I don’t think Germans can read and other Lucinda musings on television

Dubbing vs subtitles

There’s a lot of American, and some British, TV shows on German TV.

And it is ALL dubbed.

I watched an episode of Miss Marple with Joanna Lumley! Dubbed! Joanna Lumley, dubbed!!!! Both her and Miss Marple’s voices are so distinctive. It loses something without their own voices.

Many lifestyle shows are annoyingly dubbed. They start with a few words of the English speaker, then have the English soft in the background while the German is dubbed over the top and sometimes end with the English again.

What is the point?

Is it to show the show isn’t originally in German? Which is stupid ’cause it is obviously not German.

Why can’t they just use subtitles? What do the Germans have against subtitles?

In Italy, I’ve found a host of shows not dubbed and without subtitles. Law and Order SVU. Bay Watch. Father Brown. (Shows I wouldn’t watch at home – more on that in a minute.)

Strangely, some of the titles and end titles were in Italian, like the disclaimer of Law and Order not being a true story, but then all the dialogue was all in English.

Where do you stand on this? Dubbing or subtitles? Which do you prefer?

Crap TV

While thinking about dubbing, I realised I watched several hours of a crap TV show – RBT and several episodes of Law and Order (the latter not all crap) – over several nights while travelling. I watched for no reason. Just put it on and left it on.

Then again, sometimes I feel like watching something light on TV. Something mindless, but not annoyingly so, on the idiot box so I can switch my thoughts off and relax.

One night in Rome I had one of those moments. I needed to watch something light. (I know. Watching TV while in Rome!!! But we’d walked over 20,000 steps that day and we were not going out after dinner.)

My choice of English speaking programs was extremely limited. There was one program.

So I watched it. The Worst TV forensic crime drama EVER! CSI Miami, I think. The script, costumes, lack of reality, delivery of lines, characterisation, how the people died. It was shit with a capital S. I watched the whole episode just to be sure. Yep. Pretty atrocious.

While I’d never watch this at home, I realised I watch too much shit on TV at home. Out of habit, I put the TV on and sit in front of it after dinner and fall asleep or am just too tired to get up, turn the TV off and go to bed.

Watching TV every night, whether it be crap or something more worthy – is a habit I need to break!

I didn’t need it every night while travelling.

So while travelling I decided to break the mindless watching TV thing when I get home.

Two weeks in, it hasn’t been going too badly. It has been helped by the fact that a son pulled out the cord for the cable TV so I only get free to air. But I just haven’t felt the need to find out how to fix it. So I leave the TV off.

Do you watch TV out of habit? Do you just automatically turn it on?

9 thoughts on “I don’t think Germans can read and other Lucinda musings on television

  1. I think you should watch as much TV as you want! If I’m anything to go by, the mindless ‘veg out’ time is a vacuum that will be filled…by something! anything! might as well be TV!

    Here, Mr D kind of owns the couch and remote so I literally never watch TV. I just fell out of the habit of struggling over who watches what. But I fill the gap with mindless internet browsing, YouTubing and the like. What’s worse?!

    On dubbing vrs subtitles…I’m going to root for dubbing. I find it utterly hilarious. And also a good way to pick up slang and contemporary speech in French. My absolute fave was watching ‘Modern Family’ dubbed in France! 😀

    • Yes. And I suppose we pick up interesting things while internetting. Like I found a way to immobilise people when they interlock their fingers. Very useful to show my power.

      But nooooo on the dubbing. Wouldn’t you rather watch a French movie with subtitles?

  2. My husband watches TV in his man cave. I stopped watching TV altogether over two years ago. I don’t miss it. I don’t watch the news (e.g. our local news being WDC is basically national news and I can’t bear to see or hear the orange idiot). I don’t watch the weather. Or shows. Or movies. It has just become a habit not to watch TV. Certainly avoiding the news, politics and advertisements, including endless years of vicious political ads, has reduced my blood pressure. Most of my leisure time is spent reading, listening to audio-books or music, or working mind puzzles. I do follow the news/weather through various sources online–international and national papers, etc., so while I am informed, I am not at the mercy of pontificating talking heads on TV–which abound in my neck of the woods. All experts and no sense. I realize not watching any TV isn’t everyone’s cup of tea–but it works for me.

    • I meant subtitles if the show is in another language rather than dubbing. When I watch s foreign film I have English subtitles rather than dubbing in English. I suppose I just got used to reading subtitles, growing up on SBS.

  3. I almost entirely watch TV on demand – on my laptop in bed, which isn’t great ‘sleep hygiene’. But it does dissuade shit show watching.

    Oh I watched some things on my travels – namely in Naples. Not all in English, actually few were. But some show are nice background noise as I ‘internetted’

    I hate English shows being dubbed – but that’s just selfish – I wanna listen in my native language. I often can’t fathom ‘reading’ subtitles for foreign TV shows, especially when tired.

  4. Rom and I just got cable TV back after 4 years without. I thought I would still like the home decorating and property shows I used to watch, but none of the good ones are ever on when I check. Those kinds of shows have changed their emphasis and a lot of them focus on expensive homes, vacation homes or international homes – none of which interest me. So, Rom has the couch and the remote, as mentioned above! And he has been watching one movie after another every weekend. Before that, he would have been watching YouTube videos.

    When we were in the UK in Sept, I bought the DVD of the Fleabag TV series which has only aired on Amazon Prime here. I loved it sooo much! In fact we are going to the filmed version of the stage play this weekend.

    I adore subtitles. I find a combination of household noise and Rom’s continuous chatter makes it hard for me to watch anything, so I even put the subtitles on sometimes for shows in English! I read even more easily than I can listen.

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