English Title: Over Christmas
Original TItle: ÜberWeihnachten
I was a little trepidatious about watching Netflix’s new three-part Christmas show Over Christmas, it looked like pretty standard Christmas fare, and besides being from Germany I wasn’t sure it had much else going for it. Turns out I was curious enough to see a German take on Christmas that I gave it shot and was happily proven both right and wrong. There is a lot that is pretty standard about Over Christmas, it’s a holiday comedy about a family with just enough drama thrown in to pull at your heartstrings but it also has just enough that sets it apart to give it enough distinction from other Christmas time offerings.
The focus of the show is Basti, an aspiring singer-songwriter living in Berlin. Basti is in his early thirties, his biggest gig in music is playing on the street next to a subway station, so he’s making ends meet working in a call center. More importantly, Basti broke up with long-time girlfriend Fine nearly a year before the show starts, he says he’s over it, but we all know that he’s not. Basti is very much looking forward to heading back to his small hometown with his family, telling his coworker how much he and his whole family love Christmas. It seems almost too good to be true.
Our first hint things aren’t as great as Basti claims is the nearly emotionless greeting he gets when his father picks him up from the train station, The downward spiral really picks up when Basti arrives home to discover that the aforementioned Fine his ex-girlfriend of over five years, is now dating his more successful younger brother. Unsurprisingly, Basti does not handle that discovery well at all leading to the first of many family arguments. As the show goes on things get better and then worse again, but it’s a Christmas show you can probably guess how it ends.
When you consider most of made for TV Christmas offerings being made stateside consist of cookie cutter Hallmark BS Over Christmas is a welcome respite. The main thing that sets it apart as a German production from what you might expect from an American Christmas show is that there’s a lot of swearing and even some brief nudity that I’m sure would get cut out of its American counterparts. It’s surprised me though, how much that slight bit of edginess added to my enjoyment, real families swear, real people have sex after getting drunk on Christmas Eve, it’s much more fun to show it than to pretend it doesn’t happen.
Showing all the up and downs that a family deals with during the holidays in an honest way and how they make it through to the other side is the real strength of Over Christmas. It might not blow your mind or break a ton of new ground but it should make you laugh and possibly even get your eyes a little cloudy, isn’t that really all you need from a Christmas show?
Subs & Dubs: It is available with both subtitles and an English dub, though I do find it interesting that Netflix feels the need to point out that it is a British English dub.
Where to Watch: It’s on Netflix, everything is on Netflix.