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"Wetten, dass ..?" On ZDF: Strangers to shame with Thomas Gottschalk

“Wetten, dass ..?” Is back, the revival turns into a ratings hit. But thanks to Thomas Gottschalk also to a festival of foreign shame. The TV review.

Nuremberg – It starts with a standing ovation. Thomas Gottschalk can be celebrated for three minutes, while the ZDF audience in Nuremberg sings “oh how beautiful”. “Wetten, dass ..?” Is back. And Gottschalk delivers. It doesn’t take him two minutes to make fun of modernity. He was asked whether he would gender. “Of course,” he says, “bet that, bet that, bet that”. Because Gottschalk, he leaves no doubt, sees himself as a bastion of a long time past.

A time in which nobody was bothered out loud about the hegemony of the white man who, in his “sobriety” (as Thomas Gottschalk called it in an interview in advance), tore old man’s jokes. He conjures up the campfire on ZDF, where everyone used to be able to warm up together in front of the telly. Man has the ability to glorify the past. Always looking back a little more comfortably on a then than it really was.

“Wetten, dass ..?” With Thomas Gottschalk ensures nostalgic feelings and foreign shame

“Bet that ..?” Is the epitome of this feeling. We all have our story with this ZDF format, for many it is linked to loved ones and rituals that are often no longer with us. At a time when everything was a little more homely, less stressful, fast and loud. Shortly after the start of this special television evening, for example, the short message portal Twitter exploded.

Many report how they felt “Wetten, dass ..?” At the time. Have been freshly bathed and sat in front of the TV by their parents with brushed teeth. And watch ZDF until the end and stay awake. The comments on the show’s revival are ambivalent. A certain melancholy oozes from many. Outright dislike of others. A few minutes later and countless sexist rant from Gottschalk, one of them wrote: “Wetten, dass ..? was once a family show, today only boomer rings with a worn out presenter from the TV crypt full of self-referential pseudo-jokes. “

He hits a nerve with it. Because Thomas Gottschalk invites you to be ashamed of others. Open minded. He says: “From a certain age you shouldn’t care about a lot and I have to tell you, I’ve reached that age.” Applause breaks out. And then he lets his sidekick Michelle Hunziker assure him that it’s okay to bury women. She says, “We’re touchy.” He says, “You always fumbled back.” It almost hurts.

A quarter of an hour later, a Twitter user commented: “15 Minuten Wetten, dass .. and Thomas Gottschalk has already made more inappropriate ‘jokes’ than other people in 15 years. You have to do it first. ”She is right. Author Max Bierhals writes: “It’s cool that the youth word of the year is getting its own show on ZDF this year.” He means: cringe. So the word that describes extremely embarrassing people and situations.

“Wetten, dass ..?” With Thomas Gottschalk: Boomers meet Generation Cringe

And from today’s perspective, “Wetten, dass ..?” Is cringe. Simply because here the campfire of the boomer generation clumsily meets a society and generation that has evolved. It’s easy to see why more and more people are locking themselves up. To be alienated with all of these modern mindsets and an environment where it is no longer okay to pat a waitress on the bum and call her “Miss”. Simply because women no longer want to bite their tongue in embarrassment.

Thomas Gottschalk mit Sidekick Michelle Hunziker. Sie sagt: „Wir sind touchy.“ Er sagt: „Du hast doch immer zurückgefummelt.“


Thomas Gottschalk with sidekick Michelle Hunziker. She says: “We are touchy.” He says: “You always fumbled back.”

It’s easy to understand that people long for a time when they could say more without being reminded that doing so could hurt others. After a time when they had to feel less old. But that time is over. The new age is more considerate, but also more divergent. Those who wish each other often find the boys’ rebukes an attack on their own habits. And the young people find the nostalgic to be trampling. Can a single evening of “Wetten, dass ..?” On ZDF bring both together?

Thomas Gottschalk gets the curve relatively quickly. After his extremely uncomfortable start, he is completely the old ZDF show master, whom many still remember as young and cheeky, and who was later replaced by Markus Lanz. Gottschalk, the guy who, with the young Günther Jauch, turned private television into a colorful playground and also forced public broadcasters to dust themselves off a little. He still has that role to play.

Thomas Gottschalk performs the expected music acts in “Wetten, dass ..?”

He leads through the many, very creative and very personable bets. It starts recycling dog Uno. He does his thing so-so, but extremely cute. But before the little rascal starts separating rubbish, Gottschalk gets very cringe again. He urges Michelle Hunziker to do yoga exercises with the Parson Russell Terrier if Uno does not separate the garbage properly. Hunziker points out her tightly cut dress. Gottschalk says that was exactly what gave him the idea. But then Uno proves to be a good German and separates the garbage accurately.

guest job
Michelle Hunziker TV presenter, actress, model and singer
Helene Fischer Pop singer, dancer, television presenter and actress
Joko Winterscheidt TV presenter and actor
Klaas Heufer-Umlauf TV presenter, television producer and entrepreneur
Heino Ferch actor
Svenja Jung actress

The first music performance follows. The inevitable Helene Fischer kicks off a pop program that is one thing above all else: a concession to the aging ZDF target audience. Fischer, Udo Lindenberg, the Abba men Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, who recently released their new album, a musical performance – after the announcement of the “Wetten, dass ..?” Revival one should have guessed who is coming: there would have been many hits. For a society that does not want to escape modernity at any price, only the high-flyer from Hamburg, Zoe Wees, is allowed to sing. In addition to the sympathetic SOS interpretation of the ABBA legends with Helene Fischer, her performance is the musical highlight of the evening.

It continues with a children’s bet that shows the monumental rift between the Kohl generation and the TikTok generation in an almost painful way. Gottschalk suddenly no longer looks like the cheeky showmaster, but like an older man who doesn’t know how to deal with a quick-witted boy. He does his job excellently afterwards, climbs upside down on the loops of a prop subway compartment and receives a meeting with his idol, a young trampoline artist and social media master, as a reward.

“Wetten, dass ..?”: Dart player makes fun of Thomas Gottschalk and becomes the king of the bets

Next comes a young dart player at “Wetten, dass ..?”. He manages to throw his darts at a hidden world map with astonishing accuracy and almost always hit the country that is called for. Thomas Gottschalk uses the opportunity for a tip against Markus Söder. Gottschalk says: “It’s a shame that our Prime Minister didn’t come today, he’s good at it with the arrows, but they all land in North Rhine-Westphalia.” And the dart player, his name is Leon Krampe, is not only accurate when throwing. He is supposed to throw a dart at Kazakhstan, Gottschalk squeals: “Now the Kazakhs will laugh.” Krampe sarcastically: “I laugh at your jokes.” Gottschalk: “I’m joking here.” It is a strong moment for both of them. Later, all of this should bring Krampe the title of betting king and 50,000 euros.

A very funny outside bet follows. Firefighters spray a kart around a racetrack with their hoses and do it faster than a mixed relay of Austrian runners who gave their best at “Wetten, dass ..?” In the Sebastian Kurz turquoise. At the end everyone celebrates the victory of the fire department kart together. It’s all so likable that the enormous waste of water and the fact that someone like Giovanni Zarella is allowed to moderate the outside bet are almost forgotten.

Afterwards, two pretty cranked and brutally lovable sisters were allowed to prove on ZDF that a toilet brush is an often underestimated musical instrument. While one sister is making music with the brush in the toilet, the other is guessing all the pieces. Both are happy like honey cake unicorns and take the hearts of the studio audience – the vast majority of them very white and very old – by storm. Apart from that, what remains of their appearance is that they had stormed into the hall holding hands and that Thomas Gottschalk insisted on grabbing the hand of one of the sisters. Until she started listing her children.

“Wetten, dass ..?” With Thomas Gottschalk: Frank Elstner and an excavator for nostalgia

The last bet on ZDF fulfills two nostalgic needs. Finally, the excavator, sorely missed by many in the outside bet, comes into play. A young woman throws frisbees, her related excavator driver snaps them out of the air with his heavy equipment. This is where the greatest tension of the evening arises and it is difficult not to admit that you were part of the excitement. They narrowly fail to bring together the required fifth frisbee and the gripper of the excavator.

The second nostalgic need is satisfied by Frank Elstner, who is allowed to announce and moderate the bet. The ZDF show legend is the secret star guest of the evening, putting the wonderfully quick-witted Joko Winterscheidt and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf in the shade as well as the acting duo Heino Ferch and Svenja Jung (who do a very passable pulp fiction memory dance). His moderation of the Bagger bet is so calm, factual and empathetic that Gottschalk suddenly seems somehow youthful next to him. But also significantly less engaging than its predecessor.

Thomas Gottschalk gathers again around the campfire with “Wetten, dass ..?”

Gottschalk then made quite clear advances, “Wetten, dass ..?” From now on as an annual event. Gottschalk pretends to wipe this idea off the table, but makes it so conspicuous that it becomes clear: He wants that too. He should contact the ZDF program director, says Elstner. Gottschalk smiles. In the end, more than 14 million are watching that evening, the revival makes a real difference. Once again they managed to gather everyone around the campfire.

Even if it became clear at this campfire that the generations there no longer quite know what to say to each other. The impression of this evening remains very ambiguous. At the beginning a festival of foreign shame, at the end entertaining and as nostalgic as everyone wanted it to be. At the very end you catch yourself missing “Wetten, dass ..?” Somehow. And all the memories of the beautiful evenings at home with people you love or have loved. Which you can hardly see or not at all today. And yet it should stay that way. It was a nice feeling to have traveled back again. But please leave it at that. The campfire is out. (Mirko Schmid)

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