I don’t know who has been approving Hallmark’s Jewish programming, but these last couple of years, they’re really knocking it out of the park. Last year, we got a Hanukkah deli rivalry movie, and earlier this year, we got a film about a golem that filled me with Jewish joy and even a Jewish wedding romcom.
And now, we’re getting a Hanukkah time loop movie with some of our favorite classic TV stars — Bryan Greenberg (SWOON!) from “One Tree Hill” and “The Mindy Project” and Rick Hoffman from “Suits.” That’s right — Louis Litt is Jewish both off and on screen, and he’s about to star in a Hanukkah Hallmark movie. That feels like eight nights’ worth of presents right there!
Actress and comedian Vic Michaelis, who appeared in my favorite underrated Amazon show, “Upload,” will star in “Round and Round” as Rachel, a woman who keeps reliving her parents’ Hanukkah party. (I mean, if you have to relive something over and over again, a party with fried noshes doesn’t sound that bad.)
“Can Zach, the ‘nice boy’ Grandma’s trying to set her up with, help her make it to tomorrow?” the Hallmark tagline asks. I do believe the answer to that question is probably yes, because duh, Bryan Greenberg can do anything he puts his mind to (have you heard his music??).
Also, side note to Hallmark channel peeps: You keep getting all these amazing singers to work on your Jewish romcoms, so can we get a Jewish Hanukkah musical sometime, please?!
Stills from the film show that it includes a high stakes game of dreidel, fluffy sufganiyot (Hanukkah donuts), lots of fun Hanukkah decorations, a fully lit menorah, a bakeshop called Goldberg’s (fun fact, last year when I talked to “Hanukkah on Rye” star Jeremy Jordan, he told me that was the name of his favorite Jewish deli), an evidence board with red string on it and lots of pictures of menorahs, a record shop (getting some “High Fidelity” vibes), either a flashback or an ’80s-themed party, and lots of pictures of Hoffman looking super adorable.
Aside from Michaelis, Greenberg and Hoffman, who grew up Jewish (and neurotic, according to this 2017 interview!) on Long Island, the movie also stars some familiar faces like Amitai Marmorstein, who was in “The Eight Gifts of Hanukkah,” and actor David Epstein, who you might recognize from the 2019 Nice Jewish Guys calendar (no? just me?). The movie was written by Tamar Laddy, a “Pretty Little Liars” writer who recently worked on the Hallmark movie “Crashing Through the Snow,” and directed by Stacey N. Harding
Of course, a holiday that features a top that you spin round and round is the perfect setting for a time loop movie (there are, in fact, two images of dreidels in the movie’s title graphic). And as Rachel Klein wrote in Hey Alma, there’s something inherently Jewish in the time loop premise, which, as an alternative to the kind of Christian apocalypse narrative, allows us a chance at redemption here on earth.
There have already been some truly great Jewish time loop tales, from the excellent “Palm Springs,” (which is not super Jewish, but does star Andy Samberg) to the extremely Jewish series “Russian Doll.” There is also incredible Jewish fiction on the topic, like Rachel Lynn Solomon’s excellent “See You Tomorrow” and the upcoming “Finn and Ezra’s Bar Mitzvah Time Loop” by Joshua S. Levy, the author of the delightful middle grade novel “Jake’s Show.”
“Round and Round” will be premiering on Hallmark on December 10, just in time for the third night of Hanukkah, and I can’t wait to watch it again, and again, and again.