Die Sendung mit der Maus
("The Programme with the Mouse"
) is an educational tv-series for children, by the German public broadcasting station ARD
. An international version with English dubbing has been created in Australia and airs as Mouse TV
While the German public broadcasters often have to take flak for shallow programming in spite of their "culture and education mandate", this show is often cited as a counter-example. And with reason, for Die Maus
is very popular amongst young and old
, owning its continuous existence since 1971
to a high quality mix of education and entertainment
The basic concept is relatively simple: For half an hour, cute stories alternate with educational segments
, wherein the industrial production of everyday objects (or almost any other topic) is explained in a child-friendly way.
Outright iconic is the style of show host Armin Maiwald's voice-over explanations of what is going on on screen. Hence you can
hear it often being parodied
in German Media
, complete with a Suspiciously Similar Song
version of the title theme.
In the late 1980s or early 1990s a selection of episodes aired on Australian television, as Mouse TV
or The Show with the Mouse
. The voice-over explanations were dubbed into English; the story segments were selected from those, such as the Little Mole stories, that were not primarily verbal. The Australian dub has since been exported worldwide.
- Aardman Animations: The newest development is Aardman Animations' Shaun the Sheep being
shawn shown in the last story segment.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The mascots of the show (which also have their own very short segments interspersed across the show), are the titular orange mouse, a tiny blue elephant, and a yellow duck.
- Animals Not to Scale: The mouse is twice as big as the elephant!
- Art Shift: Due to the nature of the show's concept, all different kinds of media can be seen in a single episode (life action, animation, claymation...). Specifically worth mentioning are the Captain Bluebear-segments: The framing story features life action puppets, one of them being the titular Captain, whose cock-and-bull stories are shown as cartoon animations.
- Audience Participation: Sometimes the idea for one of the educational short films comes from a kid's letter asking an interesting question.
- Breakout Character: The eponymous mouse. (Because in the beginning, it wasn't even present at all!)
- Catch Phrase: This show has spawned several:
- ...und natürlich mit der Maus und dem Elefanten! — (...and of course with the mouse and the elephant!): While the voice-over in the title segment is always different (listing the content of this week's episode), the mouse and the elephant are always included. Of Course!
- Das war [name of a language]. — (This was [name of a language].): The title segment is always shown twice: The first time in German, the second time translated into a foreign language, often one of a people which has many immigrants in Germany like Turkish or various eastern European languages. Which language it was this time, is then announced in German.
- Das ist die/der [name of a person]. — (This is [name of a person].): Armin's simple but effective way of introducing the person you are about to observe doing her/his job.
- Klingt komisch, ist aber so. — (roughly: May sound strange, but it is that way.): For when a small detail, that you need for further understanding of the topic, can't be explained child-comprehensibly in a short time. Similar to Willing Suspension of Disbelief, as children are often used to just accept something with being given an explaination. Sometimes wrongly attributed to Peter Lustig, the host of another children's edutainment show.
- Das zeigen wir euch nach der nächsten Maus. — (We will show you this after the next Mouse): Very complex educational topics can sometimes take up one complete episode (or even several). In this case, the fictional stories get squeezed out entirely, and only the very short clips staring the mouse and her two companions remain, serving as little breaks. This clips are what is meant with "the next Mouse".
- Aus, die Maus! — (literally Off, the mouse!, meaning That's all, folks!): Like all of the above catchphrases, well known among German native speakers. Even Hades uses a variation of this phrase in the German dub of Disney's Hercules!
- Eastern European Animation: The Little Mole, a Czech cartoon characternote , became famous in Germany by regularly starring in the first story segment.
- Edutainment Show: In Germany, basically the paragon of this.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The three mascots of the show are only known as the mouse, the (tiny blue) elephant and the (yellow) duck.
- Limited Wardrobe: Show host Christoph always wears a green pullover.
- Long Runner: 40 years and still going strong.
- Signature Sound Effect: The mouse, elephant and duck segments have very distinctive sound effects.
- Squeaky Eyes: Done with castanets for the mouse.
- The One With: The title of the show. (This is basically a Iconic Character, Forgotten Title that was made official.)
- The Unintelligible: The elephant and the duck only make noises fitting to their respective species. The mouse's voice sounds more human, but it doesn't say much besides the occasional "Hm."
- Very Special Episode: The show also doesn't refrain from tackling relatively serious topics, like the Chernobyl disaster or how life during the post-war era was.
- Walter Moers: His character Captain Bluebear became famous by regularly staring in the last story segment.