Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

Smile and Wince

Rolling out an endless parade of stereotypes

Print Email

“She makes me feel so… Jewish,” says Deborah Beale, the better half of an Upper East Side couple who wake up one morning with black skin. She spends most of the first act of White Chocolate testing her unsuspecting sister-in-law for signs of anti-Semitism, but she and playwright William Hamilton lose interest in Jewish stereotypes after the intermission. In the second half, Deborah’s husband, Brandon, says: “I’m black. Or should I say, I be black. No, that would be patronizing myself.” Stereotypes, Brandon realizes, are imposed as often upon ourselves as by others.

Which brings us to Jewtopia, a play about two single guys cruising JDate and the synagogue for girls; think Swingers recast with Ben Stiller and Jack Black. Now off-Broadway after a successful LA run, Jewtopia rolls out an endless parade of stereotypes. Some are harmless—sending food back at a restaurant, faxing family members your flight information (“cause you never know”); but there’s also the bossy wife who makes all her husband’s decision, and the Hasid who “showers once a month.”

I’ll admit I smirked now and then, but the people around me affirmed every supposed stereotype, however unoriginal or inaccurate, with a Pavlovian burst of laughter. Leaving the theater, I overhead one man say they should have used Maxwell House Haggadahs for the Passover scene. “You know, I have my stash,” his wife replied. Like so many lines of the play, it made me smile and wince simultaneously. If you’re willing to see yourself as a walking collection of clichés, it’s hard to disapprove when someone else does the same.

Print Email

When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new surveys are added- checkbox and today when a comment is added I purchase four emails sticking with the same comment. Can there be any way you’ll be able to eliminate me from that service? Thanks!

Hey very nice web site!! Man .Excellent .Amazing .I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also…I am happy to find a lot of useful info here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Smile and Wince

Rolling out an endless parade of stereotypes

More on Tablet:

Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

By Lee Smith — Because they want the same things that teenage boys want: a strong sense of meaning and purpose