is a German Mockumentary Work Com
, on air since 2004. There are currently five seasons and one movie
is a Foreign Remake
of Gervais' and Merchant's Brit Com The Office
, although it took a lost lawsuit for the makers to acknowledge this. Like Ein Herz und eine Seele
three decades before, this is one of the very few German sitcom remakes that are actually good
The main setting is an office of the fictional insurance company Capitol Versicherung AG
, more precisely the Department of Damage Adjustment M to Z, presided over by Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
. Like in the British original, the characters are very aware of the cameras being on them
, all the time. Stromberg in particular can often be seen cracking jokes and showing off for the camera.
The show has nothing to do
with the main villain
of the Bond
-movie The Spy Who Loved Me
Stromberg provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: Ernie is often trying to remind everyone that his given name is actually Berthold. Guess where his nickname stems from.
- The Alcoholic: Herr Becker becomes one in season five.
- Aside Glance: Stromberg, whenever he has just cracked one of his unfunny jokes.
- Bad Boss: Guess who.
- Bald of Evil: Bernd Stromberg. Yeah okay, more like Sparse Hair Of Being A Jerk Ass. Stromberg also tries to make out Möllers, the bald-headed and somewhat gruff canteen chef, as a villain, even though his long-standing enmity with Stromberg is entirely the latter's fault.
- Berserk Button:
- For Stromberg, it's anyone making any reference about his "age".
- For Berthold, it's anyone calling him "Ernie", although this is downplayed in later seasons.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The In Universe Cameras rarely have any influence on the plot, with two exceptions:
- Ernie improvising a lonely hearts ad into the camera - and being successful with it!
- After Stromberg has been accused of sexual harassment, Becker watches the footage from earlier that day, in order to find proof of this.
- Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Stromberg shows signs of this in episode three of season two.
- Break the Cutie: Tanja Seifert in the fourth season, utterly failing in her new position as assistant department chief.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Ernie may be a social outcast, but he's still the most competent worker in his department.
- Character Title
- Cold Opening
- Convenient Miscarriage: In season five, when Jennifer got pregnant.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the movie, where the Capitol directors plan massive job cuts, yet have a sex orgy in a luxury brothel.
- Crapsack World: The Capitol office is an incredibly dull and grey place, and mood and working morale reach new lows regularly. And the village Finsdorf in the fourth season is even more dull and grey.
- Creator Cameo: Series creator Ralf Husmann has made four brief appearances as co-worker Hans Schmelzer throughout the first three seasons.
- Cringe Comedy: Especially Stromberg has to suffer in this regard.
- The Danza: Most of the minor office co-workers share both their first and last names or some slight variation thereof (e.g. Stefan Lampadius - Steffen Lambert) with the actors who portray them. Tatjana Berkel (played by Tatjana Alexander) and Sinan Turçulu (played by Sinan Akkus), two more major characters, are other examples.
- Girlfriend in Canada: During the first few episodes of Season Two, Ernie is often having phone conversations with - he claims - his new girlfriend. Ulf naturally thinks that he's just faking it. Nope! The gal is real.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: When Jennifer gets pregnant with Stromberg's child, she seriously considers having an abortion. Only after persuasion by Ernie does she decide against it.
- Half-Arc Season: Most noticeable in season four, with Stromberg's new position in Finsdorf.
- Heroic BSOD: Ernie, after his girlfriend leaves him and his mother dies, falls into a serious depression, and even attempts suicide.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Happens often to Stromberg when he has a plan e.g. for how he can suck up to his superiors.
- Hypocritical Humour: Whenever Stromberg gives a statement directly contradictory to something he has said just one or two scenes earlier.
- Incompetence, Inc.
- The Inspector Is Coming: In the episode "Lulu" from season 4, where the Capitol headquarter sends an inspector, in order to have him investigate the proceedings in their departments (In particular Stromberg's). Stromberg's department actually gets praised, whereas the others departments got a bad rating.
- In-Universe Camera: Also, In Universe Interviews.
- Jerk Jock: Football fan Ulf is this towards Ernie.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: While Tanja and Ulf are trying to have a baby and it turns out that Ulf is infertile, Jennifer gets pregnant even though she did not plan to.
- The Nicknamer: Bernd Stromberg. Constantly. He could easily be considered one of the best examples of this trope. A short selection of the nicknames he gives to people:
- Bert(hold) Heisterkamp: Ernie
- Herr Becker: Uncle Detlef, Mecker(=nagging)becker
- Sabine Buhrer: Sabbel
- Frau Berkel: Tuberkel (tubercle), Eva Braun, Die Führerin
- Lars Lehnhoff: Blockflötengesicht (recorder face)
- Frank Montenbruck: Monte, Aktenmongo (filing mong)
- Rita Klüver: Lumpen-Erna (Rags-Erna)
- Herr Möllers: Nazi cook
- Vanessa Schubert (Ernie's black girlfriend): Roberta Blanca, choco crossie
- Birgit (his wife): Biggie
- Rarely, Ulf falls under this habit too, e.g. when he calls Lars Lehnhoff "Grinsekatze" (Cheshire Cat).
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Bernd Stromberg of course. He himself would consider his own supervisors to be this, even though they actually embody the role of the Only Sane Man.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted, due to this show being a Mockumentary.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: In the first episode of season four, Stromberg almost manages to get promoted to department chief. But due to his unrestrained Jerk Ass behavior, he instead is reassigned to a far off little boring village, called Finsdorf.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Stromberg and Turçulu in season one.
- Star-Making Role: For Christoph Maria Herbst (Bernd Stromberg), although his role as Alfons Hatler in Der Wixxer (also from 2004) may have an equal claim to being this.
- Status Quo Is God: Averted in the fourth season, which seems almost like a Retool, with Stromberg losing his position and being reassigned to a far off boring little village. Another aversion is Erika Burstedt, one of the main characters, dying at the end of season three.
- Stealing from the Till: Erika admits to stealing toner for her printer in episode six in season one, which gets her temporarily fired.
- Straight Man: Somewhat averted with Ulf who is notably less witty, intelligent and Genre Savvy than his UK counterpart Tim. Played straight with Stromberg's superiors.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: "'n Hund im Büro!?!" ("A dog in the office!?!") Look for it on youtube.
- The Movie: A crowd funded movie (titled Stromberg - Der Film) came out in 2014.
- Tall Poppy Syndrome: When the (hitherto) very popular Tanja Seifert is promoted to department manager deputy, her colleagues, her boyfriend Ulf and (certainly) Stromberg all sabotage her efforts, causing her to be relegated to her old position.
- Ultimate Job Security: Luckily for Stromberg, who more than once was on the verge of being fired. The worst that happens to him is being Reassigned To Finsdorf.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Bernd Stromberg. He is a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk - and yet, we root for him! Which might be because, for all his shortcomings, he doesn't quite deserve all the bad things that happen to him. Especially in season 4.
- Viral Marketing: In order to promote season four, tv commercials for the fictional village Finsdorf were broadcast, with no hints to Stromberg. And of course Finsdorf also has its own (intentionally amateurish) homepage.