Türkisch für Anfänger

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Türkisch für Anfänger
Created by Bora Dağtekin
Starring Josefine Preuß
Emil Reinke
Anna Stieblich
Elyas M'Barek
Pegah Ferydoni
Adnan Maral
Arnel Taci
Axel Schreiber
Carl-Heinz Choinsky
Katharina Kaali
Andreas Hofer
Susanne Kirschnik
Opening theme Karpatenhund – Gegen den Rest
Country of origin Germany
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 52
Producer(s) Hoffmann & Voges Ent.
Running time 25 minutes
Original network Das Erste
Original release March 14, 2006 – February 24, 2009
External links

Türkisch für Anfänger (literal translation into English: Turkish for Beginners) is a critically acclaimed German television comedy-drama series, which premiered on March 14, 2006 on Das Erste. It was created by Bora Dağtekin and produced by Hoffmann & Voges Ent.

The show focuses on the German-Turkish stepfamily Schneider-Öztürk, their everyday lives and particularly on the eldest daughter Lena, who narrates the show. During the show's run of 52 episodes, topics covered included both typical problems of teenagers and cross-cultural experiences.

Due to popular demand, the crew shot a third season consisting of 16 episodes, which were aired in Fall 2008.

The show was also successful on foreign markets and got sold to and broadcast in more than 70 countries.[1]


Lena's life seemed to be perfect the way it was: The 16-year-old girl used to live just with her little brother Nils (13) and her mother Doris, a psychotherapist. But unfortunately for Lena, her mother Doris fell in love with Metin, a police officer of Turkish descent, and decided to move in with him.

But the widower Metin isn't alone: He has two children, Yağmur (15), his pious Muslim daughter, and Cem (17), his wannabe gangster son. Now Lena must deal with her extended family. She narrates the show by recording videos for her best friend Kati, who is studying in the USA on a Student Exchange Program.

The episode titles imitate those of Friends (The One with...), for example:

  • "Die, in der ich meine Freiheit verliere" ("The One Where I Lose My Freedom")
  • "Die, in der ich keine Schwester will" ("The One Where I Don't Want a Sister")

Season 1[edit]

The new "family" has to get used to each other - which is much more complicated than Doris and Metin thought: Lena and Yağmur have to share a room, which complicates their sisterhood right from the beginning, as does the fact that Lena is an atheist and Yağmur a pious Muslim girl wearing a headscarf. Doris, who is very free-spirited, has to get used to her new role as a mother of four instead of two children, her stepson Cem, who is a bit of a macho, and her stepdaughter, who is very critical of her less than decent kitchen-skills.

Meanwhile, Lena and Nils have to try to fit in in their new school, which is very different from their old school. After some time Lena even finds a new friend, Axel, who falls in love with her. At first, Lena tries to deny her feelings for him, but eventually they become a couple. But things get even more complicated when Cem admits that he is in love with Lena, too, and Lena is torn between Cem and Axel.

Season 2[edit]

After Axel's suicide-attempt Lena decides to stay with him and forget all about Cem. But this isn't as easy as she wants it to be. Lena and Cem begin to have a relationship behind Axel's back. However, Lena finds it "immoral" and breaks it off with Cem, even though she is falling in love with him. When Cem discovers that Axel didn't attempt suicide at all, he wants to tell it to everyone. However, no one believes him - not even Lena - and when he falls into a manhole and hurts himself, he decides to break up with Lena once and for all, even after the truth comes out. He still has feelings for her and although he tries to lose his virginity with a prostitute, he hesitates and decides that he still wants to be with Lena. When Lena finds out that Cem went to a prostitute, she feels hurt and decides to sleep with Axel and forget everything about him. Ironically, this turns out to be an action that puts an end to her relationship with Cem.

Doris and Metin have to deal with Doris' father Herman who is broke and needs to stay at his daughter's house - much to their dismay. The house gets even more crowded when Doris' sister Diana visits and gets herself a job at Lena's school. Diana discovers that Nils is intellectually gifted and he leaves the family to go to a high-class boarding school.

Meanwhile, Yağmur is flirting online with an unknown boy who turns out to be Cem's best friend Costa, who soon falls in love with the unaware Yağmur. Several times, he tries to tell her that he is the one she has been chatting with. However, his stuttering holds him back every time.

Metin, on the other hand, has finally convinced Doris to accept his proposal. However, the wedding plan has somehow come to the attention of Doris' ex-husband Markus, the father of Lena and Nils. He leaves the Amazon and comes back to Germany to stop Doris from being what she never wanted to be: a housewife.

Lena, who is still in love with Cem, meets the pious Christian Ulla and the two girls become friends. Lena wants Ulla to flirt with Cem and then blow him off as revenge, but Ulla and Cem fall in love with each other. With her father's help she tries to break them up again at Doris and Metin's wedding.

Season 3[edit]

The third season continues two years after Doris and Metin's wedding. Cem fails in school and breaks up with his girlfriend Ulla. The love story of Cem and Lena starts all over thereafter. Later, Cem gets Lena pregnant and Lena decides to become a stay-at-home-mum to take care of their baby, while Cem, on the other hand, has to work as a police officer to earn money. Unlike Cem, Yagmur finishes school and becomes a translator while Costa pursues a career in design. Doris fears the natural process of aging and uses Botox injections, which speeds up her menopause and leaves her infertile. Although the show says nothing about Yagmur and Costa getting married, they are still happily together throughout the season. Sadly, Grandpa Hermann dies from a heart attack.


Main Characters[edit]

  • Josefine Preuß as Helena „Lena“ Claudette Schneider
  • Emil Reinke as Nils Schneider, Lena's little brother
  • Anna Stieblich as Doris Schneider, the mother of Lena and Nils
  • Elyas M'Barek as Cem Öztürk
  • Pegah Ferydoni as Yağmur Öztürk
  • Adnan Maral as Metin Öztürk, father of Cem and Yağmur

Supporting Cast[edit]

  • Arnel Taci as Costa Papavassilou
  • Axel Schreiber as Axel Mende
  • Carl-Heinz Choinsky as Hermann Schneider
  • Katharina Kaali as Diana Schneider
  • Andreas Hofer as Markus Lemke
  • Susanne Kirschnick as Ulla Jamuschke



  • 2006: Nymphe d'Or at the "Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo", for "Best European Producer for a Comedy show"
  • 2006: Prix Italia, for "Best Drama-Show or Serial"
  • 2006: Deutscher Fernsehpreis, for "Best Show"
  • 2006: Reflet d’Or CINEMA TOUT ECRAN, for "Best Show"
  • 2007: Adolf-Grimme-Preis, for "Entertainment Show"
  • 2007: Civis media prize, for "Entertainment Show"
  • 2008: Banff Rockie Award at Banff World Television Festival, for "Telenovela & Serial Programs"


  • 2006: Rose d’Or, nominated for "Sitcom" and "Social Awareness"
  • 2006: Nymphe d'Or Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo, nominated for "Best Comedy Series", "Outstanding Producer" and "Outstanding Actor/Actress"
  • 2006: Deutscher Fernsehpreis, nominated for "Best Show" and "Best Actor in a show"
  • 2006: Prix Europa
  • 2007: Adolf-Grimme-Preis, nominated for "Entertainment/Special"
  • 2007: Rose d’Or, nominated for "Sitcom" and "Social Awareness"
  • 2009: International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, nominated for "Comedy"

Production details[edit]

The creator of the show, Bora Dağtekin, grew up in a German-Turkish home (his father was Turkish, his mother German) therefore - according to him - personal experiences influenced his writing. Specific episodes are written by guest writers - often of Turkish descent.


DVD releases[edit]

DVD Name Number of episodes Release Date Bonus Features
Season 1 12 March 27, 2006 Audio Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Casting Best-Offs
Season 2.1 12 April 16, 2007 Audio Commentaries, Outtakes, Making Of, Interviews
Season 2.2 12 May 14, 2007 Audio Commentaries, Outtakes, Making Of, Interviews
Season 1&2 36 November 15, 2007 Deleted Scenes, Audio Commentaries, Outtakes, Making Of, Interviews


Four books, written by Claudia Kühn, have been published accompanying this TV show.

  • Türkisch für Anfänger 01 - Meine verrückte Familie (March 2007)
  • Türkisch für Anfänger 02 - Verwirrung hoch sechs (March 2007)
  • Türkisch für Anfänger 03 - Durchdrehen garantiert (October 2008)
  • Türkisch für Anfänger 04 - Der ganz normale Wahnsinn (October 2008)


  1. ^ Türkisch für Anfänger: Im Ausland ein Hit (German language), Filmstarts.de, April 1st, 2009 (January 30th, 2013)

External links[edit]