Jewish jokes

2 Broke Girls takes on Brooklyn’s Hasidim

The hit CBS sitcom turns its focus on the Jewish community of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, in an episode involving kosher cupcakes, bar mitzva jokes and a smattering of Yiddish

Since debuting to gigantic numbers back in September, CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls” has won over fans — and annoyed critics — with its satirical take on life in Brooklyn, focusing specifically on the Williamsburg neighborhood in which the show is set. The jokes have largely been at the expense of the young urban tribe known as hipsters, one of the two groups for which the neighborhood is known.

Last night, the other group – Hasidic Jews – got its turn on the show, whose title characters work at a diner while attempting to start a cupcake business on the side. During the episode, entitled “Identity Crisis,” protagonists Max and Caroline deliver kosher cupcakes to a family celebrating the bar mitzvah of son Shmuley, who turns out to have a dirtier mouth than you’d expect.

Like the show’s hipsters, Asians, Eastern Europeans, and pretty much everyone else, the Jewish characters are portrayed largely as stereotypes: loud, argumentative and obsessed with food. (Renee Taylor, playing a character similar to her role as Fran Drescher’s mom on “The Nanny,” proudly notes at one point that her son-in-law is a doctor.)

While the portrayal isn’t exactly accurate — especially as it pertains to distinctions between Hasidim and other Jews — the episode works in a couple jokes Jewish viewers will enjoy, such as a description of kugel as “the lasagna with the crazy raisins.” The script also offers a bit of coded Holocaust humor, with Taylor’s character at one point referring to blonde, blue-eyed Caroline (Beth Behrs) as looking “like the people who stole my grandmother’s good hutch.”

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