Contrary to what you may have read in The Guardian, not “everyone in Israel is talking about the British-American BBC comedy Episodes”. In fact, most Israelis have never heard of it and it certainly did not go ‘viral’. Nonetheless, what did go kinda-sorta viral is my little post about it, published three weeks ago on my blog, in which I apparently coined the phrase ‘pickled at great expense‘.
You see, blogging about minutia you can never be sure if you come off as clever or just petty. That’s why when someone ‘gets it’, when someone understands that some of these posts use insignificant events to talk about bigger things, that a post about a television show is actually about the increasing amount of responsibility we outsource to new technologies – that’s when I feel rewarded. Also, The Google.
Big bonus: Episodes’ lead actor Stephen Mangantweeting about it:
Here’s the relevant part from that episode. Have a little taste of this fly-under-the-radar comedy:
A British-American comedy starring Matt LeBlanc? Didn’t sound like much when I first began to watch it, but Showtime’s Episodes packs an unexpected punch. Its recent episode (s02e03) was funny yet moving, and also featured a brilliant reference to Friends. Towards the end, as the characters gathered in a cemetery, one headstone caught my eye:
At first the Hebrew words did not make any sense, until I realized the letters were in reverse order: left to right, instead of right to left. Then I realized that even when read in the right direction, the words, while in Hebrew, sounded like a machine-translated version of English phrases; Someone might say ‘he will be dearly missed’ but its literal translation to Hebrew comes out as ‘he was pickled at great expense‘. It only took a minute or so to reverse engineer this kerfuffle:
Yep! Someone at set design couldn’t find a Jew to save his life and decided to wing it. Which begs the question: Aren’t we running this joint?
Last week at the 49th Monte Carlo Television Festival Israeli actor Igal Naorwon a Golden Nymph award for Outstanding Actor in the miniseries House Of Saddam. If you haven’t seen this four part HBO/BBC2 co-production, this might be a good time to brush up on your Iraqi history. The miniseries spans 25 years of Saddam Hussein’s rule, starting in the 1979 coup that brought him to power and details the Iraqis’ love and fear for their leader, up to his demise. Igal Naor delivers a brilliant performance, showing the depths of the dictator’s mind, while avoiding making a caricature out of this complex man. Naor, who also played a brilliant role as an Egyptian interrogator in the 2007 film Rendition, proves that the West’s fascination with the Arab world in recent years provides acting opportunities much more significant than the clichéd ‘dead terrorist number 3′ roles.
Two other Israeli actors in this production are Makram Khoury as Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Uri Gavriel as “Chemical Ali” Hassan al-Majid, head of Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence Agency.
If you haven’t already seen Dr. Tanya Byron in action, you should not spare another day without witnessing this human phenomenon. She is a clinical psychologist who appeared on multiple BBC THREE’s television series giving parenting advice to those in dire needs of it. Had she not explained the logic behind her easy to implement tactics, you could have sworn she was a present-day Pied Piper of Hamelin. It will take just thirty minutes of your time to prove that there are no ‘bad kids’ – only ‘bad parenting’.
In Israel, you can currently watch Dr. Tanya on these TV channels:
Little Angels – on BBC Prime – four times a week
Teen Terrors to Teen Angels – on Channel 8 – daily, starting next week
The House of Tiny Tearaways – on Channel 8 – in a future weekend marathon