ZDF targets the multikulti youth market with this endearingly scrappy comedy web series.
Making its TV debut on ZDF next Monday night (but available to watch online for the past month), Just Push Abuba is a rare instance of a German broadcaster reaching out to and representing the country’s English-speaking immigrants and urbanites. This knockabout comedy series sees the inhabitants of a Kreuzberg WG attempt to sustain their carefree lifestyle by illegally renting out their tiny spare room on Airbnb. Overseeing the operation is born and bred Berliner Toni (Anton Weil), who’s equal parts douchey and endearing. His partner-in-crime Lucia (Elli Tringou) is the archetypal 20-something Berlin expat, fiercely resistant to adult responsibility and barely able to string together a sentence in German. Rounding out the trio is enigmatic German Korean Joon (Joon Kim), a decidedly reluctant participant in the household’s entrepreneurial schemes.
The series feels tailor-made for attention-deficit millennials – episodes clock in at under 10 minutes apiece, and have ludicrous titles like “Fucklab Honey” and “ Asshole Utopia”. The Airbnb guests run the gamut of Berlin tourist cliches, from clean-cut American bloggers to gender-fluid Swedes, but the constantly rotating cast of larger-than-life characters and uniformly decent performances ensure a fun ride, and a handful of genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Many scenarios will feel overly familiar to anyone who’s attended an expat comedy night – naturally, one episode revolves around the Berghain queue – but it’s compelling to watch the city’s countercultural identity being repackaged for a mainstream, nationwide audience. It’s fair to say the reaction to Just Push Abuba online has been mixed, with many YouTube commenters incensed that a public broadcaster should be squandering their license fees on hipster-baiting, English-language programming. But for anyone that falls into the target demographic – and let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you probably do – this is certainly worth the 50 minutes or so it takes to watch all six episodes.
Watch Just Push Abuba online now.