In portions of “Funnybot,” an episode that premiered in the United States last May, German President Christian Wulff and Chancellor Angela Merkel invade a school and point guns at kids after Germans become angry over being called the world’s most unfunny people.
Though the German media seem to get the joke, some observers have fretted that the country is being portrayed as soulless and evil, especially at a time when Germans feel they are being unfairly demonized as Europe’s economic hegemon during the eurzone debt crisis.
While Die Welt newspaper gave the episode plaudits, it also wrote that it also portrayed German politicians as “barbaric” and furthered the Anglo-Saxon fascination with Germans’ supposed “evil genius.”
But Stern magazine said that while Germans are widely seen internationally as being humourless, that perception could be changed with an investment in public relations over coming years.
In principle, you can get rid of every learned cliché,” PR expert Ernst Primosch told the magazine.
The episode seems to take particular aim at Germany’s 20th century history and current leadership.
It portrays politicians, including Merkel and Wulff, as bitterly angry that Germans have been called unfunny. They unveil a robot that tells jokes and eventually goes on a genocidal rampage.
The episode comes at a time where Merkel is being written about in increasingly dour terms by the international media.
A recent article in the US Newsweek magazine that portrayed Merkel as emotionless and insensitive during the euro crisis has raised particular discomfort in Germany, with some prominent figures worrying that the country is being maligned internationally.
The South Park episode “Funnybot” can be seen at 10:30 pm on Sunday on Comedy Central in Germany.
See President Christian Wulff tell a few “jokes” during the episode: