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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