fbpx
Saturday, December 5, 2020

British Sitcom Tackles Jewish Newspapers in ‘The Jewish Enquirer’

Print This Article

A neurotic, tactless, middle-aged Jewish guy perpetually gets himself into hilariously awkward situations of his own making in “The Jewish Enquirer,” now available on Amazon. Centering on a reporter for a struggling Jewish newspaper in London, the sitcom is like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with a British accent and minus the upscale lifestyle. Creator Gary Sinyor both acknowledges and doesn’t mind the comparison.

“I had to make [the series] independently because people thought it was too similar,” Sinyor told the Journal, adding that he became a fan of Larry David and “Curb” while living on Los Angeles’ Westside from 1999-2003 while making the rom-com “The Bachelor.”

“The main difference is the wealth/fame/celebrity factor,” he said. “This is a guy who’s not loaded with money and isn’t doing well. It’s a world where people have to eke out a living, a world that’s much more real.”

Sinyor confirmed that he is the model for the protagonist Paul (Tim Downie) — the inquisitive aspects, if not other traits. “Paul is fundamentally decent but he does [mess] up. He doesn’t want to, so he tries to rein it in and there’s always some sort of rapprochement with the people he’s rude to,” he said.

Other characters are loosely based on real people, and real-life incidents provided a jumping-off point for Sinyor’s scripts. He cast his 6-year-old son, Daniel, as Paul’s nephew Joshie and shot the series in his own neighborhood, some of it in his home. (His daughter also makes a cameo in a party scene and still complains that her part was not bigger.) The principal actors are not Jewish, with the exception of Paul’s friend Simon, played by Josh Howie.

In Sinyor’s original concept, Paul worked for a non-Jewish newspaper. “Changing it freed me up to explore not only the Jewish community but the wider context and talk about Judaism and Islam and racism and anti-Semitism comedically but with the passion I believe in,” he said, noting that it’s fairly novel for a British show to express that.

“American Jews have a lot more confidence,” he said. “They’ve had years of expressing themselves on television. Here, we’re a much smaller community but we’re rather reticent about our Jewishness. I wanted to fight back at that. I wanted to express my confidence in being Jewish in a way that people in America have been doing for decades.”

In the original concept, Paul worked for a non-Jewish newspaper. “Changing it freed me up to explore not only the Jewish community but the wider context and talk about Judaism and Islam and racism and anti-Semitism comedically.” — Gary Sinyor

The son of an Egyptian Jewish father and a Syrian Jewish mother, Sinyor “was brought up in a Sephardi household where we went to synagogue every Saturday.” While living in L.A., “I carried on the family tradition of going to synagogue on Shabbat and having people over for Friday night dinner.”

These days, he’s “not as much of a believer. I’m too much of a questioner,” he said. But the two youngest of his four children attend Jewish schools, like their older siblings did. “I think it’s important, with the lack of community bonding that’s going on in society,” he said. “They have made loads of friends that they’ll have for life.”

Sinyor set his sights on filmmaking from the moment he saw 1978’s “Midnight Express.” “I was absolutely quaking from the power of that movie. It really had an effect on me,” he said. After university, he went to film school, where he made the short film “The Unkindest Cut,” which he described as “a Jewish comedy about an accountant who couldn’t pass his exam. It ended up being nominated for a BAFTA (British film academy award) and got bought by the BBC. It was a massive break.”

As a huge fan of Monty Python, he couldn’t believe it when he got a call from Eric Idle, asking if he had any ideas for feature films. Although his first feature, “Leon the Pig Farmer,” ultimately was not made with Idle, “He helped me to be able to write and co-direct a feature film that won awards and became a cult hit,” Sinyor said. He’s also known for the 2017 thriller “Amaurosis,” originally released under the title “The Unseen.”

Sinyor currently has a feature project in the works, a romantic comedy set in L.A. called “Something Blue,” “about a Jewish guy getting married for the second time to a non-Jewish woman who’s getting married for the first time. It’s ‘Bridesmaids’-y, ‘Hangover’-ish,” he said. “We’re in the script stage, trying to attract financing.” He’s also writing the second season of “The Jewish Enquirer.” “I’ve written two episodes and suspect I’ll write the other four over the next few weeks.”

For the most part, the first episodes have been well received in Great Britain. “There will always be people who are offended,” Sinyor said. “A couple of journalists for Jewish papers haven’t liked it. It’s no surprise the Jewish community would be split. But I read the reviews and people are loving it, including people who aren’t Jewish. I like that because I didn’t make it for just the Jewish community. I made it for everyone, and I hope that happens in the States.”

“The Jewish Enquirer” is available for rent per episode or the entire series at Amazon.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Giving Season

Two Phrases That May Explain Why Giving Comes Naturally

Two women pass a beggar on the street. They have the same income and expenses. The first weeps at the suffering of the beggar and gives him $5 out of the goodness of her heart. The second notices but rushes past. Later in the day, however, she feels compelled because of her religious beliefs and returns to give the beggar $100. Who is the better person? Why are Jews so generous?

In Giving, How Much Does Type of Communication Matter?

This article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. To Roi Mezare, fundraising is really about relationships. “Without a meaningful relationship there is not going to...

Pandemic Has Altered The Rules of Fundraising

This article originally appeared in The New York Jewish Week The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is massive, costing hundreds of thousands of lives and...

Latest Articles

Bahrain: Goods from Israeli Settlements Will Be Designated “Made In Israel”

The Bahraini Commerce and Tourism Minister announced that all goods imported from Israeli settlements in the West Bank will be labeled as “Made In Israel.”

Bari Weiss, Rose Ritch Discuss College Anti-Semitism on Webinar

Author Bari Weiss moderated a Zoom webinar discussion with three Jewish students about anti-Semitism on college campuses on December 3. The webinar, which was part...

15 Last-Minute Hanukkah 2020 Gift Ideas

The kick-off of Hanukkah 2020 is less than a week away. In turn, below are 15 brands with interesting products worth looking into –...

Trump’s Parting Gift is One Even He Didn’t Anticipate

As much as Iran wants to retaliate, its angry hands are tied.

We Wanna Be Where the Rachel Bloom People Are

It was bound to happen: a full episode devoted to one of our favorites, Rachel Bloom, and her new book, "I Want to Be...

6 Prominent Holocaust Survivors Have Died in Europe Over the Past Month

Six prominent Holocaust survivors who had dedicated much of their lives to educating others against hatred have died in Europe over the past month.

Pandemic Times Episode 109: Can Creativity Change Our Lives?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A conversation with Jill Gurr, founder of the non-profit Create Now. How do we manage our lives during the coronavirus...

‘Hamilton’s’ Daveed Diggs Writes a Hanukkah Song About Puppies for Disney Channel

Tony and Grammy award-winner Daveed Diggs, known for his roles as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, in the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” released...

JVS, Do The Right Thing And Fairly Compensate Your Workers

JVS SoCal’s stance regarding its employees seems at odds with its mission.

Longing For The Pre-COVID Era

Me that 'ave been what I've been -- Me that 'ave gone where I've gone -- Me that 'ave seen what I've seen -- 'Ow can I...

Culture

‘Hamilton’s’ Daveed Diggs Writes a Hanukkah Song About Puppies for Disney Channel

Tony and Grammy award-winner Daveed Diggs, known for his roles as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, in the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” released...

Gal Gadot to Star in Spy Thriller ‘Heart of Stone’

Julianna Margulies has joined Apple TV+’s Emmy Award winning newsroom series “The Morning Show” for its second season.

Eight Jewish Female Fashion Designers You Should Know

One might think it frivolous — or perhaps ridiculously impractical— to ponder the latest style trends during a global pandemic. Yet, against all odds,...

The Show Must Go On, Come Hell, High Water — Or Coronavirus

Two British theater companies have managed to bring their latest collaboration, “The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk,” to home audiences around the world.

Julianna Margulies Joins ‘The Morning Show’

Julianna Margulies has joined Apple TV+’s Emmy Award winning newsroom series “The Morning Show” for its second season.

Latest Articles
Latest

Bahrain: Goods from Israeli Settlements Will Be Designated “Made In Israel”

The Bahraini Commerce and Tourism Minister announced that all goods imported from Israeli settlements in the West Bank will be labeled as “Made In Israel.”

Bari Weiss, Rose Ritch Discuss College Anti-Semitism on Webinar

Author Bari Weiss moderated a Zoom webinar discussion with three Jewish students about anti-Semitism on college campuses on December 3. The webinar, which was part...

15 Last-Minute Hanukkah 2020 Gift Ideas

The kick-off of Hanukkah 2020 is less than a week away. In turn, below are 15 brands with interesting products worth looking into –...

Trump’s Parting Gift is One Even He Didn’t Anticipate

As much as Iran wants to retaliate, its angry hands are tied.

We Wanna Be Where the Rachel Bloom People Are

It was bound to happen: a full episode devoted to one of our favorites, Rachel Bloom, and her new book, "I Want to Be...

Hollywood

‘Oslo’ Drama Underway from Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt

Steven Spielberg, Mark Platt and David Litvak are bringing the J.T. Rogers’ Tony Award-winning play “Oslo,” about the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Accords, to HBO....

‘Valley of Tears’ Tells Harrowing Stories of the 1973 Yom Kippur War

As Yom Kippur began in 1973, attacks by Syria and Egypt took Israel by surprise, launching a 19-day war in which more than 10,000...

Sophia Loren Plays a Holocaust Survivor in ‘The Life Ahead’

In her first feature film since “Nine” in 2009, screen legend Sophia Loren plays a Holocaust survivor who takes in motherless children in “The...

Podcasts

We Wanna Be Where the Rachel Bloom People Are

It was bound to happen: a full episode devoted to one of our favorites, Rachel Bloom, and her new book, "I Want to Be...

Pandemic Times Episode 109: Can Creativity Change Our Lives?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A conversation with Jill Gurr, founder of the non-profit Create Now. How do we manage our lives during the coronavirus...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

x