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Lindenstraße Index The Artificial World on Lindenstraße and Its Distinctions By Merle Radtke Lindenstraße has been lighting up television screens across Germany since December 8, 1985, making it the country’s longest-running soap opera. The show is set in a world unto itself that, Sunday after Sunday, is the scene of stories of every stripe. One plot strand ties in with the next; characters move from one apartment to another, sharing homes, beds, and breakfast tables in constantly shifting constellations. It’s everyone with everyone—in love, engaged, married, separated, divorced, widowed, rinse and repeat. Everything happens in close quarters, under the watchful eyes of lovely loose-lipped neighbors, who can generally be relied on to put in their two cents’ worth. The web of relationships has grown only denser over time, and it’s become difficult to keep track of who’s related to whom and how. Some plotlines have evolved over years or even decades; the Beimer, Zenker, and Beimer-Ziegler families have stuck around through all of them. Produced by Hans W. Geißendörfer, Lindenstraße doesn’t portray the glitzy world of the rich and b eautiful, instead offering up a cross-section of society. The stories revolve around the everyday lives of the residents and reflect the problems of a middleclass society in which moments of joy dependably alternate with strokes of misfortune. Grappling with real-world social as well as political issues and discourses of its day from the very first episode, the show has made German television history for over three decades. The series broke taboos with characters like the openly gay Carsten Flöter, the AIDS patient Benno Zimmermann, and the lesbian Tanja Schildknecht and featured plots around unemployment, teen pregnancy, the challenges of adolescence, marriage crises, the difficulties of old age, social differences, racism, nationalism, environmentalism, and gentrification. Although Lindenstraße is set in Munich, the only take that was actually shot there is the panorama of the Bavarian capital’s inner city with which each episode opens. The rest of the show is recorded on the premises of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk’s studios in Cologne-Bocklemünd, where sets simulate the microcosm along Lindenstraße. The titular street itself is mostly lined by hollow façades without any life behind them; only Café Bayer and the gym, plus the shisha bar, hair salon, and Café George on side streets called Kastanienstraße und Ulrike-Böss-Straße, whose interiors are visible from the streets through large windows, have been built out to make them suitable for shooting. More than virtually any other show, it has systematically rendered stereotypes of German society from the very first episode. Yet this chapter in television history is drawing to a close. After almost thirty-five years, Lindenstraße will be discontinued: a fixture of German entertainment will be killed off.
Published by Volker Renner and Textem Verlag
160 x 240 mm