Jewish Matchmaking Review

When we think of matchmaking in our modern world, we think of couples who are forced by their families to marry due to a similar economic status or place in the social strata.

The new Netflix reality dating show Jewish Matchmaking is a spinoff of Indian Matchmaking. The series follows matchmaker Aleeza Ben Shalom as she works with Jewish singles in both the United States and Israel to find their person. As with dating (both IRL and in the world of reality television), not every date leads to a happy ending. There will be a few frogs along the way before the prince or princess comes (if they come at all).

I enjoyed the series. It was not as brain numbing as other programs of this nature. I appreciated that it is as educational as it is entertaining. The men and women who are the focus of the series come represent a range of backgrounds and levels of religious practice.

My only issue is the lack of LGBTQ singles. As great as this show is, this is the one area that I find to be lacking and hope will be recitified in season 2 (if there is a second season).

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Jewish Matchmaking is avaliable for streaming on Netflix.

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Flashback Friday: Who Wants to Marry My Dad? (2003 to 2004)

There is no aspect of dating or romance that reality television has not been attached to.

Between 2003 and 2004, Who Wants to Marry My Dad aired on NBC. The show followed adult children whose goal was to find their father’s next spouse.

I remember watching a few episodes. Looking back, I feel like this particular reality show was a new low. It was as if all of the good ideas had already been taken and this was the bottom of the barrel.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday: Britney and Kevin: Chaotic (2005)

It’s sometimes easy to say that you are in love with someone. It’s harder to show that this is your person.

The short-lived reality show, Britney and Kevin Chaotic (2005) aired on UPN. Viewers followed Britney Spears and her then-husband Kevin Federline during the early days of their relationship.

I get it. They wanted to prove that their romance was legit. But, at the same time, it was a train wreck that could not be ignored (as is the case for most of reality television).

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Tom Jones Review

When a writer is looking for inspiration, they often look to works from the past. The issue is that some of these stories may contain characters or narratives that are archaic, outdated, or just plain offensive.

The new 4 part Masterpiece/PBS miniseries, Tom Jones, is based on the 1749 novel, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, by Henry Fielding. The title character, Tom Jones (Solly McLeod) was found as a newborn by Squire Allworthy (James Fleet). A widower without children, he raises Tom as if they were flesh and blood.

When we meet Tom at the age of twenty, he is like most of us at that age. He wants to do the right thing, but his efforts don’t always go as planned. He is also not anti-social when it comes to the opposite sex.

Nearby, Sophia Western (Sophie Wilde) is an heiress and the bi-racial granddaughter of a local landowner, Squire Western (Alun Armstrong). She is expected to walk in the footsteps of previous generations of women and “marry well”.

Their childhood friendship turns into adult affection and love. But he is considered unworthy of her. The only way to reach their happy ending is to fight for it.

I have to admit that I have never read the original text. This review is solely based on the television adaptation.

I enjoyed the first episode. The tale is compelling and the characters are fully drawn. I like that Sophia was reimagined as bi-racial. It highlights the issues that are still not fully dealt with. It also creates a bond between our young lovers while adding layers of conflict. Both are key to keeping the audience engaged and hanging on until the (hopeful) happy ending.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Tom Jones airs on PBS on Sunday night at 9pm.

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Flashback Friday: Mythbusters (2003 to Present)

Myths hold powerful sway over us, regardless of how much is fact and how much is fiction.

Mythbusters (2003 to Present) has bounced around several networks since its debut 20 years ago. Originally, it was on the schedule for the Discovery Channel before spending a year at the Science Channel. Presently, it airs on Samsung TV Plus. The purpose of the show is as the title suggests: to take a specific myth and see if it’s true or not.

I find this show to be interesting. I appreciate their methodical and scientific approach to answering the question(s) of each episode while making it fun for the audience to watch. My favorite segment is the one in which they ask if both Jack and Rose could have survived in Titanic.

Though James Cameron debunked that idea once and for all earlier this year, I appreciate the effort by the Mythbusters crew to answer the question that has existed for a quarter of a century.

Throwback Thursday: Lost (2004 to 2010)

For the most part, getting on a plane is a safe way to travel. But every now and again, something goes wrong.

From 2004 to 2010, Lost was must-see TV. The show followed a diverse group of survivors of a plane crash. Lost (get it? ;))on a previously unknown island, each had a past that was slowly revealed over time. As relationships were forged and molded over time, each individual was challenged in ways that were least expected.

Lost was a genre-busting phenomenon in every sense of the word. It was a drama, it had elements of science fiction, it had some amazing action scenes, etc. Though it’s been off the air for 13 years, the finale still garners conversation and controversy.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I was and still am a fangirl after nearly (yikes) 20 years.

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Flashback Friday: The Parent ‘Hood (1995 to 1999)

When it comes to family sitcoms, there are two distinct categories. The first (a la the 1950s) is a complete fantasy that has nothing to do with reality. The second is one that reflects the everyday lives of the average family ( i.e. Roseanne).

From 1995 to 1999, The Parent ‘Hood was on the air. Robert Peterson (Robert Townsend is a college professor who is balancing work, marriage, and parenthood. As anyone who has gone or is going through this knows, it is far from easy.

I think it goes without saying that there was enough of an audience to keep it on the air for four years. But looking back, it was just another sitcom. While it was not a complete boilerplate, it stuck to the script just a little too much.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday: Love After Lockup (2018 to Present)

Sometimes love comes in the least unexpected of packages. The choice that stands before us is the following: do we follow our heart or listen to those who tell us to walk away?

Love After Lockup has been on the We TV schedule since 2018. This reality show follows former felons as they try to return to normal life and maintain their romance with their significant other.

As usual, the program is full of drama and complications. As with all reality television, some of the narratives seem to be a bit hyped up for the sake of ratings and keeping eyeballs on the screen. I personally find this show to be appalling, brain-draining in the worst way, and not worth watching.

Do I recommend it? No.

Flashback Friday: Queer Eye (2018 to 2021)

One of the myths about gay men is that they are more stylish and culturally aware than the average straight man.

The Netflix show Queer Eye (2018 to 2021) is a reboot of the early aughts reality makeover show of the same name that aired on Bravo. As with its predecessor, five gay guys with expertise in various areas (fashion, food, grooming, culture, and design) helps (mostly) hapless heterosexual males to improve their physical appearance and their lives.

This show is so much fun to watch, mainly because the stars of the program are having fun. As an audience member, I am rooting for that episode’s subject, wishing that they get everything that they want from this experience. It also opens the door to see the LGBTQ community as something more than stereotypes and boogeymen for those with conservative beliefs.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Throwback Thursday: Celebrity Undercover Boss (2018)

One of the many dreams of a struggling artist is to be noticed by someone who has already made it.

The reality show, Celebrity Undercover Boss (2018) was an extension of Undercover Boss (2010 to 2016). Instead of a CEO going undercover to discover the issues with their company, the subject of each episode is someone famous. Wearing prosthetics and/or a wig, their goal is to find undiscovered talent and give them the tools to succeed.

I enjoyed the program. Though I am aware that there is always the question of how much of the narrative is “real”, it was not out of the realm of possibility. Sometimes, the struggling artist only needs to be noticed by the right person to see their dream become a reality.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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