In Germany, everyone is fat, constantly drunk on beer
, dressed in lederhosen, eats nothing but sausages and pretzels, and gets totally ticked off whenever somebody mentions The War
. If you're lucky, you might get a mention of more recent events - such as the Berlin Wall
and David Hasselhoff
It's pretty likely that the beer is being served by one of those wenches with gravity-defying blonde braids and big breasts pushed up by the 'uplift bodice' on her dirndl. If so, expect Oh Du Lieber Augustin.
If you're in a modern nightclub, expect to it to be a strange one involving a lot of leather. And possibly nihilism
This has partly to do with the fact that many American and British units were assigned the southern part of Germany as their occupation zone at the end of WW II and as such most of their military personnel took their experiences of bucolic Bavaria as the archetype of all things German back home. Another contributing factor is that a significant portion of the German immigrants to America came from the rural regions of Southern and Eastern Germany- especially Bavaria. To this day one will find German Americans proudly operating traditional
Biergartens and breaking out the Leiderhosen, steins, sausage, polka, and sauerkraut at any opportunity, much to the chagrin of any modern Germans trying to shed exactly this folksy image. While the intention is an honest celebration of their heritage, it can reach a point of Misaimed Fandom
at times, similar to the enthusiasm of those of Oirish descent
Of course, many foreign authors discover there is more than one region of Germany. Sadly these "discoveries" tend to include
regions like the Black Forest
where they grow cuckoo clocks, fairy tales
, and gingerbread houses. In Prussia
, of course, the men all have crew cuts, monocles, duelling scars and "Vays off makink you talk"
, and their Distaff Counterpart The Baroness
is happy to assist. Oddly, while the stigmatic association with swastikas and blitzkrieg is fading as time progresses, this archetype seems to be morphing
into an image of tight-laced basketcases
, and Dominatrixes
who frequent badly lit discotheques blaring Electronic Music
, and their ways of making you talk might just be marzipan, chocolate, and the baroness
. But be prepared to listen to a detailed history
of Imperial Germany
went and ruined it for everyone.
German fiction has tropes of its own regarding "Ossis und Wessis" (former East
Germans respectively): Wessis are supposedly materialistic, arrogant assholes, while Ossis are usually poor, bad-tempered, lazy whiners. And Berlin
is the Freestate Amsterdam
of Germany (which, truth be told, isn't too far off the mark—although it also has shades of NYC
and Washington, too).
By the way, Germans do have a sense of humor
. Although a stereotype, it's still better than the other thing Germany is known for.
But not much. Invoking this stereotype will give you a very hard time making friends with any Germans.
Oh, and by the way, Oktoberfest is celebrated in both late September AND through early October.
Anime & Manga
- One episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex takes place in Berlin. While the episode mostly manages to stay clear of this trope, the street on which Batou is waiting in the front of a shop would fit much better into an old and traditional Bavarian village and looks nothing like downtown Berlin.
- Then again, it would be pretty weird if it did look like modern Berlin, considering Berlin is mentioned to have been destroyed and rebuilt twice in the series back story.
- Despite being Japanese, Monster complete averts it and is actually one of the most realistic portrayals of the Bonn and The Berlin Republic in non-German fiction. It even deals with the difficulties of east German officals integrating into a new society that regards their former government as criminals, which is quite difficult to explain to outsiders.
- Alfi (cousin of Rudi) and his village. It's a German comic.
- A scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory caused unintended hilarity in German cinemas, when it showed a tiny Bavarian village fitting the trope and subtitled it "Düsseldorf, Germany" - the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, a completely different region, which is known for its huge urban sprawl.
- The Griswalds from National Lampoon's European Vacation go to Germany to meet their German relatives, except they weren't.
- The entire German cast from Beerfest is made of tall, drunken Germans in lederhosen, a Prussian gentleman grandpa, an old skinny grandma who eats nothing but bratwurst, and a group of German guys dressed like U-boat sailors. Plus, the story begins at the actual Oktoberfest, and the entire plot is about an Oktoberfest-like drinking tournament.
- We never visit Germany itself in the musical The Producers, but Franz Liebkind has both the lederhosen and the not-very-secretive Nazi adoration. And a really stupid accent. Oktoberfest imagery is also plentiful in the "Springtime for Hitler" production number.
- Something of a subversion near the end of Downfall. Near the end of the movie, a militia group is seen executing civilians for "defecting" (fleeing the Soviet bombardment). Most members are regularly dressed but their leader is seen wearing traditional German clothing, including lederhosen and the feathered hat. Somehow this makes him more intimidating than Narmy.
- The song "I Love Louisa" from The Band Wagon.
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again has the hilarious scene where Clouseau goes to the Oktoberfest and several dozen assassins from around the world accidentally kill each other while trying to kill him.
- At one point in Octopussy, James Bond is forced to hitch a ride with a portly German couple who keeps offering him beer and wurst, which he politely declines.
- In Fast Times at Ridgemont High Mark Ratner takes Stacy on a date to a German restaurant. The waitress who serves them is a rubenesque woman wearing lederhosen.
- Das Schützenfest. (Technically something different than Oktoberfest, but the cliches in the lyrics are the same.)
- Well... the Oktoberfest, really. And no, it neither celebrates beer nor does it celebrate the fact that it's October. It celebrates the jubilee of the 1810 wedding of the Bavarian Prince Ludwig I (later King Ludwig I of Bavaria, the grandfather of King Ludwig II) and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on the same spot, just outside the city limits of Munich (in 1810, that was, as the city engulfed it. Nowadays, it's in the city centre). Not that it would be an easy task to find any German who knows this.
- Cincinnati is a known example for this trope during Oktoberfests, along with many places in the world with a high German colony will become mini Oktoberfests or host similar festivals, i.e. Blumenau in Brazil and Kitchener (formerly Berlin, Ontario) in Canada.
- German songs bang on about this to the extent that the Deutschlandlied, from which one part was taken to become the national anthem, has a second stanza (repeated in the chorus) to this effect:
Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang.
German Women, German loyalty,
German Wine and German song.
- As of 1990, only the third stanza of the Deutschlandlied is recognized as the national anthem. That's the one about unity, justice and freedom. The first stanza was deemed too nationalist to be part of the anthem of united Germany, and had the taint of the Nazis besides (they had sung only the first stanza, and then jumped into the Horst-Wessel-Lied). The second stanza was deemed to be too drunk and informal to be the anthem of any country.
- At a cruder level, there are interminable German student songs, invariably about imbibing huge quantities of beer (Im Schwarzen Walfisch, Krambambuli et al), generally sung at the Kneipe, which is a sort of Oktoberfest organised by ultra-conservative German student fencing (Mensur, a crude summary would be fencing standing still, with sharp sabres, and no head protection beyond goggles. The aim is to take hits silently) Corps.
- Many breweries in the United States and other non-German countries sell seasonal craft beers to commemorate Oktoberfest. Such beers are usually premium German-style lagers that are only available during the months of September and October.
- The japanese restaurant "Die Wurst" is bavarian themed with waitresses wearing "Dirndl" and "Lederhosen".
- Leavenworth Washington, which survived the decline of the timber industry by turning itself into a little Bavaria in the Cascades, is known for it's Octoberfest.
- The musical 9, though set in Italy, provides a taste of this flavor with the number "The Germans At The Spa."
- The protagonist of Passing Strange visits Berlin, and encounters the avant-garde nihilist brand of Germans. And then it turns out they all go home to the bucolic village version for Christmas.
- The Berlin level of Tony Hawk's Underground 2 is styled in this way, featuring a bombed out wall section and drunk men in lederhosen.
- The Medic in Team Fortress 2 is German, and of course has the stereotypical accent. "Oktoberfest" is one of his taunts. Thankfully, he doesn't wear lederhosen, though he can put on a Nice Hat.
- Gabriel Knight 2, which takes place in modern day Bavaria, has elements of this.
- German Street Fighter character Hugo has a stage in SF 3: 2nd Impact that sums this up perfectly.