Shabbat Shalom! Friday (Dec. 11) not only marks the highly anticipated premiere date for Season 2 of Amazon Prime’s original show, “Transparent,” it’s also the sixth night of the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah.
The Pfefferman family on “Transparent” refreshingly portrays a modern day practicing Jewish family. They fast during Yom Kippur, sit shiva, pretend to enjoy dancing the Hora and say Yiddish words, like “Mishpucha” (meaning family), in their daily vernacular.
Hanukkah has yet to be observed on the award-winning show, but what would happen if the Pfefferman clan were to gather and light the menorah? What would that scene look like?
Taking place right after the Season 2 premiere, since that episode was made available over a week ago (Nov. 30), and to not include any spoilers from the new season, here’s what the imagined, nearly disastrous, celebration would like:
The Setting: Josh’s house.
With high hopes of introducing the Jewish faith to the teenage son, Colton, that Josh never knew he had, the Pfefferman son and Rabbi Raquel Fien (Kathryn Hahn) invite the whole family over to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah. Preparing the latkes, Raquel is in the kitchen manning three huge pans on the stove, each halfway filled with hot oil. Josh stands next her, peeling and finely slicing a large pile of potatoes. Colton (Alex MacNicoll) is setting the dining room table. He’s wearing a kippah that matches Josh’s and a royal blue yarmulke with the LA Dodgers logo on it.
Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) and Syd (Carrie Brownstein) are the first to arrive. They place six bottles of wine on the kitchen island. Ali immediately opens one of the whites, giving a glass to everyone … even Colton. “Happy Hanukkah, kid,” she says.
“What kind of present is that?” eldest sister, Sarah (Amy Landecker), says as she enters holding a brown bag under her arm. “Colton, have some of the this,” she adds, pouring out two shots of tequila.
Raquel is about to interject, but then notices that the oil is bubbling over the pan. “Oh, screw it,” she says to herself as she starts dropping the balls of potatoes, now mixed with matzoh meal and chopped onion, into the frying pans.
“Say it with me, ‘L’chayim!'” Sarah instructs Colton, lifting her glass for a cheers.
“L-kai-eem,” Colton says, as they clink glasses and down their liquor.
“Oh, helloooo!” Shelly’s (Judith Light) voice rings out. “We brought the brisket! And Maura’s got the dessert. We picked up a divine lemon meringue pie from Joan’s.”
“Do you wear a kippah, too?” Colton asks Maura. Everyone stops and looks at her for an answer.
“I used, too” Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) says, “I’m not really a hat girl though, ya know? Doesn’t feel right.” Reaching around in her purse, “Oh look! I brought the candles. Where’s the menorah?”
Blank stares and an awkward silence fills the room. Then everyone starts speaking at once.
“I thought you had like four,” Josh says to Raquel,
“Oy, I have like 10 in the attic, including those awful handmade ones you kids used to bring home from Saturday school. I should really just throw those away,” Shelly laments.
“Mom!” Ali says. “I worked really hard on those — but for real? No one brought a menorah?”
After finally transferring the last of the latkes onto cookie sheets for one last crisping in the oven, Raquel slams the over door shut, silencing all the yelling and cross talk. “I have an idea,” she says.
Raquel places down a shooter, followed by 7 shot glasses, in a straight line on the dining room table. Inside each glass is one Hanukkah candle, and while it’s a for sure fire hazard, it totally works as a make-shift menorah.
Amy walks over to admire Raquel’s quick-thinking, but then trips and face plants to the ground.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks for your concern,” Sarah says, as she picks up the culprit of her fall — a dreidel — and everyone bursts out laughing. “No one actually plays with dreidels,” Sarah complains.
Josh interjects, explaining, “I bought gelt, too! I wanted to show Colton all that the holiday has to offer! ”
“A pity party and an excuse to give presents to all the sad Jewish kids who are jealous of their friends celebrating Christmas? My God, you still leave all your damn toys on the floor.”
“Oh hush up, sweetheart. You’re okay,” Maura says, gently patting the top of Sarah’s head. Dimming the lights, Maura instructs to everyone, “go gather around the table.”
As a musical interlude plays in the background:
After saying the Shabbat prayer since it’s a Friday night, Raquel leads in singing the Hanukkah blessings, while each of the Pfeffermans pipe in during the parts of the prayer they can remember from years past. Josh teaches Colton to pick up the shamas candle from the shooter glass, and light the rest of the candles from left to right, so that each candle has a night of being lit first.
While the family stands together around the table, all singing wonderfully off-key, Shelly leans her head on Maura’s shoulder, and whispers, “Happy Hanukkah, honey.”