It’s common for American networks to copy successful shows with inferior knock-offs. But in Israel, a new series is taking The New Normal one step further.
Debuting in November on the cable channel Hot, Ima and AbaZ (or Mom and Dads) is also about a gay couple raising a child with a single woman.
But where The New Normal goes for the giggles, Mom and Dads “focuses on the complex dynamics of the parental triangle, layering their insecurities and complicated emotions with wry humor,” according to the New York Times.
Series creator Avner Bernheimer, who also wrote 2002’s Yossi & Jagger, says the show avoided the wrath of Israel’s religious conservatives by focusing on the family. And insiders agree:
“As soon as the gay community became a parental community, I think acceptance by society became smoother,” said Doron Mamet-Meged, founder of Tammuz, a business that helps couples, the majority of them gay men, have children via surrogates in India.
One reason may be a heavy cultural focus on making families, and the subtle social pressure (and not-so-subtle familial pressure) to procreate that stems from tradition as well as modern Jewish history… In building families gay parents contribute to the national project of maintaining a Jewish majority.
“For Israelis it doesn’t matter how you make a family,” said Mirit Toovi, who heads Hot’s drama department and gave the green light to “Mom and Dads.” “If you make a family, you’ve done the right thing.”
Though Next to Normal also airs in the land of Milk and Honey (on a rival network), Bernheimer didn’t crib his concept from Ryan Murphy, or even Modern Family: He initially pitched the series way back in 2007, when he and his partner were trying to have a child themselves.
And the show coincides with advances for LGBT families in Israel, as the courts have expanded adoption and surrogacy options for gay men. (As the Times notes, “lesbians and straight single women have been having children for decades, thanks in part to the state’s generous policies, which provide free in-vitro fertilization procedures for up to two children until parents are 45.”)
Another difference from American gay dramedies: Moms and Dads isn’t afraid to get intimate: The show features nudity from on-screen spouses Yehuda Levi and Ifrach Klein—as well as some continental kissing. “I told him ‘let’s do it the American way… [with no tounge],” says Klein, “but Yehuda wanted it the European way, so I had to give in.”
Let’s get Logo to air this puppy!