1 9 8 9 (USA)
12 x 30 minute episodes
Stand-up comedian Jackie Mason played Jackie Fisher, a short 52-year-old New Yorker who stood up on the roof of his apartment building each week to kvetch about the tsoris (trouble) in his life.
Jackie was thinking of leaving his pyjama sales job after 20-years to become an author. His Jewish mother, Bea (Rita Karin) was nagging him to find a nice girl – like their neighbour, Maddie (Lynn Redgrave), a single mother of three and an Irish Catholic.
“If you were a gentile,” Bea told Jackie, “I’d tell you to date her”.
In fact, Jackie was already doing so – behind Bea’s back. “Why am I the only person in the world,” he asks Maddie, “who is cheating on his mother?”
But Maddie has tsoris too – thanks to her smart-aleck 11-year-old son, Donnie (Johnny Pinto) and daughters 8-year-old Molly (Alisan Porter) and 17-year-old Patty (Kathryn Erbe).
Then there was Maddie’s brother, Mike (Brandon Maggart), who disapproved of Catholics dating Jews.
There were predictable complaints from protest groups about the series (the Jewish Defense League wanted an all-Jewish cast, or for Maddie to convert), but they scarcely had time to get out their placards before Chicken Soup was cancelled a few weeks into the season.
Cathy Lind Hayes