Extr@ Episode 6: Lottery Day

Since every Extr@ episode doubles as a sitcom and a language lesson, I like to start every watchalong post by saying what we will learn. This time, however, I will do it in the body of the post. One of the topics, if I revealed it now, would spoil the ending! If you haven’t seen Episode 6 yet, here is your last chance to watch it in German, French, Spanish, and of course, English.

“Heute ist mein Glückstag!”

Let’s begin with the first topic: Luck. It may seem like an odd theme for a language lesson, but one of my B1 textbooks built a whole chapter around it. The actual grammar was Präteritum and Plusquamperfect. We practiced using these tenses to tell stories of when we had had had good or bad luck in the past. Then there is the fantastic One World Italiano video course, which uses “unlucky” Episode 17 to teach both local superstitions and l’Imperativo.

On the other hand, luck is a predictable source of jokes for a sitcom. During the first few minutes, I worried that the story would just be about silly coincidences. But these gags soon end and we get a proper comedy of errors instead. For once, Sam’s big mistake is not mixing up similar-sounding words!

This time he mixes up two similar-looking blue tickets. It’s a mistake anyone could make and is more believable than his usual gaffes. Everyone knows what it’s like to have a bit of bad luck like this.

“Wo seid ihr gewesen?”

In this episode, Nic provides not just a subplot, but also a “sub lesson.” When he and Sam talk about Nic’s own lucky day around town, they use many prepositions of place and direction. Did you notice?

“Ich habe fünf Zahlen aussuchen . . .”

Now for the big spoiler . . . The third topic is numbers. It’s a basic beginners’ lesson that even intermediate learners can still find challenging. At least this was my experience: I learned to count in German immediately — but when I talk too fast, I sometimes say “fünfzehn” (15) when I mean “fünfzig” (50). Ordinal numbers are even trickier for me. When I’m reading something like “5. Jahrhundert,” I often just say it as fifth Jahrhundert” in my mind.

Accordingly, when Sascha was telling Sam her lucky numbers, I paid very little attention. And so the twist at the end was as surprising to me as it was to the characters. What about you? Did you see the ending coming? I’ve already described Episode 6 as a comedy of errors, but it’s also a lot like a detective story. If you pay attention to the details, you’ll get to be one step ahead of the characters.

I think this is the most cleverly written episode so far! Here the balance between plot and lesson tips strongly toward plot . . . And yet we still learn something!

Extra Extr@

We don’t get much cultural flavor here. Sasha’s superstitions are not German practices, but personal quirks. And so we see French Sascha, Spanish Lola, and British Bridget doing the exact same things. I see why the producers wanted to keep the story uniform, but this was a great opportunity to do something a little different.

On the other hand, all four countries really do have lotteries. Judging by the titles, however, only Germany, France and Spain have lottery days.

How lucky do you feel today?

  1. If you had to choose five numbers on a lottery ticket, how would you do it?
  2. What are some good luck or bad luck traditions that you learned along with your target language?
  3. Are numbers easy or tricky in your target language? Do you have any tips for remembering them?

Next Week: Episode 7, The Twin

Extra Deutsch

Extra en espanol

Extra en français

Extra English

6 thoughts on “Extr@ Episode 6: Lottery Day

  1. An episode in which Sam isn’t an idiot is a refreshing change, particularly given that he’s enough of not-an-idiot to figure out the mystery!

    In some ways, this was a disguised day-about-town lesson — it was all in passing relative to the plot, but, as you noted, there were quite a few place prepositions, and how to describe events in order, and a bunch of different kinds of stores.

    I don’t remember ever doing luck and superstitions for either Spanish or French. But superstitions are often linked to idioms, so it would be a good thing to get in: unlike English cats, with their nine lives, I think Spanish cats only have seven, and it’s Tuesday the 13th that you have to watch out for rather than Friday the 13th.

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      The more I consider it, the more I see what a well-written episode this is — both as a sitcom and as a language lesson!

      One superstition Germany shares with France (and which I learned from a French friend) is that you should never wish someone Happy Birthday in advance. What’s really funny — at least from my perspective — is that Filipinos like to do that all the time!

  2. Brendan

    Watched this one last night and we all really enjoyed it. Cat called the upside down numbers the moment it happened, especially because the call from Sasha’s mother results in turning down the TV sound at that moment and thus only seeing the numbers not hearing them.

    I’d agree this was one of the most sitcom-ish ones yet. Though we’re excited to see what transpires with the twin episode next time around. That seems to provide plenty of opportunity for humor.

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      I’m glad it was popular!

      How does your whole “class,” in general, find German numbers? As I said, they still trip me up (and I imagine it’s easier for a German speaker to be comfortable with English numbers than the other way around), but at least they’re less tricky than what we have in French!

      1. Brendan

        People seem pretty good with numbers, with the occasional mix ups between -zehn and -zig. Doing numbers is always a welcome exercise with the kids, whereas it’s adjective endings that are making everyone mad at the moment. (Test looming on Thursday.)

        1. Cristina @Linguavert

          Having taken Latin, with its endless declensions, I wasn’t too shocked when I learned about adjective endings in German. I do recall, however, that many of my classmates started standing up and walking around the classroom in frustration! Everyone comes prepared to wrestle with the articles, but no one seems warned in advance about the adjective endings!

          Viel Glück für die Prüfung!

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