‘Dumb’: The Israeli ‘Breaking Bad’ that shatters all barriers

Now in its third season, the Israeli show featuring haredi men who sell drugs as cross-dressers at nighttime and an actress who looks like a teenager in her 30’s wins acclaim.

Selling Drugs (illustrative photo) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Selling Drugs (illustrative photo)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The concept behind Dumb, starring Bat Hen Sabag who co-created it with director Shay Kapon for cable television company Hot, is of a woman who looks far younger than her age being recruited by police to pose as a high school student to expose drug sales to minors. The show became a massive hit with the first two seasons getting a massive following. 
The third season went on the air days before the Jewish new year and is already getting positive feedback from critics. 
“In a world in which it takes an entire paycheck to make rent,” writes Einat Oliver in Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post, “it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand how an actress from the marginal parts of the country called Shiri Azogi,who can’t get a job because of her appearance, becomes the head of a drug cartel.” 
In a nod to the holiday, famous actress Orna Banai takes on the role of a police officer who falls apart because she must remain alone during the Jewish New Year. 
“The series seems to only get better and penetrate the darkness in Israeli [society] deeper,” Oliver writes, “where people who are over 30, no matter how normative, can’t go a minute without lighting a joint.” 
If Breaking Bad won acclaim around the world for presenting a shattered American dream by showing how a hard-working brilliant chemistry teacher can’t pay his medical bills even when he takes on a second job – the Israeli program does a similar thing for the generation that came of age after the Rabin assassination, Oliver suggests. 
Writing on the show for Walla!, Avner Borachov joked that the show offers a deal to its viewers: “I’ll give you the most enjoyable program on television, and you’ll ignore how I turned [actor] Shmil Ben Ari into Walter White [the lead in Breaking Bad played by Bryan Cranston].”