Skip to content

Die Sendung mit der Maus

The death of German TV show star Peter Lustig this month got me thinking about German kids’ programming. Lustig’s show, Löwenzahn (Dandelion), was based around Peter’s character, an old man, living alone in a wagon without a bathroom. He seemed pretty clean for a guy who could never brush his teeth or go number two.

The show might have once explained how it worked. It’s Germany. They happily talk about things like that.

Die Sendung mit der Maus
Photo thanks Christliches Medienmagazin pro via Creative Commons

But Löwenzahn is Germany’s second-best kids show (there’s a new, younger guy living and not pooping in the wagon these days). Well, to me second-best but I only ever watched these shows as an adult. The best one is a show that actually has no name, just a description, which always leads to a who’s-on-first discussion in my head.

“What are you kids watching?”

“The show with the mouse.”

“Oh, Disney or Tom and Jerry?”

“No, the show with the mouse.”

“Disney or Tom and Jerry?”


It’s true: Germany’s best kids show is called Die Sendung mit der Maus (The Show with the Mouse). I guess the producers were too busy making great TV to come up with a title. The show is exactly as old as my wife and has never changed, like Ron Swanson.

Die Sendung mit der Maus

The show is essentially about how things get made, like jeans, tea bags or nuclear reactors. You know, everyday items. It’s explained in several segments that are divided up so said mouse – an orange cartoon rodent – can appear between segments to do something goofy related to the day’s topic. He’s often joined by a hapless blue elephant.

Which brings up the quandary of why it’s not called the show with the mouse and the elephant.

It’s because the elephant has a crappy agent, that’s why. I would fire that agent if he were my agent

That simple formula has spawned a TV show that’s been on for over four decades. It’s great because you learn something and then, after learning it, you get to take a little pause and think about it while a blue elephant accidentally blows himself up or a mouse tries on a pair of jeans. Really!

Check it out! The Show with the Mouse in English!

It’s on every Sunday morning and maybe explains why religion and God are on their way out in Germany: Everyone is too busy watching the show with a description for a title rather than trying to figure out how Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God are all one god. Maybe the show with the mouse should tackle that one. I’d be a little nervous about the related mouse animations though.

The most tension in the Sendung mit der Maus comes at the beginning when they give a synopsis of the coming episode in German and an unknown language. Children (and adults) throughout Germany start screaming languages at the screen like insults –“Finnish! Japanese! Schwarzenegger-ish!” – until the language is announced.

“I knew it was Greek. I just didn’t feel like saying anything,” dads across the country then say.

I don’t know if Peter Lustig’s Löwenzahn and Sendung mit der Maus ever met. But it would be great if one Maus episode would explain to me how an old guy lived alone in a trailer without a bathroom.

I’ve wondered that my entire adult life.





  1. Thomas Thomas

    Peter Lustig’s trailer had a bathroom, it was just outside. His toilette was in a cupboard a few metres away from the trailer.

    Once one window broke, and someone convinced him a trailer completely out of glass would be a good idea, at the end of the episode it turned out, privacy wise it wasn’t.

    • Drew Portnoy Drew Portnoy

      Yes! I knew the answer was out there. Danke!

  2. Katja Katja

    One important fact about the mouse: she is a girl. Whereas the elefant is a boy. So it might not be the bad agent afterall 😉

    • Drew Portnoy Drew Portnoy

      Really? That’s cool! I didn’t know that. Thanks!

  3. Steffi Steffi

    At the end of each Löwenzahn show Peter Lustig would tell the viewers/kids that there was nothing good in TV and the should really switch that box off now …

    Fun fact

    Also: apperently in 1973 Peter Lustig was in short clips in the show with the mouse …

    • Drew Portnoy Drew Portnoy

      Since they’re both oeffentliche rechtliche, I figured they must have cross-pollinated at some time. I’ll have to do some googling. Thanks!

  4. Marc Marc

    The elephant joined a few years later (in 1975) , that’s why it’s called “Die Sendung mit der Maus” only 🙂

    • Drew Portnoy Drew Portnoy

      Ah ha! Cool trivia. I had no idea. Thanks!

  5. Tina Tina

    Don’t worry about the elephant and his agent. He has his own show by now. It is called – surprise, surprise – The Show with the Elephant. Oh and he has his own sidekick: a pink bunny. No kidding 😉

    • Drew Portnoy Drew Portnoy

      Now it’s the pink bunny with the bad agent! Thanks!

    • Drew Portnoy Drew Portnoy

      Excellent, thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.