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[personal profile] venta

New Year's Day, in this house, begins with watching the Vienna Philharmonic's concert on telly and eating a massive picnic breakfast.

Today we postponed the breakfast, largely due to last night's "The Unexpected"-themed party featuring unexpected plates of steak and chips.

But the announcer on the telly casually mentioned Dinner for One.

Apparently, there is a black-and-white film of an English comedy sketch which is broadcast at new year in large chunks of Europe. It's a staple in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia, where "everyone" watches it.

Although it was a sketch made popular in UK theatre by UK comedian Freddy Frinton, the short film was made by a German TV company in the 60s. It's been an annual new year fixture since the early 70s - Frinton is all but forgotten in the UK, but he's a household name in Germany. According to one article, the film has never even been broadcast here.

But YouTube can provide, so I've just watched it. It's... OK. Very slapstick.

And I read a few articles about it - Der Spiegel once wrote that Britons finding it so unfunny when Germans love it is  "one of the last unsolved questions of European integration."

Actually, I'd buy into the idea that it is one of those repeat-until-funny sketches, now popular for being popular. It's fun because everyone watches it, and everyone knows it. That and its ready adaptability to a drinking game.

Anyway, if you fancy joining in you can watch it here. There is a transcript of the German introduction which describes the set-up here or a translation here. (The short version is that an elderly lady still holds a birthday party each year for her four best friends, even though she had outlived them; her butler does his best to fill in for them.)

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