While we cringed through two episodes of Xtra Hot's new Naked Josh, which screens Friday nights at 10, we couldn't help but think how our much missed, dear departed former colleague and Montreal native Sam Orbaum would've loved to skewer this show. So this one's for you, Sam, whose yahrtzeit passed only recently.
Because it's not only that this awful Canadian import is bad - it makes nice Jewish boys look bad, and we can't have that.
Essentially, Joshua Gould (the Ben Stiller-looking David Julian Hirsh), is just that: a nice Jewish boy who just happens to have gone off to Oxford to study anthropology for seven years, in this case, sex customs of the world.
Now he's gotten a position - no, not missionary, thank you - at a college in Montreal, where he hopes to forget about his fianc e whom he broke up with before he left for England, with the help of his good buddy and sexaholic Eric, who lives above a pornographic movie theater. Sacre bleu! What an idea for a series!!! Not.
Maybe someone could've made this premise work, but then, that someone would've perhaps wanted to spend less time focusing on stereotypes and more on a better plot line. Because ultimately Naked Josh tries to be Friends without its knickers on, and fails to make the grade.
First, there are the character's names. A Jewish professor, hmmmm. Let's see - sure, Josh. That sounds Jewish. But what really annoyed us was that when in the second episode, Josh finally agreed to the blind date his mother was pushing on him, the nice Jewish girl he dated was named...Rachel.
Amazingly enough, the two actually seemed to like each other, with Rachel - a surgeon - letting all the viewers know she's REALLY Jewish by telling Josh she and her mom were talking over Shabbat dinner....
Of course, according to the clods who wrote this stuff, apparently Jewish boys only want a shikse, so even after Rachel and Josh looked lovingly into each other's eyes, shared a walk in the park, and even practiced a little Kama Sutra of their own, no sooner did Josh's fianc e Hunter - now there's a name Jewish girls never seem to have - suddenly turn up at a wedding he and Rachel were attending than our boy's attention began to wander. "I can read a chart," said the obviously far more intelligent Eishet Hayil, presumably leaving Josh to chase Hunter in coming episodes.
That episode followed one featuring a horny Josh's al fresco oral exam by his college provost, an Eastern European-sounding woman who just wants to have fun. Hmmmm. Do we sense a pattern here?
The only reason I can think of why Xtra HOT got stuck with this show, which is actually in its second season in Canada, is that they must've had to take it in a package to obtain the much better newsroom drama The Eleventh Hour, also a Canadian product.
There's a weak attempt to link Josh's sex class lectures to the other events going on in each episode. So when Eric's Indian old flame turns up to announce she is marrying the man her parents arranged for her to wed, Josh's classroom lecture turns to "Can You Arrange Love?" And after running in to Hunter again, Josh asks his teaching assistant, a sexy blonde: "Do you believe in fate?" before picking up an old newsclipping of himself and Hunter winning a three-legged race. Groannnnn....
Seriously, this series doesn't have a leg to stand on, although a lot more than thighs are shown. It seems that each week at least one cast member gets to show off their booty for the camera, although usually at definitely R-rated angles.
Flashing a picture of a ketuba on the board, Josh explains what it is, adding: "Love, can it exist without contracts, without negotiations.... This is something we'll keep coming back to all semester, and probably all our lives."
Not us, Josh. We're transferring out of this class. As for you, Rachel, we'd like to introduce you to a friend of ours.... Have you met Dr. Fleischman?