The Superhero Haggadah

The Superhero Haggadah: When Monoculture Meets Mono-Judaism

We live in a disjointed media market. Gone is the monocultural dominance and the sense of camaraderie you and your coworkers would feel as you gathered around the watercooler to discuss the latest twist on Lost. Instead, we binge whatever Netflix series our personal algorithm drops in our queue or turn to The Office for the umpteenth time. Jews too live in a disjointed market, albeit a religious one. Everyone knows the expression “two Jews, three opinions.” Whether it’s politics, God or Israel, we have never been able to come to a consensus on anything. Heck, we can’t even agree on how to spell the holiday Chanukkah Chanukah Hanukkah.  However, when it comes to Passover, the Jewish people display a certain level of unity and community not seen throughout the rest of the year. On the...

Continue reading

Still from Bridgerton

Bridgerton: The Unexpected Mirror to Orthodox Dating Life

On the surface, Netflix’s Bridgerton does not seem like the type of show “nice Jewish boys and girls” should be watching. The series, based on Jewish author Julia Quinn’s romance novels, takes place in Regency London at the height of what is called the “season,” the time when young women are presented at the queen’s court, signaling their availability for marriage. It is full of steamy sex, unplanned pregnancies and an endless grapevine of gossip. And yet, strip away all the pomp parties and regalia, and the romantic drama actually serves as an apt mirror for the Orthodox Jewish dating scene, especially for women. At the center of the series is Daphne Bridgerton, a young debutante who spent her childhood dreaming of finding Prince Charming and starting a family. However, despite earning high praise from the...

Continue reading

Wonder Woman 1984 characters

Wonder Woman 1984: Who Is the True Villain?

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984, now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.  They say a hero is only as good as its villain, but what if said villain is not a psychopathic clown with a penchant for scars, a master of magnetism or an intergalactic purple titan looking to snap half the universe out of existence? What if the villain is not an individual at all but a disunified collective force of greed, apathy and selfishness?  This is the approach director and cowriter Patty Jenkins takes with Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84), the sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, in which Gal Gadot reprises the titular role of Diana Prince. Of course, our hero cannot fight an idea outright, so Jenkins creates surrogates to spread her rebuke of the gospel of wealth in...

Continue reading

Palm Springs: Build Your Own Palace in Time

Repetition mixed with monotony is not usually high up on Hollywood’s list of project themes, which is why Hulu’s Palm Springs was such a delightful surprise. The film stars Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother) as two apathetic California wedding guests who get stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, forcing them to relive the couple’s special day over and over again. For a film that was shot in pre-coronavirus times, Palm Springs is surprisingly relevant.

Continue reading