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Prof Mandy Merck: Charlotte loves Harry Ethnic stereotypes and Jewish jokes in Sex and the City

FilmTalk 2010/2011: “I’ll have what she’s having” Jews loving gentiles; gentiles loving Jews

A lecture series organized by the Leo Baeck Institute and The Wiener Library.

In this season we examine love and desire between Jews and gentiles in popular cinema. How have cinematic representations of these things changed from the 1920s to the present day? What do these films tell us about society’s attitudes towards ‘impossible’ relationships and forbidden love? What is so attractive about the ethnic ‘other’? FilmTalk stresses film as much as talk. The lectures are 20-25 minutes long and are followed or intercut with excerpts from the film under review.

Charlotte York is the über-WASP character in Sex and the City, longing for a suitable marriage to an Ivyeducated investment banker. But in the first season of the TV series she has wild sex with an orthodox Jew, and in series six she falls for Harry Goldenblatt, who is reluctant to marry out. Although Harry dumps her, Charlotte continues to go to synagogue, meets his mother, and gives up Christmas. When the two get back together she cooks Harry potato kugel and matzo-ball soup and then realizes that he intends to eat it in front of the baseball game: ‘I gave up Christ for you,’ she complains. ‘You can’t give up the Mets?’ In this talk Mandy Merck will discuss stereotypes and Jewish humour in the American sitcom.

Mandy Merck is Professor of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her latest book, co-edited with Stella Sandford, is Further Adventures of the Dialectic of Sex.


Prof. Mandy Merck | talks


Date and Time:

24 March 2011 at 7:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Wiener Library
4 Devonshire Street

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Organised by:

Leo Baeck Institute London
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Admission to this lecture is free but places are limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute: email info@leobaeck.co.uk or phone 020 7580 3493.

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