When it comes to holiday episodes on TV, Christianity definitely comes out ahead. Easter, Christmas, and even Christian adjacent holidays, like Valentine’s Day, abound. To find
Jewish holiday specials, you have to look harder... which we’ve done so you don’t have to! With Passover approaching, we thought it would be fun to find our favorite shows with Passover episodes. There aren’t a ton, and most of them aren’t exactly geared towards kids, but they exist!
While Jewish children (or the friends and family of Jewish children lucky enough to score an invitation to
Bubbe and Zeyde’s Seder) hear the Passover story every year from the Haggadah over the course of the holiday meal, it’s still fun to see that story — or those holiday traditions — reflected back in pop culture from time to time. Again: we cannot stress enough that not all of these episodes are kid-friendly — but we’ve shared ratings and placed the tamer, child compatible ones toward the top of the list. (And, frankly, those are our favorites.)
You may not be allowed to eat leaven bread for a week, but you’re more than allowed to watch these very special Passover episodes as part of a
chag Pesach sameach! Rugrats: “A Rugrats Passover”
When it comes to Passover episodes or, indeed, explaining
Jewish holidays in general, you really can’t beat The Rugrats. In this episode, it’s Passover, but Grandpa Boris is missing! He left in a huff. But Didi is determined that the Seder will go on, even without her father to lead it. But it turns out that Grandpa Boris didn’t leave: he accidentally got locked in the closet... and it isn’t long before Angelica, Tommy, Chucky, and Chaz get trapped in there with him. While they may be missing the lackluster Seder happening downstairs, Grandpa Boris explains the story of the first Passover, imagined by (and starring) the babies, with Tommy as Moses and Angelica as Pharaoh. Stream The Rugrats, rated TV-Y, on Hulu. Reading Rainbow: “Mrs. Katz and Tush”
This episode of
Reading Rainbow is all about cross-cultural relationships, such as the one between Larnel Moore, a young Black boy, and Mrs. Katz, an elderly Jewish woman in the featured story Mrs. Katz and Tush. The Passover story explores the unconventional friendship they find through their mutual love of an abandoned cat named Tush, but build through their shared cultural history of suffering and perseverance.
In the non-story part of the episode, LeVar pays a visit to his “very own Mrs. Katz,” a Jewish family friend, who teaches him how to prepare Jewish foods such challah and potato latkes (neither of which are exactly Kosher for Passover, since they’re considered
chametz, but it’s a nice exploration of Jewish foods nonetheless). Watch Reading Rainbow, rated TV-Y, on Amazon Prime. Shalom Sesame: “It’s Passover, Grover”
It’s Passover, and Anneliese, Grover and Avigail are getting ready the the Seder at Shoshana’s house when they realize — oh no! — they have no horseradish! They need the bitter herb to have a proper Seder. All the stores are closed for the holiday, so it’s a mad dash to find it... maybe Moishe Oofnik, the Grouch, can help out.
Told in the traditional
Sesame Street style of a main story broken up by educational interstitials, Shalom Sesame was produced to teach children in the United States about Judaism and Israel. This episode explores Passover traditions around the world, the letter mem, the number 4 (important to the holiday), and, of course, matzo and the afikomen! Rent Shalom Sesame, It’s Passover Grover, rated TV-Y, on Amazon Prime for $1.99. The Nanny: “The Passed-Over Story”
Maxwell has found a new star for his latest Broadway show: famous actress Morgan Faulkner... who just happens to be Fran’s high school rival. (“Feh. I went to high school with her when she was Marcie Feldman.”) But eldest daughter Maggie loves Morgan, and wants to forgo college to be her personal assistant. Amid all this
meshugas, the Sheffields join the Fines for Passover, where youngest child Grace asks the four questions.
In 2017, Fran Drescher, who is Jewish IRL, told
that her own culture is The Forward integral to the character and the series. “ The Nanny was based off of the rich and colorful characters that I felt I identified with growing up in Flushing, Queens,” she told in 2017. When she pitched the series, the network told her they would buy the show outright... but there was a catch. “The caveat was that I had to be Italian. For very practical reasons, I said no: ‘I am Jewish, we want to write this with my brand of comedy, which is rich in specificity and relatability, and we wouldn’t be able to write it as Italian because we’re not Italian.’ We would be doing a caricature of what we think Italian is, because we didn’t grow up with it.” The Forward
We’re so glad she stuck to her guns.
Stream The Nanny, rated TV-PG, on HBO Max. Saturday Night Live: “Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy” Saturday Night Live is full of recurring characters, and one that’s perfect for Passover is Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy (played by Vanessa Bayer) who stops by “Weekend Update” every few years to explain Jewish holidays and traditions in the stereotypical, scripted, and painfully awkward Bar Mitzvah speech style familiar to anyone who spent 8th grade dancing at their friends’ bar and bat mitzvahs every weekend.
“Jacob” has appeared twice to explain Passover, once on his own and once with his podiatrist father, played by Billy Crystal, who shares his son’s penchant for terrible jokes.
Stream Saturday Night Live, rated TV-14 (though this sketch is a PG at most) on or SNL’s YouTube channel NBC.com. The O.C.: “The Nana”
Sandy Cohen is bracing himself for his mother, Sophia, to arrive in Newport Beach to spend Passover with them. Wary of suffering the wrath of her trademark obnoxiousness (it doesn’t take much to trigger it), he’s determined to make the Seder perfect — even if it means pretending he’s far more pious than he actually is. Meanwhile, Seth is nervous to introduce his girlfriend, Summer, to his Nana, feeling she won’t approve of his non-Jewish girlfriend. But when she arrives she’s... nice? Like... a little
too nice? What’s up with Nana? All will be revealed at the Seder. Stream The O.C., rated TV-PG, on HBO Max. Saturday Night Live: “Elijah the Prophet”
Among the many beloved Passover traditions is that of pouring a fifth, untouched cup of wine for Elijah, the prophet who will one day arrive as an unknown guest to herald the coming of the messiah. There is a moment during a Seder in which families open the door for Elijah and, in this classic sketch from 1992, he is actually standing there, played by Jerry Seinfeld.
And it turns out that Elijah is... a bit of a jerk. He complains about the food, throws shade on Lot’s wife, and just generally breaks the fourth wall in a way that just kind of works.
Stream Saturday Night Live, rated TV-14, on Hulu. Gossip Girl: “Seder Anything”
Dan takes a job as a cater-waiter to earn money for college. But the plot thickens when it turns out that the evening’s job is a Passover Seder at the Waldorf penthouse, where members of his family and friends will be guests! He tries to get out of it, but when he’s offered double pay, it’s too good an offer to refuse. (Besides: Blair Waldorf won’t be there.) It’s a whole mess of tangled intentions and layered secrets... classic
Given that this is
Gossip Girl, a series built on interwoven, chaotically dramatic storylines, coming in for one episode might be a bit confusing, but if you’re a fan of the series, it’s for sure a fun holiday rewatch! Stream Gossip Girl, rated TV-14, on HBO Max. Curb Your Enthusiasm: “The Seder”
When Larry David meets a Seinfeld fan on the street, he feels for the down-on-his luck man and invites him to the Seder upon learning the fan has nowhere to go for the holiday... of course, he doesn’t have anywhere to go because the fan is a sex offender. He even has his face plastered on warning posters all over the neighborhood. (Larry is never the less determined he should have a seat at his Seder: “He’s a Jew!”)
Sex offenders aside, the show depicts a traditional Seder, down to Larry hiding the afikomen for kids (who, naturally, have their own separate table).
Stream Curb Your Enthusiasm, rated TV-MA, on HBO Max. Transparent: “Elizah” and “Exciting and New” Transparent is a show about identity, and throughout the series, the Pfefferman family’s Jewish identity is a big part of that. The third season begins and ends with a Passover episode... kind of. In “Elizah,” Rabbi Raquel opens the episode practicing for a sermon on the holiday, which serves as a metaphor for Maura. An out trans woman, there’s resonance in the Passover theme of freedom, but she still doesn’t always feel free. While volunteering at a suicide hotline, she tries to help a girl named Elizah (like Elijah... get it?).
In the last episode, the Pfefferman family holds a makeshift Seder on a cruise ship, using less than Kosher items to create their Seder plate.
Stream Transparent, rated TV-MA, on Amazon Prime.
So there you have it: lots of options to enjoy while you’re
not enjoying your usual assortment of carbs! Chag Sameach, everyone! What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox