Friday, June 9, 2017

The Same Sky: Nixon, Trump, and the German Democratic Republic

I saw The Same Sky, the German short series now on Netflix, the past few nights. Like Deutschland 83 on Sundance, The Same Sky is about East German / West German espionage, and mostly in German with a little English from time to time. Since I speak a little Yiddish - which is a kind of medieval German - it's especially enjoyable to watch shows like this, where I can understand some of the dialogue without the English subtitles (which are often too quick to read, or shown against a light background with light letters, anyway).

The other nice plus about The Same Sky is that it takes place some nine years before Deutschland 83, in 1974, as Nixon is unsuccessfully fighting to keep his job against the rising tide of outrage and evidence about his attempt to cover up the Watergate break-in.  Having watched James Comey's testimony before the Senate about Trump's obstruction of justice yesterday, it was satisfying indeed to see Nixon get his just desert on The Same Sky a little past midnight.

The plot, as was the case with Deutschland 83, has been aptly described as a "Romeo agent" from East Berlin on a mission to seduce a woman in West Berlin with valuable connections to NATO and the capitalist West.   Taking place in closer proximity to the Nazis than 1983, The Same Sky interestingly shows the stated revulsion to the Nazis of the East Germans, who see themselves as more truly a refutation of Nazi ideology than their cousins in the West.

As a spy story, The Same Sky has some good twists and subplots, especially those in East Germany, where a family struggles with a daughter being given testosterone injections so she can qualify for the German Democratic Republic (East German)  Olympic swim team.   The six episodes end with Nixon resigning, a few other resolutions, and lots of hanging questions - more than enough for a second season, which I'd certainly watch, with any luck with a new President in our current White House.


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