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“Benissimo” and “Wetten, dass…?”: The return of nostalgia

Comments on the new edition of “Benissimo” and “Wetten, dass . . .?»

The best possible implementation of average Swiss entertainment: Beni Thurnheer and his then assistant Tanja Temel in a “Benissimo” in 1997.

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On the day that further episodes of “Wetten, dass . . .?» were announced, Swiss television announced the return of “Benissimo”.

In autumn, the television and magazine star Beni Thurnheer, after whom the program was named, will step in front of the camera again, call people who have been drawn and ask them again which of the balls they would like and whether they would rather go on the luxury cruise , which they had just won, or whether they wanted to gamble for the million, the so-called Friends will appear again, who always reminded one more of the colorful evening than of Broadway, once again Beni Thurnheer will award a million. That’s the hope.

Once again. That’s the feeling that both the return of “Wetten, dass . . .?» as well as the return of «Benissimo». The biggest Saturday evening programs from Germany and Switzerland were actually canceled. But then last November there was a highly successful revival of “Wetten, dass…?”. Fourteen million viewers sat in front of the television. Now there is another “Benissimo”, thirty years after the first broadcast of the show.

Thomas Gottschalk, here in October 1998 with Ralf and Michael Schumacher, will return this year and next with

Thomas Gottschalk, here in October 1998 with Ralf and Michael Schumacher, will return this year and next with “Wetten dass…?”.

Joerg Sarbach / AP

It is no coincidence that the old prime-time television is making a comeback in these corona years. In a time of apparent futurelessness, the escape route leads into the past. In a time of unreasonable unknowns, the known is the most reasonable alternative. It is a time of nostalgia addiction.

Not just “Benissimo” and “Wetten, dass…?” are returning, “TV Total” is also back, albeit without moderator Stefan Raab, but four avatars of Abba have been resurrected. “Sex and the City” is on again. In the cinema, James Bond appeared again as a big highlight. Harald Schmidt’s Late Night Show is all that’s missing to completely recreate the pop-cultural feeling of the early noughties, that carefree, ironic time before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The medium of our time is the series, it is the most consistent implementation of the present: Although there is always a new season, it basically only brings back the old characters and stories in new episodes.

TV Total is also back, although Stefan Raab is no longer the moderator (picture from 1999).

TV Total is also back, although Stefan Raab is no longer the moderator (picture from 1999).

imago

In the case of “Benissimo” the effect is double: in autumn it will not only be the new episode of an old show, but also a reassurance of old Switzerland. “Benissimo” was perhaps so successful because it was the best possible implementation of average Swiss entertainment: an institution on the show were the comedy friends, who reenacted jokes such as that of the postman falling in front of a police officer and then hearing it from the police officer gets: “Does the post office have any more tramps like you?” Then he says: “No, I’m the last one, everyone else is already working for the police.” That had to suffice as a joke. Another institution was the so-called “Benissimo” office, three very correctly dressed people from Swisslos and the Office for Security and Social Affairs, who checked the lots. This is Switzerland: a show with inspectors. And for years, the former Vice-Miss Switzerland Barbara Megert stood under the rain of lots and reached for the lots.

Bernard Thurnheer, whom everyone just called Beni, stood at a counter with the colored balls and called the lucky winners to inform them of their luck. As a spectator, you hoped that either you – or at least someone else from Ticino – would be drawn. Because Thurnheer’s Italian was certainly funnier than the Friends’ jokes.

That feeling could return one last time.

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