The best show on TV right now is not some great drama like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. It’s also not a brilliant comedy like Arrested Development, 30 Rock or whatever gets you laughing. The best show on TV is only four episodes long and has aired two of those episodes so far in Australia on ABC2. It originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK in October last year, so if you don’t want to wait, I’m sure you can find all the episodes online somewhere.
So what is this show you ask?
Well dear reader, the show I’m talking about is the British reality show Jewish Mum of the Year. Now admittedly I am biased towards the genius of this show. Whilst it should be funny to anyone with a sense of humour, it is particularly funny to those with a Jewish mother of their own or those who are very familiar with them in their own lives.
So what is the premise of the show, beyond the obvious giveaway in the title?
Basically the show takes eight Jewish mothers from around the UK and Ireland and over four episodes has them compete in challenges related to being a Jewish mother, such as organising a Bar Mitzvah and matchmaking some young Jewish singles.
Now let’s speak about the hosts and judges who decide the fate of these Jewish mothers. First there is actress Tracy-Ann Oberman who takes the role of the standard host and judge, along with the Jewish News’ editor Richard Ferrer who is giving the winning mum a job writing for the paper, but the star of the show is Yiddish scholar and all round caricature Professor Dovid Katz. Katz is hilarious for looking like and speaking like the most stereotypical Yiddish scholar you could imagine. He is part ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and part Hagrid from Harry Potter. His mannerisms and insights are a constant source of comedy to my friends and I, who have become quickly addicted to the show.
The show is also full of cameos. They break up the show with little interjections from famous Jews discussing Jewish mothers and cracking jokes. The great Elliott Gould even makes an appearance. There are also cameos during the show itself, with Heston Blumenthal making an appearance in episode one to look over the Bar Mitzvah cake, with hilarious results.
But what about the contestants themselves?
Well there is some comedy gold amongst them between a few stereotypical Jewish mothers on show, but there are two standouts I want to touch on.
You’ve got Emma, the prototypical princess style of Jewish mum. She is mutton dressed as lamb and even better, her twitter handle (providing it is really her) is @yummymummyemma. I only discovered this fact after tweeting about the show during episode two and her retweeting me. Not going to lie, I was stoked. Anyway, my friends and family watching the show all love Emma and we all know an Emma.
Then you’ve got Ruth. Oh, Ruth. I am not convinced that Ruth is not a Little Britain character being played by Matt Lucas as a massive joke. Ruth is a divorced mother of one; she is more religious than the other contestants and is one of the oddest people on TV. Half of me wants her to get eliminated and the other half wants her to get through the entire competition because she is so entertaining yet cringe worthy.
Now it is only fair that I touch on the fact that this show can and apparently has offended some. Maureen Lipman heavily criticised the show and I’m sure there are plenty of Jews out there that either find it offensive or a misrepresentation of the culture. Whilst they are entitled to that opinion, I think the show is fun and whilst it can be full of cringe, it is a fun show and I believe it celebrates the religion and culture. After all, these mothers all genuinely love their families and I find it to be completely harmless and enjoyable. Plus, my own Jewish mother LOVES it.
So if you aren’t watching this show already and if you aren’t offended by Jewish stereotypes, please catch up on the first two episodes on ABC iView and join me in watching the last two episodes on Wednesday nights at 8:30 on ABC2. It will bring you ‘much nachas’.