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Friday, May 18, 2012

Grimm - a show for German speakers

Tonight is the season finale of Grimm!

I caught the first few episodes of Grimm when they aired, but ended up missing several because of my schedule. Then finals ended and that meant a few days of tv marathons for me.  I probably watched 4 back-to-back the first go around because I liked it that much.  There are many reasons I like the show.

Grimm on NBC

First of all, while most kids grew up on the Disney fairy tales, I grew up on the versions of the Brothers Grimm.  I wasn't totally abnormal - I still enjoyed all things Disney (after all, he was a German American) and was obsessed with Minnie Mouse and Tinkerbell.  I just preferred the Grimm version of the rest of the stories.  They were darker, but they were more interesting and real.  Plus, they were books.

Going off that first point, I love knowing original versions of what became American children's stories.  I'm definitely a nerd in that respect in that I feel the need to know where the stories came from and how they were edited.  That being said, Grimm versions can't really be called the originals; the brothers collected stories and wrote them down, but in some cases many other versions already existed.  I'm not saying any version is better than the other, but it's fun to know the various ways a story's been told.  For more reading on this, I suggest you refer to  Here's a list to get you started: Disney Story OrginsFamous characters stolen from other stroriesFamous movies stolen from other storiesFairy Tale OrginsNursery Rhyme Orgins.

Grimm makes an effort to retell fairy tales.  They've done so many: Little Red Riding Hood, Pied Piper, Cinderella, etc.  It reminds me a lot of Gregory Maguire, the author or Wicked and other fairy tale retellings.  Creative retellings of fairytales are great.

One of my favorite things about the show Grimm is their insistence on sprinkling in German words and phrases.  Last week, when looking at a dead body, Eddie (the clockmaker/Blutbad) started with "Alles hat ein Ende..." and I joined him in finishing the expression "...nur die Wurst hat zwei."  He even gave the translation of, "everything has an end, only the sausage has two."  I could not have been happier that one of my favorite German idioms was used!

The writers put even more effort into naming the creatures (called "Wesen", which translates to "creature" or "being") and characters though.  The wolf-like "Blutbad" translates to "bloodbath".  Adalind Schade's last name translates to "pity" or "shame" or even "bad".  The clinic in the episode where homeless people go missing is called "Folter Clinic" or "torture clinic".  The bird woman is a "selten Vogel" which means "rare bird" and the golden egg she made is called "unbezahlbar", which means priceless.  Plus, her husband is a "Klaustreich", which translates to "claw strike".  One of the Eisbiebers (Ice beavers) has the last name Grosszahn or "big teeth".  Then the potions are "Zaubertrunk" or "magic drink".  I could go on and on.  The German isn't perfect in meaning, grammar, or pronunciation, but it's so fun to pick all of this out!

Lastly, the show is just great entertainment.  I can't wait until the next season!

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