Last night's viewing - Jewish Mum of the Year, Channel 4; Fresh Meat, Channel 4

 

Hard on the heels of a rebuke from the Advertising Standards Agency for an "irresponsible" and "offensive" campaign that "reaffirmed negative stereotypes" of the Traveller community, Channel 4 continues its proud commitment to minority caricature with the barely credible Jewish Mum of the Year. Let's get the mitigating circumstances out of the way first, since it won't take long.

The competition originally appears to have been conceived by The Jewish News, so this could be framed as self-inflicted injury, and the narration is condescendingly at pains to present the programme as affirmation. Did you know, for example, that although British Jews make up only one per cent of the population, "they make a big contribution to all areas of modern British life"? Not convinced? Look, here's a picture of Vanessa Feltz and Uri Geller to prove it.

The idea is that eight Jewish mums, notionally the cream of the original entrants, will compete with one another in a variety of tasks, two of them being picked off each week. The judges are Tracy Ann-Oberman (who should have known better) and Professor Dovid Katz, who I assume has been hired not because of his academic studies of the Yiddish language or his stalwart work against Holocaust denial in Lithuania but because he looks like what you'd get if David Walliams ever decided to do a comedy rabbi character. And the first task for the contestants was to arrange a bar mitzvah, with the women being paired up in teams to sort out the cake, canapés and cocktails.

If these really were the best available contenders, the only conclusion is that 99.9 per cent of Jewish mothers were too sensible to take part or simply too busy with real Jewish mothering. Tracy and Lesley, given the job of creating a football-themed cake for 200 people, short-cut the problem by going off to buy some catering bags of sponge mix and a giant tub of long-life cream. Jacqueline and Louisa conducted their research into the best cocktails for the occasion with an enthusiasm that left them too giddy to speak. And Emma and Ruth came together to fill the goody bags and, inadvertently, exemplify how meaningless a collective noun "community" can be.

Emma was a suburban yummy mummy who outsourced the really hard graft to her Filipino maid. Ruth was a dour orthodox type who put piety above considerations of style. And they absolutely loathed each other, with a passion that a mere outsider would have found hard to match. Naturally, the judges kept them both in, despite the fact that they botched their task so badly that the distribution of goody bags turned into shrieking riot. "I wanted to prove to people out there that we are actually humans and can fit in with society," said Emma self-righteously during one of her bickering rows with her co-religionist. Don't worry, Emma, there are plenty of Jewish mothers "out there" who do that every day without even thinking about it. They easily outweigh the bad example you've set.

Fresh Meat is back and celebrated its return with a magnificent running joke about old meat. Howard started working at the local abattoir and is jubilant at the main perk of the job: "It's spare meat.. from the loose meat bin... It's all right. It's from animals." Kingsley has reappeared sporting a soul patch he gamely tries to pretend is no big deal, Josie is still hankering hopelessly after Kingsley and JP is worrying about his sexuality after the discovery that his friend Giles, with whom he shared masturbatory fumbles in the Stowe dormitories, is actually gay and not just "gay". There's also a promising new tenant in the form of Sabine, who insisted on vetting the water pressure and smoke alarms before taking the room. I'm so looking forward to the new term.

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?