What are your thoughts on a second season of WKBZ? Would you want one?
I personally would say, yes, definitely. Not just because I really loved the first one despite its imperfections - okay, yeah, that is a huge part of the reason why - but also because (as I mentioned yesterday regarding @bybdolan’s post about The Dog Days Are Over) I believe the series could actually profit from a second season. The first one ended with the implication that Christiane has ultimately gotten out of her addiction, which was only the case temporarily irl. So I think a second season could back off from that happy ending vibe and show the long lasting struggles Christiane F. faced after the events from the book. Also, I’d be curious to see more of Stella’s storyline, because her ending was kind of weird. And since Michi and Benno are fictional characters per se the writers would have a huge range of potential storylines they could explore with each of them.
What are your thoughts?
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man im just waiting for wkbz to blow tf up,,,,its an astounding show if you go into it without any contextual knowledge of the book/previous movie or any expectations. an amazing (although heart-breaking) watch with characters you really end up rooting for despite their massive flaws. so much more could’ve been done, but the sheer amount of symbolism is enough to keep me satisfied for now lmfao.
If someone’s ever gonna write a WKBZ fanfic exploring Axel escaping the GDR I’d gladly read it.
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two egg yolks and cognac.
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More thoughts on Babsi’s storyline
I’m really invested in Babsi’s storyline at the moment, so here are some more thoughts on it.
cw: drugs, prostitution, torture and abuse, suicide
- Her death: In my last post I mentioned how when I first watched the series I thought the scene in episode 7 in which Babsi steps into the car and is then shown wounded was a scene from the book. Christiane F. described that they were always very afraid of accidentally getting into a pimp’s car, because the pimps of the prostitutes who weren’t teenage drug addicts didn’t want them to be at the streetwalker district due to the competition. They would then sometimes torture and abuse them in order to threaten them and therefore try to keep them away from the district. And that’s what happened to the real Babsi. It’s honestly one of the most shocking scenes in the book for me personally, despite only being mentioned along the way. Now, we all know that the prostitution never hit that hard in the show. We never really get the sense how scary and traumatizing it actually was for them. Still, I feel like the way Babsi’s death was visualized in the series might have been a reference to what I described above. Generally, I think everything that happened after her shooting up heroin at the Bülowbogen toilets didn’t actually happen, but visualizes the process of her dying. I don’t know how painful dying from a heroin overdose is, but generally I believe the wounds Babsi suddenly has in the scene after steping into the car could be a literal representation of the painful physical process of her body dying. But maybe it’s not only the physical aspect, but also the mental one of how traumatizing and painful her life between drug addiction, one of her friends dying from it, prostituting herself, relapsing, running away from home again etc. was, culminating in her overdose. When Dijan then takes her with him he’s “curing” her from both the physical pain of dying and the emotional pain. Obviously, this is a pretty euphemistic take on her death and I’m not entirely comfortable with the show deciding to portray it that way, but I guess it fits the subjective narrative of Babsi’s view. Anyways, if her wounds are also a representation of what she was going through in her life at that point, this might be tied to her getting into that car in the prior scene. Because I think there’s a certain symbolic value attached to how she’s taken to that abandoned place where Dijan finds her by a car stopping at the streetwalker district where she used to prostitute herself. So maybe it’s supposed to represent this huge fear she must have had whenever she got into a stranger’s car and the visualization of what dying felt like for her is kind of a worst case scenario that she was always scared of experiencing. Sure, all of this would make more sense if there had been an actual scene in which the girls discussed these fears the way they did in the book, where they, for example, always noted the car tag when one of them went with a john and also made sure that the guy noticed it.
- The tape she took from Dijan: In the podcast episode “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” (5): Lea Drinda im Gespräch by Freiwillige Filmkontrolle Lea Drinda mentions in the interview that in preparation for the role of Babsi she did a lot of research on bipolar disorder. I’m not a mental health professional nor do I have bipolar disorder, so I’m really sorry if anything in the following text doesn’t make sense, it’s just an interpretation based on my own amateurish research. So, after listening to that interview I paid attention to signs of Babsi being in (hypo-)manic or depressed states throughout the show. Everything gets a bit messy in the later episodes, so I don’t have anything to say about that, but a scene from the first episode stood out to me in this regard. I’m talking about that scene in which she wants to listen to the tape she took from Dijan’s car, she only hears that terrible screaming, her Dad gives her the advice to switch the side and then she hears that pretty lovely song. Since it was Dijan from whom she took the tape and her Dad shows up regarding it, it doesn’t seem impossible to me that this scene is supposed to be meant symbolically. And maybe, only maybe, the process of switching the tape is a visualization of her going from a depressed state into a (hypo-)manic state. The way she behaves before and after that scene does correlate with that interpretation. Before that she barely talks, seems very depressed, discusses suicide with her Dad etc. And then the next scene after the tape one shows her being taken out of the SOUND by the cop and she seems very bubbly and happy, especially in comparison to how she was before. When she’s in the car she’s very talkative and tells the cops a lot of random things which implies that her thoughts are racing very quickly, a sign of mania and hypomania. I’m not sure about all of this, obviously, and also, as I said, I can’t really keep up with this interpretation as the story progesses and it gets more messy with all the drug use and the focus being less on Babsi and more on Christiane’s storyline. However, I think it’s an interesting aspect to think about - sure, also another one that’s underdeveloped, but I get that you can’t cram every aspect into a series in detail.
- The stuffed animal: When Dijan first takes her with him in his car in episode 1 (when he tells her to take the backseat, probably because the front seat is reserved for people who die) she leaves that stuffed bunny there as she gets out of the car. It’s later shown again in episode 7 when Dijan really takes Babsi with him and she therefore dies. I think what this may symbolize is the loss of innocence that’s about to follow in the events after said scene in the first episode, which are definitely a downward spiral for Babsi. She left the stuffed animal, which could easily represent childlike innocence, in the car that belongs to literally death. Generally, there seems to be a motif going on with Babsi and fake animals - not only are there many stuffed animals in her room, but the also wears animal pendants on her necklace, and then of course there’s the scene with Axel’s funeral and the lion balloon. So, despite leaving that stuffed bunny there, I think it’s not accurate to generally say that she really left her childlike side behind, maybe only a part of it, which would make sense considering she does remain a sweet, more “innocent” person than the others in the group throughout the events, yet she obviously also loses a part of that due to engaging in all these things that are definitely nothing a young person her age should have to experience.
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When @wheresbenni reblogged my last post about Babsi and the barkeeper, she mentioned a disconnect between the surrealism and realism of Babsi’s storyline in the tags and I’ve been thinking about it since. I generally really love Babsi’s storyline in the show, but only after rewatching the show several times and thinking about all the symbolism in it. On my first watch it mainly confused me, probably also because I didn’t expect that much surrealism in the series. Especially her death confused me. When she got into that car at the Kürfürstenstraße and the next scene showed her wounded and bruised I believed a scene from the book was happening which described that the real Babsi once got tortured and severly abused by pimps. And then Dijan showed up and I didn’t know that he personified death then and I was even more confused. When he healed her wounds I just thought the way it was shown expressed how it felt for Babsi in an exaggerated way, because finally being with Dijan made her feel so much better. And then the next episode she’s dead and I was like “... Wait a second”. Now, to be fair, on this first watch I binged the entire show and it was late at night, so maybe that’s why it took me a rewatch and some thoughts to get the basics of that symbolism.
But still, to get back to the disconnect between surrealism and realism in the show, I think these two aspects could have been balanced better, because the way it was executed was ... a bit messy, even after putting some thought into it. What makes it a bit problematic is that despite all the characters having some surrealist scenes or aspects about them (mostly related to the “superpowers” or visualizations of their feelings/intoxications), they don’t all seem to share the personifications of Babsi’s storyline. Dijan doesn’t show up to take Axel with him, for example. And nobody else interacts with the barkeeper who might symbolize addiction, it’s only Babsi. Now of course this can be related to her individual “superpower” of also seeing the dead, but this is scheme is broken away from when Christiane overdoses and Dijan shows up. So his role as death is not only part of Babsi’s individual story in the show, Don’t get me wrong, Dijan as death might actually be one of my favourite aspects of the show. However, I still don’t understand how he’s occasionally a part of Babsi’s individual view, death in general for all the people in the show and also a real person they apparently can interact with - as Christiane does when she tries to convince Babsi to go the SOUND again. Or was he also symbolizing death then and Christiane tried to convince her with the prospect of life threatening danger the club provides for them due to the drug scene there?
I don’t know where I’m trying to get with this, and I couldn’t name concrete scenes that would have solved this. My main issue is really the balance between the surrealistic and the realistic aspects, I think. Because on the one side, the personification of Dijan (the most prominent surrealistic aspect of Babsi’s storyline, so I focus on him) is too obvious to keep a real ambiguity on if he’s an actual person or more, especially when taking the scene with Christiane’s overdose and Babsi’s death into consideration. Because according to the newspaper headline in the next episode, Babsi died of an overdose and probably never left the toilets, so she wasn’t kidnapped and tortured as I first thought. On the other side he’s not clearly a symbol in every characters individual story and it’s difficult to differentiate between what’s an expression of Babsi’s view, what generally applies to an overreaching meta-level of the show and what’s still grounded in reality. It’s difficult to tell surrealism and realism apart, yet they aren’t interwoven smoothly either, and I believe that makes it feel a bit messy and confusing, because both these interpretations - surrealism or realism - ultimately don’t feel entirely satisfying.
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This is an appreciation post for Klaus replying “No, you haven’t” when Karin was like “I’ve lost my daughter”.
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Scene comparison 1981 / 2021 - Christiane and Detlef/Benno sharing a bonding moment on a rooftop
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I noticed something that maybe expands what I once wrote about the curtain parallel and also what I wrote about the Czech police man Andre: When he and Michi leave Zoo station in the end, they also kind of walk into the broad daylight, at least it really seems like the focus is on the light shining through the glas door. I think this fits well with the more positive ideas of their relationships in which they are both not ashamed of their emotions and Michi has overcome his internal conflicts regarding his feelings of love and affection.
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The barkeeper at the SOUND
tw: rape, drugs, suicide
The barkeeper is the one who first gives Babsi heroin and then rapes her. But since he, as a barkeeper, is also part of the staff at the SOUND just like Dijan, I think that he’s a symbolic figure as well and represents addiction.
He’s first really shown after Babsi’s rejected by Dijan - symbolically by death. We know that Babsi has this suicidal ideation, so she wanted to be with Dijan, which basically means that she wanted to die. But he says she’s too young for him, that she’s therefore too young to die. After he said that to her, she went back to the dancefloor. And then the barkeeper looked at her leeringly, which maybe shows the path Babsi begins to follow at that point: Because she can’t have Dijan, who as death is the one she wants, she’s about fall down an equally destructive and maybe even more painful downward spiral, her heroin addiction.
In Babsi’s diary entries that Christiane reads after her death, she says that shooting up heroin was “half the feeling of death” for her (btw, this is actually a quote from the real person Babsi D., the friend of Christiane F., but I treat it like a quote from the fictional character here, so I’m only talking about the fictional Babsi, not the real one). I think this quote shows that the root of Babsi’s addiction was her suicidality and that the drug is more or less a substitute for death.
To return to the motif of the barkeeper, as I said, I think he symbolizes addiction because he gets interested in Babsi as soon as she’s rejected by Dijan. In a later scene when Babsi is hanging out at the SOUND at closing hours, he also says to her that Dijan’s not there, and not much later Babsi goes home with him, again showing his fuction as a substitute - addiction instead of death, although she latter one is the one she actually desires. This also ties in very well with the fact that he is actually the one to first give her heroin. The visualization of her intoxication in which she meets Dijan also fits into this idea of her drug use being rooted in her actual wish to die.
That the barkeeper rapes her while being unconscious I guess shows the terrible consequences that also come with her drug use, which also refers to the prostitution, because the scene then cuts to Babsi being dropped at the streetwalker district.
Oh, and another sign that the barkeeper could be a personification is that Dijan and Babsi’s Dad are hanging out at his place, whether it’s just Babsi imagining them to be there or not. Also, the mere fact that he’s the barkeeper fits well with the idea that he symbolizes addiction.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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Since the majority of the WKBZ main characters (all except for Axel and Stella) each have a necklace they always wear, I tried to interpret a meaning into the pendants. But honestly, I’m kind of clueless, because I noticed that the pendants actually remind me of different characters than the ones who are wearing it.
So Christiane’s gun necklace I think I can understand the symbolic meaning of, I guess it’s supposed to show her power and will to fight, also the danger she’s so close to. Yet I also thought about scenes involving guns in the rest of the show and what came to my mind are first Michi and in a later episode Benno with the finger guns.
Benno always wears a small lock as a necklace, which is interesting considering Axel is the one with the symbolic (!) superpower of being able to open every lock, door etc.
Then again Babsi wears a couple of animal pendants, while Benno is the one who’s supposedly able to talk to animals and cares for them quite a lot as shown many times.
And regarding Michi’s circular pendant I didn’t notice anything special lol.
I’m not saying that any of this is supposed to mean anything, it’s just something I noticed while trying to figure out a meaning behind the necklaces, simply because the characters always wear them throughout the show, so I thought that there must be some reason behind it. So if you have any interpretations please let me know.
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so wait, is the shirt a continuity error or my eyes are playing tricks on me ??
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Okay so I realized there’s something I need in my life.
Could someone with the necessary editing skills make a video of Benno with the “Bi Bi Bi” song (”Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC)?
You’d have my eternal gratitude.
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Michi being a ✨jealous b!tch✨ | part 2/?
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The superpowers of the squad
So I’ve been thinking about this aspect of the show recently, because for me it’s another aspect of WKBZ that’s just ... there, but a bit weird.
From what I’ve read on the internet most people don’t seem to even see it, and it was similar for me on my first watch. Only after reading interviews with Annette Hess I came to realize that what I thought to be either exaggeration or metaphors are actually part of a “meta level”, to which Dijan’s angel of death persona belongs as well. So, basically, these “superpowers” (I’ll get into examples later) of the squad are not just to be understood symbolically, but actually as real parts of their personalities ... I guess?
I really, really don’t like that thought, too be honest. Many stylistic choices of the show I started to appreciate, like the timeless setting. Prior to actually watching the show I was very sceptical of it, but then I ended up liking it. However, the idea that the squad actually has these supernatural powers kind of ... I don’t know, it’s a bit too much for me personally. I don’t mind seeing Dijan as a personfication of death, because it’s happening on a symbolic level. But I’m having a hard time to believe that, for example, in the scene where Michi tried to choke Christiane at Axel’s place one night he actually did so and the reason Christiane survived is that she’s immortal, so it was basically her superpower versus his. And no, I’m not making this up, this is literally how Annette Hess explained the scene in an interview. I prefer to stick to what I personally believed this scene to be: A dream Christiane had because she realized that Michi was jealous of / angry at her.
Generally, I’m okay with this superpower thing as long as I see it symbolically / as metaphors or even as something the characters believe themselves to have. Here’s what I personally see in the individual “superpowers” of the squad and how I make sense of it:
Christiane: I generally don’t mind the idea of her immortality in the show ... as long as it’s symbolic. I think it actually makes sense then, because the real Christiane F. had a lot of luck that she survived, because most of her friends died. Also, as Jana McKinnon pointed out in an interview, Christiane F. became somewhat “immortal” due to her story being published. So that’s a nice idea they had for she show. In the context of the story, however, I think Christiane’s idea of being immortal is just that: Her idea. Probably the elevator did crash (although probably not as severly as shown in the series, where it was probably just a visualization of what the crash felt like for her?) and now she thinks that she can survive anything - but still on a healthy level which is why she doesn’t jump from the roof. Maybe it also embodies a sentiment that explains many of her later actions of doing drugs: She doesn’t really think it’s that dangerous for her, because she’s young and feels “immortal” because of that.
Benno: His “superpower” is to talk to animals. Concerning that Annette Hess said that they actually considered to have Axel’s bird literally talk with a human voice only Benno and the viewer of the series can hear and, oh boy, I’m so glad they ultimately scrapped that idea. Because I like the ambiguity where nobody really knows whether he can actually talk to animals or just makes it up. Despite the possibility that he has some sort of connection to animals that makes him think he understands them, I also think it’s possible that he uses his proclaimed ability to channel some of his own thoughts - for example when the bird “says” that Michi is actually in love with David Bowie, it might have just been Benno mocking Michi, maybe even because he suspected that Michi’s not straight. Anyways, due to how it’s kind of left ambigous if Benno actually understand animals, I don’t mind this aspect, because it fits his slightly dreamy personality and it connects him with Christiane, who also loves animals.
Michi: I personally see his supernatural physical strength in the show as a combination of actual physical strength, a way he tries to compensate sensibilty and a visualization of his general tendency to try to appear “tough”. So, basically, I think that he has a huge amount of physical strength, even if it’s not as extreme as shown in the series: So, yes, he does push Christiane up the wall at the Zoo station, but not in this extreme manner that, for some reason, reminded me of a vampire movie. The way it’s visualized in the show is more how it feels for Christaine and/or him. Because I do believe that for him thinking that he is super strong is a way he tries to compensate feelings of weakness or general emotionality. We see him do that in the show outside of the context of his physical strength as well, so I think it makes sense that his belief to be that strong ties into it.
Axel: His ability to open any lock, door etc. (for example his boss’ box or at the Bowie concert) can easily be seen as a metaphor, I think. Because in the show it really is his special ability to carve his way: Despite his addiction he is able to metaphorically “open doors” in his career which allows him to get to a place in his job he wanted to get to. This is how I see his “superpower”, which in the actual context of the story is probably, I don’t know, just a general skill he has?
Babsi: Her superpower would be to be able to talk to the dead, but, honestly, I prefer to interpret her scenes of talking to her Dad just as an imagination of hers. Not necessarily a hallucination, but I think that she tries to visualize her Dad, talks to him and imagines what he would answer. Maybe she misses him so much that it even feels real for her when she imagines him to be there. It definitely shows the severity of her grief and inner turmoil.
Stella: She’s the only one who does not have a superpower due to being the most grown-up of them. In my opinion that makes a lot of sense, also symbolically, because she is more of a realist and doesn’t imagine herself to have any crazy ability.
So, yeah, that’s how I try to make sense of that weird, but therefore kind of interesting aspect of the series. As I said, I don’t mind it as long as it’s on a metaphorical level, which I can obviously appreciate. although the writers apparently intended it to be a lot more real.
Anyways, how do you feel about this whole superpower thing? Please let me know, I’m really curious to know how you guys see it.
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♰ axel’s funeral ♰
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WIR KINDER VOM BAHNHOF ZOO - behind the scenes
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WIR KINDER VOM BAHNHOF ZOO - behind the scenes
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