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Television

Irna Phillips: the woman behind TV's longest running soap opera

Creating a wildly popular soap opera full of sensational family drama might be the last thing we’d expect of a nice Jewish woman in 1950’s America, but Irna Phillips proved us wrong! Fifty-eight years ago today, her soap opera Guiding Light first went on the air. The show had already been a successful radio drama since 1937, and it would run until 2009, making it the longest running TV drama in history.

Abby Phon thinks primetime is ready to "go green"

We have seen our fair share of crime dramas, medical dramas and political dramas. Is it time for a new genre? Abby Phon, Executive Producer and star of Life Without Green, is on a mission to bring environmental issues to primetime. 

Groundbreaking tampon ads still can’t use the word “vagina”

A new advertising campaign by U for Kotex has done what no menstrual product company has done before—create an ad that is not only straightforward about menstruation, but also pokes fun at its own history of vague and sanitized ads. Both reasons make this ad campaign groundbreaking, but for some reason, you still can’t say “vagina” on TV.

Glee and the myth of the 'nice Jewish girl'

The show that is characterizing the American high school experience is no longer Beverly Hills 90210. It is not One Tree Hill, The OC, Dawson’s Creek, or any other television series that is comprised of a homogeneous group of blonde, white, and religiously hush-hush teenagers whose differences are minimized for the sake of a cohesive social hierarchy.

If Lois Griffin is Jewish, who isn't?

Earlier this week, Family Guy aired an episode called "Family Goy" in which Lois (the mother) discovers her Jewish roots.  As a self-proclaimed pop culture critic I feel like I should say something about this but honestly, what's to say?  It's getting a lot of attention, as you might expect when a show known for offensive humor takes on the Jews. But the reality is that this is nothing new.  If anything, it confirms the fact that Jewiness has gone mainstream.

The all-singing, all-dancing, Jewish girl on Glee

I have fallen head-over-heels in love with the new Fox series Glee.  Often called the "anti-High School Musical," Glee is a series about a group of high school misfits who find their place in the unpopular Glee Club, featuring Rachel Berry -- a Jewish girl -- as the lead female character. The show uses all the usual high school stereotypes (cheerleaders, jocks, freaks, geeks, etc.), to create a deliciously witty and hilarious satire.  The students of the Glee Club represent the standard marginalized groups you would find in a high school and it is led by, you guessed it, the strong-willed Jewish girl.

The Holocaust: Something to laugh about?

The most recent issue of Heeb Magazine is causing quite a stir.  The issue features Roseanne Barr wearing an apron and a Hitler mustache, pulling a tray of “burnt Jew cookies” out of an oven.  The Heeb publisher posted an article explaining the editorial choice, which discusses a cultural shift towards acceptance of “Holocaust humor.”  Heeb argues that old taboos are relaxing. Jews are beginning to embrace the Holocaust in a new way - as something to laugh about. Is this true? Has the Holocaust really become funny?

Jewish Women and Reality TV

Talented Jewish women like Gilda Radner, Roseanne Barr, Gertrude Berg, and many others, have made a significant contribution to American culture through television.  But where do Jewish women fit into our nation’s current obsession with reality TV?  As I began to think about it, I was hard-pressed to come up with well-known examples of Jewish women on reality shows.  After reading Jennifer Pozner’s thoughts on the new NBC reality show “More to Love,” I am convinced that the less Jewish women on reality TV, the better.

National debut of "Ding Dong School"

December 22, 1952

"Ding Dong School," an early and influential television program for preschoolers, debuted nationally.

Release of "Free To Be You and Me"

November 27, 1972

"Free To Be You and Me," the album of non-sexist stories and songs that helped shape the self-understanding and world view of a generation of children, was released.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Television." (Viewed on October 31, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/television>.

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