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The latest attempt of Darren – the 19 year old Eastenders Character – to get laid has been an interesting affair. He was about to have sex with Jodie – the teenage daughter of Albert Square’s new Jewish family – until something went wrong. When he pulled down his boxers she noticed he had a foreskin. She screamed “oh my god” at the very top of her voice and ran away.
Honestly. Yes we know that some jews – like squillions of other people – have a thing about marying outside the community. But the idea that a contemporary Jewish teenager like Jodie – who has grown up in a multiethnic urban setting, and who is sufficiently irreligious to engage in fairly random extramarital sex – would scream at the sight of a foreskin, is too ridiculous to even be justified by comedic license. Really, somebody should tell the writers that it’s 2010, and Anglo-Jewry is no longer fresh off the boat from the Shtetls of Tsarist Russia.
Eastenders has been known to win plaudits for its “brave” and sophisticated portrayal of multiethnic issues – and on the strength of the Christia-Said storyline it deserves such applause. Yet it frequently falls short of that standard, instead opting to lazily entertain white audiences with idiotic ethnic caricatures. I wrote some time ago about their portrayal of Bad Asian Fathers:
Those who watched Amira prison visit last week would have seen it. Yep it is evil, authoritarian Asian father who yells about respect in a foreign sounding accent. Of course what gets portrayed is not standard bourgoies moral authoritarianism. No its the sometimes violent, quick to lose his temper, semi-barbarian village elder type authoritarianism.
And its not like they haven’t done this before. Remember that Asian elvis impersonator in Eastenders a few years back? Like Amira’s dad he starred in a storyline that revolved his violent, authoritarian attitude towards his children, yelling half formed sentences in a foreign accent. Indeed it seems that East is East, a hugely overrated, unnuanced movie – full of cheap humour about circumsisions and what not – has established an archetype that must be regurgitated.
Still, I guess the foreskin shock is a better storyline than the debt collector with a Jewish name who showed a few months back to ruin the Mitchells’ christmas.
On a side note, what the fuck have they done to Lucas? When he came he had the makings a brilliant character. A man with serious beliefs, determined to live a lifestyle that contrasted with most of the square, but nonetheless plagued by a few inner demons and the general dirt of being human. Apparently that was all too subtle, so they’ve turned him into a serial killer who thinks he’s the messiah (literally).
Don’t get me wrong. When Eastenders is good it can be absolutely fantastic, and it can be genuinely thought provoking. But following it can be a bit like having a girlfriend with a lisp who gives amazing head: the flashes of brilliance are set against a constant background of annoyance and aggravation.
To contact Reuben email firstname.lastname@example.org