Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Everything I needed to Know about Judaism I learned from the Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy

Here are just few episodes from the cartoon world that I think give hilarious insight into the Jewish condition. Now I know some of you might be troubled by how Jews are depicted both in South Park and in Family Guy, but personally I am a fan. I think some of their insights are absolutely hilarious, and I have used these and other episodes to teach valuable lessons to 8th grade and confirmation students (I hope).
But look at the ratings ahead of time. And please if you are easily offended, don’t say you weren’t warned.

The Simpsons:
1. Like Father, Like Clown (Season 3)
The story of what happens when Lisa and Bart attempt to reconcile
Krusty, a self described lapsed Jew, and his father Rabbi Hyman Krustofski. My favorite part is Lisa’s description of what rabbis desire above all else.
2. Today I am a Clown (Season 15)
See what happens when Krusty discovers he is not considered a
member of the Jewish community, and the lengths he goes to become a
Bar Mitzvah.
3. You Gotta Know When to Golem (Season 18; Treehouse of Horror XVII)
A modern twist on an ancient Jewish myth. Plus Fran Drescher makes an
4. Homer the Heretic (Season 4)
Not a bad way to explain the evolution of Reform Judaism. Plus have you noticed the only character in the Simpsons universe with more than three fingers is God?
5. Bart Sells His Soul (Season 7) A great set induction piece into a conversation about what is a soul

South Park:
1. The Passion of the Jew (Season 8)
Probably the best, most thoughtful response to the Passion of the Christ
that I have seen
2. Cartmanland (Season 5)
A brilliant retelling of the story of Job

Family Guy:
1. When You Wish Upon a Weinstein (Season 2)
Peter’s prejudices about Jews ain’t so bad. Too bad it deemed so inappropriate by Fox that it was not aired on its original date, and did not appear until 3 years later.

Have some latkes or knishes while you watch

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