Couch potatoes, assemble! How 2020 taught us a whole new way to be a hero

Name: Couch potatoes

Age: Shush, leave me alone, I’m watching telly.

I can see. But you can’t lie there on the sofa all day doing nothing, it’s not good for you. Actually, I can and it is. Not just good for me, it’s good for everyone. Call me a hero if you like, but I say I’m just doing my bit …

Hero! No one’s calling you a hero. Actually, they are.

Who is? Only the German government.

Er, explain please. The German government has just released an advert, hailing people who are doing absolutely nothing. It begins with an old man remembering his “service” to the nation in his youth back in the winter of 2020, “when the whole country’s eyes were on us”.

Ah, this is about the virus, isn’t it? Isn’t everything? So as this old fella is reminiscing about the winter of 2020, the viewer is taken back there with him. “We mustered all our courage and did what was expected of us.”

He’s saying this in German presumably? Yes, obviously in German, but there’s a translation on Twitter.

And what was expected of the youth of 2020, what did they do? “The only right thing,” he says. “We did … nothing. Absolutely nothing.” And here he is, in 2020, a 22-year old engineering student, lying on the sofa with the remote control. “Being lazy as raccoons.”

Are raccoons lazy? I don’t know, that’s not the point.

What is the point? That it’s important to stay at home. Or was important, as seen from the future. “Days and nights, we stayed on our arses at home and fought the spread of the coronavirus,” explains the advert.

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Got it. So just as previously generations might have had to sacrifice their lives, this generation had to stop going out to party for a few months. Exactly. “Our couch was the front line and our patience was our weapon,” says the man, while we see his younger self enjoying a takeaway pizza. “Looking back, this was our fate. This is how we became heroes.”

And the message from the German government? “Become a hero too and stay at home” appears on the screen at the end.

Ha, that’s actually quite good. And I thought we were supposed to be the funny ones. Yeah, like: “Stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS.”

Or “hand space race face …” What is it again? Wash cover, make hands, space face … shoulders, knees, toes. Whatever, it’s certainly memorable.

Do say: “But won’t another sort of health crisis come from a generation of couch potatoes?”

Don’t say: “I’ll have the meal for one please … one hero, that is!”


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