Did USA De-Jew Its Newest Show Lead?


So there's a new show that premiered on USA last night called Royal Pains, and no, it's not simply a fake sitcom about unruly princes that was created as viral marketing for Funny People. In fact, it's a doctor show that stars Mark Feuerstein, an actor who Hollywood has tried to make happen in Good Morning Miami, Fired Up, and countless other short-lived series. How does USA plan to make Feuerstein a star when so many network executives have tried and failed? Hitfix columnist Daniel Fienberg has a provocative theory:

Feuerstein has...been stripped of his most pervasive/reliable character traits, his unimpeachable and most excellent Jewishness. Not only is he playing a "Dr. Lawson," (in anglicized contrast to other shows in which he's played Blooms, Silvers and Fishers) but if you check out USA's official press images for the show, his face has been notable de-Semiticized, in an unnerving piece of airbrushing. Even his quotation of the Yiddish proverb "Mensch tracht, un Gott lacht" is Fortune Cookied into "Man Plans, God Laughs." It's not like it's bad or unbelievable for Feuerstein to play a Gentile or even a secular Jew, but the elements that might otherwise make this character culturally specific are absent. Or perhaps the show's creative team is making a point about "Royal Pains" as an assimilationist narrative? I'm skeptical.

Us too, though we did go to the USA website (Funny thing: Enter "USA" into Google and the network trumps the country in search results. Good job, NBC/Universal marketing!) to pluck an image for side-by-side comparison (above). Did USA's airbrush tool attack Feuerstein's nose too heavily, smoothing it of its character? We'll defer to your opinion in the comments.

· TV Review: 'Royal Pains' [Hitfix]


  • icallthebigonebitey says:

    TV execs think Mark Feuerstein needs "fixing"??? He's one of the most handsome men in Hollywood, and you better believe that nose is a big part of his appeal.

    • Deef says:

      For future reference:
      Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Julian Morris, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Marla Sokoloff, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Adam Brody, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gabriel Macht, Halston Sage, Seth Gabel.

      Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Connelly, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan, Joel Kinnaman.

      Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Andrew Garfield, Ezra Miller, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Ben Foster, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron.

      Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

  • Meryl says:

    Oh noes! No nose!

  • Jewey says:

    Frankly, its a bit unnerving that a jewish man who JUST played Issac Malbin in Defiance in which he stood alongside Tuvia Bielski to fight the germans in, well countless acts of Defiance of Hitler's rule would go ahead and as you say Kyle De-Jew himself. I just think it's wrong. Its one thing to play a character but to devalue your heritage to win a role on USA of all networks is another thing. I think they have the lowest rated shows on television, they dont even get the live + rtgs for DVR and Tivo... and the airbrush job; lets talk about that for a moment.. it's terrible, who did that rhinoplasty certainly wasn't a Jewish Dr. Steinman from Beverly Hills..

  • hellcat says:

    Painfully hot with actual nose, boring with fake nose.

  • Long time reader, first time commenter says:

    I feel like this guy is an ex-boyfriend of mine. Every few years, he is foisted back into my awareness, only to quickly recede again from sight and remain a distant memory.

  • traikay says:

    What's the problem? They kept the Jew-fro.

  • Delta says:

    I'm not arguing in favour of "De-Jewing" at all, just correcting one of your misconceptions.
    USA Network is actually the highest rated network on Cable TV, and I believe even has higher ratings than the CW. In certain timeslots (generally when they're premiering new episodes of their original series) they occasionally even draw larger audiences than the Big 4 networks.

  • icallthebigonebitey says:

    And gave it a bad dye-job as well by the looks of it.

  • Melissa says:

    I noticed this while watching the commercials. No me gusta.

  • el smrtmnky says:

    nice work, bonnie. don't you have eps of 'psych' to give notes on?

  • Inhaler says:

    Does he have to play a Jew in every show he appears on just because he happens to actually be one? This is acting after all, and if the role calls for something different (for example: an anglicized doctor) than what's wrong with that?
    And the pictures? Come on, different angles and day vs. night lighting. I think there are more important controversies to ponder over.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    "Did you eat?"
    "No, De-jew?"

  • Pamela Strangeways says:

    Or did an extremely vain actor have some work done?

  • Delta says:

    Sorry, I shall entirely avoid any attempts to stimulate an environment of factual criticism. Fox News for the foreseeable future it is, then...
    Oddly enough, Psych is actually the only USA show that I personally watch, I find the rest of the stuff to be a bit to generic and middlebrow.

  • south2nd says:

    Wow, I did not even recognize him. Airbrushing or nose job?

  • Strepsi says:

    I think it's a toupee - he was noticeably thinning several years ago. And the number of men who wear full or partial rugs would make your head spin. Look at the perfectly straight hairline.
    That said, he's still frickin adorable.
    And let's hope they didn't make him shave his spectacular chest fur too!

  • stretch65 says:

    Oy VEY!

  • Jason says:

    Please. Hollywood is de-jewing? Since when? If America were represented by Hollywood, then 75% of this country would be jewish and not the 1% that is reality. Get over yourself!
    That being said - how many tall, athletic, good looking Gentiles are given names like Singer, Adler, etc and positioned in the show as Jewish when we know they are not and look nothing like a jew?
    And this Mark Feuerstein is just another example of how a totally unattractive, short and talentless comic (how many failed shows does this bum get to make?) gets countless chances at network shows due to the fact that he is jewish? A gentile would have been shown the door a long time ago.

  • Jason Is Right says:

    Good post, Jason. Can you believe that someone has the audacity to speak of "de-jewing" as this guy gets yet another television show??!!

  • Haia says:

    I have opposite problem to Mark’s. Complete strangers keep telling me that “I don’t have a Jewish nose”. What the hell do they want me to look like? Yasser Arafat? It got so bad that these days I just lie and tell them that I had a nose job. As for Mark, I always thought that he was beautiful. He really didn’t need to do anything to his face. But the nature of entertainment industry is such that they break even the strongest. Just take a look at Angelina Jolie. Now she looks Jewish, - as if she just walked out of a concentration camp!
    I know a few people in the show biz and they all say that it is so sickening you wouldn’t want to be a part of it.
    That said, I do think that Mark is a very talented actor. It isn’t his fault that the series that he was given were all crap. (I only watched 3lbs to see him). Good luck to Mark, he earned it.

  • erik says:

    MF is good looking. I don't like that they air-brushed his photo (obviously his nose), but then again I airbrush my own photos (of myself). I am not Jewish, but I don't like my nose, my ears, etc.. So although 1 part of me thinks, "Why did they do it- he's good looking." Another part of me says, "Well if it were me, I would hope they would airbrush."
    Were they trying to de-Jew him (looks-wise)? Yeah.
    But, as many many people have noted, the super gigantic push for Jewish folk in the media, mainly Film & TV is out of control. Most of the people on 'royal pains' are Jewish - it doesn't sound like a sin, but if I made a tv show with most all German folk, well there would be 'talk' to say the very very least.
    'Seinfeld' is one of my fav shows. I know every episode and almost every word. I am a fan of everyone on the show- yet most everyone on the show are Jewish - If they were the best for the part- good- let them all be Jewish or black or Irish or whatever. But when Hollywood producers refuse to take off their friends hats, and push for parts just because they say they come 'from the same people' - that is horrible.
    I like Mark F. I don't mind that they air-brushed him too much, but the reasons why- that is what we have to look at. I think his nose is fine - I think Owen Wilson's nose is fine - & as has been mentioned here, it really does add to their character.
    But with the talk of de-Jewing?- let's just get the hierarchy to calm down on hiring from within their circle.

  • dee says:

    More racism - we have to focus on the Jewishness/de-Jewing/etc. of the same exact five or so actors over and over and over again in this endless storyline. But we never talk about the Jewishness of the other Jews. Why don't we talk about the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Logan Lerman, Paul Rudd, Gabriel Macht, Anton Yelchin, etc. are all Jewish? Is it because they're conventionally attractive? Yep. Can't have that, apparently. Why doesn't Daniel Feinberg write a column about why Logan Lerman's character in Percy Jackson was named Percy JACKSON instead of Percy GOLDSTEIN? No? Or maybe how Gordon-Levitt's nose was shortened a half inch of a quarter of a centimeter on the Inception poster? Those questions are ridiculous, I know, but so is this. The fact that it doesn't seem so to the people writing about it is the problem, and they're just going to continue doing it.
    So it inspires comments like Jason's.

  • Gale says:

    Gosh...you guys are brutal. This guy is very talented and like many actors he's had to do a lot of different gigs. It's not his fault that they didn't catch on. Maybe it's the writing, the directing...who knows? It's a crap shoot really. And maybe there was pressure on him to get that nose job. And agent who said you're not tall, so you have to do something about your nose. I think it's a shame too. I always had a crush on this guy the way he was, but none of us knows what made him do it. Being out of work for awhile will do strange things to people.

  • Mary Marine says:

    They don't come any more gorgeous than MF, slurp! Who gives a flying fligl what he is!