New TV/Streaming Offerings
“Outmatched,” a Fox sit-com, starts on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 8:30 PM. It’s about a blue collar couple (Jason Biggs and Maggie Lawson) who live in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They are trying to raise four kids—three of whom just happen to be certified geniuses. Biggs, a real-life Jersey native, often proudly calls himself the “Jewiest-looking non-Jew” and, frankly, he’s in love with all things Jewish. He’s played Jewish characters four times, most notably in the “American Pie” movies. In 2008, he married JENNY MOLLEN, now 40, a Jewish comedian. The couple has two sons, SID and LAZLO. (I wasn’t surprised when Biggs posted photos of Sid’s religious bris.) Last May, Biggs and Mollen toured Israel and posted on Instagram hour-by-hour trip photos.
“Outmatched” was created by LON ZIMMET, 39, also a Jersey native. He has a long track record as a series producer and sometimes writer. His parents are board members of the New Jersey chapter of the Friends of the Israeli Defense Force.
“Who Will Write Our History” is a 2018 documentary about the Warsaw Ghetto that will be first aired on the Discovery Channel on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 3PM. It focuses most on the creation of the “Oyneg Shabes”. That was the code name of an archive of writings detailing what was happening in the Ghetto. Led by historian EMANUEL RINGELBAUM, a secret group of journalists and community leaders contributed to the archive. The documentary also features new interviews, rarely seen footage, and dramatizations shot on location in Poland. Actress Joan Allen and Oscar winner ADRIEN BRODY, 46, narrate. The film was directed by ROBERTA GROSSMAN, 60. She’s directed other acclaimed Jewish-themed documentaries, including “Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh”; Hava Nagila: The Movie”; and “Above and Beyond” (about Jewish American volunteer pilots who flew in the Israeli War of Independence).
Due to my error, I failed to alert you to the first showing (Jan. 21) of a new PBS “Finding Your Roots” episode that features the family history of JEFF GOLDBLUM, 67, MARC MARON, 56, and NPR host (Ms.) TERRY GROSS, 68. However, here are tips to catch-up: virtually every PBS station has encore showings the week after the first broadcast. Check their schedule on-line. Also, PBS on-line and the PBS app have the latest episode posted very soon after broadcast. For about a month, you don’t have to a PBS contributor to view it for free.
Jewish Sports Notes: Hockey, Harvard Grads
Eleven Jews are now playing in the National Hockey League (according to Jewish Sports Review magazine). One of those 11, QUINN HUGHES, 20, has been named a 2020 All-Star and will play in this year’s NHL all-star game (airs on NBC on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 8PM). Hughes is a defenseman who plays for the Vancouver Canucks. His younger brother, JACK HUGHES, 18, plays for the NHL New Jersey Devils. The brothers grew-up in Toronto. Their father, Jim Hughes, a former hockey coach, isn’t Jewish. Their American Jewish mother, ELLEN WEINBERG-HUGHES, 51, was a great collegiate ice hockey player.
I’ll cover the rest of the players in the near future, including ADAM FOX, 21, a New York Rangers player and a Harvard grad. Another Harvard grad, ANTHONY FIRKSER, 24, is a tight end for the (NFL) Tennessee Titans. He is the first Harvard grad to score a touchdown in an NFL post-season game. He scored in the Titans upset win over New England on Jan. 5.
Grammys: Antonoff and Koenig
The Grammys will be broadcast on CBS on Jan. 26 at 8PM. Two Jewish nominees in the “marquee” categories (the ones that given on TV) are JACK ANTONOFF and EZRA KOENIG, both 35. By coincidence, both have had long relationships with Jewish actresses. Antonoff was with LENA DUNHAM (“Girls”), now 33, from 2012 to 2017 (fun fact: Jack took classmate SCARLETT JOHANSSON to their high school prom). Koenig’s partner since about 2017 is RASHIDA JONES, 43, and they had a son in 2018.
Antonoff is nominated for album of the year, song of the year, and producer of the year. The album is “F-cking Norman Rockwell”. It is a Lana Del Ray album. Antonoff co-produced it and co-wrote the album’s songs. The title track is the song nominee. Koenig is nominated for album of the year (“Father of the Bride”) and best rock song (“Harmony Hall”). Koenig’s co-nominee for the album Grammy is ARIEL RECHTSHAID, 40, a producer whose parents are Israelis who settled in Los Angeles.