Follow TV Tropes



Go To
Düsseldorf at the Turn of the Millennium according to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (top) and in Real Life (bottom).

"We are we and write us us - it's Bavarian liberalitas!
We are the Jesus mountain Chetniks, fighting for the
Drinking beer from
grossen Mass, Weisswurst and Leberkas,
Holleri and hollera, welcome to Bavaria-a-a!
*cue yodeling*
Die Biermüslblosn, "Welcome To Bavaria"

In Germany, everyone is fat, constantly drunk on beer, dressed in lederhosen suspenders, 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 Ach 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.note 

The prevalence of these stereotypes has partly to do with the fact that many American units were assigned the southern part of Germany as their occupation zone at the end of World War II and as such most of their military personnel took their experiences of bucolic Bavaria as the archetype of all things German back home. Hollywood and TV then ran with this selective memory.note  Another contributing factor is that a significant portion of the German immigrants to America came from the rural regions of Southern and Eastern Germany - notably, again, Bavaria. To this day one will find German-Americans proudly operating traditional Biergartens and breaking out the Lederhosen, 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 and Self-Parody 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 are all Badass Longcoats who have crew cuts, monocles, duelling scars and interrogation sessions that start with "Vays off makink you talk", while of course, 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, Goths, and fascistic Dominatrixes who frequent badly-lit discotheques blaring Electronic Music, and their ways of making you talk consists of the baroness enacting unspeakable bondage, domination and sadomasochism. But be prepared to listen to a detailed history of Imperial Germany before they went and ruined it for everyone.

German fiction has tropes of its own regarding "Ossis und Wessis" (former East and West Germans respectively): Wessis are supposedly materialistic, arrogant assholes, while Ossis are usually poor, bad-tempered, lazy whiners. And Hamburg is the Freestate Amsterdam of Germany, while Berlin - of course - is something of its very own NYC.

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.

For the Real Life location of the Oktoberfest, look no further than Munich.

Compare also their closest neighbors, Yodel Land, Land of Tulips and Windmills, and Ruritania (if you're lucky) and Überwald (if you're not).


    open/close all folders 


    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.
  • 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 officials integrating into a new society that regards their former government as criminals, which is quite difficult to explain to outsiders.

    Films — Animation 
  • In An American Tail, a rather Bavarian-looking band plays in the background while Fievel and his family board their ship to America in Hamburg. Sigh.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory caused unintended hilarity in German cinemas, when it showed a tiny South German village on the edge of the Black Forestnote  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 (it's the seventh largest city in Germany), its art and fashion scene and bands such as Neu!, La Düsseldorf and—most famously—Kraftwerk.
  • The subtitle in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory says "Düsselheim". Nevertheless, the town has a distinct Bavarian look. Which is ironic, since most of the movie (including all city scenes) were shot in and around Munich, essentially making all locations a subtle case of this.
  • 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 (a German film). 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.

  • In the Discworld, the human population of Überwald is pretty much this trope. Quaffingnote  of beer from ornate ceramic mugs with badly secured lids, whilst singing jolly songs like Ich bin ein Rattedarschedschwein, is a Running Gag.
  • Unborn Tomorrow, a short story by Mack Reynolds. An Eccentric Millionaire wants a private eye to locate a time traveler from the future and get the secret of eternal life. He believes such time travelers would go to the Oktoberfest because everyone would be too drunk to notice anything strange about them. The private eye's secretary is surprised when her boss curtly turns down this chance to get drunk on someone else's money. The private eye explains that he's already taken the assignment three times, and each time the time travelers sent him back to this point in the time line, with a massive hangover from drinking too much German beer. There's no way he's getting another hangover piled on top of the previous three, not for any amount of money!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Discussed in "Hawkins Travel Agency", when Miss Brooks is trying to sell Mr. Stone on a trip to Switzerland:
    Miss Brooks (speaking in a German accent): And then we go to the Bavarian Alps. Immediately you notice there is a big difference.
    Mr. Boynton: A big difference?
    Miss Brooks: Ja. There with the women and the song, you get beer. Achtung what beer! Two bottles and you ski down the whole mountain without your skis.
  • This trope was satirized to death (and then some) by the Monty Python's Flying Circus "Bavarian Restaurant" sketch.
    • Ironically enough, made on location for German television.
  • On Are You Being Served? during German Week the store staff is forced to wear lederhosen. Two of the cast get very small, form fitting versions: Miss Brahms and Mr Humphries.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Maquis, Part 1, Benjamin Sisko is visited by his old friend Calvin Hudson. They reminisce about the time when they were stationed together in the New Berlin colony, and comment about how they looked like in lederhosen. Lederhosen in the New Berlin colony make about as much sense as ten-gallon Stetsons in the New Boston colony, but never mind.
  • In S 10 E 21 'Berlin' of NCIS Tony and Ziva visit Berlin. Of course, Tony buys a Lederhosen as a souvenir und they visit a "typical local" bar with a waitress in a phony Bavarian Tracht serving Tony a Maß beer. At least it's lampshades by Ziva's contact Adam Eshel that it might be better to blend in like a common tourist.
  • An episode of Worst Cooks in America that coincided with actual Oktoberfest had it as a theme for the episode. Contestants had to make their own wurst using the meat grinder and sausage-filler attachment on a stand mixer...and use natural casings for the sausages. There was also an appearance by a band wearing lederhosen.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "The Wall", a bar in East (Eastern at the time of the airing) Berlin has Bavarian music playing and waitresses in traditional Bavarian dresses.
  • On the Santa Claus Conquers the Martians episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Head Martian Keymar visits Chochum, the Wise Old Martian, to talk about what's been wrong with the Martian children. Chochum asks him what month it is. Keymar replies, "It is the middle of Septober." Tom Servo msts: "Time for Septoberfest!"


    Tabletop Games 

  • The musical Nine (Musical), 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.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • 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 hat. A Mann vs. Machine map brings the team to his hometown of Rottenburg, which looks to have situated itself as this for tourists.
  • Gabriel Knight 2, which takes place in modern day Bavaria, has elements of this.
  • German Street Fighter character Hugo has a stage in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact that sums this up perfectly.
  • The goats and Rhynocs of the level Sheila's Alp in Spyro: Year of the Dragon are obviously based on this. Despite that, Sheila herself is an out of place Aussie-accented kangaroo.
  • Played for laughs in Pizza Tower, where a screen about Oktoberfest occasionally replaces a Jump Scare.

    Visual Novels 
  • Discussed in Double Homework. The protagonist and Henry snuck in at one point.

    Western Animation 
  • The episode of Jackie Chan Adventures that introduced the Dog and Pig talismans was set in this version of Germany.
  • Stewie and Brian stopped by this version of Germany while on their "Road to Europe" tour in Family Guy. There's one notably hilarious exchange in which Brian brings up the subject of WWII:
    Brian: The writer Thomas Mann fled to America to escape persecution!
    Tour Guide: No he didn't! He left to manage a Dairy Queen!
  • The main villain in the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Chocolate Chips", Heinrich von Sugarbottom, is supposed to be a German. Of course, he is wearing lederhosen.
  • Uter from The Simpsons was this type of German exchange student. In the German dub he is from Switzerland.
    • Also, Homer and Marge have gone to an Oktoberfest celebration on at least a couple of occasions.
  • The character Dieter Lederhosen from Pepper Ann fulfills about every non-Nazi, non-Prussian, non-Kraftwerk German stereotype. So does his family whose name is indeed Lederhosen. And although he grew up in Hazelnut (as opposed to being on student exchange), he speaks with the typical accent.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "The Bus Boy" there's a fat German boy in lederhosen (an Expy of Uter). His story involved the bus boy (resembling the German boy) dancing around eating food and commenting how good it was.
  • Played with in Futurama. When the gang go to Germany for Oktoberfest in "Fun on a Bun", Fry expects the drunken debauchery of his day. He is greatly disappointed that in the ensuing thousand years, it has evolved into a classy, sophisticated event. Lederhosen and sausage are still present, though; in fact, the plot includes Bender entering a sausage-making competition.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer joins a cult that is all about sausage. (To the point where they consider any other foodstuff, including pizza with sausage on it to be an abomination.) They all wear lederhosen, and the women wear their hair in braids.
  • The Total Drama World Tour episode "Slap Slap Revolution" takes place in Germany, and has all the associated stereotypes; they have to do a challenge where they make a giant sausage and ride it down a mountain, they sing a song to the tune of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"note , they then do another challenge where they all partake in German slap-dancing, one of the teams has to wear traditional Tyrolean hats, and Cody even has to wear lederhosen. Another team has to wear pickelhaube helmets, which crosses over a bit into Kaiserreich.

    Real Life 
  • Well... the Oktoberfest. And no, it neither celebrates beer nor does it celebrate the fact that it's October as modern days knew. It celebrates the jubilee of the 1810 wedding of the Bavarian Prince Ludwig I (later King Ludwig I of Bavaria, the grandfather of Ludwig II of Bavaria) 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 center). Not that it would be an easy task to find any German who knows this. The locals, however, still call the Oktoberfest die Wiesn (literally, "the meadow").
  • 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.
    • The Kitchener Oktoberfest is actually the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world outside of Germany.
  • 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 and wine (Im Schwarzen Walfisch, Krambambuli et al), generally sung at Kneipen (traditional festive get-togethers).
  • 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.
  • Colonia Tovar is a quintessential German alpine village, with timbered homes high-topped roofs... in the middle of Venezuela. To be fair, IT was founded by German colonists during the 19th century.