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Meet the Swiss Seinfelds: Almost a Family

The US and Britain have successfully produced and aired several sitcoms and soap operas such as Friends, Desperate Housewives or Seinfeld. Compared to the huge success of those shows, the Swiss equivalent "Fascht e Familie" is practically unknown outside Switzerland. Nevertheless, it is dearly loved by many Swiss - including myself! And it did run for many years on Swiss television - a feat many newer programs have failed to complete.

Cast of 'Fascht e Familie'

"Fascht e Familie" means 'Almost a Family' and the series shows episodes of the lives of four very different roommates who rent a room in Tante Martha's house. It is not clear in which Swiss city the characters live but my guess would be Zurich. The main characters are the following:

  1. the waiter Hans Meier who is also a passionate (but not very talented) actor
  2. the esoteric fanatic Tante Martha who owns the house everyone lives in
  3. the bank employee Vreni Hubacher who falls in love almost every episode
  4. Flipp who doesn't have a last name and earns his money (or doesn't earn it) by selling handpainted t-shirts
  5. Rolf Aebersold is frequently appearing, always trying to get Tante Martha to write her house over to him and then to sell it. He is not a nice guy but extremely funny. 
After a few seasons Vreni was replaced by Annek├Ąthi, a Bernese midwife, and shortly after Flipp was replaced by Bruno, a shy and chess loving Grisonian.

As in many sitcoms, the plot usually turns around emergency situations and misunderstandings. Vreni almost always falls in love, Tante Martha seems to try out a new esoteric practice every episode, Hans practices for a new role at the local acting club and Flipp gets into trouble in one way or the other. The show is completely in Swiss German, one of Switzerland's four official languages. That might be one of the main reasons the show never made it outside of Switzerland.

You can find a few chapters of 'Fascht e Familie' online. If you speak at least basic Swiss German you should have a look.



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