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Treatment of Circumcision on TV

A - M

(Introduction : N - R : S - Z : game and talk shows)

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TITLE

SYNOPSIS

According to Jim

(ABC) Family comedy: Jim (Jim Belushi) is married to Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith), and has three children including Kyle (Connor or Garret Sullivan). Cheryl's sister Dana (Kimberley Williams) is a successful model.

Cheryl tells Dana, “OK, you were right about not having Kyle circumcised.”

Later, on the phone, she says, “No, Mother, it’s too late now at this age.”

She listens to her mother’s response and says, “That’s Dad’s generation!”

This is a step forward: circumcision is condemned as a bygone thing.

Adam-12

One of the earlier episodes, before Jim's son was born.

Jim said that he had painted a room for the boy.
Pete asked how he knew it was going to be a boy.
Jim said boys run in his family.
Pete bet him 5 bucks it would be a girl.

Jim: Can you make it $15?

Pete: Why 15?

Jim: Because that is how much more the doctor charges for a boy.

Implying that all boys are circumcised.

All In The Family

Episodes 86-9 "The Bunkers and Inflation" first broadcast September 14 - October 5, 1974)

Edith (Jean Stapleton) brings home a cake with "Happy Bar Mitzvah, Irving" written on it, and asks (something like) "What's a Bar Mitzvah?"
Archie replies: "They give that to a kid before he gets circumscribed" (laugh track)
Later, another family member asks who Irving is.
Archie replies: "Some Jewish kid who's still hurtin'." (laugh track).


Official summary: 131. JOEY'S BAPTISM, first broadcast Monday, February 23, 1976 After Mike and Gloria refuse to have their son baptized, Archie stubbornly steals away to a church to douse the infant himself.

Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor)'s daughter and son-in-law, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and Mike Stivic (Rob Reiner), don't want their son Joey to be baptised, so Archie sneaks off with the baby to church to get him baptised. When the priest refuses, Archie confronts Mike and Gloria and says that this ceremony, unlike his circumcision, won't make him cry.

He's perfectly right, of course, but since Archie Bunker is the arch-bigot, we're supposed to disagree with him. The fansite allinthefamilysit.com gives Mike's religion as atheist and Gloria's as none, so it's unclear why Joey had a circumcision ceremony.

Al Shatat (Syria)

First aired on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV during Ramadan 2003,then on two Iranian channels during Ramadan 2004. and on Al-Mamnou' TV, Jordan, Ramadan 2005.

Jews in a Romanian ghetto are praying for a congregation member who has died.

Seranov, the leader: Oh God, have mercy upon your servant Sidona, for he was one of the virtuous Jews and not one of the damned.

Congregation: Amen.

Seranov: Oh God, have mercy upon your servant Sidona, for he would pray for the benefit of the Jews and he would curse the satanic pagans.

Congregation: Amen. Seranov: Oh God, Have mercy upon Sidona.

Congregation: Amen.

Seranov: Oh God, Have mercy upon your servant Sidona.

Congregation: Amen.

Seranov: Oh God, Have mercy upon your servant Sidona, for he was one of the virtuous Jews.

Congregation: Amen.

Seranov: Oh God, Have mercy upon your servant Sidona, for he was loyal to his religion and has sacrificed everything for its sake, unlike those pagans, may God curse them all.

Congregation: Amen.

Seranov: Oh God, curse them all.

Congregation: Amen.

Seranov: Oh God, curse them all...

The person who prepared Sidona's body for burial: Stop the prayer, stop the prayer.

Seranov: What is it?

The person who prepared the body: Sidona was not circumcised.

Seranov: What are you saying? (He inspects the body.) This damned man may have been a pagan.

Congregant: The tragedy is that we prayed for him, and on a holiday, no less.

Seranov: Don’t remind me of that, don’t remind me of that!

Congregant: Enough of that, Seranov. That doesn’t do any good. We must think of a way to get out of this mess. Let's go.

Congregant: In my opinion, we should take the body of this infidel, Sidona, and bury it outside the ghetto.

Seranov: No, no, no. That's dangerous. If the Romanians see us, it will be a disaster.

Congregant: So what do you suggest?

Another congregant: I have a solution. Let's wrap his body in seven pieces of cloth and burn it to ashes. Then we will dig a very big ditch in the ground and bury the ashes.

Congregant: But this will defile the entire ghetto.

Another congregant: No, it won't. After we put the ashes in the ditch, we will cover it with seven layers of stones and then send seven righteous men to urinate on it seven times a day for seven days.

Seranov: God bless you. This is the solution.

Congregant: Agreed. Take away this infidel before our earlier prayers reach the heavens and he is blessed.

This is intended to be satire, even though Syrians (90% Muslim) care as much about circumcision as Jews. It is a wonder that no-one thought of circumcising the corpse.

American Dad

Season 4 Episode 10 Family Affair, around 17:00 minutes.

Stan tells how he was scared of "uncircumcised" penises, so he spent time in a locker room to desensitize himself to them.

A mixed message: validating dislike of foreskins (posthephobia), but at least suggesting it is curable, and should be cured.

Season 4 Episode 14 Bar Mitzvah Shuffle, after 18:00 minutes

They go to court and Roger makes a joke in which he assumes the court case is about a boy wanting his foreskin cut off.

Confusing Brit Milah and Bar Mitzvah is a comedy standard.

season 6 episode 11 around 4:00 minutes

A friend of Steve's makes an excuse to not socialize by saying that he needs to get his circumcision touched up.

This deliberately transparent lie implies that "circumcision is problem-free".

Angel

(WB) Episode 54: "Dad"

Everybody is standing around Angel (David Boreanaz), holding his newborn son.

Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter, reading a book on baby health care): Are you going to circumcise?

Baby screams

Charles Gunn (J. August Richards): I think he heard you.

Even better to have said "I think that answers your question."

Aqua Teen Hungerforce

"Der Inflatable Fuhrer" Original Airdate, May 25 2009
Animated series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim following the increasingly absurd adventures of three fast food characters: Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad.

Frylock has been conducting experiments at the behest of a mysterious German called Raydolph, who turns out to be a balloon version of Adolf Hitler (voiced by Bill Hader). Frylock has been designing a deadly airborne virus, compressing it with helium and pumping it into balloons to be passed out at children's birthday parties.

Frylock: Hey, Raydolph!

Raydolph: Is the package ready?

Frylock: It's close. It's close. I have a couple more tests.

Raydolph: How did it work on the Jewish mice we sent you?

Frylock: They're Jewish mice?

Raydolph: Jewish, yes. We converted them. The males were de-circumcised.

Frylock: Yeah, I did see that. But you know the Jewish people don't do that, right?

Raydolph: Mice, they do not like monkey skin added to their privates. But no matter. For they will be dead soon!

After this discussion, Frylock sees who he is actually working for and decides he can not fully go through with Raydolph's plan. Master Shake accompanies Frylock to the park where the drop-off is to take place.

Raydolph: Ah, what a wonderful day for a balloon. Here, let me set down my suitcase full of money next to you and purchase one.

Frylock: It's free of charge, sir .

Raydolph: These balloons are not happy and floating like we discussed.

Master Shake: They're exactly what you asked for. Now, if you'll excuse us...

Raydolph: No, I think the product needs to be tested... on your Kosher friend!

(Raydolph pulls Meatwad, dressed as a rabbi, out of his balloon car.)

Frylock: Meatwad!

Meatwad: They took out all my pork and de-circumcised me and give me the dang cowboy hat! Oy gevalt! I'm dang Jewish now!

All that can be said about this mess is that it reinforces the myth that circumcision is uniquely associated to Judaism.

Archer

Animated sitcom. Official summary: At ISIS, an international spy agency, global crises are merely opportunities for its highly trained employees to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other. At the center of it all is suave master spy Sterling Archer, whose less-than-masculine code name is "Duchess." Archer works with his domineering mother Malory, who also is his boss.
Episode: "Diversity Hire" Original Airdate - January 21, 2010

A new black Jewish field officer named Conway Stern makes a splash at ISIS, however Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and Lana (voiced by Aisha Tyler) suspect there may be something all too perfect about their new diversity hire.

Lana : What are you doing?

Archer : None of your business-ing. And what kind of spy agency scrimps on a freaking shredder?!

Lana : Well, apparently the kind that scrimps on background checks. Who is this guy?

Archer : I don't know, but I got a bad feeling about Mother's little 'Project Conway'.

Lana : So, I must be having a stroke, because we actually agree on something.

Archer : Wait, really?

Lana : Totally! I mean, he shows up out of nowhere and starts trying to get all up in everything. I mean Salsa, Frodo...

Archer : Possibly Mother.

Lana : And what do we even know about him?

Archer : Only that he's not circumcised.

Lana : Okay, glossing over how you know that...

Archer : We touched penises.

Lana : No! Glossing! But a non-circumcised Jewish guy--That's not weird to you?

Archer : No, why would - I mean, I'm not Jewish, and I am circumcised, so it can happen the other w...

Lana : It doesn't work like that!

Archer : Lana, come on. I think we both know it works fine.

Lana : Oh, come on! Not your dick, dumbass!

Archer : Oh, my God! This is about you and me, right?

Lana : Oh, my God! Get over yourself! (She walks away.)

Archer : Hey, I am over me, but apparently you're not!

They have dodged the fallacy of "Only Jews circumcise" but not that of "All Jews circumcise."

Arrested Development

NEWSWEEK, Nov. 3, 2003, season preview
Dysfunction Junction
In Fox's new sitcom, Bluths are stranger than fiction
By Marc Peyser
The Bluths have a little trouble holding down jobs. Buster has studied cartography and Native American tribal rituals, but thinks he can't find work in those fields because he's prone to panic attacks. Tobias has lost his medical license after giving CPR to someone who didn't need it. Lindsay is in the caring profession, too. She's spearheading an anti-circumcision group called HOOP: Hands Off Our Penises.[What do you bet the writers wanted to call it HOOD, Hands Off Our D*cks? - a much better name.] [Lindsay raises money for a variety of causes, some contradicting each other.] Gob used to do magic tricks ("Illusions!" he insists. "A trick is what a whore does for money"), but he got kicked out of the magicians' union after he hid his father in a disappearing cabinet when the police came to arrest him on fraud charges. And then there's Michael. He's so disgusted with his family that he's made the only sensible Bluth decision ever: he's never going to speak to these people again.


At the beginning of the show, as characters are being introduced:

Lindsay to her brother Michael: Sorry I haven't called you ... I've been very busy. We just had an amazing fundraiser for HOOP.

Michael: "HOOP"?

Lindsay: My anti-circumcision movement.

Flashback to the fundraiser. A banner in the background says "HOOP - Hands Off Our Penises".

Lindsay (in evening dress) to a man: I think it looks frightening when it's cut off. It's a Doberman, let it have its ears!

Flash forward to the present.

Lindsay: Believe it or not, we brought in over forty thousand dollars!

Michael: Unbelievable! Sounds like you saved enough skin to make ten new boys.

Lindsay's husband: Well, most of that money was from the Bluth company [Lindsay's father]...

In the closing scene:

Lindsay: Life is hard right now ... and I've got the JDL on my ass.

Michael: The JDL?

Lindsay: Jewish Defense League.

Michael: Oh, the circumcision thing? This is why I was against HOOP. Why don't you just mind your own business?

Lindsay: This is why I didn't call you, Michael, you're so judgmental!

Michael: No, I'm not judgmental...

Comments to askfox@foxinc.com.

It is a step forward - of a kind - that Intactivism gets this much attention. In the Fox executives' minds, to be against circumcision is closely associated with being disfunctional. A moment's thought would have told them that it is people who support, advocate and practise the cutting off of parts of genitals, who aren't minding their own business and who merit being sent up as disfunctional.

Asylum (UK)

British comedy series set in a mental hospital inhabited by comedians.

Adam Bloom: And Bloom's a Jewish name, and my dad's a typical Jewish dad, always giving [bits] of advice. I'm only 5 feet 8. I've got size 9 feet. And whenever I bought shoes he'd always say, "Adam, try and wear shoes with the design across the toe, 'cause it's an optical illusion. Rather than having one continuous design, a design across the toe breaks up the length and makes the shoe look shorter." And it works. But I thought, "If he knew that, then why the hell did he have his son circumcised?"

Unlike an American show, questions circumcision and assumes familiarity with the intact appearance.

Being Erica

Canada CBC Season 2, Episode 7 "The Unkindest Cut"

Erica Strange (Erin Karpluk) is the daughter of Gary (John Boylan), a rabbi/mohel (as usual, the show blurs the two) separated from her mother Barb (Kathleen Laskey). She agrees to be the Sandek (who holds the baby as he is circumcised) at a family bris, but only to support Gary, whom she has just told that Barb has a new partner.

(2'15") She demonstrates what circumcision entails to her gentile partner Ethan (Tyron Leitso), using a biscotto in a paper bag, saying (3'03") "I don't know why I'm the only one who thinks that circumcising a baby is brutal, violent and wrong."

At the crucial moment of the bris she faints, and the circumcision is held up till she recovers. Invited to continue, she makes the excuse that she might faint again, and the baby's mother holds him. Baby is circumcised. We see Erica's distress as he cries (but does not shriek), and he is later seen as if sleeping peacefully.

Afterward, Erica admits to Gary that she only agreed in order to support him but (8'00") that "the idea of circumcising a baby - it's awful. ... I mean you're cutting a baby, without anaesthetic, for no reason. ... I don't get it." Her honesty brings them closer.

Remarkably in a comedy(/drama/fantasy), circumcision is neither trivialised nor defended, except momentarily by Ethan (2'20" "So, it's two seconds. Who cares?")

Bethenny Getting Married

"Reality" show. Season 1, Episode "Lost Footage", VDI10 Aired on Bravo TV on Thursday, 12 August 2010. Bethenny Frankel - now Bethenny Frankel Hoppy - is a smart, funny woman who appears to be extremely open to learning new things.

Bethenny is having lunch with her good friends Jake (gay) and Lauren. Both Lauren and Bethenny are far along in pregnancy; Lauren knows she's having a boy, but Bethenny prefers not to know.

Bethenny: I swear to God, I went through the last 6 months with all drama. It's nice to just have a normal lunch and have normal people around you.

Lauren: Did you do any research yet?

Bethenny: What am I researching?

Jake: The stork isn't just going to drop the baby off. (All laugh.}

The conversation turns to birthing and birth classes.

L: Listen, when the little sucker comes out, obviously you're coming to the bris?

B: When your little sucker comes out…

J (to Bethenny) Are you going to have your baby circumcised if it's a boy?

B: Don't you have to? Who doesn't have their baby circumcised? [This is a common misconception.]

L: Everybody does today. (looks disdainful)

J: I mean, not everybody anymore…

B: Where do you live? Like in a weewee in Uganda? (Jake laughs)

B: Who doesn't… who's not circumcised? This isn't my first day at the rodeo and I really haven't seen anything that hasn't been circumcised.

J: (looks incredulous) Really? Ever?

B: Yeah.

Lauren quickly changes the subject.

This conversation does not seem to be over. Jake is either about to disclose that he is intact, or has encountered many who were.

The Big Bang Theory

Season 1: Episode 09: The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization, broadcast March 17, 2008

The stereotypical geeks have hooked up the electrical appliances in the apartment of two of them to the Internet.

Click for soundtrack (0.6 Mb, mp3)

Sheldon: You know, in the future, when we're disembodied brains in jars, we're going to look back on this as eight hours well wasted.

Rajesh: I don't want to be in a jar. I want my brain in an android body. Eight feet tall and ripped.

Howard: I'm with you. I just have to make sure if I'm a synthetic human, I'd still be Jewish. (Rajesh looks at him strangely.) I promised my mother.

Rajesh: I suppose you could have your android penis circumcised. But that's something your Rabbi would have to discuss with the manufacturer.

Sheldon: Not to mention you'd have to power down on Saturdays.

. ... implying a US-made android would not have been circumcised in the factory. It is unusual that the circumcision joke is not the punchline.
Episode 15 - The Shiksa Indeterminacy, written by Lee Aronsohn and Bill Prady, broadcast May 5, 2008

Sheldon Cooper's attractive twin sister Missy is introduced. Sheldon's friends Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) vie for her attention, sitting on either side of her. Rajesh is on an experimental anti-anxiety medication, which enables him to overcome his inability to talk to women, but it also creates exaggerated side-effects.

Rajesh: Missy, do you enjoy pajamas?
Missy: I guess.
Rajesh (leaning towards her): We Indians invented them. (Missy looks puzzled, leaning away from him) You're welcome. (laughter)
Howard: Yeah, well, my people invented circumcision. (Missy looks puzzled, Penny twirls her thumbs uncomfortably. Howard's voice drops suggestively:) You're welcome. (laughter and applause)
Penny: Missy, I'm gonna go an' get my nails done. You wanna come?
Missy: God, yes! Thanks!
Penny (bows): You're welcome!

Penny escorts Missy out. Howard, Rajesh and Leonard fight over Missy while Sheldon is ordering pizza. Leonard asks to speak to Sheldon in private. They leave.

Howard: (Mocking Rajesh) I'm a fussy Indian man. We invented pajamas. (laugh track)
Rajesh: (Mocking Howard, wiggling one hand) Hey, look at me, I don't have a foreskin. (longer, louder laugh track. Rajesh goes on wiggling his hand - standing for the foreskin Howard doesn't have? - until they both stare at it.)

At the end of the episode, one at at time, the three guys cross the hall to Penny's apartment where Missy is staying. Leonard asks her out, and she coldly rejects him. Howard asks her out, and she coldly rejects him. When Rajesh knocks on the door, his medication has worn off and he can hardly speak, but Penny calls Missy, who says "Well hi, cutie pie, I was hoping you'd show up." (He whimpers and walks away.)

While the first exchange is calculated to imply that circumcision trumps pyjamas, it is progress that Rajesh's foreskin didn't deter Missy's interest - may even have piqued it. video of the full episode

Season 3, Episode 16 (about 2' 58" in)

Howard gets a paper cut:

Howard: Ouch! Damn! Paper cut! Nothing worse than a paper cut!

Rajesh Well, obviously you don't remember your circumcision.

This is progress: "Circumcision is painful."

Season 4 Episode 1, The Robotic Manipulation, first broadcast September 23, 2010

Howard decides to use a robot arm as a masturbation aid, but it gets stuck grasping his penis while he's in bed. He calls Raj and Leonard to help remove it.

"No saws! One circumcision was enough" implies circumcision is a bad thing, but the constant focus on Howard as stereotypical Jew and his circumcision reinforces that "all/only Jews are circumcised".

The Big C

Laura Linney plays Cathy Jamison, a 40-something wife and mother in Minneapolis who has been diagnosed with terminal melanoma, unknown to her family.
Season 1, Episode 1.4 "Playing the Cancer Car" [sic - about a new car]

Cathy's homeless brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) is at her house with a toothache. Her shiftless teenage son Adam (Gabriel Basso) has agreed to help remove Sean's tooth, but using pliers, makes it worse.

Sean jumps up out of his chair on the porch, cursing and writhing in pain, as Adam looks on helplessly.

Sean: Oh, I bet your parents loved to have you circumcised. Now I wish I had done it myself!

One conventional message: "All men are circumcised" and one rare one: "Infant circumcision is painful". It also suggests that Cathy and Paul took pre-emptive satisfaction in having their infant son circumcised knowing that he would grow up to be exasperating and self-absorbed. Circumcision is portrayed as a sort of pre-revenge.

Big Love

Series about a polygamist family
Series 1, episode 10

The family gathers around waiting for one of the wives, Wanda (Melora Walters) to give birth.

She does, off screen, and there is a sudden close up of the newborn boy, clearly circumcised, described by beaming relatives as 'perfect'.

One of a number of shows in which a baby is anomalously circumcised. (The Latter Day Saints do not officially support religious circumcision, but turn a blind eye to the "medical" variety.)

Billable Hours

Season 1, episode 3: "The Jewish Holiday" first broadcast April 30, 2006
IMDb summary: The agnostic but half-Jewish Sam Caponelli (Fab Filippo) begins wearing a yarmulke to work to cover his bald spot. But when he starts taking off esoteric Jewish holidays, Clark Claxton III (Brandon Firla) becomes annoyed. The ultra-WASPy Clark starts a Jewish conversion class at the firm so that he and his gentile colleagues may also avail themselves of Jewish holidays. For Sam, this means war.

The office men's room. [Sam?] is joined at the urinal by Clark and then their boss.

Boss: I see you haven't been circumcised.
Clark: Uh... I'm afraid that's the case, sir.
Boss: It's never too late. Abraham wasn't snipped till he was 112. [Gen 17:1/23 says he was 99. Do they do that on purpose?] I'll make us an appointment. (exit)
Clark: OK, I'm out. [Sam?]: Game over? Clark: Without a doubt.

Clark does not get circumcised. The meme that "All Jews are circumcised" is reinforced.

Bob Patterson

Episode 3: "Naked Bob"
Offical summary: Bob surprises his family and co-workers when he accepts an offer to pose nude for a book which features famous power players. But when he discovers that the photographer is a beautiful French woman, a sexually traumatic secret from Bob's adolescence rears its ugly head, which leads him to take some drastic measures that could place his masculinity in jeopardy.

Jason Alexander (George in "Seinfeld") plays an executive, the founder of a successful seminar/training company that bears his name.

To overcome his body self-image issues, he reluctantly agrees to be photographed naked by a famous French female photographer. The theme she chooses is Moses coming down from the mountain to address his people.

Just before the shoot begins, a dozen intimidatingly gorgeous young men in towels walk into the room, drop their towels to the floor, and stand facing Alexander, who's about one meter up on a stage. Just as he is instructed to drop his towel, too, he finds an excuse not to have to go through with it:

"We can't do the shoot... looking down at all these young men, it's obvious that many of them are not, um, exactly, um... Hebrews. So this can't be Moses and the Israelites!"

This is even more far-fetched than the plot implies:

  • Not a problem: It is much easier for an intact actor (e.g. Diego Luna, Graham Chapman) to simulate being circumcised than for a circumcised one to simulate being intact, but either is perfectly feasible in the illusory world of show business.
  • According to the Bible, neither Moses (in Egyptian care by his eighth day) nor the young Israelites in the wilderness were circumcised.
  • Does anyone seriously imagine that - outside gay erotica - any serious photographer in the US is going to show a lot of PENISES?

Californication

Sitcom about Hank Moody (David Duchovny) a novelist with writer's block and personal demons. In Season four #1, first broadcast January 9, 2011

Hank is just out of jail on bond after being arrested for assault. His friend Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) tells him he is now a celebrity.

Hank: Come on, we all know that thing is thin, bent and uncircumcised, no bullshit.."

Charlie: Jesus Christ! How many times I got to tell you I am not uncircumcised! The mohel left just a little too much foreskin, just a smidge.

Moody (laughs): So it's just a circ to halfway?

Moody takes it for granted that "uncircumcised" is a fault like "bent" and "thin", and Runkle (a Jew who swears "Jesus Christ!"?) by the indignation of his denial, accepts that assessment.

Caroline in the City

Del pretends to be Jewish in order to marry a Jewish woman, arranges to have himself secretly circumcised. (It is discussed indirectly, in terms of "turtleneck sweaters".) When he is dozy with anaesthetic, she tells him she is marrying a gentile. He tries to stop the operation but blathers about a "turtleneck", is not understood and wheeled away. Del is circumcised.

Casualty (UK)

(BBC) Set in the Accident & Emergency department of a hospital in the ficticious city of Holby (Bristol)
Series 2, episode 11 (sometimes numbered episode 26), "Hooked", written by Billy Hamon, first transmitted 21 November 1987

A young mother brings her son into A&E. He is about 6 or 7 years old. After a visit to the loo, he had done his zipper up too quickly and caught his foreskin in it. The mother had been unable to free it.

The decision is made to circumcise the boy. The mother is horrified at the prospect but Nurse Megan Roach tells her that there is nothing to worry about as there are millions of circumcised men in the world. The boy is circumcised.

There are millions of amputees, too. The idea of sacrificing the foreskin rather than the zipper is perfectly ridiculous, though it happens far too often.

Series 3, episode 3 (sometimes numbered episode 33) "Drake's Drum", written by Keith Dewhurst, first transmitted 23 September 1988.

A would-be soap-box preacher goes to the hospital with a problem that turns out to be a tight foreskin. Having retracting it, he is unable to get it forward again. Charge Nurse Charlie Fairhead takes a look and says something like "Yes, the old man has his scarf on a bit tight tonight, doesn't he?!". The immediate problem is solved but the decision is made for the man to be circumcised, presumably to prevent a re-occurance. He is admitted to the observation ward overnight and seems surprisingly pleased at the prospect. A nurse goes to his bed and says "I'll give you something for the discomfort, to help you sleep, and we'll have you circumcised in the morning.". The man replies something like "Good. Then at last I can start my ministry." The man is circumcised.

Whatever religion he plans to preach, there are few that require surgical, rather than ritual, circumcision. Still there's nowt so queer as folk.

ChangiMiniseries, Australia, 2001, set in the Japanese prison camp during the WW2 occupation of Singapore..

A prisoner asks another "Which is better, a cavalier or a roundhead?" and the reply refers to circumcision

Later, the same man asks a doctor, "Which can piss further, a cavalier or a roundhead?" The doctor says, "The flap of skin on the end of the penis makes no difference to the functioning of the waterworks, no difference at all."

This seems to be a euphemism for the corresponding erroneous claim about sexual functioning.

Cheers

Frasier and Lilith invite everyone in the bar to the circumcision of their son. The men are squeamish and don't want to go. Frasier kidnaps his own son from home, saying "I won't let them hurt you!" and hides him in the bar's office. Lilith brings the guests and the mohel to the bar and demands to talk to Frasier. Eventually they emerge with the baby. Frasier again says, "Don't hurt my baby!" explaining he just had to say it one more time. Lilith explains that they considered an out-of-sight hospital circumcision but decided it was better for the baby to be surrounded by his loved ones. (Despite Frasier's outbursts, the option of leaving the baby alone is not mentioned.) Baby is circumcised (off-camera). Sam comforts the slightly fussing baby saying "It'll be OK, baby." Frasier comes out carrying Lillith, saying,"It'll be OK, baby."

Chicago Hope

"Boys Will Be Girls"
First broadcast on CBS, Feb. 3, 2000
John Heath directed, script by Linda McGibney.

Dr. Jack McNeil (Mark Harmon) is surprised to discover that his teenage "female" patient had been born a boy. At birth, a doctor performing a routine circumcision made an error [cutting off the boy's penis] and advised the parents to let the child live life as a girl. Dr. McNeil, Dr. Jeremy Hanlon (Lauren Holly) and Stuart Brickman (Alan Rosenberg) team up and go to court to help the boy win his right to restorative surgery.

The fact that the circumcision was unnecessary is not discussed

This story is based on the true story of "John/Joan/John" (Bruce/Brenda/David Reimer of Winnipeg), whose circumcision, while not routine, was also demonstrably unnecessary (his twin brother was not circumcised, and the same "problem" cleared up by itself).

Children's Hospital

Adult Swim, first broadcast August 18, 2011

An episode about a man demanding they restore his foreskin. He is presented as freakish.

...an absurd subplot starring Rob Huebel's dimwitted Dr. Owen Maestro steals the episode.

Owen laments that he was circumsized as a baby and confronts his father (played by Stephen Root) about the grievous travesty. Their initial exchange on the topic is priceless. [Valueless, perhaps]

"I want my foreskin back!" demands Dr. Maestro.

"What makes you think I got your weiner trimmings?"

Owen is so forlorn over the lost body part that he sets about having his foreskin sewn back on - only using bologna. He tells the reluctant surgeon: "Stop talking and start sewing that deli meat on."

- John Sellers on The Wrap, August 25, 2011

["Absurd" seems generous. "Fatuous" would be more accurate.]

Circumcized [sic] Cinema

Si TV (USA cable/satellite network)

Mexican films are edited to 30 minutes and dubbed and edited into a new English-language comedy. The presenter sometimes introduces himself as 'your uncircumcised host'.

In this case "circumcised" implies "reduced in size" and the edited versions are ridiculous, so the overall message of the name could be taken as anti-circumcision.

Comedy Inc.
(Australia)

(Short sketches) "Smallville": Clark Kent suddenly finds he has X-ray vision.

Clark (looks at Lana Lang and a red ray goes from his eyes to her body): I didn't know you had a tattoo.
(looks at Lex Luthor and a red ray goes downward) I didn't know you were Jewish.

Reinforcing the myth that only Jews circumcise - although that is moving closer to the truth in Australia.

Cougar Town

Season 3, Episode 10, Southern Accents, first broadcast May 1, 2012

Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox) urges her neighbor Andy Torres (Ian Gomez) to run for mayor of their town of Gulf Haven, Florida to facilitate her permit for a beach wedding. Andy's wife, Ellie (Christa Miller), strongly opposes the idea. Late in the episode she agrees to support his candidacy:

Ellie: So you wanna be mayor? Go for it. (tosses a black top hat to Andy)
Andy: This is so awesome! You know why you're great?
Ellie: Yes, but tell me anyway.
Andy: You try to hide it. But you really do care about what makes me happy.
Ellie: Okay. Here's what I want as first lady:
  • I get to park wherever I want.
  • Our town should be less dog-friendly.
  • No car alarms
  • No rollerbladers
  • No street performers
  • No more wooden lawn birds that do this (gestures wildly with arms)
  • No carnivals
  • No 5k's, no 10k's, no k's
  • No hair salons with names that are puns. The 'Hairport'. We get it. It's near the airport.
  • No public coughing
  • No circumcisions
  • No pierced ears on babies
  • No adults who skateboard
  • No tank tops, no tube tops, no short shorts
  • No stupid people
And my pen ran out.

Circumcision appears to be listed among "things it would be irrational/impractical to ban" - but it's a step forward that it's put forward and not shot down. Many people dislike pierced ears on babies, so putting them after circumcision makes it hard to argue that circumcision is trivial.

The Crazy Ones

Season 1, Episode 16, "Zach Mitzvah", first broadcast February 27, 2014

Zach (James Wolk) has been asked to step in as the MC at a client's son's Bar Mitzvah. Simon (Robin Williams), Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and Lauren (Amanda Setton) are trying to convince him to do it. Zach is reluctant because he dated a lot of girls from the tight-knit Jewish neighborhood and he's afraid of running into them.

Sydney: Just how many Jewish girls in Highland Park had to have their Zach tattoos covered with a butterfly?

Lauren: Fun fact... Jews don't usually get tattoos. Another fun fact: an uncircumcised penis looks like a dog in a suit.

Simon (stares at her): Really?

The slap at intactness is both gratuitous and meaningless. Simon's reaction may be intended to suggest he has never seen one, but Lauren's description suggests she (i.e. the scriptwriters) haven't either.

Tattoos are actually forbidden in Judaism:

N 41 Not imprinting any marks on our bodies
N 45 Not making cuttings in our flesh

- 613 Mitzvos according to Sefer Hamitzvos of Rambam

The Critic

Animated series about film critic Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz).

One of the terrible films he reviews is "Rabbi P.I." starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Chicago cop who goes undercover as a Hasidic rabbi. His character stands nervously holding a scalpel over a baby boy in a bassinet while a villainous man in the background says...

Villain: Alright, if you are a real rabbi, circumcise this child.

Rabbi PI is put to the test

(Arnold turns and throws the scalpel at the villain. Villain falls over dead.)

Arnold: "Hava nagila, baby."

The usual confusion of a rabbi with a mohel, but baby is not circumcised and told "Let us rejoice" in Hebrew.

Crossing Jordan

NBC

JORDAN: You know, you look different lately.
LILLY: Really?
J: Yeah, like you're glowing or something. Oh. You're not, um-- oh, that's unlikely.
L: It could be this new face cream I got. The active ingredient is human foreskin.
J: And you put this on your face?
L: It smooths out your fine lines.
J: Just be careful not to rub too hard, you know what I'm saying?
L: Yeah. I got all the complexion-erection jokes from the gal at the cosmetics counter.

Subtext: circumcision is insignificant, useful for cheap laughs, and foreskins are valuable - except to their original owners. The last exchange tacitly admits that the foreskin is erogenous.

Cybil?

Man is circumcised by mistake. Big Joke. (No mention of suing!)

Dawson's Creek

Bessie Potter (Nina Repeta) insists that her forthcoming baby not be circumcised, saying it is "barbaric" and a "human rights issue." The father-to-be insists on it being done. The audience is not told the outcome.

The Deep End

ABC TV. Four new associates at a high-powered Los Angeles law firm, two women and two men. Pilot:

Liam Priory (Australian Ben Lawson), an Australian-born Cambridge law graduate, attends the bris of a client's son in an LA mansion with a female partner of the firm. This is shown as a routine business event and probably good for client relationships. The partner places a white yarmulke on Priory's head. We only hear a brief cry from a baby, and the entire crowd, including the law partner, shouts "Mazel tov!" automatically, as if this were a frequent event.

Liam is nonplussed when the crowd shouts ''Mazel Tov!''
Liam Priory (Ben Lawson) is startled by his partner's enthusiasm for circumcision

A sexy, wealthy, young Israeli potential client is introduced to him, still wearing the yamulke. She thinks he's Jewish and makes a couple of punning references showing she's hot for Priory:

"I want your firm to represent me because we're cut from the same cloth." Another associate later reminds Priory he still has the yarmulke on. He feels obliged to tell the potential client he's not Jewish the next time he sees her.

He meets her for lunch to discuss the business pitch. He can't bring himself to admit he's not Jewish, but says he likes bacon. Later he brings a contract to the client's apartment and she starts to get frisky with him. She slips her hand into his trousers and stops cold.

In the next scene, back at the firm, Priory is discussing with his two female associates how he probably lost the business because the potential client "discovered" he wasn't telling the truth. One innocently asks what he means and the other says, "It's because he's not circumcised!" - thereby revealing that she has had sex with Priory. He doesn't seem self-conscious at all, but just beams. (It's no big deal for an Australian not to be circumcised. Misleading the client is more important.)

The storyline, and the woman, assume that all Jews are circumcised, but both stop short of "the foreskin is disgusting." It will be good for US audiences to learn that a personable man like Priory (and perhaps Lawson) need not be circumcised.

Desperate Housewives

Episode: We're Gonna Be All Right Date: 28 May 2006 Network: ABC

Susan (Teri Hatcher) is on a disasterous blind date with a man called Jim. After Jim tells several lame or offensive jokes at a restaurant, the two accidentally butt heads and are taken to the emergency room where they are treated by Dr. Ron. Jim asks Dr. Ron, 'What is the correct medical term for the circumcision of a rabbit? A Hare Cut.' Jim laughs at his own joke, but Susan and the doctor look shocked and disgusted.

In the context of the show, the joke is lame and not funny. but used to underline that Jim is a fool.

Thanks to NORM-UK

Episode 4-7 ''You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover" November 11, Written by Chuck Ranberg and Anne Flett-Giordano; directed by David Warren

Teenager Danielle has given birth to a baby boy, Benjamin, and her mother Bree Van De Camp (Marcia Cross), a practising Catholic, and stepfather Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan) are bringing him up as their own. In the previous episode, Bree held the newborn in her arms and declared he was perfect in every way.

The dinner.

Over dinner with the neighbors...

Bree: Debbie Gottlieb had her baby the same day I did ... and by the way, we're invited to her [NB not "his"] Bris this Saturday.
Orson: Oh well, make an excuse for me.
Bree: I thought you liked Debbie and Lou!
Orson: I do. I just don't care to watch them ritually mutilate their child. ... (music The neighbours grow uncomfortable.)
Bree: Circumcision's not mutilation! It's a simple surgery meant to promote lifelong masculine hygiene.
Orson: It's a traumatic procedure, which reduces the male's capacity for sexual pleasure by desensitising the tip of -
Bree: We. know. what it is.
Female neighbour: Gee, I don't think I've ever heard such strong opinions on the subject. I mean, not that it's something I talk about a lot. Or ever.
Orson: I hope I didn't offend you.
Male neighbour: I haven't heard a word since "Ten thousand dollars".
Orson: It's just that I remember my own circumcision so vividly. (Silence. The neighbours stare.)
Bree (laughs): That's ridiculous.
Orson: My parents disagreed on this issue too. My dad said "No". So Mother just bided her time until he finally left town on business. I was five.
Male neighbour: Whoah.
Female neighbour (simultaneously): Ouch.
Orson: She told me we were going for ice cream.
Bree: That's why the procedure should be done on babies, they won't remember. Now, can we please just drop this? (She bites into the end of an eggroll with a loud crunch. The Male Neighbour shifts as though he wants to ask Orson something.) So, Susan, you mentioned something about bringing dessert. What is it?
Susan: Um. (The music pauses.) Ice cream. (To Orson) Sorry.

The quarrel.

Bree tries to have the baby circumcised in the hospital, but Orson has sent a letter to doctors and hospitals in three states threatening action if they do it.

Bree: I'm only thinking of Benjamin. Be reasonable.
Orson: Your'e the one who's unreasonable. What've you got against untrimmed penises?
Bree: They're - unsightly! I do not want our son to be teased for being different. Do you?
Orson: So in the end, it all comes down, to tradition and conformity.
Bree: What is wrong with that? I thought we liked conformity.
Orson: Not at the price of pain, and reduced sexual pleasure.
Bree (shouting): I can tell you someone who's sexual pleasure is going to be reduced bigtime!

The bris

Bree slips out of the house to attend the bris of Debbie Gottleib's son. After a lame joke by the mohel ("Why does the Torah compel us to wait eight days to circumcise? Because on average it takes that long to get a good caterer!"), the baby is circumcised (between scenes). We can hear the baby crying as Bree approaches the mohel and chirpily asks him whether he would mind "doing a bris" for her baby, too, since she has him with her. On the quiet, maybe in the den. The mohel says, "As we've just heard, there is no such thing as a quiet bris."

He says a bris is a covenant to raise a boy Jewish. Bree lies and says she is Jewish. The mohel says, "Bree Hodge? That doesn't sound like a very Jewish name" Bree says "Nee Rabinowitz." (It is Mason.) When the Mohel still demurs, Bree uses stereotypes that might have been lifted from "Fiddler on the Roof" to convince him. She swears to bring him up "as Jewish as I am." Benjamin is circumcised.

Bree brings the baby home.

She comes home and casually mentions to Orson that they ran a few errands and she had the baby circumcised. Orson is very angry that his wishes were ignored. Bree says it's only a little foreskin and he'll never miss it. She insists that because the baby is biologically related to her (she is the grandmother, he is the step-grandfather) she has more of a right to decide things like this. Orson is furious at being so discounted as father.

She drops a disposable napkin, open, into a garbage pail. There is no blood.

When she says "Your baby wants you to hold him" Orson is mollified. It was all about him.

This episode amply illustrates, but probably does not illuminate, the desperate need of some some people to circumcise. Bree lies (about her religion) and betrays her husband just as his mother did. In the real world, their marriage would not survive, but here - ? It is progress that baby Benjamin's future pleasure can be even considered, and tradition and conformity discounted, but in the end, it is the (step-)parents' feelings that triumph.

Dexter

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a covert serial killer governed by a strict moral code, works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood spatter analyst. The tension between him and Sergeant James Doakes (Erik King), who suspects he is up to something, is an ongoing plot motif.

Doakes: Fuck you! 

Dexter: Okay. Uh, is there something I can... 

Doakes: Yeah, you can get me your fucking analysis on the blood spatter on these killings! You think I'm here to invite you to my nephew's bris?

Dexter (sarcastic): I didn't know you were Jewish!

Doakes: Shut the fuck up and write your report already!

The reference to a nephew's bris is apparently intended to be a humorous example of an unlikely event. The dialogue is confangled by the fact that an uncle is unlikely to have inviting rights to a bris, a gentile may have a Jewish nephew, and the Yiddish origin of the usage of "already".

Season 4 episode 1.

Dexter is at a crime scene with Vince Mazuka (C. S. Lee), Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) and Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington). A woman has been discovered in a bathtub with her blood staining the water.

Mazuka: Talk about your blood bath! (giggles) Tough room ! OK. Femoral artery was severed and bled out in several minutes.

Quinn: Suicide?

Deborah : No weapons on the crime scene

Mazuka: Exactly. The coroner can suck my uncircumcised penis if he doesn't rule this as a homicide!

Deborah: Too much information, Mazuka.

It only ever seems to be "too much information" when someone reveals that he is "uncircumcised". (Nobody ever gratuitously mentions that he is circumcised.) The underlying message is that "uncircumcised" = "unclean".

Dharma and Greg

Hippie Dharma wants a pagan mudhole baptism ceremony for their adopted baby, conservative Greg wants a church ceremony. The comedy focuses on the four-way disagreement among their parents. Neither Dharma nor Greg nor their mothers want him circumcised.

Greg's patrician mother, Kitty: "I don't believe you're going to get our grandson drunk and perform surgery on him in the living room."

Dharma's hippie mother Abigail: "I don't believe in circumcision either, but [Dharma's father] Larry is Jewish when it comes to penises."

Dharma favours leaving him intact to decide for himself when he's old enough, but Kitty dismisses this, saying (correctly) that he'll never decide for himself to get "snipped down there" (a good reason for leaving him intact, not for circumcising). They "compromise" with a minister, a rabbi and a shaman.

We see most of the ceremony, and afterward Dharma and Greg show the video to Donna, the baby's birth mother, who wants him back. Dharma says "This is the Jewish part of the ceremony, where we had him circumcised." Donna does not react to this news about her son in any way, merely asking, "Who's that passing out?"

The Drew Carey Show

Dog and Pony show
(from the official summary) ... Drew must earn enough money to buy a replacement purebred [dog that he has mistakenly had neutered]. Inspired by "The Full Monty," a film he just saw [about unemployed men putting on a strip show], Drew devises a scheme. Drew, Mr. Wick, Lewis, Oswald and Larry--who just got out of prison on probation--plan to charge money for people to watch them strip naked at the Warsaw. After the police burst in and prevent the choreographed spectacle from finishing, Drew and the guys go to a city council meeting and complete the act. ...

Mr Wick (Craig Ferguson) is ashamed to strip because he is embarrased about "not getting 'snip-snip' down there".

Craig Ferguson
Craig Ferguson

It is taken for granted that a man should be ashamed to have all of his penis.

If Mr Wick, like Craig Ferguson, was born in Glasgow, there is no way he would be ashamed of being intact, like virtually all his peers. The real Drew Carey is also reportedly intact.

Drew and The Baby
(official summary) When a comatose Drew is taken off life support, he begins to slowly drift away. But a celestial encounter with Mimi's about-to-be-born baby changes everything and Drew ends up playing a surprising role in the baby's birth.

Drew is in a coma. He begins floating on a cloud towards heaven. There he meets his future nephew, Gus, a baby floating on a cloud down to earth to be born .

Drew and Gus talk, Drew complaining about the world and about Mimi, Gus's mother. This scares Gus so he doesn't want to go. Drew offers to take his place for a few days to show him that the world isn't such a bad place.

Mimi has the baby. The nurse says, "Congratulations, it's a boy!" The "baby" is Drew wrapped up in a blanket. (To everyone in the scene, he looks like a real baby and they call him Gus.) The nurse hands the baby to Mimi, and almost immediately asks, "Do you want to have your son circumcised?"

Mimi and her husband, Steve, both nod and Mimi says, "Yeah, I heard it was more sanitary." The nurse quickly takes "Gus"/Drew away. He yells "No!" and other comments, but no one can understand him because to them he sounds like a baby. Offstage, Gus/"Drew" is circumcised.

Mimi and Steve arrive home from the hospital and "Gus"/Drew is moaning quietly. Mimi wonders what is wrong with him. He says something like "Well you just chopped off half my penis," but again, to Mimi it is just baby-talk.

While this seems to have an intactivist theme, the laugh-track is set off whenever "Gus"/Drew speaks against circumcision.

The Drinky Crow Show

Surreal adult animated series about the drunken adventures of Drinky Crow and Uncle Gabby, an Irish monkey. They are 19th century sailors, at war with French alligators.
Ep 104: "Whale Show", broadcast November 30, 2008.

Drinky Crow awakens on the beach after a night of heavy drinking to discover that he has shot his own brain out of his head.

Drinky Crow: I'm afraid I did something really bad last night, Uncle Gabby. Something so horrible, I blew my own brains out so I wouldn't remember it.

Uncle Gabby: So? Everything worked out.

Drinky Crow: Gabby, what if you got married, or killed somebody, or poisoned wells, or ritually circumcised children and got the ritual rock? Wouldn't you care?

Uncle Gabby: Not even remotely. Why look a good blackout in the mouth?

Interesting that ritually circumcising is listed among terrible things.

Early Edition

[Back-story: every day, Gary gets a copy of tomorrow's newspaper, so he can in effect see the future.]

Episode 33: "A bris is just a bris"

Chuck is attending the bris of his nephew. All the family is there and one is filming the service. Gary bursts into the synagogue, because the headline of his newspaper said

INFANT HURT AT RELIGIOUS CEREMONY
Circumcision Goes Awry

(As if boys are not always hurt at their circumcisions.)

The story was that the mohel performing the service had a heart attack. The service is halted. (But baby will be circumcised.)

EastEnders (UK)

Long-running soap set in London's downmarket East End. (Because the show is broadcast before 9pm, the words "penis", "foreskin" and "circumcision" are not used.)

Vanessa Gold and her daughter Jodie arrived in Albert Square in the episode of June 7, 2010. Vanessa is divorced from Jodie's father, Harry. Max Branning and Darren Brown (none too bright, comic relief) live together with Max's youngest daughter Abi. Max owns a used car yard in Albert Square and Darren works for him as a salesman. Max is having a casual relationship with Vanessa.

Friday, July 23, 2010

After a meal at Max's house, Jodie and Darren kiss and she leaves the room to get a condom. When she returns, Darren has stripped to his underwear. She smiles, but when he drops his boxer shorts she screams hysterically and runs out of the house. Darren is confused and upset.

Monday July 26, 2010

Darren is standing in the kitchen with his trousers and boxer shorts down, facing Max. Max is partially covering his face, trying not to look.

Max: Darren, what am I gonna say if someone walks in now?

Darren: Just tell me! Normal or not normal?

Max: I ain't got a lot to compare it to, you know what I mean? Maybe the school changing rooms but...

Darren: Well, your own, then!

Max: Darren, what'cha talking about? That's highly classified information, that is, mate.

Darren: Well, look, come on, just tell me!

Max: All right, ok, from my limited experience Darren, that seems to largely correspond.

Darren: Largely?

Max: No, not largely. It seems to more or less ... correspond with ... what I take to be normal, alright? Now pull your trousers up.

Darren: So why did she react like that, then?

Max: I dunno mate. Women - they're an enigma.

Darren: Well, she's coming round in a minute; what am I gonna say to her?

Max: I dunno, Darren; why don'tcha just ask her?

Darren: You ain't leaving me, aren't ya?

Max: You don't seriously expect me to hold your hand while you have that conversation, do ya? I'm going to the pub for a drink. I need one after that!

Darren and Jodie are arguing.

Jodie: Look, I'm sorry about that. I know how it must've looked...

Darren: How it must've looked? How d'ya think I felt? How d'ya think any bloke would feel?

Jodie: I know. I'm sorry... It's just...

Darren: Just what?

Jodie: I'm sure there's nothing wrong with your... well you know... it's not even like I've got very much to compare it with.

Darren: So what's the problem?

Jodie: It's just ... it's just not Jewish enough. (Darren looks confused)

Next scene...

Darren: I didn't even know you were Jewish

Jodie: I'm not

Darren: You're not?

Jodie: I'm not very ... well, yes I am... not as Jewish as my dad, but more Jewish than my mum. So I suppose I'm middling Jewish.

Darren: What does that mean?

Jodie: I don't go to synagogue or anything.

Darren: So...?

Jodie: But I kind of think I should - if that makes sense.

Darren: Well, no, not really.

Jodie: It's like eating bacon, I just can't. (Darren sighs and puts his head in his hands)

Tuesday, July 27 2010

Max quesions Darren about using his laptop. He finds Darren has visited a site called doctorsontheweb.co.uk.

Max: So she's Jewish?

Darren: Yeah.

Max: Darren, not eating bacon is not eating bacon. Worst things comes to the worst, I could probably live without bacon. I wouldn't like it, but I would do it. But taking a cold steel to the old swizzle-stick, mate; I mean that's something different altogether. You ain't seriously thinking about it, are you?

Darren: But I really fancy her!

Max: Listen to me, Darren. I have sacrificed a lot for women, all right. My pride, my self respect, my marriage, my mental health. But I draw the line at that! If you was a baby, I'd say yeah, maybe, but you ain't, you're a grown man! And it'll bloomin' hurt, Darren!

Darren: That's why it ain't gonna happen.

Max: That's good, Darren. I'm relieved to hear that. So you're gonna dump her, then?

Darren: Yeah, yeah of course.

Max: So why are you still looking at this [the website]?

Darren: Curiousity.

Max: Curiousity? Makes me wanna cross my legs even thinking about it. Get rid of that [Jodie]. There's plenty more fish in the sea.

Darren: Yeah, exactly what I've told her. I've already found someone else.

Max: Well done, good boy. So who's that, then?

Darren: I'd rather not say

Max: No, go on.

Darren: Well, not until I know for sure.

Max: Let's hope whoever she is, she don't want to put your cherry picker through the cheese grater!

Darren: Yeah! (laughs nervously)

Thursday, July 29, 1010

Max and his brother Jack are outside the pub, when they see Darren walking by.

Max: There he is! The hooded ninja! (Both laugh)

...

Jack: I thought this Jodie was the real deal?

Darren: Nah, not really

Max: A bit snippy, was she, Darren? (Jack and Max both laugh)

Jack: She's not giving you grief already, is she?

Darren: Well, no, but she was getting a bit heavy.

Max: Yeah, wacky type, weren't she? Always going on half-cocked. (Both laugh again, Darren doesn't get it.)

Darren: I've told her I want to see other girls.

Jack: That's women, innit? Always want a piece of you (Both laugh again)

Darren: What have you been saying, Max?

Max: Nothing! (Darren is not happy)

Max, Jack, Darren and some of the residents on the Square are playing rounders when Jodie turns up. She sits on the footpath with Darren.

Jodie: Do you like swimming?

Darren: Not really. I mean, yeah it's alright. To be honest, after what you said the other day, I didn't think I'd see you again

Jodie: That's why I had to come back - I didn't mean to upset you. We can still be friends, can't we?

Darren: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've got lots of girls that are friends. Friends who are girls.

Jodie: Maybe we can go swimming?

Darren: Swimming?

(Max joins them)

Max: Swimming? Are you sure you're up to seeing him in his tight speedos?

(Darren storms off. Jodie goes after him.)

Later.

Jodie: You're so lovely. I'm glad we have cleared the air.

Darren: Me too.

Jodie: I'll see you around, then.

Darren: Look. About this whole "friends" thing ...

Jodie: Yeah?

Darren: What would you say if I changed my mind ...

Jodie: Really? You'd do that?

Darren: Well, yeah, you know. I've got loads of time for ... you know ... I mean, that's not the ...

Jodie: You want us to date?

Darren: Well, only if you want to.

Jodie: Yes! (They kiss)

Friday July 30 2010

Darren and Jodie are sitting in the cafe. Jodie is showing Darren a list.

Jodie: Kissing. We can obviously do that

Darren: Great!

Jodie: Hugging. Holding hands and that.

Darren: And that? Really?

Jodie: Yeah, I like that. And that, too. Also that!

Darren: Wow!

Jodie: Maybe that. And that. And that. And that.

Darren: That's a lot more than I expected!

Jodie: But not that!

Darren: Yeah, not that.

Jodie: That we can't do, which is why I have written it in red. (Darren looks diappointed.)

Max and Darren are working in the car yard office

Max: So let me get this right. You've got a great-looking bird and you ain't gonna have sex with her? Darren: Yep!

Max: And you're smiling?

Darren: I'm delirious!

Max: I don't get it.

Darren: We don't have to have sex. There is more to romance. I've even got a list.

Max: I'll give you a week, Darren. Then you'll be off getting your little man trimmed.

Darren (looking worried): No! No way!

Max: Mind you, even if you did, it wouldn't stop there.

Darren: What does that mean?

Max: I know women. They're always want more, don't they? It'll be an arm next!

Darren: What?

Max: She'll want one of them off!

Darren: Oh, shut up!

Max: No, Darren, she won't stop till she gets to your head. She'll be pruning that an' all! Little pair of scissors ... (makes scissor movements with his fingers) snip, snip. Little, snip, snip

Darren and Jodie are in the park. Jodie rubs suntan lotion on to Darren's legs and reaches near his crotch. Darren tells her to stop and rolls on to his stomach. He makes excuses and leaves. At home, he checks to make sure no one is in the house, takes a piece of paper from his pocket and makes a phonecall. He has his eyes closed.

Darren: Oh, hello there. I'd like to make an appointment ... about having a trim. (He winces)

Monday August 2, 2010

Max and Darren are in the kitchen. Max has a cucumber in one hand and a knife in the other, the blade near the top of the cucumber.

Max: Tricky, innit?

Darren: What are you doing?

Max: Just wondering how much I should slice off (laughs)

Darren: Oh cheers, I confided in you as a mate.

Max: (laughs) Darren, I thought you weren't gonna get the trim? (He chops the top off the cucumber) Woooah! Ha ha!

Darren: Well I've changed my mind, and you should support that.

Max (laughs): Darren, all I'm doing is putting cucumber in my sandwich, mate.

The phone rings and Darren answers. Max looks at a piece of paper that Darren has left on the table and laughs, Darren swipes it off him. He puts the phone down.

Darren: Well, at least I've got someone; you've only got that cucumber!

Max and Darren are working in the car lot office. Darren is reading his letter again. Max swipes it out of his hand

Max: That's it, Darren. I'm gonna phone up and cancel.

Darren: What?

Max: Well, you ain't in the room Darren, are ya? You're already on the operating table

Darren: Yeah, cos it's a proper...

Max: Of course it's gonna be proper. You know surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists... a priest. You know for when someone's hand slips. Darren, mate, honestly, she's asking way too much of you. You know, proper women, they're happy with a cheap glass of wine and a compliment.

Darren (sarcastically): I could learn a lot from you, Max, you know. It's just not about sex, is it?

 

ATV News Network
August 11, 2010

NHS Staff Criticise EastEnders' Circumcision Storyline

Written by Daniel Garrett

It may be one of the less dramatic storylines currently running in EastEnders, but the plot involving Darren Miller and his decision to undergo circumcision "for love" has left NHS staff baffled.

Darren - who wanting to please his Jewish girlfriend Jodie - has decided to undergo circumcision to remove his foreskin, like all good Jewish boys. Highlights to the plot so far have seen Max Branning making innuendo with a cucumber by cutting its end off.

NHS worker Graham told ATV Network: "Where do they think Darren is going to find the money to get himself circumcised?

"I can assure the writers that you cannot get a circumcision without a valid medical reason. Private hospitals and clinics will be more than happy to remove your foreskin along with several hundred pounds from your wallet." He said

The storyline has also been criticised for lacking in research and detail. Graham added:

"It takes more than a brit milah to make you "Jewish" - Darren would have to study Hebrew for a start to be accepted into the Jewish faith."

No such conversion to the faith or any comment on Darren studying Hebrew have been highlighted in the storyline. [This is a little unfair. Darren did not offer to convert, only to be circumcised.]


Monday August 16 2010

Max and Darren are working in the car yard office. Darren is drinking tea and staring into space. Max sits down at his desk.

Max: Said your goodbyes, Darren?

Darren: It ain't funny!

Max: You ain't scared, are you?

Darren: No, course not. It's a simple... procedure.

Max: Yeah? Enough to make your eyes water

Darren: Loads of blokes have it done.

Max: When they're babies.

Darren: Will you come with me?

Max: What, to hold your hand?

Darren: Forget it. I'll get a cab.

Max: If any cabs will stop for you.

Darren: Why wouldn't they?

Max: I knew this geezer who had it done. He was trying to get a cab from the hospital, when it blows up like a balloon. Five times the size, it was. Had to dive in the shop, grab what he could out the freezer. Agony! No cab's going to stop for him. There he is, middle of Archway Road, trousers round his ankles, and a bag of chicken nuggets down his pants! (Darren winces.)

Darren and Jodie are in the pub.

Jodie: A conference?

Darren : Well, no, it's more of a course. In Bognor.

Jodie: On selling cars?

Darren: Well, yeah, you know, it's a dying art. We're learning to squash fear and transfer confidence, so we can have happy lifetime customers.

Jodie: "This one scraped through it's MOT and I'll throw in the furry dice!" (laughs) Would be a winner round here! <Darren looks annoyed)

Jodie: I'm only messing. It's great! I reckon one day you'll have your own showroom!

Darren: Hmm

The pub.

Max (to Glenda): Just an orange juice, please.

Glenda: Why not swap that for a new cocktail? Wouldn't you like a French kiss?

Max: No, I'm all right thanks

Glenda: Go on! Say I can't tempt you?

Max: I can't. I'm driving matey boy here to the hospital.

Jodie: Hospital?

Darren: Yeah, visiting. Once a month. All the old dears that ain't got no one. It brightens up their day (Jodie hugs Darren. Darren looks angrily over her at Max. Max mouths "Sorry.")

Darren: I'll call you every day.

Jodie: Twice a day, or we're finished ... Joke!

Darren: Oh right!

Jodie: But a postcard'd be nice. No naked ladies on donkeys!

Darren: I'll bring you back a present

Jodie: I don't do hats with slogans.

Darren: Oh, this present's gonna be special! (They kiss.)

Later. Darren is drinking orange juice.

Glenda (to Max): Another one of them, or will you try something a bit stronger?

Max (to Darren): One for courage?

Darren: Nah, I think I'll just stick to the orange juice.

Max: So no second thoughts?

Darren: No. I'm doing it for Jodie.

Max: Darren, I've got to hand it to you mate, I mean, I've done some stupid things in my time to get a woman in the sack, but this...? (Max pats Darren on the back of the head)

Max and Darren are walking to Max's car

Max: It ain't too late to change your mind, you know.

Darren: No, in two weeks time, I'll be exactly what Jodie wants.

The hospital. Max and Darren are waiting outside the urology department. A nurse helps a man down the stairs; he is holding his right hand near his crotch. Another man takes over and helps him stumble away. In the background, a nurse calls to a small boy to leave his mother and follow her.

Man (to other man): All right, mate?

Man: Yeah.

Max (laughing): What girl wouldn't find that sexy? (Darren looks more nervous. Max laughs again)

The square: Max opens the car door for Darren. Darren gets out of the car, groaning and panting.

Darren: You should have parked closer to the house!

Max: Darren, the doctor said to keep moving (Darren groans and pants as he walks. Max laughs. His mobile phone rings.)

Max: Sorry, mate, I've got to take this. You'll be alright, won't you?

Darren: Yeah (Max walks away, followed slowly by Darren. Jodie's father (Vanessa's husband) Harry appears.)

(In an earlier episode, Vanessa had told Harry she was seeing a younger guy with a full head of hair. Harry has been seen asking people on the Square where Max Branning lives, and Max's nephew told him.)

Harry (to Darren): Oi!

Darren: All right, can I help you, mate?

Harry: You want to learn to keep your hands off other blokes' property!

Darren: You what?

(Harry knees Darren in the crotch. Darren groans in agony and keels over on the footpath )

Harry: Next time, I'll cut 'em off!

(Max opens the front door and comes down the steps)

Max: Darren? (Darren groans and winces)

Thursday August 19, 2010

Abi and Darren are in Max's living room. Kate Perry's video "I Kissed A Girl" is playing. Darren is biting his lip and squirming.

Abi: Why do boys like the thought of girls kissing girls?

Darren: Can we watch something else?

Abi: I don't get it. Boys kissing girls, I can understand. But would a boy want to watch a girl kissing a girl? Like, proper kissing? Tongues and that?

Darren: Abi, please!

Abi: Oh, is this music making your head ache?

Darren: Yeah, yeah, yeah kind of.

Outside Max's house, Harry throws Vanessa out of his car. They argue. Max and Darren come out. Harry says to Darren "Brought your dad [Max] this time, to protect you?" Darren says to Harry that it's not him, it's Max that Vanessa has been seeing. Harry drives away. Jodie is seen looking from a distance.

Darren: Your psycho husband nearly took my bits off

Vanessa: Sorry darling, I told him I was seeing someone half his age with a full head of hair on.

Max: Oh yeah, thanks a lot (They kiss. Darren sees Jodie in the crowd on the Square. He limps over to her.)

Darren: Jodie!

Jodie: You're in Bognor!

Darren: No, I can explain.

Jodie: Is this my "special present"? You helping break my dad's heart?

Darren: No, I didn't know about that!

Jodie: Have you been laughing at me all this time?

Darren: Of course I haven't!

Jodie: Car sales? Conference? "Squash the fear and transfer your..."

Darren: It's not like that, if you go and ask your mum...

Jodie: I don't want to ask her anything. I don't even want to see her again. And I don't think, right now I want to see you (Jodie walks away. Max laughs at Darren)

Darren: I had half my little man chopped off for that girl! It's not gonna happen now, is it?

Max: Oh, shut up, will ya?

Friday August 20 2010

Carol and her daughter Bianca are in their living room watching television

Carol: What you watching?

Bianca: Well, he's left her for a 23 year old, so she's having her boobs done. But, look at her, I reckon she needs the lot done, do you? (Carol turns off the television)

Bianca: Oi!

Carol: What? You think I want to watch some poor woman slicing herself to pieces in order to get a man?

Bianca: It's just to give her a bit more confidence

Carol: It's wrong, it's not her that needs the surgery, it's the husband who left her. He needs castrating.

Darren, Max, Vanessa and Abi are in Max's living room

Vanessa: We got fish and chips. Abi, you want to come help lay it out?

Max: Actually, Darren, could you help Vanessa please?

Darren: (sighs) Yeah He gets up from the chair, wincing, groaning

Vanessa: (to Darren) Bless. Max told me you'd had an operation

Max: I didn't say what it was

Vanessa: Why? What kind of operation was it? If you don't mind me asking?

Darren: Well, actually, I do. It's personal. So fish and chips...

Vanessa: Yeah. Only we didn't get you fish, cos Max said you'd prefer a battered sausage (Darren looks angrily at Max and Max laughs. Vanessa looks confused.)

Since circumcision is rare in the UK, this theme is unusual. Clear messages are that circumcision is painful and embarassing, and a great deal to ask of a man.

Entourage

Soap about would-be Hollywood actors
HBO, 2nd Season, episode 12, "An Offer Refused"

Actor Johnny "Drama" Chase (Kevin Dillon) says he is to have elective surgery (calf implants) but he doesn't want to talk about it. Would-be entrepreneur Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) jokes that "He's having a botched adult circumcision corrected."

The word "adult" is superfluous and out of place there - it was presumably added to negate any suggestion that anything could possibly have gone wrong with a routine infant circumcision.

E R

(Broadcast January 30, 1997)
A patient of Dr Peter Benton (Eriq LaSalle) says he is converting to Judaism for his fiancee. He says, "I'm not very religious, but her family? Oh boy, they wouldn't even consider letting us get married if I didn't get it taken off. I probably wouldn't have started dating her if I knew this was gonna be part of the deal." Man is circumcised.

This implies:

  1. "Circumcision is Jewish" (in fact, the man's chances of being intact in the US are quite low)
  2. "American gentiles are not circumcised - unless they want to marry a Jewish woman."
The fact that Judaism specifically prohibits conversion in order to marry is, as usual, ignored. The suggestion that her family should even know he has a foreskin is quite outlandish.
The last line illustrates what Leonard Glick has pointed out, "when circumcision is discussed...the defining motif is uneasiness."

Dr Benton is adamant that there is no need to circumcise his son, but a woman doctor "likes the look" and thinks circumcision is "cleaner". She (unethically) persuades the mother, who wants revenge (for ?) against Benton. (This is apparently deemed an acceptable reason.) She accuses Benson of just wanting baby to "look like him in the shower." (Since this common reason for circumcising is now being used against circumcision, it has become an unacceptable reason.) All discussion takes place at high volume in crowded places. Benton bursts in on the operation in progress, but it is too late and the baby is circumcised. The additional ethical issue of a doctor operating on the son of another doctor without consulting him is not raised.

(Broadcast 8 April, 1999)
A mentally ill woman is brought in from the streets with a baby she had given birth to moments before - the umbilical cord is still attached. The scene cuts from the screaming, frantic mother, to a doctor and nurse who are examining the baby, naked, who is already circumcised. (It must have been done and healed in the seconds before their examination. Or would they have us believe that babies are already cut at birth?)

Other anomalously circumcised babies on movies and TV.

(Broadcast 1 November 2001)
A man is in the Emergency Room because his girlfriend had told him she didn't like his foreskin - and so he attempted to cut it off himself. He thought he could "gut out" the pain and just "clip it off", but he only made it half way and both the pain and the bleeding are excessive.
Nurse Abby says, "Y'know, there is no medical indication for circumcision." [Yay!]
He says his girlfriend is a "neat freak" and he guesses that she thinks circumcised penises are neater and cleaner.
Dr Benton is contacted. Since it is only half done, he can either repair it or finish the job. The man calls his girlfriend to find out which she prefers. He decides to have the circumcision completed.
A woman doctor says to the girlfriend, "Well, it's just a foreskin. We'll take him to the operating room to finish off the job he started that you wanted, right?"
The girlfriend looks confused and says,"Well - I just wanted to make him upset." She wanted to break up with him and she thought was a way of "letting him down easy". Man is circumcised.

This episode almost seems to be trying to make amends for the earlier one.

53% of E R viewers "learnt important health facts" from the show. 32% "get information which helps them make decisions about family health care" - 35M news

The Family Guy

Satirical cartoon sitcom
'When You Wish Upon A Weinstein' (Made for Season 2. but never broadcast, on DVD only)

Peter is worried his son is stupid, so he decides to convert him to Judaism, to make him smarter. He makes a comment about knowing lots of foreskin jokes.

The foreskin "joke" - whose role is to trivialise circumcision - has become such a cliche that a reference to them suffices, instead of actually making one.

Season 8, Episode 7, Tales of a Third Grade Nothing (first broadcast 16 November 2008) Secretary: Griffin, I need you to run these shipping reports upstairs to the CEO.

Peter: Ah, there's nothing f[un] or entertaining about that. Maybe if I walk down the hall with a wise-cracking Rabbi. ..

Peter (to Rabbi in hallway): Do you charge a lot for your circumcisions?

Rabbi: No. I just keep the tips!

Peter: Ha ha ha ha ha! All right, where's the CEO's office?

As in the previous item, the inner joke is so old and feeble and Peter's superficiality so well-established that this is a joke about the lameness of circumcision humour. The real joke is on those who laugh at the Rabbi's wisecrack.

Series 10, episode 5. A time travel episode with Stewie and Brian (2:00 in - available only in the USA)

Talking baby Stewie is looking through a window at his younger self and says

It's amazing I could speak at all with that circumcision still healing. Apparently just a reference to how early he could speak - with perhaps a mildly anti-circumcision message, but with no suggestion that he might have said "No".
Season 11 Episode 8, Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Peter is telling the nativity story, casting himself as Joseph and Lois as Mary:

Handheld off-TV YouTube

Joseph: Listen, ah, I was wonderin' if you'd like to go out some time?

Mary: Why sure, that sounds nice. You know, there's a beautiful spot outside of town where they dump all the foreskins.

Subtext: "Only Jews circumcise".

Peter and Quagmire have formed a singing duo. In one of their songs are these lyrics:

You never should look at your daddy's penis,
when he's walking down the hall on Sunday morn,
an acorn in a nest of twigs and underneath two fetal pigs,
it'll make you wish you weren't ever born.

Subtext: all men are circumcised; (circumcised) penises are short; penises are disturbingly ugly.

Series 12 Episode 09.

In a fantasy scene that is a parody of The Lion King, a group of animals are watching a lion cub being held aloft on a rock by a monkey and another cub being raised by Peter on a forklift. Two giraffes are watching.

Giraffe 1: Are you going to stay for the bris?
Giraffe 2 (frowning): No, I don't want to see that.

Implying

  • All circumcision is brit milah (only Jews circumicse) and/or
  • All (anthropomorphic) animals circumcise/are Jewish, but
  • Circumcision is distasteful.

Series 13 Episode 6, The 2,000-Year-Old Virgin (7 December, 2014)

The guys have fixed up Jesus with Lois to help him lose his virginity. In a family discussion of this impending action, Stewie remarks, "At least we know he's circumcised, so she won't have to deal with that nonsense."

"That nonsense" presumably meaning a foreskin - a variant on "disgusting"

Series 12 Episode 10, a Family Guy cast mash-up of popular fairy tales.

Quagmire turns up in a scene and Peter refers to him as "Rumpleforeskin".

The Family Guy has other casual and curious references to circumcision. In one, Peter implies he is circumcised every week, like having his hair cut.

Farscape

Cult science fiction epic

"Give me an arn with Aeryn and a tokar knife... " says Rygel, ominously. A tokar knife is a ritual Luxan knife used in a self-circumcision ceremony (mentioned in Episode 4, series 1, "I, E.T.").

According to the BBC cult page "It's implied that Luxan warriors like D'Argo are circumcised."

(In the UK, circumcision is treated as an ordeal, and perhaps as irrational.)
Thanks to NORM-UK

Five Days (UK)

BBC1 TV, (available online only in the UK) Episode 1

A baby is found abandoned in the disabled toilet of a hospital. When it is suggested that he might be Asian, a staff member notes that

"...he is not circumcised ... it is usually done at seven days for Muslims..." (or words to that effect).

That may be true in the UK, but not generally.


Episode 3

An Asian friend of the foundling's stepfather pesters him as to when he is going to have the baby circumcised. The reply:

"... he gets the chance to decide who he wants to be without any mullah, priest or rabbi poking..."

This refreshing reply reflects the current British attitude towards circumcision.

Frasier

"Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz" Original Airdate December 17th, 1998

Frasier (Kelsey Grammar) pretends to be Jewish so that Helen (Carole Shelley), the mother of his new girlfriend, Faye (Amy Brenneman), will not be upset that her daughter is dating outside the faith.

Helen: So, Frasier, you grew up in Seattle?

Frasier: Yes, as a matter of fact, I did.

Helen: Such a pretty city, huh? I guess you were Bar Mitzvahed here?

Frasier: Oh, yes, yes, of course. What a proud day that was. I can still remember reading from the Torah... before the... the- rabbi, and the cantor, and the mohel.
[He is confusing a Bar Mitzvah with a Brit Milah.]

Helen: The mohel?

Faye: The one who- did your circumcision? [Perhaps she is rescuing him.]

Frasier: Yes , yes, I just wanted to show him there were no hard feelings.
[A quick save - perhaps implying that Frazier {or his scriptwriter} resents being routinely circumcised. Perhaps he is digging himself deeper with Helen by suggesting that circumcision is not universally applauded.]

It is a step forward for a programme as mainstream as this to even suggest that circumcision generates "hard feelings".

Freaks and Geeks

One-season series (1999-2000) set in a fictional suburb of Detroit, Michigan, beginning in 1980. Episode 6, "I'm With the Band"

The school district mandates that all students shower after gym class. The main character, 14-year-old high school freshman Sam Weir (John Francis Daley) questions the edict. He and his friend Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine), and their nemesis Alan White (Chauncey Leopardi), are climbing ropes in the gym.

Sam: Well I'm not gonna do it.

Neal: Why, because you don't have any pit hair?

Sam: I have pit hair. Besides, I think it's kinda weird that you want to get naked in front of everybody.

Alan: Hey, Schweiber, you gonna show us your circumcision in the showers today? (laughing)

Neal: Yeah, take a number.

(Alan snickers)

Neal: Well, I guess it is kinda weird.

Sam: Alright, then that's settled. We're not doin' it.

While the series usually strives for accuracy (saying "pop" for "soda" for example), here it ignores the fact that all the characters would most probably be circumcised, in favour of the fallacy that "only Jews circumcise". (It is remotely possible that Alan's suggestion is intended to mean he thinks Neal's circumcision looks different from theirs, but with many Jews opting for hospital circumcision, it probably wouldn't.)

Friday Night Dinner (UK)

Channel 4 sitcom about a Jewish family, Martin and Jackie Goodman and their adult sons Adam and Johnny, who as the title suggests, have dinner together every Friday night. Series 2, episode 7, first broadcast November 18, 2012

The Goodmans' extremely odd neighbor Jim, who frequently makes strange excuses to visit them, invites himself over to dinner one Friday. Despite the family not being devoutly Jewish, Jim improvised a yarmulke by cutting a circle of fabric from the back if his shirt.

After some initial, awkward conversation, Jim asks Martin if he's circumcised. Unfazed, Martin chuckles "Ask my wife". Jackie confirms that Martin is indeed circumcised. Jim asks Jackie if she had her two sons "done". She confirms that both her sons were also circumcised.

Elder son Adam (loudly): Thanks, Mum! (apparently embarassed at the topic)

Younger son Johnny (more angrily) Yeah, thanks, Mum!" (apparently bitter about being circumcised)

 

Figures are not available, but it is likely that circumcision is falling out of favour among non-observant Jews in the UK, as it is in Europe, so Jim's intrusive questioning was not superfluous.

Friends

(April 18, 2001)

Joey Tribbiani, an Italian-American Lothario and aspiring actor, returns from an audition. He is excited because he got a callback and he thinks the role - a young Italian man at the turn of the century - suits him well. One problem: the role calls for full frontal nudity. Joey is anxious at first, but agrees to the nudity.

He goes to the callback, only to be told by his agent that he doesn't need to read again; he's all but won the role. One catch: the agent tells him that the director is a stickler for realism and insists that Joey's naked body is "anatomically correct" for an Italian man circa 1900. Joey doesn't get it; his agent hesitates, then says that the nude scene involves a Jewish girl making love to a non-Jewish man for the first time, and Joey must appear, um, non-Jewish.

[This is ridiculous. Makeup and special effects have always been the stock-in-trade of the theatre.]

Joey looks puzzled, then quick-cut to the apartment of Monica Geller (an anal-retentive, Jewish gourmet chef) for the next scene . . .

Monica (amazed, to Joey): "So you said you aren't?"
Joey nods despairingly.
Monica: "And you are?"
Joey: "Yes."
Monica: "And there's nothing there you can - work with?"
Joey: "No."

Joey says he'll have to call back and admit his lie. Monica thinks a minute, then suggests a prosthesis. Joey is doubtful, but is willing to try.

Monica raids her friends' refrigerator for luncheon meat, all of which is rejected (especially the olive loaf meat) as inadequate for the task. Eventually she presents Joey with a beautifully arranged platter of fake foreskins made of various edibles and inedibles. (Recall that she is a gourmet chef.) Joey retires to the next room to try them on. Yelp of pain as Joey forgets to remove a toothpick; sound of pleasure as Joey, famous for his appetite, decides to taste some foreskins rather than wear them. Eventually Joey comes out fully dressed, declaring success. He has settled on the Silly Putty foreskin, which he says "isn't so silly anymore."

Joey shows up for a meeting with his agent and the director; he is all but offered the part. But he has to get naked first. He removes his shirt, then drops his pants. The camera cuts away as Joey's fauxskin would have been revealed to all; the next shot, à la Mike Nichols' The Graduate, frames the agent and director between Joey's legs. We see the backs of Joey's legs and the satisfied faces of the agent and the director. Joey says something like, "See? I'm all there!" Suddenly something falls down, and the agent and director are aghast. Cut back to Joey's face, now horrified. Joey: "I swear this has never happened to me before!" End of episode.

This show is anomalous. For perhaps the first time in US television, intactness is presented as desirable, Monica does not casually badmouth it - and no-one gets circumcised! - except symbolically.

Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) busks outside the restaurant where Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) works, playing downbeat, disturbing songs with names like "Smelly Cat". She buys a new dress, saying "Oh, this will go well with The Ballad of the Uncircumcised Man.

The very use of "uncircumcised" is telling.

Game On
(UK)

A sitcom about three mismatched young flatmates.
"Roundheads and Cavaliers"

When naive, virginal Martin (Matthew Cottle) is propositioned by an Irish nurse to relieve her of her burdonsome virginity on her next day off, he asks her if she minds freckles, indicating "down there".

Martin and now-celibate flatmate Mandy (Samantha Janus) are in a pub. Two young women are in the background.

Martin: You know when you're going out with a chap - when you used to go out with chaps -

Mandy: Yes?

Martin: What-um - What sort - Which sort of - What sort of - What sort of - thing do you like?

Mandy: Thing?

Martin: You know. (sotto voce) Tadger. Todge-bar. PENIS! (The women laugh.)

Mandy: Oh, Oh, ah - (She thinks and smiles dreamily, then comes back to earth.) Ah well, is that really any of your business, Martin?

Martin: No, all right. Sorry. It's stupid. Just forget it.

Mandy: All right. You're worried about your penis, is that it?

Martin: No! No! Well, in a way. For example, Matt's has got the matt finish, and mine has got the gloss finish, and I was just wondering which sort girls like best.

Mandy: "Matt's has got the matt finish"?

Martin: Yes. He's a Roundhead and I'm a Cavalier.

Mandy: Sorry?

Martin: He's (whispers) circumcised and I'm not.

Mandy (loudly): You've got a foreskin and he hasn't, (The women laugh.) that's what you're saying? And you want to know which type girls like best? Well they like both sorts. All right, Martin?

Martin: Yes. And I was reading this article in 'Marie Clare' about women who force their boyfriends to have penis extensions, and I was just wondering, (his voice goes high) is that a common thing that happens?

Mandy: I'd say it's fairly uncommon.

Martin: Right, good.

Mandy: Are you all right, Martin?

Martin: Yes, quite fine, I'm fine. So in summary, what you're saying is, anything goes size-wise and presence-or-absence-of-foreskin-wise, as long as you like the man?

Mandy: Martin, what's this all about?

Martin: What? Nothing, we're just talking, aren't we, talking about things, having a conversation?

Mandy: I'd be quite happy to have a look at it for you if you feel the need for further reassurance.

Martin: Oh no, It's all right, I don't think that would be necessary, (stiffly) thank you.

CUT TO: Mandy's bedroom, closeup of Martin's waist as he is undoing his belt. Martin: Are you sure you don't mind?

Mandy Honestly. Now that I've retired from the fray in person, I'm pleased to offer my services in a consultative capacity. Come on then. (putting on spectacles) Let the dogs see the rabbit.

Martin: Right. (He takes down his trousers and turns towards her.) Okay?

Mandy: M-hm. (He drops his underpants. She peers forwards. Hypochondriac flatmate Matthew (Neil Stuke) comes in behind her)

Matt: You sneaky bastards! So this is what you two get up to when I'm lying at death's door!

Martin: I can explain.

Mandy: There's no need to explain anything to that warped pervert. Get out of my room, Matthew, this is none of your business! Don't you think you'd better pull your pants up now, Martin?

(Martin trips on his trousers and tries to leave the room on all fours. He gets caught between Matt's legs.)

Matt: D'you wanna look at mine now, Mand? (mocking): Go on. It's a nice one.

Mandy: That may be so, Matt, but I happen to prefer the gloss-finish myself.

Matt: What!? How did she find out? Somebody has betrayed me. I wonder who? (On "who", Matt pulls Martin's underpants, giving him a wedgie.)

...

Martin's bedroom, where he is choosing underpants. Mandy comes in. Mandy: Look, um, I just wanted to say - I didn't have time to tell you before, but - it looked fine to me; your thing. No strange lumps or bumps, medium size. Freckles are unusual but quite attractive. I should think she'll like them.

This is strikingly different from US presentations. Martin and Mandy's use of "matt" vs "gloss" betrays a familiarity with the real thing. Martin's feeling of inferiority is generalised, but Matt's clearly derives from being circumcised. In her final reassurance, Mandy thinks circumcision is less worth mentioning than freckles.

Girlfriends

[UPN, Mondays, 9:30 PM EST. Producer, Kelsey Grammer]

In the last two episodes of the 2000 season, the girls, Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross), Maya (Golden Brooks), Toni (Jill Marie Jones), and Lynn (Persia White) went to a Carribean island together. Lynn fell in love with a bell-hop named Bosco and he came back to the US with her.

Now Lynn is doing her laundry and the others are helping her fold it. Suddenly, Maya asks Lynn if Bosco is circumcised and Lynn very casually answers, "No, Bosco isn't." Maya screams "Ewwww!" in disgust and tosses Bosco's [washed] underwear across the room or back into the laundry basket and wipes her hands wth a disgusted look on her face. Everyone laughs.

This implies intact men are unclean. Imagine if men had had this exchange about a woman!

In a later episode, Maya describes something as being "like having sex with an uncircumcised man" and Lynn jokingly responds "Yes, he's the only one having an orgasm" (or words to that effect). Everyone laughs.

This implies intact men are lousy, selfish, lovers (unlike circumcised men....) Imagine if the four African-American women were as insulting about Black men. There are some 39 million intact males in the US, more than twice as many as African-American males (17 million ).

Give My Head Peace

(BBC Northern Ireland)
Episode 10, 11 February 2005
The Passion of Red Hand Luke

Red Hand Luke launches a personal quest to find the "one true religion". His criteria are undemanding - his chosen faith must allow violence and drinking! As Luke careers wildly from being a Jew, to a Muslim, a Hare Krishna and then a Catholic bishop, Uncle Andy and Big Mervyn are in fear of not only their sanity but also of circumcision, head shaving, forced confessions, and sworn abstinence from alcohol as well!

In Britain, and especially Northern Ireland, the first (and most natural) reaction to the thought of circumcision is fear.

Go Girls
(New Zealand)

Sitcom about three girlfriends with different ambitions, told by Kevin (Jay Ryan) who is unlucky in love. Season 3, Episode 1, Tick-tock (approx. halfway through chapter 1), first broadcast Feburary 8, 2011

Kevin has met Danni, who rides a Ducati and loves rugby - the perfect woman? His friends are skeptical that she even exists, and he has to introduce them.

Kevin (voice over): Bugger! (scene changes to the beach, with Danni) Yeah. Time to meet the friends. (to her) Yeah, it'll be sweet, eh?

Danni (putting her helmet on): I'll see you there, eh? (She rides away.)

Kevin (voice over): Actually, I'd rather stick razor-blades under my foreskin.

A foreskin is normal in New Zealand. For Kevin, to put something sharp near it is just a figure of speech for the worst thing imaginable.

The Good Wife

Series 4, Episode 9

Veronica (Stockyard Channing, in a guest appearance) visits the law firm of her daughter Alicia Florrick (Juliana Marguilies) on some probate business and consults with lawyer David Lee (Zach Grenier). Having discerned that he is Jewish she tells him:

I've always liked Jewish men; I've always though a penis never looked quite right unless it was circumcised." (David looks shocked and horrified and gives a strangled giggle)

Implying only Jews are circumcised. As our informant says, it's a gratuitous circumcision reference (and attack on intact men) shoehorned into the dialogue. It is mitigated by Veronica being presented as a crazy and unpleasant woman no one likes.

Grosse Pointe

A Jewish girl is dating a man who is pretending to be Jewish just to get with her. They end up in bed, taking each others clothes off. She grabs his penis and says ["You're not Jewish!"] At the end of the scene, she says she has to go and wash her hand.

Imagine if an African man said to an American woman "You're not circumcised!" and then wanted to go and wash his hand....

More details would be welcomed.

Help Me Help You

(ABC, Season 1, episode 7, "Raging Bill" broadcast November 28, 2006)

A Korean woman who has a thing for Jewish men is set up with an old friend, also Korean, whom she knows is not Jewish. He knows she isn't either, but neither will admit it. After having sex with him she says:

"You're not circumcised, therefore you're not Jewish."
He replies: "I am circumcised. I was circumcised as a baby and it grew back. If you were Jewish you would know that!"
In the next scene he comes into the apartment and the woman has organised a big party. He asks "What is all this?"
She replies: "It's your Bris, meet the mohel."
The mohel (Loren Lester) says: "I usually only do this on babies, but I'm ready when you're ready."
The man says (starting to take off his trousers - presumably calling the bluff, not seriously offering): "OK, lets go." (The mohel wipes down a large butcher knife and begins to cut a sandwhich..)
The man says something to the effect of "Forget this" and leaves.
What's not wrong with this storyline? How much more grotesquely stupid could it get? Let's cut straight to the messages:
  • All Jews are circumcised
  • Only Jews are circumcised (and in particular {South} Koreans are not circumcised - she could as reasonably say, "You're not Korean!").
  • Foreskins frequently grow back - so frequently that all Jews know it
  • Every man wants to be circumcised
  • Circumcision is a big joke.

As above, imagine if an African man organised a khAfiDah for his American girlfriend without telling her - or that such a scenario was presented on US TV as comedy....

Herman's Head

Comedy, 71 episodes, 1991-94, featuring Herman (Willaim Ragsdale). Aspects of his character are acted out by different people.

One of Herman's good friends makes a reference to circumcision and asks a leading question like, "You are cut, right?" Herman does not immediately reply. The friend, in complete surprise, says "Oh my god, you're not circumcised!" - but not in a negative way, more as if to say "How cool and different!"

A rare exception to the general rule, in keeping with the non-conformist nature of the show.

Home Improvement

Rites and Wrongs of Passage, Season 2, Episode 2

Brad, edest son of Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), is going through a bad period, hanging out with the wrong kids and getting brought home by the police, so Tim seeks advice from his neighbor Wilson Wilson Jr (Earl Hindman).

Wilson: He's trying to cross the threshold into manhood, but he doesn't know how. In tribal societies, as soon as boys show signs of becoming men, they're immediately initiated into adulthood.

Tim: How?

Wilson: Well, some of the more popular rituals include scarring, pulling of teeth, ritual circumcision.

Tim: Brad doesn't even like getting his hair cut.

American Routine Infant Circumcision is invisible. When other people do it, circumcision is outlandish and painful.

House
[aka House, M.D.]

(Fox) Series 2, episode 1: Autopsy, first aired September 20, 2005 Website: http://www.fox.com/house (Full episode summary and audio clips)

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and his team of doctors try to prolong the life of a nine-year old girl with terminal cancer. In an opening scene Dr. House is asked to examine a young Asian-American man who has requested a male doctor. In the examining room, the patient lifts his books to reveal a blood stain on the crotch of his jeans. He explains that his girlfriend has never been with an "uncircumcised guy" and that he had sterilised 'box cutters' [a utility knife] and tried to circumcise himself with it. Viewers then get a rear view of his ankles as he pulls down his jeans and underwear. Dr. House falls back against the wall with a shocked expression. He says, 'I'm going to call a plastic surgeon to put the Twinkie back in the wrapper.' (It seems to be compulsory on TV for even doctors to use dumb metaphors to talk about circumcision. A Twinkie is a snack cake made by Hostess.) The story returns to the cancer patient and this patient is never seen again.

Unlike a similar scene in ER a few years ago, there is no mention of the doctors finishing the circumcision; instead they repair the damage (possibly a first for an American medical drama).

However, it passively promotes men having their genitals modified to fit their partners' desires, and the idea that a circumcised penis is better than an intact one. There is no mention of psychiatric or psychological treatment for the man for his self-mutilation.

Thanks to NORM-UK

Jackass
(MTV)

One of the characters is dressed like the devil and calls himself Satan. Walking around L.A., he tells someone: "For one thing, God didn't invent circumcision, I did!"

While some Intactivists may agree, the context of the claim makes clear that it is a joke.

Judging Amy

(CBS. US broadcast November 9, 1999, "a compelling new drama")
A divorced couple appears before Judge Amy Gray (Amy Brenneman). The father (a convert to Judaism from Catholicism) wants to have their newborn son circumcised, the Catholic mother does not. In her chambers, Judge Amy considers the suit hilarious, and in court she can barely contain her mirth. She says that in the divorce settlement they agreed to raise their children Jewish, so she rules in favour of the father. (In fact, since the mother is not Jewish, the son is not either, so he does not need to be circumcised.)

The mother stands up and says, "You're mutilating my son!"

The judge replies, "It's a standard medical procedure, it's done all the time. It's relatively short and painless."

"Painless for you, maybe! It's child abuse!"

"It's not child abuse. Broken bones and cigarette burns are child abuse. Get some perspective."

The mother hangs her head. (Baby is circumcised.)

[A swift exchange about peripheral issues - the rights of the child are not mentioned in this case - seems to be a standard method of dealing with controversies on US TV: "balance" has been served, so no-one can be offended.]

(CBS. US broadcast February 15, 2000)
Vincent's girlfriend comes over to his apartment, and his roommate remarks, "... if Englishmen had any sense of aesthetics, they'd be circumcised."

[This is apparently intended to illustrate wit, not bigotry: try substituting "Africans" for "Englishmen" and "bleached" for "circumcised" in the above and see how it looks.]

Kids in the Hall
(Canada)

Scott Thompson (to camera): Mom, Dad, Doctor, I want my foreskin back!

(stares sadly at the camera)
It was stolen from me without my consent! They say, you lose seventy percent of sensation in the head of the penis after circumcision.
(about to cry)
The mind boggles.
(puts his arm up in the air)
What strange creatures be these parents! They say: "It's much nicer now! All cleaned up! Like a good hair cut!" Hey! I want my hood back!
(puts his hands around his torso. As his penis)
I'm cold... It needs its little blanket...
(change of mood)
I could sue... I know I could sue - but what would be the point? It won't change anything... I'll always be mutilated. Another North American loser with an exposed head. So -
(putting his turtle-neck over his head.)
I wear turtle-necks.

A quite remarkably complete statement, even including the m-word. The origin of the 70% figure is unknown.

The King of Queens

(broadcast February 2002)

Carrie's father, Arthur, is in hospital, about to be anaesthetised for an angioplasty, when he is visited by Carrie and her husband.

Arthur: Now, this is important; while I'm under, please see to it that they don't circumcise me.

(Carrie rolls her eyes at her husband)

Carrie (patiently but firmly): They're not going to circumcise you.

Arthur: Excuse me, what is the name of this hospital?

Carrie (Sighs. Softly): Forest Hills Jewish

Arthur: 'Nough said!

(Enter Nurse)

Nurse: Excuse me kids, I just need to do some prep work on your dad.

Arthur): Here we go! (He lifts the covers and looks fondly at his genital region

After the operation, he looks under the covers and says,

Arthur: That's the view I'm looking for!

This illustrates the first myth: "only Jews circumcise" (and they'll circumcise anybody). He is probably in more danger in a gentile US hospital. It avoids the myths that wrongful circumcision is trivial and a big joke - progress of a kind.

See it on YouTube.

Season 1, Episode 16

Deacon, Richie, Spencer and his mother are watching video of him as a baby.

Mom: Then they put alcohol on it. Watch out, baby Spence, you're about to lose a piece of your tinky.

Trivialising.

King of the Hill

Season 6, No 12: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Hill
first broadcast March 17, 2002

Peggy (voiced by Kathy Najimy) pretends to be a nun in order to get a teaching job at a Catholic school. She excuses herself to Hank, saying:
"It's not as if I was dressed up as a rabbi and circumcising people left and right. People do that, you know."

Refreshingly, presents circumcising as a bad thing to do.

The Kumars at No. 42 (UK)

Talkshow/sitcom about an Indian family in England (saucy Grandma, parents, bigheaded son Sanjeev [Sanjeev Bhaskar]) that has a talk studio in the house.

Guest comedian David Baddiel said he had a friend who is half-Jewish: "He has a two-skin."
Grandma (Meera Syal): We'll we're Hindus, so we don't circumcise: we keep the funny little hat.

The great majority of circumcision in England is now Muslim. Grandma's remark trivialises circumcision.

Kyle XY

Episode 3, The Lies that Bind, Monday July 10, 2006

A strange, innocent youth, Kyle (Matt Dallas), has been found naked in the woods with amnesia. Perhaps he is an alien: he has no navel. He is put up with the family of a social worker in Seattle.

Lori Trager (April Matson), 16, wants to use the bathroom while Kyle is using it. When he doesn't come at once she asks him if he is modest.

Innocent Kyle opens the door completely naked, and declares, "I am not modest!"

Lori stares him up and down and exclaims, "No, you're not. And you're clearly not Jewish, either."

Cementing the fallacy that all Jewish males are circumcised, but really just finding an excuse to refer to his penis and circumcision. Apparently and unsurprsingly, aliens don't practice infant circumcision.

Ladies' Man

A baby is born and unexpectedly proves to be male. Comments are made about the baby's penis, how big and swollen it is, etc.

Cut to the parents in the hospital room admiring the baby. The father tells his son he's sorry but he's going home to a house full of women (the "sit." of this "com.") and the father won't always be able to protect him.

The nurse comes in and holds out her arms for the baby. The father unquestioningly hands his son over to her - and then as an afterthought, as the nurse is leaving, he asks where she is going.

She responds, "To get him circumcised."

Without batting an eye, the father says, "And so it begins."

The mother smiles at him as canned laughter ends the show.

(Then baby is circumcised.)

Law and Order: SVU

[SVU=Special Victims Unit]

video

A man is murdered and thrown from the roof of a building after sustaining deep bite wounds on his penis. Detectives Benson and Stabler's investigation leads to a young teenage graffiti artist, Logan Stanton. His DNA appears to be a match to the salvia in the bite, but his twin sister Lindsay confesses to the crime, and it is then revealed that she was born male and was re-assigned as female after a botched circumcision. The parents describe the accident:

Mrs. Stanton: It's supposed to be a routine procedure. They do it hundreds of times a day.
Detective Stabler: What?
Mr. Stanton (sighs): Circumcision.
Detective Stabler (appalled): They took off too much?
Mrs. Stanton: They used, um... some sort of device? To remove the foreskin.
Mr. Stanton: It malfunctioned. Burned him severely.
Mrs. Stanton: We spoke to all the experts... and they all said he would never be normal.
Detective Benson: He could have stayed a boy.
Mr. Stanton: Never a fully functional one.
Detective Stabler: He could have gotten a prosthesis.
Mrs. Stanton: Not until puberty. And even then... it would never fool anyone.
Mr. Stanton: Imagine the abuse he'd take in locker rooms. (tearfully) The humiliation of explaining it to the girl he fell in love with. (shakes his head) We couldn't put him through that.
Detective Benson: You thought a sex change operation... would be easier on him?
Mrs. Stanton: What else could we do? Dr. Blair convinced us it was the only hope our child had for a normal life!
Mr. Stanton: He found us the leading surgeon in sex reassignments.
Mrs. Stanton: Promised us that it would work. He promised us. As long as we were committed to raising her as a girl.

The circumcision is not discussed again (the episode focuses on Lindsay's painful experience of gender dysphoria and the unethical practices of their gender reassignment therapist, culminating in the twins' murder of him).

Loosely based on the story of David Reimer, a Canadian boy whose penis was burnt off during (an unnecessary) circumcision, who was unsuccessfully reassigned as female, and who later committed suicide.

The League

FX semi-scripted comedy series about a group of friends who are in a fantasy football league.

Taco (Jon Lajoie) is awakened in his hotel room by Pete (Mark Duplass) and Andre (Paul Scheer). He gets out of the bed naked. Everyone groans and hides their eyes. Most disgusted is Ruxin (Nick Kroll), who was sharing the hotel room with Taco and was unaware of Taco's nocturnal nudity.  

Andre: Oh!

Pete: Whoa! Really?! What is that?! What is that?!

Ruxin: Were you naked all night?

Pete: No!

Taco: Yeah, I always sleep naked.

Pete: No!

Taco: Alright, boys. Let's go. Let's go. Warm up. Stretch a little bit. (He does jumping jacks)

Pete: Come on!

Ruxin: I thought it was a rule that everyone in the country had to get circumcised.

Taco (Pointing at Pete) Hey, look at me. Look at me. We're gonna get you laid tonight. Right, boys?

Some people do "think it is a rule that everyone in the country has to get circumcised" - which makes it much easier to impose on new parents.

Season 4 episode 2 "The Hoodie" first broadcast October 18, 2012 on FX.
Episode Synopsis: Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) and Jenny (Katie Aselton) argue over whether or not their son will be circumcised and everyone takes sides... .

The male friends are of mixed circumcision status, and it is implied that it is arbitrary and really doesn't matter.

Intact Kevin is at odds with Jenny, who may be wanting baby Christopher circumcised because she has a crush on the handsome Jewish pediatrician, Dr. Levenson (Ben Lawson) who would do the cutting.

Jenny attempts to shame Kevin:

When I was in high school I knew every boy who wasn't circumcised, because that's what girls talk about it. And we think it's weird.

Ruxin (Nick Kroll) defends circumcision and, unsurprisingly, extols his own penis:

If you got a Corvette, you want to rock it with the top down. [But when the rain comes down, you need to be able to put the top up again. A pity his top was stolen as soon as he bought it.]

Kevin visits his ex and asks her to sign a statement saying she thought sex with him was better because of his foreskin [and he expects this to convince his wife?]. She refuses on the basis that it's not appropriate for her to get involved. Circumcision is so trivial that Kevin and Jenny resolve that they will play a match of fantasy football, the winner to decide if the baby is cut.

Meanwhile, Andre (Paul Scheer) mysteriously refuses to reveal whether is he is intact or circumcised, leading the others to talk to his ex, who eventually reveals that he is half-circumcised, due to his having been such a fat baby that his penis was buried and the doctor could only cut off half of his foreskin.

Jenny wins the fantasy football match, baby will be cut. At the moment the circumcision is being done Kevin bursts into the pediatrician's office (not to stop the circumcision, but to make an unrelated point) -

The League - joking about a botched circumcision

- and the doctor is startled, resulting in the baby being half-circumcised. The last shot is the baby screaming.

Stupid and trivializing, both groundbreaking in acknowledging botched circumcision, and disgusting in making light of it.

Living in Captivity

1998 sitcom about three families of different ethnicities living in one suburb. Only a few episodes broadcast.

In one, Will (Matthew Letscher), proposes to Becca (Melinda McGraw). She wants a Jewish wedding, so Will has to convert, but "What about my ... shmeckel?" (Shelley Berman guest stars as the mohel.) Will's male friends don't like it that he has cut part of his penis off forever, but the women think it a bold act.

Again with the myth that "only/all Jews are circumcised" The fact that Judaism forbids conversions of convenience is ignored again.

Looking

HBO "Dramady" described as "gay Sex and the City shifted to SF",
Episode 2
, Looking for Uncut

Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett) coach Patrick Murray (Jonathan Groff, "possibly the least savvy, least worldly gay 29-year-old ever to walk the streets of San Francisco") to be prepared for his new trick Richie( Raúl Castillo)'s probably uncircumcised penis. Patrick is all wide-eyed and innocent, so the uncut thing is brand new to him, and he ends up Googling photos of it. He tells Richie during their date that he and his friends had a whole conversation about him being Mexican and uncircumcised, and says it's a big "relief" when he finds out, while fooling around for the first time, that he is circumcised. Ritchie walks off in a huff because he's being "fetishized".

[Or perhaps he hates being circumcised.]

Espisode 4, Looking for $220/hour

Patrick runs into Richie again, who says "I'm still cut."

The flipside of "All US men are circumcised": "All Latinos are intact." The proposition that intact men are inferior to circumcised is maintained.

Married with Children

Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill), hapless, erotically-challenged father of a dysfunctional family, has injured his back playing football. His voluptuous but dim wife Peggy (Katey Segal) is concerned:

Peggy: How bad is it, Aaron?

Aaron (Hill Harper): Well, we took him to my doctor and he says all Mr. Bundy needs is a minor operation. They make this little circular incision in his lower back, ease thepressure off his spine and he's good as new!

...
Peggy (on a public phone in the hospital): So anyway, Al just keeps going on about how "something bad" is going to happen to him, and I say "Look, it's a simple operation. What are the odds of something horrible happening to you?"

(A doctor approaches Peggy.)

Doctor: : Excuse me, Mrs. Bundy, but something horrible has happened to your husband. ... [checks his chart] See, this was one of those... unfortunate accidents due to simple human error. It seems our surgical team misread your doctor's instructions. It said to give him a "circular incision".

Peggy: Yeah. So, how could you misread that?

Doctor: We gave him a... circumcision.

(Peggy stares at the doctor is awe and disbelief. Marcy is heard shrieking with laughter through the phone, until Peggy covers the receiver.)

Peggy: Oh dear. Uh, where is he?

Doctor: That's the other thing...

A room full of newly circumcised babies, all crying. Al is in a bed next to them, crying and fussing like a baby.
...
(The Bundy house. Al's children, Bud (David Faustino) and Kelly (Christina Applegate), are carrying boxes down the stairs)

Bud: Man, just when you thought all the disasters that could happen to Dad have happened to Dad...

Kelly:: Yeah, a circumcision. And we thought he was in a mood when they cut his hair too short. Now we can't even tell him it'll grow back... Can we?

Bud: Yeah, why not? We lied about his hair.

...
Extended gags about Al's pain
...

Al: Peg, would you have any idea why I'd feel less concerned about [my back]?

...
Kelly: Because you're in so much more pain from the circumcision.

Al: Correct. [Kelly smiles, pleased] And while we're on that subject, does anybody know why such a wacky thing could've happened to Daddy in the first place?

...
Kelly: Because Mommy made you go to the hospital?

Al: Close, sweetheart. Mommy married Daddy first, then made him go to the hospital.

Incredibly, the option of blaming the doctors is never canvassed.
...

(Al takes off his robe. He is wearing a bright yellow muumuu with an ugly pattern on it. He eases back onto the couch. Bud and Kelly look at him oddly.

Al: What!?

Kelly: Well, how much did they cut off, Dad?

...
Neighbour Marcy:: Hey, Stubby... We heard about what happened, so we got you a card.


(The card has a picture of a pair of scissors on the front.)

Her husband Jefferson: Uh, I talked her out of the "Ask Me About My Circumcision" bumper sticker.

Marcy: (reads):
  We heard about your little loss, we know you'll make it through,
  'Cause, thankfully, the part they took was of no use to you.
  And though they took more than you'd like, the good luck is, you see,
  Another quarter inch it'd been a full lobotomy!

  P.S. Hahahahahahahahaha!

...
Jefferson: Eh, cranky, huh, old buddy? Well, I know exactly how you feel. I had to get circumcised myself once.

Al: How'd you deal with the pain?

Jefferson: I don't know, I was only one day old.

Incredibly, nobody knows how day-old infants deal with the pain. ...

(Marcy is helping Peggy make a sandwich. There is a long meaty sausage on the counter and a baguette nearby.
)

Peggy: Oh, Marcy, I feel just awful about this. The pain he must be in! And it's all my fault!

Marcy: Well, just do what you can to take his mind off it.

Peggy: Well, I do.

Peggy picks up a small cleaver and chops the end of the sausage. Al sees this, cringes and looks nauseous. Peggy picks up the baguette and puts in on the chopping board.

Peggy: It's just that for some reason he cannot seem to let go of it.

Peggy chops the end of the baguette. Al again sees this, cringes and then passes out on the couch.

Peggy: Nah, I don't know what to do.

Marcy: Well, just give it a few days. Besides, I hear there are some benefits to having a circumcised man. They're healthier, the sex is better, they're less likely to...

Peggy (interrupting): Whoa-ho-ho! The sex is better?

Marcy: For the woman.

Peggy: Well, that's all I care about. Go on.

(Al starts coming to.)

Marcy: Well, they say it lasts longer because the man is, uh, less sensitive.

....

Extended gags about Al's sexual frustration.

Peggy: Well, we overheard this couple going at it in the bathroom. I don't know how they thought they could get away with it. I mean, you could hear her a whole block away. [loudly] "Oh, Al!" - his name was Al, too - "Oh, Al!" On and on!

(SFX: Sproing!)

Peggy: What was that sound?

Al: A stitch.

Peggy: Well, it's time to get this couch re-upholstered.

...

Caption: TWO MORE WEEKS LATER

Peggy (on the phone): Well, I don't like this, Marcy. He's been in the garage past a month now, and I still can't get him to come out. I mean, suppose something went wrong? He was really starting to like those muumuus... [sadly] Yeah, well, suppose he's all well and he just doesn't want me anymore.

(The garage door. Al rips the door off its hinges and comes out wearing the yellow muumuu. Peggy looks at him, intrigued. Al looks at her. He points at her, then up toward the bedroom. Peggy smiles broadly.)

Peggy (still on the phone): Never mind!

(Peggy hangs up. She runs upstairs. Al follows. A crash, the room shakes and debris falls into the living room. A few seconds later, Al comes back downstairs in his robe. He sits on the couch and thinks. The music stops.)

Al: You know, it did last longer. And the best part is, I didn't feel a thing!

The messages of this show are:

  • Circumcision is trivial...
  • ...and beneficial
  • Accidental circumcision is a huge joke
  • Circumcision is painful.
  • The main disadvantage is the month's enforced celibacy.
The "circular incision" gag that sets is all up is weak enough, but for someone in the US not to sue for such a mistake is incredible. Yet in Thailand, life has imitated art.

M*A*S*H

A Korean woman asks for Bris for her baby, aged 3-4 months. (His father, presumably a deceased US serviceman, was Jewish. Orthodox Judaism decrees that only a Jewish mother makes a baby Jewish.) Doctors demur, one saying it is an elective procedure that would waste military resources, but eventually agree (and organise a rabbi to say the right prayers by telegraph).

Father Francis Mulcahy (William Christopher) agrees to attend the ceremony, and stresses to the mother "Don't worry about the circumcision...I have many friends with them!" (a roundabout way of saying "Some of my best friends are Jews," implying only Jews are circumcised.)

Ethics are not mentioned. Baby is circumcised The beautiful wide-eyed baby stares peacefully forward, never flinching or wimpering, but instead making a few happy sounds. The adults in the room are joyful and the doctor is patted on the back for the "good job" he did.

Masters Of SexDocu-drama (2013) about amateur sex researchers Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
Series 1 Episode 9 "Involuntary" (about 7 mins in).

A young doctor, Ethan Haas (Nicholas D'Agosto), is meeting his fiance, Vivian Scully (Rose McIver), a nurse, to discuss wedding plans. She is late and comes in flustered:

Vivian: I am so sorry I'm late. I got stuck with a patient, Mr Davenish. I was supposed to help him bathe and then he just dropped his robe without any warning in front of me and then you know.. (she sits down) Ethan, there was something really wrong with his penis. It looked like an anteater. I'm so glad you're not deformed like that. I've never seen such a thing; I didn't even know it could happen to a man.

Ethan: (amused) Not being circumcised? What you saw was foreskin. Mr Davenish has it, I don't.

Vivian: Well, then it's just luck?

Ethan: No! Jesus! They should really teach this in candy-striping. Or at least in sororities. All men are born with foreskin. Some people have the baby's foreskin removed after birth. Basically they just cut away the extra skin.

Vivian: Who would do that to a little baby?

Ethan: Jews. I 've forgotten the idea behind it - something about the mark of god. Recent studies show it also helps prevent syphillis, so we've got that in our corner.

Vivian: We do? You say that like you were Jewish.

Ethan: My parents are, but not me.

Vivian: But doesn't that mean that you are?

Ethan: Technically, but I don't observe so its just a label that doesn't mean anything to me.

The dialogue continues about their religious difference and his willingness to convert to Catholicism to marry her.

In the 1950s when the scene is set, the circumcision rate the the USA was ~80%. It is inconceivable that a registered nurse would be unaware of circumcision, or a doctor unaware that gentiles do it. While the "anteater" insult is common nowadays, it would not be the first thing to spring to a naïve person's mind on seeing her first intact penis. The syphilis claim was more than 100 years old in the 1960s and was, and is, nonsense. Syphilis is highly infectious, a foreskin or not.

"...the spirochaete [syphils bacterium] is able to pass through intact mucous membranes or compromised skin. It is thus transmissible by kissing near a lesion, as well as oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Approximately 30 to 60% of those exposed to primary or secondary syphilis will get the disease. Its infectivity is exemplified by the fact that an individual inoculated with only 57 organisms has a 50% chance of being infected."

- Wikipedia

And would any man mention syphilis to his fiancée in the 1950s, implying he was at risk of it?

Series 1, Episode 11 (2013) "Phallic Victories"

William Masters has just declared that he is set to announce that penis size is not the key to pleasing a woman, a revolutionary idea at the time. Virginia Johnson delivers a fiery reply:

"You're not giving [men] the gift you think you are. After all those jubilant small- to medium-size men come home and crawl into bed beside their sleeping women, they're going to stare up at the bedroom ceiling and they're going to realize that if size doesn't matter, something else does. And that 'something else' is going to scare the hell out of them. Because maybe they don't have it."

Given that reality, and the fact that by this time in US history about half of adult males were circumcised - certainly most college-educated men - there was no conceivable way that Masters & Johnson were going to declare that the foreskin contributes to good sex. The only hope for their professional success - and the sales of their book - was to validate the status quo (and trend) and make the majority of men/couples feel good about themselves. The same is true today of every US medical association, university and government agency that pronounces on circumcision. To be credible and well-received, they must confirm that circumcision is good, or at least not detrimental. (h/t to Jason Fairfield)

Series 1 Episode 12 "Manhigh"

Willaim Masters makes his first presentation of his study's findings: We were able to disprove many myths. For example, uncircumcised men do not have more ejaculatory control than circumcised men. Circumcision does not affect impotency one way or another.

In fact Masters and Johnson made no study at all of circumcision and ejaculatory control or potency.

Mental

Episode MEN-108, "House of Mirrors" July 17, 2009

Official summary: When 16-year-old Heather Masters (guest star Allison Scagliotti) attempts to commit suicide by lighting herself on fire, Jack [Dr. Jack Gallagher (Chris Vance)] and the team must work to get to the bottom of her suicidal tendencies. However, when further testing and discussions with her father and psychiatrist reveal a dark secret that has been hidden from Heather since her birth, Jack is faced with a difficult ethical dilemma. Meanwhile, the relationship between Jack and ...

Reportedly the David Reimer story retold.

Mistresses

Season 2, Episode 2 3:50 in

April and Jess discuss a one-night stand April had recently.

Jess: Oh, it [the sex] wasn't good?

April: It was good. It was... damn. But it just, it wasn't...

Jess (wrinkles her face in disgust): What... circumcised?

April: No, it wasn't me.

Subtext: Intact penises are obviously abnormal/disgusting.

Monk

Episode 12 of Season 1: "Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger"

Lieut. Disher chased a nude man who has been running by every time the police chief gives a press conference. When the dispacher asks him for a description of the suspect, Disher says, "He's wearing grey sneakers"

Dispatcher: Anything else?

Disher: He's not Jewish.

Reinforcing the myth that circumcised=Jewish. He's even less likely to be Muslim, for example.

My Name is Earl

(Season premier)

Earl's rather slow brother Randy (Ethan Suplee) changes himself to be more like his girlfriends, but (according to the voice-over) eventually his true nature shows and reveals him to be plain old Randy.

In one scene he is trying to be like his Hassidic Jewish girlfriend. A small group of her Hassidic family are waiting in a living room when Randy enters.

Randy: Sorry it took so long. I got my foreskin jammed in my zipper. (Realising he's sprung himself, he takes off his black hat. His curls, glued on the sides, come off too.)

(The chances of an American man of Randy's age and social group actually having a foreskin are slimmer than the chance of him finding ringlets to stick on a hat.)

My Wife & Kids

Official summary:
Season 3: Episodes 25 - "Graduation", broadcast May 21, 2003
[Michael (Damon Wayans) and Jay (Tisha Campbell) Kyle]'s hopes for Jr.[ George Gore]'s immediate future are dashed when he and Vanessa [Brooklyn Sudano] drop a bombshell on Michael and Jay.

Season 4: Episode 1 - "From Dummy to Daddy", broadcast September 24, 2003
Michael and Jay are reeling from the news that fresh-out-of- high-school graduates Jr. and girlfriend Vanessa are going to have a baby.

Dimwitted Jr. meets Vanessa for lunch and asks her how her parents took the news.

Vanessa: Not very well. My father said something about smashing your head in with a brick and a third (or a thorough?) circumcision.

For circumcision (or something akin to it) to be proposed as a punishment is progress.

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Episode #622 Angel's Revenge

A group of vigilante women joins forces to bring down a local drug ring. They take a drug pusher hostage and begin to torture him for information. Suspended upside-down from the ceiling, the man is interrogated while one of the women wields a samurai sword over his genitals. When the pusher fails to provide the answers needed, the woman with the sword slices at his genitals while the other women look on with excitement and, for one woman, sexual satisfaction. Mike (Michael Nelson) exclaims, "It's a wanton, unauthorized bris!"

Implicitly, "Circumcision is Jewish."

Episode #810 The Giant Spider Invasion

Dan Kester (Robert Easton) is trying to open up a meteor-like object with a chisel and a hammer, not very effectively. After several botched attempts, Mike says "I'm glad he's not a mohel."

Unlike the previous example, there is no good reason to refer to circumcision here, except for a cheap laugh.

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