Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gilmore Girls: Antisemitic? בנות גילמור: אנטישמי

Those who know me know my obsession with Gilmore Girls, a TV series I have yet to find a show better than (See? It even caused me to end a sentence with a dangling superlative(?)). So it may surprise you that I have a big enough problem with an episode to blog thereon.

The episode in question is Season 3 Episode 10 (That’ll Do, Pig). It’s Rory’s senior year at Chilton. Ambitious, Type-A, nominally Jewish super-achiever Paris is telling Rory about her Christmas visit to her boyfriend’s family:

PARIS: The place smelled like cinnamon all the time, and there was a fire in the fireplace, and a ton of presents. I mean hundreds of presents. I’m looking at this mound of gifts, and I’m thinking, “Eight days of Chanukah. . . who was the skinflint who thought up that deal?”
RORY: Don’t the eight days symbolize something?
PARIS: Yes, they symbolize eight days of ripping off the little kids who can’t have a Chanukah bush.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Paris Geller: Typical self-hating assimilated Jewish brainiac: a walking encyclopedia of every culture…except her own. She’s on the expressway to the Ivy League, yet her knowledge of Judaism ― down to the most elementary facts, like why Chanuka lasts eight days ― is abysmal, going so far as to ridicule it.

The only excuse I can think of is that this episode was written not by regular screenplay writers Amy and Daniel Sherman-Palladino, but by Sheila R. Lawrence, who I see here has a filmography that includes, among others, many more GG episodes, as well as being producer.

How could she and the S-Ps let this go by? Did they think it would endear Paris to the gentile audience? Not only is it a disgraceful portrayal of a Jewish character, but it dips to such a low level in contrast to the piquant dialog for which GG is known. In addition, this soliloquy could have gone in a hundred other directions, i.e., the self-deprecation was totally unnecessary. Shame on you, Lawrence! You let us Gilmore fans down.


  1. I like this review. I hope you sent it to the parties responsible, and then got a reply.

  2. Thanks, Tamar. No, I didn't. I just wanted to let the world know what I thought of it.