TV series review: How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)
by Ştefan Dobroiu
- The German series, available as of today on Netflix, wins over the audience with some good acting and characters that one can easily root for
Millions watched how an intrinsically good man turned into a drug lord in the US TV show Breaking Bad, which has become one of the best-received series in history. Now, the German show How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) starts with a similar premise but places the story in a different setting (a high school, complete with nerds and first loves), and wins over the audience with some good acting and characters that one can easily root for.
Created by Philipp Käßbohrer and Matthias Murmann, the story centres on Moritz (Maximilian Mundt), a 17-year-old high-school student and a total nerd (in the nicest sense of the term) whose life in a small German town is turned upside down when his girlfriend dumps him as soon as she comes back after one year of studying abroad. Noticing her new passion for whimsically shaped pills known to cause euphoria, the shy Moritz tries to win her back by becoming a drug dealer - not one of those shady dealers lurking in the shadows on a street corner, but rather one who offers his clients a modern, safe, anonymous, efficient method of acquiring their next dose of happiness: a website. With the help of his best buddy Lenny (Danilo Kamperidis), Moritz soon starts to – well – sell drugs online fast.
A story about friendship, lack of direction and trying to feel in control when everything around you is changing rapidly, HTSDOF has all the ingredients it needs to win the hearts of teenagers – whose issues are eagerly discussed in short monologues by a chirpy Moritz, simultaneously making the hearts of their parents skip a beat or two. The show is perfectly designed to be watched by both generations and could even spark some healthy conversations about the online habits of today’s teenagers.
With its snappy editing, online aesthetics and comments on Yelp ratings being as definitive as the Ten Commandments were in Biblical times, HTSDOF was obviously conceived for Moritz's generation and at times may be too much for older viewers, but they should bear with it, as the protagonists’ story grows, forcing the two teenagers to face new, at times dangerous, situations. The small-town mentality, the proverbial German lack of imagination and a few secondary characters – especially a local drug dealer played by a very watchable Bjarne Mädel – keep the story layered and unpredictable enough to offer consistent binging potential. And with the first season consisting of eight half-hour episodes, the audience doesn’t really need a long weekend to get to the end of it.
Although it’s a story about friendship, it is obvious that the star of the show is Moritz, with Lenny being a Sam to his Frodo. With an absent mother (early on in the show, he blocks her on Facebook), a distracted father (who is also a policeman, dangerously echoing Breaking Bad) and now an ex-girlfriend, Moritz is the perfect case study to discuss a difficult age and how important an achievement, however amoral and illegal it may be, can be when everything seems to be collapsing. Despite his rather dubious choices, Moritz becomes an engaging protagonist, aided by some good writing and a very expressive Mundt.
How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) was produced by Germany’s BTF and will be available on Netflix starting today, 31 May.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.