is German, for those of you who can), but generally the TV landscape is awfully grim. In fact, one recent German import has had us laughing about it for a good day now, and we’ve yet to watch an episode. It’s called “Hamburg-city of fear.” Clearly not developed by the City of Hamburg tourism authority. I have no idea what the show is about, but anytime I see or hear the name Hamburg, it’s all I can think about.

Now we can’t claim to be paragons of good TV watching. So when I say that the people next door watch crap, that’s saying a lot. M has a sick facination with teleshopping, I used to be hooked on South American soap operas, we’re both suckers for what we’ve called “The pain show”, which is a Czech version of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and almost all the videos involve someone hurting themself in a funny way and we usually will watch TV shows from North America that we’ll never admit to watching… even under oath… just because they’re from home. It amazing how many “big” actors have acted in really horrible projects before they were big.

So given this 5 channel vacuum of taste you can imagine how much it means to us when Mike sends us tapes of good TV from home. Without our fix of Buffy, Angel, Firefly (sniff), Friends, Scrubs and Enterprise (I kind of like it… sorry), we’ve be pretty sad and mopey characters. We had some friends of ours over on Friday night, one of whom was American, so we watched a couple of episodes of Friends. And we watched everything. The theme song, the commericals, everything. Why? Becuase it was like a connection to the world we’re far away from. While living here is fantastic there are still days when you miss the New World and there’s nothing that would comfort you more than buying a large poutine and a large milk, sitting down in your big comfy chair and watching Simpsons and TNG re-runs, Entertainment tonight and The Osbournes. That said I’m going to turn on my T.V. here. Columbo is on, an even in Czech it still makes me feel a little like home.



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