30 July 2011

Television: Friday night at the Goodmans

It's not quite "Who Do You Think You Are" but "Friday Night Dinner" may strike some familiar chords with Tracing the Tribe's readers.

The new UK series will premiere on BBC America tonight (Saturday, July 30).

Read an interview on Collider.com with actor Simon Bird and creator/producer Robert Popper as they describe their own childhoods and the differences between American and UK Jewish families.

According to the interview, there's a creepy neighbor, a grandmother in a bikini, embarassing parents and more.

Here's one bit offered by Bird who plays one of the two brothers who get together with their family every Shabbat evening.

"I don’t think Robert is out to specifically write a Jewish sitcom. I think he wanted to write a sitcom about his family, and his family just happens to be Jewish, but they’re quite relaxed Jews. Some of the Jewish customs don’t really come into it, just because they’re not a big deal for Robert’s family. But, I’m a massive fan of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I don’t know if they’re over-the-top, though. On Seinfeld, Judaism didn’t really come up much. It does more in Curb, only for the occasional storyline, here and there. In America, you’ve had decades of humor being fused with Jewish humor. In England, we just don’t have that. Our humor is not infused with Jewish humor. It’s completely different. So, whenever I see Jewish people depicted, they’ve always been done in either an over-the-top way, or a sentimental way. This family is Jewish, and they meet on Friday night. Their candles are lit, but they’re not going to do the whole thing. The way they talk is modern British. It’s second generation and third generation Jewish people. Jewish people will recognize they’re Jewish, but non-Jewish people might not. They might, if they know some Jewish people, but it’s not an issue. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you just enjoy it.
Read the rest of the interview at the link above.
There's another short review here.

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