7 Steps for Netflix to Make a Better Jewish Matchmaking Show
by Alan Zeitlin
Jews were once excluded from social clubs. When we were let in, do you think we complained that the brisket wasn’t tender, or the music wasn’t right? Most people were just happy to be there.
Similarly, many Jews are excited that a barrier has been broken, and that Netflix has a Jewish dating show. I am happy there is a show. But it partly wastes a great opportunity. You can read my review about the show and its flaws here.
But I also wanted to give some tips to help Netflix, or another network, make a great Jewish dating show.
Step1: Hire Patti Stanger and Brian Howie
Talk about a dynamic personality. You don’t get much better than Stanger. I watched every episode of “The Millionaire Matchmaker” because I wanted to see what would happen next. She called out Luke Rockhold, a UFC fighter, so I’d like to see what she’d say to some guy who says he doesn’t want to date Jewish women that have curly hair.
Howie is the host of the podcast, “The Great Love Debate,” and for many years has run a live event of the same name in cities across the world. I’ve attended several and there’s a reason they sell out. The author of “How To Find Love in 60 Seconds” knows what he is talking about regarding dating. He is not Jewish, but he has come across many Jewish daters and he is aware of pertinent issues. Stanger and Howie may be the two best examples of people who can call daters out on their nonsense. They are also masters of vocal inflection and can pierce through the fake facades of tomfoolery.
Step 2: Vet People, Show Their Stories, and Find Interesting Daters
If you watch “American Idol,” they don’t just have people sing on stage. They show their backstory and their challenges so you care about them beyond their performance. Show us people at their workplace, show us their struggles. Just as people audition by singing, allow people to audition by telling their stories. Once those who are interesting are selected, allow Stanger and Howie to do a draft where they each pick four people with the caveat that any dater can be cut and replaced by someone else.
Step 3: Advice Panel of 3 with Judge Judy, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Sarah Silverman
To up the ante, have some of the above give advice in a person’s ear during the date. That will automatically make it more interesting, and the viewer can see if the daters follow the advice and if it is helpful or not.
Step 4: Rise Above with Bipartisan Love
The show shouldn’t ignore politics. What a great service it would be if a Republican and Democrat could come together!
Step 5: Better Locations and Fine Kosher Dining
The environment is important! Have daters at a New York Giants game or a Mets game, at a Broadway show, at a comedy show, or an MMA gym. What about putting a note in the Kotel? On “Jewish Matchmaking” they had a meal at Pescada, a fine kosher restaurant. It would be great to have them go in and meet the chef, who could explain a little about about kosher food. Instead, the name of the restaurant isn’t even mentioned. This was a missed opportunity to show people of all religions that kosher dining can be an interesting option and demystify some of the myths about it.
Step 6: Show Some Jewish Soul and You’ve Got Some Explaining To Do
Diversity is important, and what the Netflix show got right was to show Jews of all different religious levels. What it got wrong is that we didn’t see any Jewish soul or inspiring pride. Instead of having a young woman say that tefillin is “hot,” show us a scene of joy in a synagogue so people might realize it’s not a deathtrap with perverts waiting outside, like the impression we get from the film “You People.”
Step 7: Celebrity Mentors: Adam Sandler, Gal Gadot, Lior Raz, Michael Aloni, Matisyahu, Ishai Ribo, Nissim Black, Regina Spektor…
Imagine a guy is bombing on a date, and he goes to the bathroom and Adam Sandler is there with advice and some mints. What if a guy is too scared to ask a woman on a second date and Lior Raz, the star of “Fauda,” tells him it’s time to be a man. Or Michael Aloni, the star of “Shtisel,” appears to pour wine for the daters and explain a little about romance. You get the idea.
The author is a writer based in New York.