Jews in the News: Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody

Portman is Now Thor, Mandy and Kathryn Make a Sit-Com, Moss-Bachrach Sizziling

Its almost a sure bet that “Thor: Love and Thunder”, which opens on July 7, will be a box office blockbuster, like its predecessors--- ”Thor” (2011), “Thor: The Dark World” (2013), and “Thor Ragnarok” (2017). The film series is based on a Marvel Comic book series created (1962) by STAN LEE, LARRY LIEBER, and JACK KIRBY. They took Thor, a major figure in the Nordic pantheon of gods, and created pretty much their own original “mythology” around him.

Chris Hemsworth has played Thor in all four films. NATALIE PORTMAN, now 41, co-starred in the first two “Thor” films as Dr. Jane Foster, an astrophysicist who becomes Thor’s love interest. Portman returned to the series in “Love and Thunder” after opting not to be in “Ragnarok”.

In “Love and Thunder”, Foster (now Thor’s ex-girlfriend) is undergoing cancer treatment and “somehow” this results in her gaining super powers similar to Thor’s. Jane is now known as “The Mighty Thor” and she even has her own super-hero costume.

“Love and Thunder” was written and directed by TAIKA WAITITI, 46. He also directed “Dark World”. As I have noted before, Waititi “only” has one Jewish grandparent. Unlike most persons with one Jewish grand, there is “something very Jewish” about Waititi—who has called himself a “Polynesian Jew.” Like MEL BROOKS, 96, and VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, 44, he often acts-in, writes, and directs his films and TV shows. Many of them are comedies. Like Brooks, Waititi makes fun of the Nazis, as in his film “Jo Jo Rabbit”.

His paternal ancestry is Maori, a fierce New Zealand Polynesian warrior people who fought the British invaders to a standstill. This ancestry sort of reminds me of Brooks and Zelensky. Brooks is a WWII combat veteran and you know all about Zelensky.

Showtime has given the “go-ahead” to make a pilot episode for a comedy series co-starring MANDY PATINKIN, 69, and his wife of 42 years, actress KATHRYN GRODY, 75. During the pandemic, the couple found a big new audience when they posted quite humorous sketches on Instagram.

Their pilot (which is scripted) is entitled “Seasoned”. The Showtime press release says that  “Seasoned” will document “the delightfully tumultuous relationship and life of a successful, gregarious, deeply committed, slightly insane married couple played by Patinkin and Grody — roles they’ve been rehearsing for the last 43 years. The source of their unending magic is the same as their unending woe: that they’ve stayed together all this time.”

I don’t often mention pilots, because most never turn into a series. But Showtime’s publicity for this pilot is so extensive that I think it is very likely that this pilot will “go to series.” By the way, in 2013, Grody said she wished her grandfather hadn’t changed the family name to Grody, from Goradetsky, because most people assume she isn’t Jewish.

The original Hulu series,” The Bear”, was released on June 23. All eight episodes were “dropped” on the 23rd. “The Bear” has got rave reviews from all the top critics (100%, Rotten Tomatoes). That said, I found the first four or more episodes a bit frustrating

The lead character is Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto (whose nickname is “Bear”). He’s played by Jeremy Allen White (the star of “Shameless”). Carmy comes home to Chicago to run a “working-class” restaurant owned by his late brother, who killed himself. Carmy left a top chef position at a four-star resturant to do this.

Carmy struggles to keep the restaurant afloat and he prods the staff to embrace much higher standards (food, sanitation, etc.). Mostly he gets “flak” from his cousin, Richie, a long-time employee played by EBON MOSS-BACHRACH, 45. Richie seems, at the start, to be a total jerk and you wonder why Carmy puts up with him for more than a day. But, over time, his ties to Carmy are revealed and Richie evolves into a human being.

This is another great role for Moss-Bachrach, following a juicy starring role in “The Dropout”, a 2022 Hulu series about the Theranos scandal. Critics loved Moss-Bachrach in “The Bear.”

My “kvetch” is that it wasn’t revealed until the last episodes why Carmy gave up a great job and why he puts up with so many restaurant problems. Actually, Carmy's reasons are not crystal clear even at the end. But, by then, I was emotionally invested in Carmy and I hope I'll see more of him.  (It’s likely that there will be a season 2.) 


Add Comment