No New York sitcom could be complete without an occasional Jew. You don’t have to be Mel Gibson to notice that Manhattan is teeming with them, and if you’ll allow me a brief jaunt into Prejudiceville, we’re the funniest people in the world.
The creators of Sex and the City seemed to forget this until the very end of Season 5, when it occurred to them they were sitting on an untapped well of comic gold. Mr. Gibson would have you believe it’s because the Jews were guarding the gold so closely, but that’s just revisionist history. I think the dearth of Jews up until Season 5 can be chalked up to S&TC’s attempt to appeal to a broader American audience than the typical New York sitcom – to be hip and edgy everywhere instead of just on the coasts. And the show’s sexual politics were controversial enough without Carrie spouting off about the perils of withdrawing from Gaza every five minutes.
Of course, you don’t have to be a raging anti-Semite to acknowledge that there are lots of Jews in show business. As a result, there tends to be a higher ratio of Jews on television to Jews in America. It always amazed me that Seinfeld was so popular. I still have trouble imagining Joe and Jane Sixpack of Bismark, North Dakota doubling over in laughter while a mohel botches a circumcision. A friend of mine once hypothesized that Kramer kept Seinfeld on the air since he was the only character most Americans found amusing. "Ha ha!" he’d say, imitating the down syndromed cadence of your average suburbanite drip. "Kramer fell down again!"
But I digress. I suppose that once Sex and the City got a toehold in Peoria, the producers felt it was safe to have a big ol’ Jewish plot line. And I would submit that the Harry/Charlotte episodes are some of the best in the series. All of my tribe’s juiciest neuroses (mother issues, schiksappeal, domestic nudity) are exploited to full comic effect. On top of that, Charlotte finally gets some definitive answers to life’s questions. Yes, Prince Charming is out there. Yes, you have to make compromises to get him. And no, Jesus Christ was not the Messiah.
Call of the Ford
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