Jews in the News: Maya Rudolph, Alan Arkin and Debra Messing

More New TV Notes: Catch-Up and Look Ahead

The first, 8-episode season of “Forever” is now streaming on Amazon. It stars Fred Arminsen and MAYA RUDOLPH, 46, as a long-married couple. They love each other, but are caught in the rut of doing the same things. They try to shake things up just a little and that “little” has an unexpected effect on their whole existence. The critics’ reviews range from good-to-great. I watched and very much liked the whole first season. I can’t provide more details because anyone’s enjoyment of the show is based a great deal on really unexpected plot twists. Catherine Kenner and NOAH ROBBINS, 27, co-star in the last 6 episodes. Robbins plays Mark, a 17-year old skateboarder. Robbins’ credits include starring in a 2009 Broadway revival of the NEIL SIMON play “Brighton Beach Memories” and co-starring in “Grease: Live”, a 2016 Fox TV special.

 “Star Wars: Resistance” starts on the Disney Channel on Oct. 7 (10PM).  This series is set decades after the events in the “Return of the Jedi” and six months before the events of “The Force Awakens”. “Resistance” follows a pilot who is recruited to spy on the growing threat of the First Order. JOSH BRENER, 33 (Nelson "Big Head" Bighetti on “Silicon Valley”) is a series regular.

The 2nd season of the reboot of “Will and Grace” premieres on CBS on Thursday, Oct. 4 (9PM). The Oct. 4 episode features the wedding of Grace’s father to Will’s mother. ALAN ARKIN, now 84, appeared in 2005 as Grace’s father, but was unable to reprise the role. Veteran ROBERT KLEIN, 76, will play Grace’s Jewish father, Martin, in the reboot. The role of Marilyn, Will’s mother, is played by Blythe Danner (the real-life mother of GWYNETH PALTROW, 46). It makes some sense that Marilyn and Martin are widowed and free to re-marry: Debbie Reynolds and SYDNEY POLLACK, who played, respectively, Grace’s Jewish mother and Will’s father, have died in the last decade. I haven’t seen the episode, but it’s likely that SARA RUE, 39, who played Grace’s younger sister, Joyce, in the original series and a re-boot episode last season, will be at the wedding.

DEBRA MESSING, 50, who plays Grace, says that her new series love interest, played by DAVID SCHWIMMER, 51, will not appear in the first episode of the 2nd season, but will have a recurring role in at least 5 episodes.

 At the Movies

Opening “wide” on Oct. 5 is the fourth film production of “A Star is Born”. Lady Gaga stars as Aly, a struggling musical artist who becomes romantically involved with Jackson Maine, a big musical star (played by Bradley Cooper. He also directed the film and co-wrote it).  The film turns tragic as Aly’s star rises and Maine’s star dims. The script was co-written by Oscar-winner ERIC ROTH, 73 (“Forrest Gump”). The songs are all-new, and many were written by Lady Gaga.  Top producer/songwriter MARK RONSON, 43, co-wrote one tune (“Shallow”) and DIANE WARREN, 62, a 9-time Oscar nominee, wrote another (“Why Did You Do That?”).


Many media sources are reporting that musician EZRA KOENIG, 34, and actress RASHIDA JONES, 42, had a son named ISAIAH JONES KOENIG about six weeks ago. The boy is Jones’ first child and I believe the same is true of Koenig. Jones is the daughter of actress PEGGY LIPTON, 72, and legendary African-American music producer Quincy Jones, 85.

 Jones, a Harvard grad, is a “multi-talent”—she is a very competent comedy actress (TV's “Parks and Recreation” and “Angie Tribeca”) and has drama “chops” too; she writes and produces many of her showbiz projects (like “Angie” and the very good film “Celeste and Jesse Forever”); she co-writes documentaries, including a documentary on her father that began streaming on Neflix in September; and she can sing.

 Jones was raised Jewish, identifies strongly as Jewish, and most of her beaus (including Mark Ronson) have been Jewish. Likewise, Koenig was raised Jewish and had a bar mitzvah. He grew up in New Jersey, the son of Jewish professional parents who were serious fans of varied musical genres. On a scholarship, he went to Columbia University, where he and three other students (one a woman) formed (2005) the band “Vampire Weekend”. He’s the band’s lead guitarist and lead vocalist. “Vampire” really broke out in 2010 with a CD (“Contra”) that was a worldwide big seller. Koenig is also the creator of the Neflix animated series “Neo Yokio”—and, I have to say, like Jones, he is really cute—two “shayna punims.”


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