In “Damaged Goods” Sophie Passmann celebrates her acting premiere alongside Tim Oliver Schultz. There were even tears during the filming.
Life as a millennial in a German city can have its pitfalls. The main characters of the new dramedy series “Damaged Goods”, which starts on July 11 on Amazon Prime, experience this first-hand. The clique consisting of Nola (Sophie Passmann), Mads (Tim Oliver Schultz), Hennie (Leonie Brill), Tia (Zeynep Bozbay) and Hugo (Antonije Stankovic) met as teenagers in group therapy. Since then, the friends have been living together in Munich, which is characterized by ups and downs. Author Sophie Passmann (28) celebrates her acting debut with the series. In a double interview, she and series colleague Tim Oliver Schultz (33) reveal to the news agency spot on news what makes the series so special and what advice they would give their younger self.
There are already a few series about groups of friends in the late twenties – think of “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother”. What makes “Damaged Goods” different from these series?
Sophie Passmann: You have already mentioned two series that are set in the United States. I think there are many series that are produced in Germany that actually try to copy an American way of life. There are bars that look a bit like New York and you can tell the authors have watched a lot of US series. “Damaged Goods” doesn’t do that and I think that’s great.
It is a series that is produced in Germany that works with German life themes, scenes and also with German life phases. Of course it’s different for us because we don’t go to college and then graduate at some point. Growing up is different and therefore different life issues, different family planning, different expectations of society. “Damaged Goods” would like to tell exactly these life themes for a German-speaking area.
Tim Oliver Schultz: It doesn’t sugarcoat anything. With “How I Met Your Mother” or “Friends” you get shown the beautiful superficial world. Then maybe someone cries because she can’t find a guy or something – that’s where “Damaged Goods” really starts. It’s really about the problems we have: whether it’s bouts of depression, being overwhelmed, or the abundance of opportunities our generation has. The comedy arises precisely from this excessive demand.
Do you understand this feeling of the millennial generation?
Schulz: Yes. I can even remember exactly how I was also overwhelmed with so many things and terms during our first rehearsal. The series touches on subjects that I hadn’t dealt with before. That was the first time for me that those were brought to the table and made into a project by people who are in those scenes themselves.
How does that show up in the series?
Passmann: The great thing about the screenplay is that it positions itself very clearly on certain life-world topics – especially when it comes to queerness and coming out. But because the author space is so queer and diverse, the topics are handled with a lightness that I think you can only indulge in if you’re part of the community yourself.
Of course, when a white, straight man suddenly has to write a queer character, he has a harder time making good, tasteful jokes about it. But if you’re in this world yourself, you can pick out completely different jokes and nuances. I think that’s a huge gift that you notice again and again, in this author’s room there was no fear of contact with a certain sense of humor.
I think we really need that kind of humor if we’re going to tell really diverse stories. Because what I can no longer watch are these pedagogically valuable series that actually want to show us: We are all only human. Yes, we know that! But one should show that the very people who belong to these communities are just as limp people as everyone else. That’s what the series does very well: showing the humanity behind the labels.
Ms. Passmann, you wrote on Instagram that one of the highlights of the shooting for you was working with Christian Tramitz. Was it intimidating for you to shoot with an idol for your very first role?
Passman: Yes, definitely. I found out I was shooting with him two days before the scene. And that’s when I started crying from intimidation.
Schultz: Didn’t you really know that before?
Passman: No, I didn’t know about anything! I cried because he’s from that generation of comedians that I looked at when I decided I wanted to be funny for a living. I would also have a stroke if I met Anke Engelke. These are my idols. I was never as excited on a day of shooting as I was on the day with Christian Tramitz. My only goal was for him to know my name at the end of the day.
And do you think that worked?
Passmann: In the first episode he plays my professor, who kicks me out of the university. Luckily we had the time to warm up to each other a bit. And I think he noticed that he could throw something at me and that I could use it humorously. That was really the highlight of my career. Because that’s what you want when you’re doing my job.
The show is about mental health and the transition from childhood to adult “me”. If you had the opportunity, what advice would you give to your former self?
Passmann: I love the question, because for me it’s an elementary part of real growing up. The moment when you let go of your childhood issues and no longer react in stressful situations from your inner child, but become an adult. I think basically everyone wants to say to their child: It will get worse first, but then it will get better. Because I’m standing here now, that’s the proof. I wouldn’t give him any advice at all, but say: do as you think. It’s gonna suck, but I’ll get you out of this shit.
Schultz: In summary: You know nothing, Jon Snow (laughs). You really don’t know anything. I remember thinking things like, “Now I understand religion,” as a kid. And later I realized that I hadn’t understood anything, but I was convinced that I got it now. A few years later it came to me: “Tim, you still don’t know anything.” I would also tell the younger Tim that: You don’t know anything at all. It gets worse, it gets better. But relax, everything will be okay.