Why Can’t We Just Call a Jew, a Jew?

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Discussing television shows is a wonderful pass time. My favorite show to discuss is Lost, not only because it’s fun to guess where the show is going, but there is so much to process in every episode that when you talk with someone about it, you learn so much more.

But earlier today, I was talking with a friend of mine about a totally different subject. He was talking about the show Chuck, something I (surprisingly) don’t watch. But he brought up a point about characters, especially in sitcoms, that I thought was pretty interesting.

Looking at the main character, Chuck, my friend wondered why the show’s writers went so far to make Chuck Bartowski, the main character, so very Jewish in his persona and characteristics, but then fell short of actually deciding he was Jewish.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Look at Rachel Green, Ross and Monica Geller from Friends. Three fairly Jewish names, all living in New York City, with the same stereotypical self-depricating humor that exemplifies Jewish comedy.

But not Jewish.

There are many others like this that we don’t have to get into now. But, why the fear? Or is it fear? I think Seinfeld pretty much proved to everyone that you can have a Jewish main character and not be scare audiences away.

Or is it that the writers, presumably a large percentage of whom are Jewish, don’t want to make Hollywood feel too “Jewey.” So they create characters whom they think are funny and they can relate to, but then don’t make them Jewish so “Joe Six Pack” thinks that Ross could be his son too.

I don’t know, just some food for thought. 24 is on tonight. Jack Bauer. Not Jewish.

Posted on March 23, 2009

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2 thoughts on “Why Can’t We Just Call a Jew, a Jew?

  1. Tamar Fox

    Rachel and Ross are the products of an intermarriage (remember Ross and the Hanukkah Armadillo?) and they do occasionally talk about being Jewish. Rachel isn’t, though, but you’re right, it does sound like she might be from her name.

  2. Jaiart

    I prefer Larry David and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, he is obviously Jewish but seems to rebel from time to time, actually he seems to swing from extreme to extreme. Standing up for Jews when a Jewish man was converting to Christianity to marry a woman, but at the same time arguing with a man who felt he was not behaving in a proper Jewish manner. Not to mention the show in which his character ate lobster.

    I think it is just a sign of the times when there are so many people who are but do not follow all the laws. To show us as people of the book, but different books if you get my meaning.

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