Jewish Journal


January 12, 2012

Howard Gordon’s “Homeland”: Like [+VIDEO of Claire Danes on Tel Aviv nightlife]


(Warning: this post contains spoilers of “Homeland.” Go watch it and then come back. It’s on On Demand.)

I can’t wait for the next season of Showtime’s “Homeland.”

As a “ZOAngel,” I sometimes empathize with Carrie Mathison, played brilliantly by Golden Globe-worthy Claire Danes—the CIA agent who suffers from bi-polar disorder, who’s so idealistic, so crazy—and so passionately lonely—that she dares to have an affair and fall in love with her arch-nemesis—Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis)—the US marine whom she suspects converted to Al Qaeda’s cause while imprisoned in Iraq.

While I wouldn’t necessary have a crush on a possible terrorist that I’ve been relentlessly spying on, sometimes I feel a little crazy and manic fighting so hard for Israel and promoting unwavering, and oft-times, unpopular positions (i.e. the Palestinian Authority is made up of crooks and terrorists in disguise that we should denounce right now). In a world that thrives on moral relativism, on conforming, on compromise–it’s hard to maintain sanity promoting an absolute vision of good and evil.

According to Naomi Pfefferman’s Jewish Journal feature, producer and writer Howard Gordon adapted the Israeli drama “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War) for American audiences. Gordon was also the one who brought us “24,” which presented another tortured counter-terrorist agent, Jack Bauer, Mathison’s tele-literary big brother.

Mathison, like Bauer, will sacrifice romantic relationships, break all protocol and defy authority to discover and fight for the truth—and she literally drives herself to the loony bin trying to warn the Department of Homeland Security of the dangers of her ex-lover, and it’s not just because she’s a woman scorned.

If we can judge from the shows’ plots and themes, Gordon, unlike many Hollywood writers, seems to possess a strong sense of good and evil, right and wrong, all the while painting complex heroes and villains whom we can love and hate. He’s not afraid of being politically incorrect by demonstrating the inextricability of Islam and terrorism through Brody’s character (although he also forces us to examine our prejudices when, in one episode, he casts doubt on Brody’s guilt.)

The most effective way to change hearts and minds towards truth and heroism is through art and storytelling. Gordon has done that and more by popularizing the struggles involved with living in a world threatened by dangerous enemies (i.e. Islamists)—and the struggles of the “crazy” people who are not afraid to say we have them.

I hope Gordon will live up to my heroic image of him when I hear him speak on January 29 at UCLA’s” One Day University” on Israeli society.

Speaking of Israeli society, here’s Claire Danes praising Tel Aviv’s nightlife scene on Conan O’Brian:

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