Bubbies Become Matchmakers in New TV Show
Linda Rich can sing, Bunny Gibson can dance, and S.J. Mendelson has sass. The three women star in a new show called Bubbies Know Best that airs Monday nights at 8:00 PM on JLTV, beginning February 11.
Rich was the first female cantor to sing at a conservative synagogue in 1978 — at Temple Beth Zion in Los Angeles. Now she’s hoping to be the first bubbie to arrange marriages for those willing to go on TV.
“I have seven grandchildren and I’ve always given them advice,” she said. “The people on the show are very different and the bubbies are all different, so I think people will enjoy it and laugh a lot.”
Gibson was a dancer on American Bandstand from 1959 to 1961. Later in life, she found out that she was actually Jewish.
“I was adopted and it turned out [that] this Catholic school girl is a member of the tribe,” she said. “When I was younger, I used to always love bagels, so maybe that was a sign.”
She said that she used to run several dating services, and thinks that’s it’s harder for daters now with so many people using the Internet.
Her best advice?
“If you want a king, be a queen,” Gibson said. “If you want a queen, be a king.”
She said that one of the most fun moments on the show was when one of the bachelors took her for a ride.
“One of the suitors had a motorcycle,” she said. “I just had to take a very long ride with this handsome suitor to make sure [the potential date] would be safe.”
Mendelson is originally from Brooklyn, and now lives in Los Angeles, like the other bubbies. She said that her skills are genetic.
“My grandmother Gitel, in the old days, would match anybody, even if they had a clubbed foot,” Mendelson said. “She would say, ‘there’s a cover for every garbage can.’”
Some episodes feature daters in their 20s and 30s, while in another episode some are in their 60s and 70s. Some are Jewish and some are not. One episode features lesbians looking for love.
On the show, the bubbies both criticize and praise the daters. In one scene, a young man is asked why he didn’t iron his shirt, while a young woman is asked if her hair is real. Another man is asked about his cholesterol levels. On the dates, strange questions are also asked, including an instance where a female asks a male date if he likes weed.
“Being able to watch a date like a fly on the wall is really amazing,” said Erin Davis, who hosts the show. “We get to see dietary preferences come out. We get to see if they will say the wrong or the right thing. We get to see people who are all looking for love.”
Davis, a Manhattan resident, runs her own matchmaking service called Erin Davis Wingwoman. She also runs the non-profit Shabbattness, which is exclusively for Jewish singles.
“My own grandma is 95 and still matchmaking,” Davis said. “I think this show will make generations unite. It will also make people think twice before they dismiss the advice of their bubbies. They’ve been on this earth longer than we have.”