Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Beverly Hills 90201 to feature Persian Jewish Characters


Oh boy. This is going to be interesting. What do you want to bet that the fictional Persian Jews suddenly start eating Matza Balls instead of Tadeek?

When Hollywood gets hold of something, it seems to morph into something horrible.

I’m not going to even hope that it will be something close to reality, but I will hope that the Persian Jewish community doesn’t start emulating what Hollywood will start saying they are. That would be a tragedy.

Jews and Iranians among student body on new version of '90210'

By Rebecca Spence, The Forward

LOS ANGELES - When the hit television series "Beverly Hills, 90210" premiered on the Fox network nearly two decades ago, many viewers pointed out that the show did not reflect the reality of Beverly Hills High School.

The real Beverly Hills High is both predominantly Jewish and heavily Iranian. While the original cast included two explicitly Jewish characters, the show was, nevertheless, far from an actual representation of the tony school, which was fictionalized in the iconic series as "West Beverly High." What's more, the sizable Iranian community, mostly made up of Jews, was absent.

But the television show now has a second chance. Come September 2, when the CW network premieres "90210," a new version of the original show, viewers will see - in addition to a half-Jewish character - an Iranian character.

"At least it's a nod to what the real storylines are at the school, and an attempt to deal with what is, in fact, a major part of life in the Beverly Hills area itself," said popular culture critic Josh Kun, an associate professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.

Still, Kun noted, television is never - nor should it be, as far as he is concerned - a realistic take on life. "Part of the fun of '90210' is watching a show that's obviously about fantasy," he said.

While actual statistics are unavailable, Beverly Hills High School is, by all accounts, overwhelmingly Jewish. Joy Horowitz, author of the recent book "Parts Per Million: The Poisoning of Beverly Hills High School," an investigative foray into allegations that oil wells at the high school caused thousands of cancer cases, estimates that when she attended the high school in the late 1960s, its student body was about 90 percent Jewish. Since that time, the primary demographic shift has been the influx of Persians, who now constitute an estimated 40 percent to 50 percent of the total population. Shirley Eshaghian, a 21-year-old Iranian Jew who has been anticipating the new show, said that she is particularly interested in seeing how the series portrays its Iranian character, a student named Navid Shirazi, who produces the school's student-run TV station. "I just hope that they don't play on stereotypes," she said. "I hope people can maybe see into the culture."

Even with the addition of the Iranian character, "90210" is still far more fiction than reality. In fact, the real Beverly Hills High isn't even in the 90210 ZIP code. It's in 90212. And in a typical Hollywood casting decision, the actor playing Navid Shirazi, Michael Steger, is not actually Iranian. This is in keeping with Tinseltown tradition: Going back decades, most Jewish parts in American film and television have not been played by Jews. "

In fact, according to Gabrielle Carteris, a Jewish actress who portrayed the most explicitly Jewish character on the original "Beverly Hills 90210" - the brainy Andrea Zuckerman - the show's producers had no idea she was Jewish when they hired her to portray the school newspaper editor from the wrong side of the tracks.

And while several episodes addressed her character's religious background (in one, she learned about her Jewish family history from her grandmother, played by Lainie Kazan), her Jewish identity on the show had its limits.

When Carteris, who is now in her 40s, showed up on set wearing a Star of David around her neck, the network honchos balked. They called her into their office, she said, and asked her to remove the Jewish symbol. "The executives said that 'Middle America' really doesn't want to see it," Carteris said in an interview with the Forward. "'Middle America' is a phrase that is always used in this industry. I want to know, who is this 'Middle America'?"

Carteris, who is a member of Temple Beth Hillel, a Reform synagogue in Valley Village, Calif., refused to take off the Star of David unless the other cast members were asked to remove their crosses. As a result, the executives mandated that no religious jewelry could be worn. The irony? The executive who asked Carteris to remove the star was himself Jewish. Moreover, the creator of the original show was the prolific Aaron Spelling, a Jewish television and film producer who almost specialized in creating white-washed depictions of American reality (think "Charlie's Angels" and "Dynasty").

While the new show seems to embrace diversity in a far more explicit way than the original, which was roundly criticized for its all-white cast, there are no wholly Jewish characters this time around. The closest is a female character known as "Silver," who, according to a spokesman for the show, is half-Jewish. Silver is presumably a descendant of the original show's other Jewish character, David Silver, who dabbled in being a hip-hop DJ, as did the actor who played him, Brian Austin Green. Green is now a series regular on the Fox show "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles."

The executive story editor of the original "Beverly Hills 90210, Amy Spies, said that times have changed since she worked on the show in the 1990s. "Because of cable, there's been all kinds of diverse, ethnic shows," said Spies said, citing "The Sopranos" as an example. "It's much more the norm to have more accurate representations of their world.


  1. The reason they didn't include more "Jewish" characters in the original was because the show was not marketed to Jews. It was marketed to Whites. Whites never want to see any kind of Jew show that centers around the world through the eyes of a Jew. We have Jesus Christ for that, which you killed.

    Notice how hollywood utilizes White characters to sell the "Jews are O.K." propaganda. Well, you're not O.K. We don't fucking like you, we don't like your hatchet faces or hook noses. You repulse us with your greed and lack of ethics. All the while you claim to be "the light of the world" and all that shit. I challenge you to do this... create a REAL JEW show and include the doctrine of how:

    You're God's chosen people.
    (actually you're an abomination)

    You're trained to use others money, labor, and ideas to make yourselves rich. (Userers)

    Your desire to live in America while your hearts are really in Israel. (Again, for the wealth and usery of our military)

    The fact that while you are for all the wars in the middle east, but never spill a drop of your own goddamn blood with us.
    (This is why we do not recognize you as Americans or fellow country men. You're fucking manipulative cowards.)


    You can't sell that shit. That's why the first 90210 didn't have "more Jews". It's because whites can't stomach them. You're disgusting and gross in many ways. This is why everyone hates you.



  2. B"H

    Dear Readers,

    I received last comment, thought about not posting it, then decided I should post it.

    I just want to make sure that everyone knows what kind of hate there is in the world, and how it can end up being directed for the silliest of reasons.

    Yes, you Jews sitting there in suburbia thinking that hate is something from the past need to wake up. These crazy people are everywhere.

    (BTW, you idiot, I have the ID from your computer and I know who you are. Posting "anonymously" doesn't exactly do it. Don't you watch anything but 90210? How about some CSI once in a while?)

    I am well aware of these people from my life in Nevada. There is a group of them who meet in the Pizza place nearby. I know when they meet, what they talk about, who they are, and who they talk about because it is a very small town and things get around, but not everyone is "lucky" enough to be aware of these crazy people.

    This is why I advocate that every Jew should have a gun and know how to use it. We need to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities because we never know when some crazy person will come after us.

    Be alert! Be careful! But, most of all, BE PREPARED.



    P.S. A few problems with your post:

    Jewish themed music, television shows, movies, plays, and musicals have been very successful throughout the history of the entertainment business from Shakespeare on, so your assumption is false;

    Jesus was killed by Romans not Jews (you do read your own Bible, right?);

    I don't have a hook nose (check out the picture, dufus!);

    which "white characters" are you talking about from the original 90210? Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, or Ian Ziering?(BTW, they are all Jews);

    the "doctrine" of being "G-d's chosen people" is in the Bible (again, you DO read your own Bible, right?);

    using people's ideas, money and labor is called CAPITALISM not "usery" Userers are people who lend money at a high interest (you can read a dictionary, right? Did you graduate from high school?);

    "usery" of the military???? What the heck is that about? My son serves in the military, and Jews serve and have served proudly in the US military since the revolutionary war (BTW, I am a DAR!);

    If we haven't shed a drop of blood, then what is it with all the Jewish graves at Arlington???;

    Your country??? Did you know that Haim Solomon FINANCED the revolutionary war? If there weren't any Jews, there wouldn't be any America.

    Why don't you stop hating long enough to open a book?

  3. Thank you I am so glad that you clarified that another idiot blaming Jews for all their problems


Please do not use comments to personally attack other posters.