“Does he actually say the word Jewish?” – Jewish representations in Seinfeld

  title={“Does he actually say the word Jewish?” – Jewish representations in Seinfeld},
  author={Rosalin Krieger},
  journal={Journal for Cultural Research},
  pages={387 - 404}
My objective is to provide insight into how “Jewishness”, primarily as a cultural signifier, is created in the sitcom Seinfeld and how it is a reflection of contemporary conversations and negotiations of Jewish cultural identity within North America. This kind of research is important because television is still a primary media source despite declining ratings (Marc 1997), and sitcoms are the primary workhorse (and globally distributed) of the TV networks, hence NBC's “Must‐See TV” and the… 

The Fockerized Jew?: Questioning Jewishness as Cool in American Popular Entertainment

This essay examines the recent upsurge in overt Jewish identity in American popular culture, using the film Meet the Parents (2000) and its sequel Meet the Fockers (2004) as a case study to

“Don’t You See What’s Going on Here?” Seinfeld and Badiou on Situations and Events

Far from being merely “a show about nothing,” this article argues that the American television sitcom Seinfeld (1989-1998) managed to develop a sophisticated theory of situations and events in modern

Post-Jewish?: Theorizing the Emergence of Jewishness in Canadian Television

This essay examines representations of Jewishness in three recent Canadian TV series—Less than Kind, Being Erica, and 18 to Life. In it, I consider that Canadian television has historically avoided

Neurotic and Going Nowhere: Comedy and the Contemporary Jewish American Male

As a genre, film comedy has consistently made use of Jewish performers such as Groucho Marx, Woody Allen, and Ben Stiller. Although a number of popular critics and scholars have argued that a radical

I'm a Little Scared of Elaine: Representations of Jewish and Gentile Women on “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Media analyses of minority groups habitually focus on the portray als of the minority group in question without consideration for how non minority group members in a given form or genre are

The precariousness of Jewish visibility: Surviving antisemitism in Swedish cinema

The article examines Jewish ‘self-images’ in Swedish post-war film. Before World War II, antisemitic caricatures were prevalent in Swedish film and visual culture. Following the Holocaust, Jews as

Jewy/screwy leading lady: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the critique of rom-com femininity

ABSTRACT As a common platform for stigmatized outsiders, subversive comedy holds special interest for Jewish cultural studies, feminist media studies, and critical race studies alike. However, these

Incest, Exogamy, and Jewishness on Roseanne

This paper examines a narrative arc in the sitcom Roseanne involving Roseanne Conner’s physically abusive father; a storyline that echoed Roseanne Barr’s real life allegations regarding physical and

The Perception of Macro-rhythm in Jewish English Intonation

This article investigates intonation’s place in what Sarah Bunin Benor calls the American Jewish English repertoire, a collection of features that speakers can use to index Jewish identity. Results

Jewish commentaries on Star Wars: theology, history, and debate

ABSTRACT This paper examines how pop culture commentators, rabbis, bloggers, and others create commentaries on the implicit Jewish dimensions of Star Wars movies. These midrashic commentaries



The Jews of Prime Time

How did it happen that when American networks were run by Jewish men, and many television shows were written by Jewish writers, there were so few identifiably Jewish characters on television? In this

Something Ain't Kosher Here: The Rise of the "Jewish" Sitcom (review)

Israel’s nuclear program therefore did not interfere with the Hawk sale and the building of strategic ties with the U.S. that would grow following Kennedy’s untimely death. Israel also sidestepped

The Haunted Smile: The Story Of Jewish Comedians In America

From vaudeville to the movies to television: The complete (and often hilarious) history of how Jewish comedians transformed American entertainment. Lawrence J. Epstein's The Haunted Smile tackles a

How Jews became White Folks and What That Says about Race in America

The article offers a review of Karen Brodkin’s How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says about America. Brodkin analyses the social and political transformations in America and puts the analysis

Self-Effacing Wit as a Response to Oppression: Dynamics in Ethnic Humor

The method of luring the aggressor into a situation that is then used against him is construed as the kamikaze maneuver and conceptualized as an ambush technique in which the role of self-effacement facilitates aggression.

Staging the Jew: The Performance of an American Ethnicity, 1860–1920 . By Harley Erdman. New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press, 1997; pp. 224. $19.95 paperback.

Taken together, the essays realize diverse, sophisticated critical strategies for unraveling contextual relations, while successfully demonstrating that specific people make plays and performances to

Inside Prime Time

With a New Introduction Unsurpassed since its first publication, "Inside Prime Time" is the only book to take us behind the scenes to reveal how prime-time shows get on the air, stay on the air, and

Orientalization of an “almost white” woman: The interlocking effects of race, class, gender, and ethnicity in American mass media

This study examines the case of the missing Jewish woman. It provides a multidisciplinary approach for considering “doubly” and “triply” oppressed minority women at the hands of society and their own

Fun City: TV's Urban Situation Comedies of the 1990s

Abstract The show begins with a black-and-white photograph of the New York City skyline reminiscent of the opening moments of Woody Allen's Manhattan. In the same Allen style, there then follows a

The Mouse That Never Roars: Jewish Masculinity on American Television

  • in N. Kleeblat (ed.) Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities,
  • 1996