October 5, 2009By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Oct 5, 2009
This either means I'm really committed to soaps, or I need to be committed: One of my favorite shows right now isn't even in English. I'm completely and totally addicted to the German drama, ALLES WAS ZAHLT (ALL THAT MATTERS).
And the funny thing about is that some of my friends suggested I pick up this show years ago. For anyone who hangs out in the online soap community, especially the gay storyline sector, AWZ and VERBOTENE LIEBE (FORBIDDEN LOVE) kind of exploded around the same time AS THE WORLD TURNS' Noah and Luke did...and many fans of the latter pairing turned to the former because, well, let's face it, Europe's a tad bit more liberal than we are over here in the States. But I remained resistant! I did give in and watch VL for a while earlier this year, because their signature gay male couple, Christian and Oliver, are adorable but I eventually gave up because I just didn't have time to keep up. This fall, mostly thanks to the fact that ALLES WAS ZAHLT said, "Hey, we have a storyline you might be interested in!" I got back in the game.
And now I'm sucked in. Deniz and Roman, who have a completely messed-up back story, are two skaters whose level of emotional dysfunction makes most American soap characters look normal. But they got back together last week, and I was so giddy that I was practically beside myself. Actors Igor Dolgatschew (Deniz) and Dennis Grabosch (Roman) have a great onscreen rapport, with the ability to play both utter jerks and total sweethearts depending on what the situation calls for. Then there's Deniz's dad, Marian (Sam Eisenstein). He and scheming bad girl Jenny (Silvia Maleen) are definitely my favorite couple on the show. She's half his age, there's class/ethnicity differences and his friends and family loathe her...so they're sneaking around. And it's awesome and risqué (okay, the whole show's a little risqué). Then there's Jenny's rival skater, the pompous Stella, and her boyfriend Lars — though it looks like Stella's imperiousness might be taking a hit due to a surprise pregnancy. And there's Axel and Nina, who basically had to get drunk to admit how they feel about each other. Then Axel acted out Nina's most romantic fantasty by showing up in a limo with roses a la Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. Only he couldn't climb out of the sun roof. I LOL-ed.
Honestly, this show is a kick. It was brought to my attention for its well-crafted and globally popular gay pairing, but I love so much more than that. The overall writing is top notch, and I feel lucky to have met former VL writer/current AWZ writer Tom Chroust when he was in New York last year. He's a huge soap fan himself, and it shows!
Check out Deniz, Roman and the rest of the crazy denizens (hee!) of AWZ on YouTube, via The Eskimo Kiss Project, a channel with some great subtitlers. They don't miss a single joke or nuance.
And pick up our Oct. 20 issue, on stands this Friday, for an article featuring Grabosch, Dolgatschew, and writer Christoph Schlewinski.