“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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George Burns

George Burns (Naftaly — later Nathan — Birnbaum) was born in New York City on this date in 1896 to a family that had immigrated from what is now southeastern Poland. He quit school in the fourth grade to become an entertainer. Burns’ vaudeville career was floundering until he met Gracie Allen in 1923 (they would […]

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Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales (Milton Supman) was born on this date in 1926 in Franklinton, North Carolina. His parents were dry goods merchants (the local Ku Klux Klan, Soupy joked, bought their sheets from his folks) who nicknamed their sons ‘Hambone,’ ‘Chicken Bone’ and ‘Soup Bone.’ Milton shortened his nickname to Soupy and turned his family’s bent […]

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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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The Uncivil Servant: Fauda’s Dehumanizing Humanism

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Fauda, a television series by Avi Issacharoff and Lion Raz.   IN HIS EXCELLENT New Yorker article on the Israeli TV series Fauda (the word means “chaos”), which can be streamed on Netflix, David Remnick quotes series producer Avi Issacharoff as saying of the show that it “was an […]

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Can Satire Undermine Donald Trump?

THE INCONSISTENCY OF THE PRESIDENT SHOW by Alessio Franko WATCHING Donald J. Trump descend a hotel escalator in June 2015 to announce his presidential run, an ecstatic Jon Stewart called it “comedy hospice.” Stewart would glide through the final weeks of his legendary seventeen-year stint at The Daily Show, slinging jokes that practically wrote themselves about […]

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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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