Kosher Soul

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Kosher Soul TV Poster Image
Culture-clash clichés in inoffensive but blah reality show.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Racial differences are discussed, with varying degrees of respect. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The show's main couple is committed and in love, but the show does concentrate on the more superficial aspects of their relationship. 

Violence
Sex

Frequent jokes about body parts; off-color joking references to sex: "I'm going to George Foreman your ass." 

Language

Cursing: frequent "ass," bleeped "f--k," jokes about penises and boobs. 

Consumerism

The logos of comedy clubs are shown on-screen; McKnight is shown doing his stand-up act. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kosher Soul is a reality show about an interracial couple, one of whom has recently converted to Judaism. Racial and religious differences are discussed frequently and at length, some of which are very stereotypical. For example, the (African-American) groom asks his bride to wear a gold grill during the wedding; the (Jewish) bride tries to learn how to cook catfish. There's frequent cursing -- "ass" and "bitch" are not bleeped, "bulls--t" and "f--k" are -- and  many off-color jokes about body parts and sex. It's all in good fun, but it's one of those reality shows that seems pretty well-rehearsed.

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What's the story?

African-American comic O'Neal McKnight didn't expect to end up with his Jewish fiancée Miriam Sternoff; Sternoff didn't see herself winding up with McKnight. But after nine years together, the couple is finally marrying. Joining their families isn't going to be easy: McKnight has to convert to Judaism while Sternoff is signing on for a lifetime of fish-out-of-water jokes. Meanwhile, loved ones on both sides of the family are skeptical. But the two are determined to be together, even if they have to drag their unwilling families along. 

Is it any good?

It's honestly hard to imagine the elevator pitch that led to KOSHER SOUL. Is it really that significant these days that an African-American man is marrying a white Jewish woman? One gets the notion that this show was green-lit specifically so a bunch of jokes about race, ethnicity, and religion could be made without anyone getting offended. Only the most sensitive of viewers will be offended, it's true. The tone of the show is usually silly and light instead of serious and incisive; it's a stream of timeworn observations about African-American people not enjoying a swim or white people eating twee food that are inoffensive because they're so expected. 

Sternoff and McKnight don't lack for charm as a couple. In the brief moments when McKnight stops mugging, the pair have a genuine sweetness that may make viewers root for them, if only for a few episodes. It's just that all the antics come across as canned. McKnight freaks out over the ceremonial "circumcision" he has to endure as part of his conversion; Sternoff worries about her wedding seating chart and seating someone named Gator next to her Uncle Dick. It's a goof, so why not let it be a scripted one instead of calling it a reality show and giving us people who don't act like real humans? 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the premise of this show. In 2015, is the fact that a couple is interracial make for an interesting show? Are the personalities here strong enough to carry off the show otherwise?

  • Can you think of any other shows that have starred comedians and showed them doing their acts onstage? How does Kosher Soul stack up against these shows? 

  • Are Miriam and O'Neal wealthy? Middle class? How can you tell? What clues do you get from the show as to their financial and socioeconomic status? 

TV details

For kids who love relationship reality

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