Something Ain't Kosher Here: The Rise of the 'Jewish' Sitcom

Something Ain't Kosher Here: The Rise of the 'Jewish' Sitcom

by Vincent Brook
     
 

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Brook (film and television, California State U. and Pierce College, Los Angeles) analyzes the development of Jewish identity and stereotypes in film, television, and specifically, in several American sitcoms with Jewish protagonists, including The Goldbergs, Will and Grace, Mad About You, and Seinfeld. Drawing in part on interviews with writers and producers, Brook

Overview

Brook (film and television, California State U. and Pierce College, Los Angeles) analyzes the development of Jewish identity and stereotypes in film, television, and specifically, in several American sitcoms with Jewish protagonists, including The Goldbergs, Will and Grace, Mad About You, and Seinfeld. Drawing in part on interviews with writers and producers, Brook assesses the presentation of Jewish identity in the sitcoms, drawing implications about its status in contemporary American society. Annotation ©2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
From the late 1980s through the early 2000s, American TV networks and syndicated programming saw a significant increase in shows featuring Jewish characters. Seinfeld, thirtysomething, and Mad About You were popular examples of this movement, and these two critical books concentrate on and attempt to explain in different ways the impetus behind this programming trend. Brook's Something Ain't Kosher Here chronicles Jewish situation comedies from 1948 through 2002 and begins to explain the reasons behind their rise, drawing on interviews with important writers and producers. The author, an adjunct professor of film and television at California State University, Los Angeles, does a good job of examining in detail particular series, including The Goldbergs, Rhoda, and The Nanny. He also looks at the three phases that Jewish TV sitcoms have experienced from 1989 to 2002. Zurawik's The Jews of Prime Time goes beyond comedies to cover dramas, casting a critical eye on individual series to discern how they have handled certain themes. Intermarriage, stereotyping, and the exploration of Jewish identity are just some of those topics. Each of the books is sporadically illustrated, and Brook's volume contains a nice bibliography. These two books revisit some themes previously explored in Jonathan and Judith Pearl's The Chosen Image: Television's Portrayal of Jewish Themes and Characters. Both are of primarily academic appeal and are integral choices for academic communications and broadcasting collections.-David M. Lisa, West Long Branch P.L., NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Dept. of American Studies, Brandeis University - Stephen Whitfield

"By offering a savvy and sophisticated history of how television has showcased Jewish characters, Vincent Brook manages to illuminate both the permutations of Jewish status in pop culture and the openness of an inescapable medium to ethnic persistence. As a result, Something Ain't Kosher Here is a compulsively readable book."
author of Comic Visions: Television Comedy and American Culture - David Marc

"This is rigorous, passionate, readable television criticism."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813532103
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
05/28/2003
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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