Jewish Journal

News flash!

by Noga Gur-Arieh

March 31, 2012 | 11:03 am

DeGeneres. The 2012 version.

News flash! This was a news flesh a year ago!

When I have days off, I enjoy watching the Ellen DeGeneres show. An hour of tons of fun and zero worries. Several weeks ago I had a day off, so I turned on the T.V. for some DeGeneres time. It was one of the 12 Days of giveaway shows in December, 2010. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but they weren’t: turns out I’ve been watching this show for months, in a delay of more than a year! I guess someone out there, in the big fancy world of television, underestimated Israeli television viewers by thinking we won’t notice or won’t mind that delay. Well, I mind, especially when the same thing happens, though with just a couple of months of delay, with E! news and several other television shows. I may be a bit overreacting, but isn’t it a complete waste? Who in the world, thinks it is okay, in the year of 2012, to air shows with such a noticeable delay? The thing is that unless a Christmas/new year’s/some other holiday show is aired, it is almost impossible for us to notice the delay, unless we are frequent followers of American websites.

If you thought that maybe there is some fundamental problem in purchasing these shows from American networks on time, let me tell you this: American Award shows, for example, are aired live (in times such as 3 am, Israel time).Israeli Networks and cable/satellite companies are competing for who airs new episodes as close to the USA air time. But while shows like Glee or Mad Men are aired here two days after they air in the States, other shows like Two Broke Girls, are “all new” here, while you wait for the second season…

Despite the fact that these are “just” entertainment shows, this makes Israel Pop- culturally behind. And this doesn’t happen on television only, but also in cinema andmusic. This I noticed clearly when I got back from my summer in the States. I kept singing the thrilling song by the respected poet, Rebecca Black: “it’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday…”, while noticing the question marks in my friends’ eyes and slowly fading out in embarrassment. About a month after I came back, my friend asked me if I want to see the new movie: Horrible Bosses, which I watched two months earlier. Not to mention Will Farrel movies, which for some reason don’t show in Israel at all. Once again, all of this happens while movies such as Harry Potter premiered in Israel the very same day they premiered in England (which, at some point, was even before they premiered in the States).

I don’t even know who’s to blame. Is this the Israeli entertainment industry’s poorly made decisions? Is it the American entertainment industry, which holds back the movies, songs and television series? Who makes us watch American television by doing illegal downloads or by spending hundreds of dollars on ITunes, which is also possible only for Israelis who purchased gift cards while vacationing in the States? I am guessing the former is more to blame, but this will probably never occupy great scientific minds, and I guess there are Israelis out there who still have no idea they are watching shows months after the original airing time. The only thing for me to do, and the greatest Jewish virtue of all, is to complain. I mean, come on! After all the Jewish people have been through, why does the world have to be so cruel?! We were wandering all over the world for 2000 years, with no place to call home, and by the time we finally win the state of Israel, we are doomed to be pop-culturally delayed. Haven’t the Jewish people suffered enough?!

But in a more serious note, I sometimes wonder if the people of the world know that in this small country, who hits front pages in all 50 states when it comes to security issues or international politics, has people who run normal lives. Israel is more than an international issues magnet. This entertainment delay makes me see why some people think we ride camels and culturally old fashioned. I guess both Israeli and American decision-makers don’t see this delay as an actual problem, considering our problematic relations with our neighbors. If one of them is reading this: let us blend in the pop-culture, and catch up with the rest of the world. It may seem like a small, not-important issue, but sometimes it’s the small things that count…

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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