For well over a decade, HBO in the States has been broadcasting some of the best and highest quality television in the States which has gone on to be exported across the globe.
From The Sopranos to Sex and the City, HBO is home to many television shows that are well written, acted and produced and now New York-based Jewish weekly, The Forward is taking a look at the role of Jews and Judaism in many of these shows.
A week before the new series of The Sopranos airs in the States, The Forward is running a special section in its paper which features a special section devoted to seven shows that are broadcast on HBO - The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ali G, Deadwood, The Wire, Sex and the City and Entourage.
In the UK, many of these shows will be shown on various channels including Channel 4 and Sky 1.
The essays are well written and provide a useful backgrounder to all these popular shows, helping the viewer understand some of the more subtle elements of their Jewish connection.
For Ali G, writer Andrew Heinze points out: "Jewish comedy can mean comedy based on Jewish references, but it can also refer to comedy rooted in a sharp sense of Us versus Them."
On The Sopranos, Ami Eden says: "Of course, The Sopranos features its share of corrupt Jews — ultra-Orthodox and secular — as well as several marginally anti-Semitic wiseguys. Yet Tony has evinced a decidedly philosemitic streak — one that might, in fact, explain how this Jersey mob boss ended up on a psychiatrist’s couch."
How Jews are portrayed on TV is something many take to heart and either celebrate or cringe, depending on the circumstances. But by taking an objective viewpoint, The Forward offers the reader an additional reason to jump for joy on seeing these shows or why you press the off button on the remote control.
For more information: www.forward.com