If the ratings for CW’s newest show, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” are any indication, you probably aren’t watching it. If not, you’re missing out.Rachel Bloom actually won the Golden Globe.
Now that creator and star Rachel Bloom is nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV series — fingers crossed for her on Sunday! — it’s time to tune in. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is hilarious and zany, and as it happens, it addresses Jewish identity in unexpectedly profound ways.
On “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Judaism is more than just a punchline — though it’s certainly that, too. This was apparent during the midseason finale, which begins on a boat from Europe to America in 1901.
“I know we are fleeing,” a mother tells her daughter, “but you couldn’t comb your hair?”
Jewish daughters will probably laugh in recognition. But what’s significant here is that the entire scene is in Yiddish. A sprinkling of Yiddish phrases may be heard on television here and there, but name another mainstream show that’s had an entire scene in the language.
I've watched a couple of episodes and it looks like a very funny show (although the humor too racy for nice Jewish families.)
But I had to find the Yiddish scene that JTA mentioned: (This only seems to work in some browsers.)
The accents are quite good.
At the same time, something interesting happened on Israeli TV, also in a scene of Yiddish speakers.
Alon Zingman, the director of “Shtisel” — the engaging and award-winning YES television show about the intertwined lives of a Haredi family in Jerusalem’s Geula neighborhood — knew he had reached a particular pinnacle of success after the ninth episode aired on a recent Saturday night.
In that particular episode, Grandma Malka (Hannah Rieber), while casually knitting a reel of brown cassette tape, hummed what she called Nigun Minsk, a wordless tune composed by Rebbe Cohen, her great-grandfather, as her eldest son, Shulem (Doval’e Glickman), stood in the doorway, staring quizzically at her.
Two nights later, the nigun, which was actually composed by Shtisel writer Uri Alon, was performed at an ultra-Orthodox wedding by a band of yeshiva students, Zingman. It even showed up on a YouTube clip.
“We made it up!” he said, gleeful at the notion that the ultra-Orthodox community would possibly adopt a tune created for a television show. “How would they even know about something on TV? It’s a badge of honor that they watch it.”
Yiddish is the new black.