You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Teutons tune to Turkish delight

Laffer centers on teen whose mother moves in with her bf

LONDON — The outrage over Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed had everybody thinking that jokes about Muslims were verboten. But now a sitcom called “Turkish for Beginners” has Germans laughing in relief along with the 2.4 million expat Turks who live in the country.

The series centers on a German teenager whose mother moves in with her Turkish boyfriend and his two children.

“This is about people from different cultures who’ve been thrown together into a family from which they can’t escape. They argue, they fight, but at the end of the day they belong together,” says producer Alban Rehnitz of Munich-based Hofmann & Voges. “I guess in a way the family in this sitcom is a metaphor for the nation as a whole.”

Penned by Turkish-German scribe Bora Dagtekin, the show has had excellent reviews. It’s particularly popular among young women, reaching ratings of 23% in that demo for pubcaster ARD.

Although it’s essentially a family sitcom, religious issues are not ignored: Much to the chagrin of the family’s German daughter, the Turkish daughter wears a headscarf and annoys her stepsister by waking up to the blaring sound of a mullah alarm clock.

Says Rehnitz: “After the Danish cartoons, we checked whether the series might be in any way offensive to Muslim viewers. But we didn’t make any changes because it has a multicultural and completely inoffensive tone.”

Rehnitz says the basic idea behind the series was to make a sitcom about “the patchwork family and the multicultural marriage.”

“Turkish for Beginners” isn’t the first attempt to create a German-Turkish sitcom for a mainstream audience. Last year, commercial net Sat1 tried with a sitcom called “The King of Kreuzberg,” but axed the show after poor ratings.

And if the plans of other broadcasters are anything to go by, the time is right for Turkish-German material.

RTL is soon to broadcast a comedy entitled “Everyone Loves Jimmy,” about a macho Turkish man and his two sisters. And ProSieben is doing the Turkish version of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” focusing on the proprietor of a Berlin record shop who marries a kebab shop owner’s daughter.

More TV

  • 21st Century Fox Decides to Ditch

    Fox Decides to Ditch Its Stake in Sky for $15 Billion

    LONDON — The outrage over Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed had everybody thinking that jokes about Muslims were verboten. But now a sitcom called “Turkish for Beginners” has Germans laughing in relief along with the 2.4 million expat Turks who live in the country. The series centers on a German teenager whose mother moves […]

  • National Geographic Lands Michael Palin’s North

    Nat Geo Takes Michael Palin’s North Korea Special to the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

    LONDON — The outrage over Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed had everybody thinking that jokes about Muslims were verboten. But now a sitcom called “Turkish for Beginners” has Germans laughing in relief along with the 2.4 million expat Turks who live in the country. The series centers on a German teenager whose mother moves […]

  • Sean Muller iSpot TV

    TV Ad Tracker iSpot.tv Raises $30 Million in Funding

    LONDON — The outrage over Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed had everybody thinking that jokes about Muslims were verboten. But now a sitcom called “Turkish for Beginners” has Germans laughing in relief along with the 2.4 million expat Turks who live in the country. The series centers on a German teenager whose mother moves […]

  • Sky takeover. Undated file photo of

    What Does Sky Look Like With Comcast at the Controls? (Analysis)

    LONDON — The outrage over Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed had everybody thinking that jokes about Muslims were verboten. But now a sitcom called “Turkish for Beginners” has Germans laughing in relief along with the 2.4 million expat Turks who live in the country. The series centers on a German teenager whose mother moves […]

  • Sky, Foxtel Order 'The End,' Starring

    Sky, Foxtel Order 'The End,' Starring Harriet Walter, Frances O’Connor

    LONDON — The outrage over Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed had everybody thinking that jokes about Muslims were verboten. But now a sitcom called “Turkish for Beginners” has Germans laughing in relief along with the 2.4 million expat Turks who live in the country. The series centers on a German teenager whose mother moves […]

  • Eva Green Joins BBC’s ‘The Luminaries’

    Eva Green Joins BBC’s ‘The Luminaries’ Adaptation

    LONDON — The outrage over Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed had everybody thinking that jokes about Muslims were verboten. But now a sitcom called “Turkish for Beginners” has Germans laughing in relief along with the 2.4 million expat Turks who live in the country. The series centers on a German teenager whose mother moves […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content