Extr@ Episode 13: A Wedding in the Air

It’s the last day of our Extr@ Watchalong party! Will it truly double as a wedding celebration for our newly-engaged pair? Here is your last chance to find out before this post gives you the answer! Catch Episode 13 in German, French, Spanish, and English.

“Habt ihr schon die Kirche gemietet?”

Like last week’s topic of sports, this week’s topic of weddings lets us hear some very specific vocabulary. But it’s a strange subject for a language lesson. While more and more couples like to have a “destination wedding” in a foreign country, do their preparations include language lessons? I think that most of these couples rely on local wedding planners who speak their language!

Weddings may also seem a strange choice for the last episode of Season 1. We all know it’s too early for Sam and Anna to marry — so in a way, it’s also too early for wedding vocabulary. On the other hand, it makes sense to meet Sam’s mother. If you remember, she has been part of the story since Episode 1, thanks to Sam’s daily phone calls home. But the only reason she would fly to Europe at such short notice would be . . . a wedding. At least I can’t think of a different plot! Can you?

“Ich bin immer die Brautjungfer und nie die Braut!”

Another false note in the episode is Sascha flirting with Nic. Didn’t she spend the last twelve episodes pushing him away? It makes some sense, because Sascha loves celebrities and Nic just became a TV actor. And it’s a little funny that the roles are reversed, so she is now chasing him. But it feels more like filler than like a real subplot.

At least Sascha and Anna’s debate, when Sascha claims she now loves Nic, doubles as a language lesson. Go far enough in a language course, and you will have to debate a classmate. It would have been better for Sascha and Anna to debate decisions for the wedding. If Anna really wants an animal-themed wedding, can you imagine the bridesmaid’s dress for Sascha? But as we pointed out, this isn’t really the Extr@ “wedding episode.”

Extra Extr@

Is it really traditional in Germany, France, Spain, and England for men to dress as women to celebrate an upcoming wedding? I’m reminded of Episode 6’s generic look at superstitions in these four countries. (Link to Episode 6 watchalong post) If true, it seems like a very odd coincidence. If not true, at least it’s funny in the end!

As for the differences, I noticed that the French, Spanish and English versions all mention a famous church. We hear Notre Dame for France, Sagrada Familia for Spain, and Westminster Abbey for England. But Germany does not seem to have an equally famous church, and Sam’s mother only asks him about “die Kirche.” I guess nobody told her that Neuschwanstein Castle is available for weddings!

Wenn ihr wollt, daß es noch eine Serie von Extr@ gibt . . .

Although Extr@ English ran for a second “season,” the German, French, and Spanish versions stopped at Episode 13. But only the French and German ones end with an appeal to the viewers: If you want another season, e-mail Channel 4! But although the “foreign language” Extr@ episodes have been popular among YouTube-using language learners, I guess too few of us contacted Channel 4 for more.

My guess is that we all found “real language” resources in our target languages that we liked better. At least this was true for me. In the middle of our Extr@ watchalong, I discovered an actual German TV series that I am now a fan of! It was nice to be friends with Sascha, Anna, Nic, and Sam for a while, but now I can move on. But before we all do, let’s have one last discussion!

Final Chat: Let’s make it great!

  1. If you could marry (or renew your vows) in another country, which would you choose?
  2. What was your favorite episode in the series? Who was your favorite character?
  3. Is there a topic that you wish Extr@ had covered?
  4. How would you make the last day of a language class special?

4 thoughts on “Extr@ Episode 13: A Wedding in the Air

  1. Weddings are indeed a bit of an odd topic for language lessons. But they do have some potential — for instance, for colors (including less-used color terms) or words for family and other close relationships. I agree that it would have made more sense, language-wise, to bring in wedding choices — those are very diverse, so there is a lot of flexibility there.

    Spanish Lola’s switch over Pablo was much easier to swallow than French Sacha’s switch over Nic, I think due to acting choices over the course of the series — Lola has usually seemed more annoyed at Pablo than anything else, while Sacha has occasionally seemed repulsed by Nic. On the other hand, we have so far seen in two other cases, Sam and Toby, that Lola/Sacha doesn’t waste any time when it comes to shifting her affections.

    I think Episode 6 (Lottery Day) was the strongest episode of the series — it worked well as a sitcom episode, and yet still worked well as a language episode, while also being at least a bit amusing. The second half, while very uneven, was stronger than the first half — Episode 11 (Holiday Time) and Episode 9 (Jobs for the Boys) also managed to blend sitcom and language learning pretty well. Both of those, however, would have been benefited by being two-part — and, I think, in general, a weakness of the series for language-learning is that it often just lightly touches on things and then moves on.

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      I think that a proper wedding planning episode would have been great! It could have also been one of the two-parters that you suggest.

      Lottery Day is my favorite, too, as the best blend of sitcom and language lesson. Football Crazy is a very close second!

      Did you notice a shift in tone (or at least a slight change in the actors’ appearance) every four episodes or so? I think the final group of episodes was the strongest, athough, as you’ve noticed, it only lightly touches on the language before focusing on the story. I guess this is our final reminder that the series is literally something extra to supplement a separate language course! The final episodes also made me think a bit more like a teacher than like a learner. I think the usual classroom skits could use a bar like those our four friends set. Take the restaurant scene from Holiday Time: even if the learners just imitate what the characters are doing in a skit of their own, they’ll still be learning!

  2. I didn’t really notice the division every four episodes or so while watching, but it makes sense now that you mention it. And the first four episodes are titled like language-learning episodes, while the last five deal with much more complicated and ambitious topics than the previous ones.

    It occurs to me that one advantage of ending with a wedding is that it’s the first time since Sam’s secret about being rich came out that it was relevant to the actual story; that was such a big part of the early episodes, that it needed a pay-off at some point.

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      I had completely forgotten about Sam being rich! It’s set up to be a big deal when Sascha finds out, but she ends up being as indifferent to the truth as Nic is.

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