It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
No, not that time.
Fall TV has returned, and we couldn’t be happier. The leaves are changing colors, the heat is slowly (finally) disappearing, and the inimitable Viola Davis is back where she belongs: on the TV screen as Annalise Keating kicking butt and taking names (and sometimes lives) in How to Get Away With Murder.
And OK, while that isn’t a Jewish TV show nor does it display any noticeable Jewish themes as far as we’ve seen, there are plenty of Jewish-ish TV shows ready to grace your screens — TV and computer — this season.
These shows are full of rich plot lines and Jewish guilt.
We would be steering you wrong if we didn’t include this Amazon hit on this list. Jeffrey Tambor stars as Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman, and it is chock-full of Jewish moments and themes.
Transparent is a critically acclaimed hit, both for its acting and directing, as well as its focus on the transgender and queer community, which isn’t exactly in the spotlight on primetime TV.
The characters are inherently Jewish: They host Yom Kippur break fasts, struggle over ketubahs and just share some good ol’ kvelling in between.
Most recently, at the Emmy Awards earlier this month, Tambor and director Jill Soloway — who is Jewish — took home Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy respectively and used their acceptance speeches to push for societal change.
Tambor, for one, despite his success in the role, hopes to be the last cisgender male to play a transgender woman and Soloway dropped the mic with a loud “Topple the patriarchy!” at the end of her speech.
“This TV show allows me to take my dreams about unlikeable Jewish people, queer folk, trans folk, and make them the heroes,” she said in her speech. “Thank you to the trans community for your lived lives. We need to stop violence against transgender women and topple the patriarchy!”
The third season of Transparent is streaming on Amazon Prime.
If Schmidt isn’t your favorite character on New Girl, it would only be OK if it’s because Nick Miller is your favorite instead. New Girl returned two weeks ago and is off to a great start so far. After a few rocky middle seasons where the comedy was still trying to find its footing, the sixth season has so far shown a more mature side — literally.
While we sit on the couch eating Cookie Butter with a spoon and watching the show in our pajamas (it’s on at 8:30 p.m., after all, that’s nearly bedtime), Schmidt, played by Max Greenfield, and new wife Cece are buying a house and being real adults.
The two were married in the last episode of the previous season, with a joint Jewish-Indian wedding to appease both sides of the families. The iffy fifth season was worth it to see Schmidt in a kippah under the chuppah — was anyone else as verklempt as we were?
New Girl airs on Fox at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Sarah Jessica Parker has taken on a role that might be a result or the aftermath of her Sex and the City days: Divorce. Her new HBO show, as the title indicates, shows Parker’s character going through the tedious process of divorce — but probably without the Manolo Blahniks.
Through the trials and tribulations, it turns out saying you want a divorce is actually easier than getting one.
Divorce premieres on HBO on Oct. 9.
How can you ignore the comedy that takes place in your backyard? The real Goldberg family lived in Jenkintown, where the show also takes place, and its fourth season started Sept. 21 with an episode that paid homage to everyone’s favorite teen movie: The Breakfast Club.
“What’s a breakfast club?” asked patriarch Murray (Jeff Garlin).
“No one knows,” answered Adam (Sean Giambrone).
This show, created by the real Adam Goldberg, is laugh-out-loud funny, in our case usually due to overbearing mother Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey). The show follows the Jewish family as Adam, entering the scary ninth grade in the current season, documents what’s going on in his life — and his house.
Bonus for viewers, the episodes feature real VHS (remember that?) footage Adam taped growing up.
The Goldbergs airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Crisis in Six Scenes
As of press time, little is known of the much anticipated Crisis in Six Scenes on Amazon, Woody Allen’s first experience in television.
Allen plays a novelist-turned-TV writer in upstate New York during the social revolution of the ’60s. Then comes the flower child/hippie Miley Cyrus to shake things up — as she usually does as her real self.
His response to the uproar: “Forget it. I’m allergic to tear gas.” Typical.
Crisis in Six Scenes is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Starting Oct. 21, get ready to board a plane back to West Coviiiina, Califoooorniaaaa.
When the first season of the totally underrated hit Crazy Ex-Girlfriend wrapped up, we last saw our heroine (albeit a self-destructive one at times) confronting her feelings about Josh (she didn’t move to California for him, he just happened to live there).
Except that yes, yes she did move there because he lived there, and we were left wondering what happened next: Are they together? Are Rebecca and Greg together? Why are we crying?
If you haven’t watched the first season, go do it now. We’ll wait. Hint: It’s on Netflix.
This show is a must on the list because Rebecca Bunch (played by Rachel Bloom) is Jewish — as are writers Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna — the comedy explores her upbringing, including a feud with frenemy Audra Levine, as well as terrific cameos from the Jewish mother Naomi Bunch (Tovah Feldshuh).
Hopefully the second season will bring even more clever dialogue, catchy songs — oh yeah, this show is a musical — and we can finally see Rebecca attain happiness.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. on the CW.
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