This ironic mini series deals with Baby Schimmerlos, gossip reporter of Munich tabloid "MATZ", and the city's legendary high society circles. As everyone who believes to be important wants ...
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Vicco von Bülow,
Vicco von Bülow,
This ironic mini series deals with Baby Schimmerlos, gossip reporter of Munich tabloid "MATZ", and the city's legendary high society circles. As everyone who believes to be important wants to be in his column, Baby's job isn't an easy one. Beside the small and big scandals of more or less glamorous people he has to take care of his neglected girlfriend Mona who finally starts a singing career... Written by
Some of the best that (South)-German TV of the 80's had to offer
Together with the mini-series "Monaco Franze" (also directed by Helmut Dietl), "Kir Royal" was one of the finest shows produced by German TV. Whereby, we have to use the word "German" very loosely, since both shows have been produced in the free-state of Bavaria, particularly its capital Munich. Munich: fondly referred to by the locals as "the Monaco of the south" (and by non-Bavarians, so-called Prussians, as "Germanys Palermo").
See, Munich is rather unique when it comes to the parallel societies, the rigid social-hierarchy, that often reminds of the Indian caste system: You're either average working-class, lovingly referred to by the upper-class as "scum", or you're part of the "Schickeria". The "Schickeria", which consists the so-called "important people", the upper-ten-thousand, the rich, the new money, royalty, politicians, wannabes and hanger-ons. As part of the Schickeria, you have the obligation to party all night, eat only the fanciest of foods (whether you like that food or not) and, most importantly, you'll need to see your picture in next mornings newspaper. That is where boulevard-reporter Baby Schimmerlos comes in and that is what makes Baby "the king of Munich".
There are distinct similarities between Schimmerlos and the above mentioned "Monaco Franze": both are archetypal characters that you'll only find in Munich. Both are proletarians, hailing from the lower end of society and have elbowed their way into the upper-ten-thousand. But where Monaco Franze is a local Casanova, a sort of lovable scoundrel, Schimmerlos is an ice-cold, ruthless reporter, who has but one thing on his mind: to dig up as much dirt as possible, have it printed under his name and, almost more important, under his picture. Schimmerlos decides who is "in" and who is not, which makes him the untitled king-maker of the Schickeria, a man to be feared, hated but to whom you better suck up to if you want to be part of the elite.
It would be difficult to find sympathy for a character like Schimmerlos (or, in a matter of fact, for any of the shallow, duplicitous, narcissistic folk that portray the members of the Schickeria). Schimmerlos has nothing but disdain for his upper-class "friends", treats his photographer Herbie more like a manservant or a dog, his girlfriend Mona just slightly better, and his secretary Edda like a slave. Generally Baby has only sympathy for one and only one person: Baby Schimmerlos. What makes the viewer root for Schimmerlos is the excellent play by actor Franz Xaver Kroetz. Same goes for the rest of the cast, which consists only of the cream of the crop of German film, TV, comedy and cabaret.
The magic word is "satire". If you're looking for slapstick or contrived comedy, you won't find any in "Kir Royal". The comedic aspects are created purely by the situations and the characters and if you've ever spent some time in Munich, you'll notice that all characters and situation are spot on and eerily realistic.
Another aspect that makes the show special is the fact that director Dietl and screenwriter Patrick Süskind (author of "The Perfume") knew when to stop. Unlike many modern shows, who don't shy away from churning out the most ludicrous storyline in the hope of surviving another season, "Kir Royal" says all that is has to say in six episodes.
A final word about the meaning of "Kir Royal", which is a cocktail of champagne and Crème de Cassis: if you want to be "in" you better be ready to put your 20 bucks on the table for a glass of Kir Royal (but be warned: it tastes horrible). Otherwise, when in Munich, you'll have to drink beer like the rest of the "scum".
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