Arts & Culture: Television
Thirteen’s American Masters documentary, “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise,” premieres nationally on PBS on Monday, at 9 p.m. The career-spanning film features never-before-heard stories and new interviews with stars, including Brooks, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Cloris Leachman, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, and Tracey Ullman.
After 60 years in show business, Mel Brooks has earned more major awards than any other living entertainer; he is one of 14 EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) winners. A DVD with bonus material will be available Tuesday, from Shout Factory.
Advertising, it’s fair to say, is in Ben Feldman’s blood.
Yes, technically he plays a fictional advertiser, the Jewish copywriter in AMC’s award-winning drama “Mad Men.” But Feldman says it was his excellent marketing skills that landed him the role.
“The casting loved that I was a Jew in real life,” Feldman said. “They were looking for the typical character, a Jew with a heavy accent, and I played it up for all it was worth.”
If you’re looking for information on Philip Roth’s private life — his marriages, his romances, the state of his health — you won’t find much in “Philip Roth: Unmasked,” the documentary showing on March 29 on PBS as part of its American Masters series. (It has a short run at the Film Forum through March 19.)
What you will find is a thoughtful and often intimate portrait of the writer as both a young and an old man. Roth is arguably the best American writer living, and certainly the best Jewish American writer. He would object to the latter description, of course; “I don’t write in Jewish,” he says a little peevishly, and he chooses Saul Bellow as the greatest American writer of the second half of the 20th century.
“Homeland,” which is based on the Israeli television series “Hatufim,” was named the year’s best drama series at the 64th primetime Emmy awards.
“Homeland” also won Emmys for best actress and best actor — Claire Danes and Damian Lewis — and for best writing with Gideon Raff, the Israeli creator of “Hatufim,” Alex Gansa, and Howard Gordon. The cast of “Homeland” was in Israel in May to film parts of the second season.
The Emmy awards were presented on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
It was a grand moment for kippah wearers across America.
Edon Pinchot, a 14-year-old singer from Chicago, kept his head covered while competing on the current season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent reality show.
The modern Orthodox high school student had been singing for years, and publicizing his talents via YouTube video.
On national television, however, competing against acts ranging from ventriloquism to dance to sand art, Pinchot stood out for wearing the Jewish headcovering in the mainstream American genre called reality television.
For the last four years, Israeli television viewers have been captivated by an unconventional crime show called “Ha-Borer,” or “The Arbitrator.” An action-packed comedy drama, the series tells the story of an Orthodox mobster, his fractious Sephardic family, and his long-lost illegitimate son. In some ways, it is an Israeli version of “The Sopranos.” The makers of the series, however, gave this one a distinctive, Israeli-Jewish bent.
“Ha-Borer” uses the world of organized crime as a backdrop to explore timeless Jewish questions about morality, community, and belonging. It also deals with many of the most pressing issues facing Israeli society in the 21st century, from rising wealth and inequality to the ethical dilemmas of war.