New Broadcast and Streaming Choices---Catch-Up and Look Ahead
“Almost Happy”, which started streaming on Netflix on May 1, is an Argentine comedy/drama series about a radio show host (of modest fame) with two kids and an ex-wife whom he still loves. Other plot details are scarce, but a third lead character is played by SANTIAGO KOROVSKY, 35ish. My guess is that Korovsky plays the best friend of the radio host. Korovosky was the co-writer of the 2019 film “Shalom Taiwan”. It’s about an Argentine rabbi who travels the world seeking donations to save his synagogue.
The Smithsonian Channel is premiering two programs of Jewish interest. “Race to Victory” features rare color footage of the last months of WWII in Europe. Scenes include the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp (premiered on May 4. Many encore showings/or on-demand). Also: the Smithsonian channel has a regular series called “Spy Wars”. The episode premiering on Sunday, May 10, at 8PM is called “Exodus”. It details how top Mossad agent DANI LIMOR, now 72, led a mission (“Operation Moses”) to rescue Ethiopian Jews in the early ‘80s. He set up a diving resort on the Red Sea and used that as a cover for the smuggling of Jews from Ethiopia to Sudan and on to Israel. This operation was the subject of the Netflix dramatic film “Red Sea Diving Resort” in 2019. Many complained that the Netflix film made many factual errors. This episode may set the record straight. By the way, like Santiago Korovsky, Limor’s roots are in Latin America. He was born and raised in Uruguay. When he was 16, he went alone to Israel with the Youth Aliyah. He spent three years in yeshiva studies (in Israel) followed by IDF military service as an officer in the paratroopers.
On Sunday May 10, from 7PM-9PM, NBC will present a live-streaming event called the “Feeding America Comedy Festival” (can also be seen on The Weather Channel and Comedy TV). The program is aimed at raising funds to provide meals to those who need such help because of the financial impact of the Corvid-19 virus. Viewers will also be directed to places where they can volunteer with organizations helping the “food insecure.” Dozens of comedians have contributed pre-recorded video comedy segments for the special. The Jewish comedians appearing on the show include: JUDD APATOW, 52, JACK BLACK, 50, ANDREW DICE CLAY, 62, BILLY CRYSTAL, 74, BRAD GARRETT, 60, TIFFANY HADDISH, 40, JON LOVITZ, 62, HOWIE MANDEL, 64, MARC MARON, 62, ADAM SANDLER, 53, and SARAH SILVERMAN, 49.
The Food Network is the home of (I think) the first completely new quarantine show. It’s entitled “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook.” AMY SCHUMER, 38, got married in 2018 to Chris Fischer, a top chef. Their son was born in 2019. Fischer grew-up on a truck farm on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off Massachusetts where many of the rich and famous vacation. Schumer and Fischer have a vacation home on the Island, deep in some woods. They have quarantined themselves at this vacation home. Quarantining with them are their son, their dog, and their nanny Jane (who operates the TV camera). “Cook” is an eight-episode series that starts on May 11 at 8PM (the first two episodes are back-to-back). Advance publicity says that Chris teaches Amy to cook one meal at a time. We also get to see Amy enjoy her favorite bed-time snack: matzah with butter. Besides cooking and noshing, some episodes feature video calls from “surprise” celebrities.
On May 12, ABC is broadcasting (8PM) a tribute to the late Garry Marshall, a comedy writer, director, and occasional actor. Everything about Marshall’s persona screamed “Jewish”, but he wasn’t Jewish. He did play a Jewish hippie grandfather in the 2006 comedy “Keeping Up with the Steins”. In TV, Marshall is best known for creating “Happy Days” and its spin-off series, “Laverne & Shirley” and “Mork and Mindy”. He also directed many hit movies, including “Pretty Woman”, “Runaway Bride,” and “Beaches”. Many celebs appear in the special to pay tribute to Marshall---the Jewish ones include “Happy Days” cast members HENRY WINKLER (“Fonzie”), 74, DON MOST (“Ralph”), 66, and ANSON WILLIAMS (“Potsie”), 70. Also: DAVID LANDER (“Squiggy”), 72, from Laverne & Shirley”; and BARBARA HERSHEY, 72, a co-star of “Beaches” (Hershey’s father was Jewish). By the way, “Happy Days” had 7 lead characters and four were played by Jewish actors (the late TOM BOSLEY, who played Mr. Cunningham, was Jewish, too). I’ve long thought that only a non-Jew, like Marshall, wouldn’t worry about casting so many Jews.