‘Mrs. Maisel’ and more
The full, 10-episode second season of the hit Amazon Prime series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will launch on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The show is set in late 1950s Manhattan and the title character, Miriam “Midge” Maisel, is a young Jewish woman from an affluent Jewish family whose life as a housewife falls apart when her husband, Joel Maisel (Michael Zegen, 39), leaves her for his secretary. Meanwhile, Midge discovers her independence and a flare for stand-up comedy. Emmy-winner Rachel Brosnahan (Mrs. Maisel) is not Jewish, nor are the actors (Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle) who play her parents, Abe and Rose Weissman. However, the Maisel side of the family includes Jewish actors Zegen as the husband, San Francisco native Kevin Pollak, 61, as his father and Caroline Aaron, 66, as his mother.
“Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell” is a three-part Netflix comedy special that began streaming on Nov. 27. The special includes comedians Dave Attell and Jeff Ross, both 53, appearing on stage, cracking jokes and trading insults, but there are also some outdoor scenes. Celebs making cameo appearances include Bob Saget, 62, and Gilbert Gottfried, 63. The special was directed by Andrew Jarecki, 55, who is best known for directing the hit six-part HBO documentary series “The Jinx” about accused killer Robert Durst, 75.
A “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episode titled “Alta Kockers” premiered on NBC on Nov. 29. The plot involved an investigation into an author’s death and a decades-old secret between two reclusive brothers. The alter kocker (old fart) Jewish brothers are played by Judd Hirsch, 83, and Wallace Shawn, 75. I wouldn’t call the title of the episode a Jewish milestone, but the “mainstreaming” of the Yiddish term alter kocker does make me chuckle a bit. If you missed the primetime airing, the “Alta Kockers” episode can be viewed online at NBC.com or via the NBC app.
Looks as if CNBC, a business news channel under the NBCUniversal umbrella, is turning more toward entertainment shows during the evening. That would explain why a reboot of the game show “Deal or No Deal” will premiere on CNBC on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 10 p.m. Howie Mandel, 63, is returning as the host after having hosted the first iteration of the show from 2005 to 2009. Mandel told TV reporters that the show will be better than it was on NBC, in part because of some changes that include contestants having the chance to negotiate on their own behalf.
Three Jewish Democrats were recently elected to the House of Representatives, each of them “flipping” their district — and two of them are military veterans. Max Rose, 32, of Staten Island, fought with the Army in Afghanistan, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star; he was elected in New York’s 11th district. Elaine Luria, 43, a retired Navy commander who served in uniform for two decades, was elected in a district that includes Virginia Beach and parts of Norfolk, Virginia. In addition, Dean Phillips, 49, won in a Minnesota district just outside of Minneapolis. Phillips’ father was an Army captain who died in combat in Vietnam when he was 6 months old; his Jewish mother remarried a wealthy Jewish distiller, who adopted him, in effect making him the grandson of Pauline Phillips (the “Dear Abby” columnist who died in 2013). Dean worked in the distillery business until the death of his adoptive father, then struck out on his own and became a highly successful entrepreneur, most notably with Talenti brand gelato.