ARD series "All you need": Vince (Benito Bause) longs for a boyfriend
Photo: Andrea Hansen / ARD Degeto
The first episode has been running for less than five minutes and you can already see the first Dick pic. Okay, not exactly. Rather, the viewer senses the body part being photographed than outlines are thrown onto the wall by a cell phone flash. But that seems to set the tone of this story about a group of friends of gay men in Berlin: "All you need" is used by ARD with the claim "Unique. Gay. The new dramedy series «advertised. However, the described scene appears less
than rather striking; it reduces being gay to sexuality as much as a German comedy in 1995.
Are we not already further - in terms of visibility, but also in terms of differentiation?
When Robert Engel and Carsten Flöter kissed in »Lindenstrasse«, there were still no cell phones and no internet, but bomb threats from angry viewers.
But that was also 31 years ago.
30 years ago it caused outrage when men kissed on television.
Scene from "All you need".
Photo: Andrea Hansen / ARD Degeto
Maybe the ARD only needs the story of the supposedly so unique German series to finally present itself as innovative.
The network of broadcasters doesn't have it easy otherwise: the encrusted structures, the anger about the fee increase, the competition from streaming services.
But here: diversity, innovation, media library - especially for the online platform, ARD had “All you need” produced.
Apparently the LGBTQI + community was longingly waiting for this series, but is that true?
The claim comes from the editor-in-chief of the producing Degeto, Christoph Pellander, in an interview with the media portal DWDL.
He also says there that they were looking for a group that had not yet been able to find themselves in the ARD program.
A strange-sounding accent.
As if this series was not created out of a need to tell, but because you wanted to graze target groups and attract attention.
There is, especially in streaming services, an unbelievable amount of queer life: shrill like "RuPaul's Drag Race", hippies like "The Queer Eye", but also in mainstream hit series like "Stranger Things" or "Sex Education" Of course there are characters today who are not heterosexual.
Basically, the ARD is very late.
So it doesn't sound so good for "All you need".
But now comes a big but.
Because "All you need" - apart from the old DickPic introduction - is narrative extremely successful.
You love these characters immediately, you get drawn into their world, you want to know how things will go with them.
Maybe because of such beautiful and multi-layered scenes like this one: Levo (Arash Marandi) and Vince (Benito Bause) sit around a table with other friends and toast to each other.
Levo has just moved out of the flat with Vince and moved in with his friend Tom (Mads Hjulmand).
Tom has only been openly gay for a year, before that he was married to a woman with whom he has a son.
Close to the figures
Now Levo would like to have a housewarming party, with friends, but also with his parents, who are strangers to his gayness.
So he asks not to go wild at the party.
Then Vince: "Does that mean we can't fuck on the Hollywood swing?" To put off the fact that he thinks Levo's behavior is damn bourgeois.
"All you need" cleverly tells of very different people with very different demands and needs.
Also very nice using the example of Vince, the medical student, and his new friend Robbie (Frèdèric Brossier).
He lost his job as a fitness trainer, lives in a prefabricated building and is ashamed of his origins.
None of this is told one-dimensionally, not even provocatively or ashamed, but simply: empathetic, close to the characters.
The five-part series can actually compete well with the competition of the streamers.
Series author and director Benjamin Gutsche redeems a lot more with "All you need" than the sales lead to fear.
The fact that the ARD is once again not as far as it tells itself should not be blamed on this great series.