Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Verbotene Liebe

In my ongoing quest to do anything except what I’m supposed to be doing, I have discovered .... a German soap opera! Or rather, bits of a German soap opera. I can’t find full episodes, not in English anyway. Instead, fans of particular characters pull out those story lines and post them on YouTube. They’ve even provided subtitles, bless their obsessive little hearts.

The soap opera is called Verbotene Liebe. It seems pretty much like an American soap opera, but because everyone is speaking German, it sounds sophisticated and poetic, like Rilke. It almost makes me want to learn German. Oh wait, I tried that in college under the influence of Wings of Desire. One semester made me grateful that most Germans learn English so they can communicate with idiots like me. I haven’t watched a soap opera since high school, when I used to moon over Robert Scorpio on General Hospital. He had an Australian accent, you see. Which just goes to show you that an accent will go a long way with me.

Verbotene has a gazillian storylines, I gather, but so far I’ve investigated just two: Oliver and Christian, and Carla and Hanna/Vanessa/Stella/Susanne. Carla seems to get around, the minx. I last saw a portion of the story about Carla and Suzanne, the smitten taxi driver. Suzanne’s love for Carla was unrequited. It was unrequited for a whole lot of episodes, which was getting really tedious, until the plot finally propelled Carla into Susanne’s arms, knocking her lunch to the ground and startling the passersby. They go on to get married, have a baby, invite a viper into their home, and, well, I haven’t gone further. Carla and Susanne are both kind of insipid and have a phenomenal lack of chemistry. Honestly, any couple that kisses like that is doomed to a life of flannel nighties and Ovaltine. The L Word definitely does it better.

The Olli and Christian story has been much more enjoyable because they are most definitely not doomed to flannel and Ovaltine and yet they are so adorable you wish they were available as plush toys.

Their story goes something like this:
  • Olli and Christian don’t like each other
  • Olli and Christian are friends, sort of
  • Olli begins to like Christian a LOT
  • Olli kisses Christian’s girlfriend
  • Olli kisses Christian
  • Christian freaks out and gets confused
  • Olli tries to be a good friend.
  • Christian continues to freak out.
  • For several more episodes Christian freaks out
  • Olli continues to be really nice to the jerk
  • Olli and Christian hook up
  • Christian freaks way the hell out
  • Olli (who was already exhibiting signs of emotional masochism a few steps back) tries to be understanding and supportive
  • Christian finds nearest girl to date
  • Olli decides to screw understanding and support, and maybe the hot guy he meets at the club
  • Christian is madly jealous
  • Olli is ever so slightly impatient
  • Christian has a revelation: I’m gay!
  • Tender love scene to “Breathe Me” by Sia
  • Everyone’s happy.
  • Until formerly uptight Christian comes out in the most dramatic way possible. After a boxing competition. In the boxing ring. By kissing Olli. For a very long time. Audience looks stunned at this unexpected entertainment, which is only supposed to happen in Bruno.
  • Olli gets beat up by – you’ll never guess – a homophobic boxer
  • Olli lies in hospital at death’s door
  • The non-homicidal boxers rally round Christian and even hug him without worrying about cooties
  • Olli survives
  • Olli and Christian live happily ever after in abiding adorableness
  • Awwwwww
Except, it’s in my nature to skip ahead, so I know that somewhere along the line Christian has to give up boxing due to a heart defect and Olli opens his own bar and starts wearing one of those Israeli scarves that I associate with the smell of clove cigarettes and earnest discourse.

(Note: Good gravy, the official Verbotene Liebe website actually has a Christian and Olli blog. I found it by locating the words “blog” and “English” on the all German site. It's so nice they've made accommodation for us language slobs. Oh, lordy, I think this may be almost too cute.)

This being a soap opera, I imagine there will have to be a terminal illness, a death, an affair, a double-crossing intruder, a dark secret from the past, embezzlement, a long-lost twin, amnesia, a baby, or perhaps all of those to keep the story going.

By that time I will have moved on to something else. I hear Hollyoaks has its merits…


  1. And also, someone who was once dead needs to come back to life.

  2. Thanks to your entertaining review I feel like I have seen it and don't need to wander over to YouTube...LOL

  3. ..until Ollie and Christian discover that they are really half brothers!
    Now that's some Verbotene Liebe right there.

  4. Hubby says he actually watched some of this whilst staying with friends in Germany. I don't know if you know this but the programme title translates as Forbidden Love - aah, sweet.

  5. JP: Good thought. You have a future in writing for soap operas. There, I've solved any possible career issues you may have.

    Petty: Well, this particular story was interesting. Hard for me to tell about the rest. Yeah, Forbidden Love - oo la la. Some of Hollyoaks seems interesting. Just saw an episode where someone poisoned the gay episcopal priest who just heard a murderer's confession and who was also pining for his about to be husband who had suddenly run back to his old boyfriend. Whew.

    MomPriest: Really no need to watch, except that they are very pretty. :)

    Sling: Hmmm. Now that's an idea. You and JP could start writing soaps together.