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Fooling Around on the Farm

DW staff (jp)
October 16, 2005

A new reality TV show launched by private network RTL has got farmers up in arms. It charts the efforts of a hapless group of ruddy-cheeked swains to find a wife, and farmers' associations say it's offensive.

And they're off in search of loveImage: AP

Perhaps taking a cue from Paris Hilton's hugely successful "The Simple Life" now airing on German television, producers have woken up to the dramatic potential of life on the farm.

"Farmer Seeks Wife," the latest reality show to grace the nation's screens, follows the romantic shenanigans of seven single farmers desperately seeking love.


But farmers' associations are outraged and have called the show "demeaning" and "misleading."

Their first objection is what they describe as the show's inaccurate portrayal of rustic rough and tumble.

"I'm not saying that's not what it's like," Michael Lohse from the Farmers' Association told Spiegel Online. But generally, he insisted, most farmyards look pretty different to RTL's vision of fields of golden wheat, romantic moonlight horse-and-cart rides, village fairs and strapping young hillbillies.

Poetic licence

Bauer sucht Frau
The seven likely ladsImage: RTL

The show also claims that 70 percent of farmers are single. Not true, insists Lohse. "According to our statistics, the figure is more like 30 percent, which is perfectly normal."

The protagonists are hardly a cross-section of Germany's farmers, either. From the dashing organic farmer Karl to shy Stephan the pig farmer and Herbert the hobby astrologist, the candidates allegedly make farmers look less like capable professionals and more like village idiots. One of them asks his mother to choose his bride-to-be for him, while another proudly reveals he hasn't left his farmyard in 28 years.

"These are extreme cases," said Lohse. "They don't reflect reality."

Viewers obviously don't mind the fanciful take on rural life. Some 3.91 million Germans tuned in for episode 2 last Sunday, proving it's never worth letting truth get in the way of a good story.