The Sullivans and the Rosenblooms battle for Thanksgivukkah

A four-minute film parody shows the ‘horrific’ side of the holiday mashup and becomes an unlikely YouTube hit

Hassid with menorah 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Hassid with menorah 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Not everything surrounding the coming Thanksgivukkah holiday mashup is focused on “Kumbaya,” multicultural bliss and togetherness. Thanksgivukkah: The Movie – a four-minute video parody starring popular hassidic comedian Yisrael Campbell – probes the dark side of the unholy melding of Thanksgiving and Hanukka, with hilarious, if somewhat politically incorrect, results.
“The Sullivans’ Thanksgiving Day is about to become eight days of hell,” a narrator ominously proclaims in an homage to every bad B-horror movie, as the Rosenblooms – Campbell, his wife and many children in full black garb – barge into the quiet, mannered Thanksgiving dinner of the blonde, gentile Sullivans with their obligatory two children. More clichés are skewered in the first 10 seconds than you can count, but it descends further from there into a “tale of stereotypes gone completely out of control.” As Thanksgiving morphs into a warped eight-day Hanukka, complete with daily turkey dinners and afternoon TV football games, the stilted, demure Sullivans are pitted against the loud, abrasive Rosenblooms. Mayonnaise and white bread are brought out a la Woody Allen as weapons to battle the latkes and the sufganiyot.
“We wanted to try and make something a little edgier than the norm about the holiday. A lot of stuff out there is about the perfect Thanksgivukkah food, latkes and turkey, cranberries and sufganiyot, but we started batting around the notion of what if holidays invaded each other,” said Gary Rudoren, a veteran Chicago and New York improv and comedy writer, actor and director currently living in Jerusalem. Rudoren co-wrote the script with Campbell and M. Daniel Smith, the founder and executive producer of Shoot East Productions – an international Jewish-themed film and video production company based in Israel and Los Angeles.
“People are so politically correct [in the US] with holiday trees and saying ‘happy holidays,’ so we thought we could exploit the ‘horrific’ notion of Thanksgiving and Hanukka falling on the same day and have some fun looking at what happens if there are eight days of Thanksgiving and how ‘horrible’ that would be.”
Filmed in an American-style house in Efrat, the clip pays homage to films like The Sixth Sense (one of the Sullivan kids exclaims, “I see Jewish people”), house-based horror films like The Amityville Horror, and Allen’s longstanding observations of Jewish and gentile stereotypes.
With Mrs. Rosenbloom wrapping a turkey drumstick in a napkin and hoarding it in her purse, and one of the Rosenblooms’ sons coming on to the shiksa teen Sullivan daughter with, “Want to study some Torah?” Rudoren and his co-writers walked a thin line between irreverent satire and promoting negative stereotypes.
“We did play up the gentileness of the Thanksgiving family and the Jewishness of the Hanukka family, but it wasn’t our goal to offend anyone,” said Rudoren. “And it’s a comedy, not a serious look at the customs of the people and their holidays. But like in any bad B-movie, there’s no subtlety. We wanted to be a little politically incorrect and have some fun with it.”
He added that “if you read the comments from viewers on You- Tube, you’ll see that there are some people that didn’t like it, and that’s bound to happen. But we have many more people commenting on how much they did like it. I think what we’re trying to say to everybody is we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Although there are no plans on hand for an Easterover sequel, Rudoren hinted that other holidays could be on the firing line in the future.
“We’ll see – if we get enough hits on this one, every other holiday better watch out.”
With over 45,000 hits and climbing daily as the Thanksgivukkah climax approaches, it looks like we haven’t seen the last of the Sullivans and the Rosenblooms.