One of the delights of Israeli culture is the mash up that occurs when English-speaking immigrants have kids and raise them as Israelis. A friend once said that these Sabra children often wind up with the best of both worlds – the confidence and improvisational skills of Israelis, and the manners and sensibilities of their Anglo heritage. Of course, sometimes they get the worst of both worlds, and sometimes… well, there’s Redband.
The latest hit summer TV series on HOT VOD (sort of like a low-rent HBO), Redband is an R-rated comedic car crash ‘mockumentary’ featuring life-sized puppets portraying the most thick-brained rock stars this side of Spinal Tap. The puppets, the creation of three children of Anglo immigrants, switch with ease from English to Hebrew, and prove they can talk filthily in either language with equal aplomb.
The show’s offensive like South Park, and just as hilarious, especially when band leader Red Orbach skewers the guest of each episode, an in-the-flesh Israeli pop star like Aviv Gefen, Shalom Hanoch and Mosh Ben-Ari.
Ari Feffer, Micha Duman and Ami Wiesel are the Israeli Americans behind the puppets. They all grew up with a love of 60s music and hippie culture thanks to their American parents, and despite having gone through the army and attended film school at Tel Aviv University, they still feel more comfortable within the milieu of American culture and slang. And Redband shows that they learned exactly what to make fun of from the excesses of the rock & roll lifestyle which Red and his band mates Poncho and Lefty emerged from.
It’s fun to watch an Israeli TV show that’s almost all in English, but with hip Tel Aviv slang and inside Israeli jokes thrown in at will. Redband blurs the lines even further between Israeli and American culture, and in doing so, are making people on both sides laugh until it hurts.