Are You There, Angela Merkel? It's Me, 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'
A Who Wants To Be a Millionaire contestant learned a valuable lesson this week: Never waste your "phone a friend" pass on Angela Merkel. While stumped on a question during the celebrity edition of the German gameshow Monday night, politician and Millionaire contestant Wolfgang Bosbach phoned Chancellor Angela Merkel on live TV for a little help. But Merkel, being the busy woman that she is, failed to pick up, leaving her colleague hanging.
According to The Guardian, the 500,000 euros ($680,000) question was about a popular washing machine brand produced and sold primarily in East Germany during the Cold War period:
Why was the WM66 so legendary, the question asked. Was it because a) it could generate electricity for heating, b) you could use it to boil food, c) it doubled as a vacuum cleaner, or d) it could receive radio signals from West Germany?
Bosbach, a member of the Christian Democratic Union, struggled to answer the question because he was born and raised in West Germany. Merkel, however, grew up in East Germany, which is probably why Bosbach thought she would be the best friend to call. "Whom shall I call - except the Chancellor?" Bosbach said on-air.
Bosbach's assistant gave him an old Nokia cell phone to call the chancellor, except Bosbach didn't receive many answers on the other end of the line — the call went to Merkel's voicemail, twice. The politician was disappointed that the chancellor neglected to take his calls, but he still left the game show with 125,000 euros for charity.
And Merkel did get back to Bosbach, eventually. Later in the game, the chancellor sent him a text saying, "I couldn't pick up. What's the matter?" Merkel didn't have an excuse for why she let her phone go to voicemail, but if we had to guess for 500,000 euros, she was most likely doing answer B: boiling water with her WM66 washing machine.