Religion & Beliefs

Just When I Think I Cannot Love The Simpsons More…

Oh man, when I was in college, it was never, ever, not once, as cool as this: Last week, Mike Reiss, a writer and producer for The Simpsons gave a lecture at Penn State entitled, "The Simpsons and Other Gentiles … Read More

By / November 2, 2007
Jewcy loves trees! Please don't print!

Oh man, when I was in college, it was never, ever, not once, as cool as this: Last week, Mike Reiss, a writer and producer for The Simpsons gave a lecture at Penn State entitled, "The Simpsons and Other Gentiles I Have Known" as sponsored by the school's Jewish Studies Program, Penn State Hillel and the departments of Telecom and Media studies. (Oh, to be a mouse in the corner!)

The Hillel director, Aaron Kaufman, has already heard Reiss speak twice before and brought him to Penn to speak in order to "increase the understanding of what it means to be Jewish, and to discuss the large pop culture element of being Jewish in the United States," the Collegiate Online reports. Despite the lecture title, Reiss began by talking about his experience growing up as one of the only Jewish kids in a small town. "I'm Jew … ish," he said. "By that I mean I would never eat a ham sandwich… in a synagogue… on Yom Kippur… if anyone was watching."

He went on to mention the writing staff of The Simpsons "is fifty percent Jewish", and pointed out that three of the six cast members are also Jewish, including the voices of Reverend Lovejoy (Christian), Apu (Hindu) and Ned Flanders (Uber-Christian)– the three voices done by Hank Azaria and Harry Schearer. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah on the show, Krusty's voice? Not Jewish. (Oh, and speaking of Harry Schearer! He and his wife, Judith Owen, are doing well sayeth the Boston Herald in their new show that just opened at the Jewish Theater of New England in Newton, Mass.)

Not much news in the way of what aspects of Jewish pop culture he specifically addressed. I assume he's glad nobody is toning down a Jewcy last name so much anymore before taking a crack at the entertainment industry, but I'd love to hear what he said. I'm immensely fascinated by the recent waves of hip-to-be-Yid I keep seeing and hearing about in the last couple of years. Really. Like want-to-get-a-grant-and-write-a-book-about-it fascinating. And, so I'm always curious what everyone else is thinking about it, though, it's not a quick conversation to just have. Sociological, cultural, blah blah blah. There's a lot to it.

Anyway. Another post for another day. It's almost Shabbes, so Shabbat Shalom to all.

PS, on the subject of popular culture, this guy is convinced his TiVo is Goy McGoyerson. Not that there's anything wrong with that.