‘Tis the season for Jews in popular culture.
Last year, Adam Sandler kicked butt as an Israeli counter-terrorism agent turned hairdresser in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. This year, Jewish-American soldiers in Quentin Tarantino’s fictional Inglourious Basterds took revenge on the Nazis by scalping and brutally murdering them. Next year’s fabulously famous Jew will be played by. . . Sacha Baron Cohen on the Simpsons.
It has just been announced that Sacha Baron Cohen, the Jewish comic actor known for Borat and Bruno, will play a pushy Israeli tour guide on the Simpsons 21st season, set to air in the United States in March 2010. Simpsons producer Al Jean promised that the episode – named “The greatest story ever Doh’ed” – will “be a show that all faiths can come together and be offended by.”
The writers and producers of the Simpsons have a history of bringing Jewish content into the show – not surprisingly, given that many of the show’s writers and producers have been Jewish. Remember Krusty the Clown’s reconnection with his rabbi father in the 1991 Simpsons episode “Like Father, Like Clown?” And did you notice Lisa Simpson’s acknowledgement of the dark comics of “Maus” author Art Spiegelman in “Husbands and Knives” in 2007?
The 2010 episode where the Simpsons go to Israel will be the Simpsons’ first trip to the Holy Land. They’ve been to Australia, Britain, France and Japan. Says producer Jean, “The premise will be that the Christians, the Jews and Muslims are united in that they all get mad at Homer. It’s the only thing they can agree on.”
(Photo of Sacha Baron Cohen: Thoughts of Wisdom)