The success of the movie Good Bye, Lenin! prompted a whole wave of Ostalgie (nostalgia for the former East Germany) television shows during the summer of 2003. On August 17, the station ZDF kicked things off with its Ostalgie-Show; on August 22, Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk [Central German Broadcasting] premiered Ein Kessel DDR [A GDR Potpourri]. Private broadcasters also got in on the action: starting on August 23, Sat.1 aired two episodes of Meyer and Schulz – the Ultimate East Show; and starting on September 3, RTL aired four episodes of The GDR Show. In October 2003, two “special GDR episodes” of the program Kalkofes Mattscheibe [Kalkofe’s Idiot Box] brought the Ostalgie-wave to a satirical conclusion. While Ostalgie shows portrayed some aspects of the SED-dictatorship, they focused on everyday life and consumer and popular culture to ensure sufficient entertainment value.
The show A GDR Potpourri (its title being a reference to the popular East German variety show A Colorful Potpourri) was hosted by former East German speed skater Franziska Schenk (left) and Dresden singer Gunther Emmerlich (right). The show was produced by the firm of former Bild editor-in-chief Hans-Herrman Tiedje. A GDR Potpourri was heavily criticized by GDR civil rights activists, who feared that presenting the GDR in an entertaining light would lead to a downplaying and “trivialization” of the SED-dictatorship. Photo: Thomas Schulze.