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Talk shows in times of crisis: Corona watching on the couch

"Everything is calm at the moment, but the mood can change very quickly." That is in week one after the percolation of the realization that only fundamental restrictions in terms of social affairs, mobility and consumption can slow down the spread of the corona virus, a set of universal truth. It applies at the borders where foreigners are turned away from one day to the other. It applies in supermarkets, where suddenly the annual need for toilet paper is pushed over the cash register.

And it also applies particularly in the living rooms of the country, where, due to the closure of schools, workplaces and sports facilities, everyone suddenly sits together in the living room as if it were Christmas Eve again. Outbreaks of violence are not excluded.

"Everything is calm at the moment, but the mood can change very quickly." At "Schreyl live" that says an eight-time mother from Cologne-Porz who is supposed to report on the program what it is like to be locked up in the apartment with her bunch of children. "Schreyl live" is the program of the former RTL star host Marco Schreyl, who had disappeared for many years before returning to his old house channel with a weekday afternoon talk rather unnoticed by the general public.

How Corona takes TV – and vice versaThe Monday edition at four o'clock at the best time for coffee is the prelude to several "Schreyl live" programs this week, which are about the corona virus and the impact on life in Germany. And there is probably nowhere better to see how the corona virus takes television – and television the corona virus: the state of emergency becomes everyday life, because whoever speaks to Schreyl this afternoon – her or his professional function is always linked to a person who is exactly how the audience has to deal with the new circumstances: the psychologist who recommends "radiating calmness", but had to organize her children away before she could appear on the show. The lawyer, who confidently refers to the paragraph that regulates continued payment of wages, but alienates herself with the home office concept. The supermarket cashier, who assures that supplies are available in all stores, even though you can see his exhaustion because he has mainly been using batteries of toilet paper over his belt in recent days. They are all heroes of a new everyday life that has only just begun and will determine us for a long time to come.

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In between, in the cautiously optimistic mood at Schreyl, there is an announcement for the "Explosive" program that will follow later, which is of course also determined by Covid-19. "How does Micaela Schäfer deal with the corona crisis?" Is asked in the one-player play, you can see the erotic actress kneeling on her bed in front of her computer, lightly dressed. We later learn that Schäfer had to cancel several commitments due to the virus and stayed at the expense of the flights that had already been booked. As a so-called webcam girl, she tries to make up for the lost money. The "Explosiv" editorial team calls this in ruthless RTL rhetoric "bright drawing in the home office".

Amazing what a career the term home office has made in recent days. Sometimes it stands for quarantine light, sometimes for work light, sometimes for erotic light.Whether you officially have a home office or are thrown back into your four walls because you have a gym or café: watching corona on the couch is now part of most households Agenda. The remarkable thing: Apart from the occasional corona exploitation such as the "Explosiv" feature on Schäfer, the German broadcasters reflect the new everyday routine of hygiene routines, making ends meet, and rethinking work in a very unspectacular way in which we are all united. We watch the others. And see ourselves. Altmeier's "We can do it" It has a therapeutic effect. Frank Plasberg has just achieved some mastery in this method. Similar to Schreyl, he is going into series with the treatment of the Corona topic: On Monday there will already be the second special edition of Plasberg's "Hard but fair": two hours will be about how our life has to be rethought about Corona.

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There is no political debate here. Economics Minister Peter Altmeier explains very early on: "We have so many reserves that we promise that no job will be lost because of Corona." The virologist Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit warns about the upcoming efforts: "We're not talking about a two-week Corona vacation." And ARD exchange expert Anja Kohl critically examines how the minister intends to implement his promises of salvation. And yet Altmeier's "We can do it" credo shapes the show.

Together with the hideous motivational speech of the psychologist inevitable in such programs, this can be found to be intellectually challenging. It is not lying. The horror is named, it is just a possible way of dealing with this horror is shown – and here the program goes into everyday situations in recordings. We look at the TV and the TV looks back at us. You shouldn't underestimate the self-assurance loops that ARD and RTL are doing with their audience. They help you deal with a situation that a few weeks ago was beyond our imagination. An emergency is the new normal, it could be worse. As the mother from her living room in Cologne-Porz says: "At the moment everything is quiet, but the mood can change very quickly."
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