Lauren Wallenfels is the Jewish News' new Cable & Streaming TV writer. My name is…
Young & Hungry For TV
Young & Hungry is a comedic show with just enough drama here and there to add dimension to each episode. Not only is this show a great form of entertainment, but if you grew up during the Hannah Montana era, you’ll see that the show features a familiar actress, Emily Osment.
This is a much more sophisticated role for Osment than the bumbling teenage Lilly and, while the show has a youth in it (the title even includes this), it is definitely for an older audience than the viewers who watched Hannah Montana.
Additionally from that era, actress Ashley Tisdale, your favorite High School Musical mean girl, produces the show, adding to the millennial nostalgia.
Osment’s character, Gabi, begins the show as a food blogger (hi Amanda Alberts and Rachel Hyams), though that is not her end goal. Throughout the show, Gabi works her way up to becoming a professional chef for a wealthy tech entrepreneur named Josh. If her success wasn’t enough to draw viewers, the witty banter and complicated relationship between Gabi and Josh keep people watching. For those who are in their twenties, the show is very relatable. It often reflects what life is like for those viewers who are young and hungry to see themselves represented on TV.
For me, this show is relatable for another reason — the Jewish content. One of the characters, Alan Lowenstein, is Jewish. He doesn’t appear in the series until later, but his character instantly becomes a fan favorite due to his larger-than-life personality.
Throughout the series, Alan’s character brings to life a lot of information about Judaism, especially in regard to his relationship with his boyfriend, Elliot Park. Because Elliot is not Jewish, Alan has to teach him all about the history and traditions of Judaism. Topics like holidays, sayings, traditions and food are not out of the question. When it comes to being involved with Judaism, these are all-important themes. Alan believes it’s teaching Elliot about his faith will help him better understand where Alan comes from and what he believes in.
Judaism and Mothers
The topic of Judaism becomes especially important when Alan’s mother becomes involved. Most people know that marrying a Jewish person is extremely important in Judaism. This is the case not only because people of the same religion usually have the same values and traditions and come from similar backgrounds, but also to help the Jewish population thrive once couples decide to start having children. The frequent negative feelings toward interfaith marriage certainly show up in Young & Hungry. For much of the show, Alan’s mother is very displeased that her son has chosen to date someone who is not Jewish. She frequently mutters in Yiddish to herself in regard to the topic, making sure everyone knows she’d rather see her son marry a Jew.
Elliot’s mother has a hard time accepting their relationship, too, but eventually does so because she wants her son to be happy. In order to make an effort to get along with Alan, she tries using Yiddish words in her conversations, thinking this will make him feel more comfortable around her.
Overall, this show is absolutely amazing, pure entertainment that gives just the right amount of Jewish connection to make me want some challah. You can find it on Freeform (previously ABC Family) or the Freeform app. There aren’t very many seasons at the moment, so now is the perfect time to do all the binge watching you need to catch up to the current season. I highly suggest you check it out in your free time.