Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten''Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten'' ("Good Times, Bad Times"), often abbreviated ''GZSZ'', is a long-running German television soap opera, first broadcast on RTL in 1992. The programme concerns the lives of a fictional neighborhood in Germany's capital city Berlin. Over the years the soap opera tends to have an overhaul of young people in their late teens and early twenties, targeting a young viewership.
Based on the Australian format ''The Restless Years'', which first was successfully adapted in the Netherlands as ''Goede tijden, slechte tijden'', the German version took the scripts of the first 230 episodes, even though heavily rewritten, from the original. After the first year, ''Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten'' started using original material.
The programme started off with low ratings and was panned by critics. However the network believed in the success of the show and by the autumn of 1993, a serial killer storyline helped to improve the ratings, making ''GZSZ'' a success. It not only won its time slot but became also one of the highest-rated programmes, normally ranking in the Top 10 ratings of the day. In 2002, the soap opera reached its peak with over seven million viewers turning in for the 2,500th episode.
''Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten'' has tackled with issues like homosexuality, incest, rape, drug addiction, various crimes, breast cancer, bulimia, underage drinking, adoption and mental illnesses.
Frank-Thomas Mende and Lisa Riecken were the last original cast members when leaving the show in 2010. Wolfgang Bahro, who joined the show in February 1993, has become the longest-serving actor on the show since. He is described as having become a cult-like figure among soap opera stars, frequently noticed in public. Other long-serving actors are Daniel Fehlow, who joined the show in 1996 but has since taken several breaks, and Felix von Jascheroff, who's part of the programme since 2001. Ulrike Frank is currently the longest-serving female cast member, being part of the soap opera in her current role since 2002.
''GZSZ'' launched several successful careers in the music industry. The first being original cast member Andreas Elsholz. The most successful ones were Jeanette Biedermann and Yvonne Catterfeld, who both left the soap opera at the peak of their careers. Provided by Wikipedia