I found religion on daytime TV

When I tried to cancel my cable plan, the Verizon guy smooth-talked me into renewing it for two more years. I immediately regretted my weakness, hating myself for being chronically afraid of saying “no” to other people. Then I quit my job—truly one of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life—and discovered that the Verizon salesman had actually done me a solid. Because if you’re going to watch TV in the traditional way, live and with commercials, the best time to do it is when all the nerds and high-achievers are at work, during the day, when the sun is shining and you should probably be doing something better with your time.

While my media brethren were all busy making sense of the Mueller Report, I witnessed this:

“Dia-badass!” I’m at a loss for words.

A complaint many people have about cable—and a persuasive argument for its increasing irrelevance in our Netflix-ized entertainment landscape—is that there are 20 minutes of ads for every hour of television. Why pay a hundred bucks a month for such heavily sponsored content?

I will tell you why.

Because you happen upon perhaps the first pharmaceutical ad you’ve ever seen that is specifically targeted to big city Jewish millennials. It’s for Humira, a colitis medication, and it’s kind of amazing.

The protagonist is a bookish Jewish hipster, whose tummy troubles keep getting in the way of spending quality time at rooftop parties with his Jewish girlfriend. Suddenly, he takes Humira and he is freed from his bowel issues and can happily eat bagels with his girlfriend and her parents.

As a native New York Jew with glasses who always has a tummy ache, I feel seen. Moreover, I have so many questions about this ad: Are they running it nationally, or just in New York (and California?) where all the Jews are? Does it seem explicitly Jewish to people who aren’t thinking about demographics all the time like I am?

Most importantly: literally, what is this dude eating on his bagel? Did he not put any cream cheese on it? Are those just pickles and peppers? Why didn’t they hire a Jewish prop guy for their Jewish commercial? C’mon, Humira!

A pathetically unsponsored episode of The Sopranos or Breaking Bad won’t offer you a remedy to your potentially Judaism-induced dyspepsia, or a demographic gut-punch. You simply cannot find rich psychosocial text like this by streaming prestige TV, baby!


That’s all for the first edition of Evemail.


If you’re itching to read more of my prose, check out my piece in the New York Times today. Here’s a little taste:

Take a look at the most beautiful of today’s top Instagram influencers and they all look astoundingly the same — their butts, perfect bouncing balloons; the smooth curves of their itty-bitty waists; lips pursed into a big swollen pout, with contoured noses, sharp cheekbones, and smoldering bedroom eyes. The Instagram ideal beauty standard is embodied by Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner — a sexy baby meets Jessica Rabbit — and it falls a smidge to the right of the pit of the uncanny valley. As many devoted Instagram accounts reveal, it’s a look that takes a lot of cosmetic work and digital alteration to achieve.

Finish reading here.


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