all a bit German now
And as we discovered in the jaunty Make Me a German, playing by the rules is a very German thing.
BBC journalist Justin Rowlatt and his wife Bee headed to Nuremberg with the younger two of their four children in tow to spend a week living like typical Germans. The typical German man, it turns out, is called Thomas Muller, the most common name among males.
The typical German woman would, if she chose to marry and have children, be expected to stay at home looking after them and doing an average of 4.28 hours housework a day while hubby goes out to work.
Germany doesn’t have a glass ceiling; it’s more like reinforced concrete. Working mothers who place their children in all day childcare facilities are regarded as neglectful.
Justin, meanwhile, seemed to b nike air max 2015 e living the life of Reilly or rather Muller. He landed a ‘job’ with pencil company Faber Castell, one of the innumerable small to medium ‘Mittelstand’ enterprises credited with Germany’s rapid economic growth.
The company prides itself on treating its workers well. Justin, were he a real employee, would be paid a starting salary of 2,082 a month (pretty good given it’s the German minimum wage), with a generous pension plan, excellent healthcare cover, transport expenses, six weeks’ holidays, lower taxes than here or in Britain, and the possibility of a bonus payment at the end of the year.
The working day is eight hours, including an hour for lunch in the subsidised canteen, where you can buy an excellent meal for 1. On the downside, life in a pencil factory is every bit as exciting as you’d e nike air max 2015 xpect life in a pencil factory woul nike air max 2015 d be, and when the Germans say work, they mean work.
When Justin wasn’t tending the pencil stacking machine, he was expected to busy himself by brushing the floor. Using your mobile or mucking around on social media are also verboten although that last rule might strike some of us as a good thing.
Unless you’re a mother yearning for a career, life in Germany, where rent is quite cheap and a ticket to see Bayern Munich costs just 15, looked pretty enticing . . . at least until the Rowlatts’ new found friend, a young cop called Jurgen, turned up on Sunday, the traditional day of rest, to politely inform them a neighbour had complained about their noisy children.
Sitcoms sometim nike air max 2015 es take time to grow, so it’s nice to see the BBC giving it another whirl.
It doesn’t matter that the plots last night’s involved Michael in hospital with suspected rabies and Arthur passing himself off as a doctor, complete with mock ER title sequence are wafer thin, or that you can see some of the jokes coming.
The first duty of a comedy is to be funny, and this is. Arthur entering the cafe with four dogs and a bag of poo; Arthur talking rambling nonsense at a talent show audition about dogs taking over the world and riding horses and wielding guns like the monkeys in Planet of the Apes (“I’m glad that’s blown over!”). Funny! And how many sitcoms can get away with all that silliness and then thump you with a poignant closing scene about ageing, loss and loneliness? Keep going strong, Arthur.