“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: What’s the Allure?

by Elliot B. Gertel   THE CW NETWORK’S Crazy Ex-Girlfriend began with Jewish lawyer Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) running into her irresolute summer-camp crush, Filipino-American Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), and then leaving a high-powered New York job in order to stalk him in his home town of West Covina, California. Rebecca is obsessed and devious, […]

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The Golden Age of Cynicism

TELEVISION TAKES TWO STEPS BACKWARDS by Alessio Franko   HBO’s GAME OF THRONES is like one of its own conquering armies, an unstoppable force uniting distant tribes of TV viewers under its banner. Some watch to unpack the dense fantasy world of George R.R. Martin’s original A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Others watch […]

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The Ventriloquist of the 60s

Ventriloquist and voice actor Paul Winchell (Wilchinsky) was born in New York City on this date in 1922. His grandparents had emigrated to the U.S. from Poland and Austria-Hungary. With his two dummy “sidekicks,” Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, Winchell hosted one of the most popular children’s television shows of the mid-1960s and (along with Shari Lewis) […]

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2017 and Still Curbing Our Enthusiasm

by Alessio Franko   IN CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM’S eighth season, Larry David, playing his ever-thinly fictionalized self (we’ll call him “LD” and assume that the two really are separable), boards a plane to New York City, literally fleeing a tedious social obligation in Los Angeles. He eyes the drink that the woman next to him in first […]

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Reruns

A poem by Jessica de Koninck Right in the living room Jack Ruby whips out a pistol and shoots Lee Harvey Oswald who doubles over, falls to the floor. Again and again the scene repeats in black and white. Anchormen in light

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A Singer in Every Category

Georgia Gibbs (Frieda Lipschitz), a tremendously versatile singer who found steady work on radio and vaudeville stages in the 1940s and in the recording studio and television studios in the 1950s and ’60s, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on this date in 1919. She landed her first singing gig at age 13, and was a […]

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The Enemy Within

INTIMACY VS. COLD WAR POLITICS IN THE AMERICANS by Alessio Franko From the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents “THIS MIGHT HELP you understand them a little bit, ” says Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin), handing the teenaged Paige Jennings (Holly Taylor) a copy of Karl Marx’s Capital. The pastor is privy to a secret that Paige and […]

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Mel Tolkin and “Your Show of Shows”

Mel Tolkin (Shmuel Tolchinsky), the head writer of Sid Caesar’s pioneering television comedy program, Your Show of Shows (1950-54), and its follow-up, Caesar’s Hour, was born in a shtetl near Odessa on this date in 1913. He came to Canada in 1926, moved to New York twenty years later, and teamed up with Lucille Kallen, who would become his […]

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Singing Along with Mitch

Mitch Miller, an oboist, conductor, record industry executive, and television host who powerfully shaped American musical tastes during the early 1960s with his NBC television series, Sing Along with Mitch, died at 99 on this date in 2010. At Columbia Records, Miller helped shape the careers Doris Day, Dinah Shore, Jo Stafford, and Aretha Franklin, while passing on opportunities to sign both […]

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