Losing My Religion
Most of you don't know that I recently submitted a script to Netflix based on the experience I had that caused me to give up religion all together. Netflix called me back and said that they loved the script but that they had already accepted some other show that had similar themes and they were scared of over saturating the market. So meanwhile, I'm pushing the script on similar streaming sites: Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount +, Amc +, Disney +, Apple TV +, ESPN, Peacock, and Sad Stories About Jews +. I am hoping it gets accepted at at least three of the sites.
Meanwhile, I am going to do something risky here. I am going to post some of the script treatment for my show on this blog. I know that that means that any of you could potentially steal it, but I trust each and every one of you to not try and sell the script that I wrote to whatever new streaming service pops up next. I hope you will enjoy the show and remember that it is a dramatic retelling of events that occured.
Title Card: July 2020
Voiceover: "Before COVID hit, I was just a normal Yeshivish girl"
Shots of girls in skirts playing belts, girls gathered around a 2 inch wide phone to watch Newsies, standard shot of a chassidish person davening that we took from stock photos.
Voiceover: "I remember the day everything changed and I realized my entire religion was a lie. It was in July of 2020. We were trapped at home due to COVID and things were starting to get a little crazy..."
Interspersed shots of people wearing masks and buying toilet paper.
We focus in on a home with mezuzas on every door including the garage. We enter the home. There are masks everywhere. There are 6 different puzzles on the dining room table. In the kitchen the Archer's mother (Henceforth called MA for Mother of Archer) is windexing groceries. In the study the Archer has her laptop open to work sites but is clearly scrolling through Twitter.
Suddenly the Archer (Henceforth known as TA) pauses. Her eyebrows furrow. We zoom in on her phone to see she has paused on a tweet. She leaves Twitter and moves on to Youtube, furiously typing into the search bar. A song begins to play. As the song plays it is clear that the TA is going through a serious emotional crisis. She shakes heavily. She begins to cry. She paces, up and down the study. At one point, she retches. Finally, she pauses the song and runs into the kitchen where MA has wiped down a bottle of oil with bleach.
TA: Mom! Mom! Please tell me it isn't true. Tell me the very foundation I have built my life on isn't crumbling beneath me!
MA is clearly disturbed because she puts down the bottle of bleach she had been holding (alternating with Windex) for five days.
MA: Archer, what is the matter? Is everyone alright? Is it COVID? Did someone not wipe down their groceries properly?
TA: It's worse than COVID mom, it's worse! It's the very foundation of our religion crumbling!
MA: Uh oh. Did Taylor Swift and her boyfriend break up?
TA: DON'T SAY SUCH THINGS THEY ARE TOGETHER FOR LIFE. I'm going to come out and say it. Mom, did you know that the song "Deaf Man in the Shtieble" by Lev Tahor was copied from a goyish song? Called Blind Man in the Bleachers?
MA: Archer, people are literally dying.
TA: I was told my entire life that there were two things given to us by Hashem. The Torah and Deaf Man in the Shtieble. Now, some man on Twitter lets me know that Deaf Man in the Shtieble is a rip-off? Is anything true? Who can I believe?
And with that TA runs from the room in tears, leaving MA looking perplexed. Dramatic music begins to play.
We cut to night. It is clear that TA has been dealing with the emotional fallout from this realization all day. The sweatpants she wears because she doesn't leave the house are bunched up and there are sweat stains. Her hair is gathered in a dirty pile atop her head. There are tear streaks down her cheeks which is impressive because she has not worn makeup since March 11 and it is July.
We cut to an interview with TA, clearly filmed later. In this interview TA is wearing a short sleeved t-shirt that says "Oscar Meyer Wieners" on it. She is clearly not the tzniusdik girl we see in July 2020.
TA in interview: That day felt like everything I had ever known was being challenged. I spent 12 years in day school and 4 years in Jewish pre school and 3 years in Jewish college. And not one person told me that the life I was living was based on a lie. That's when I decided to do more research.
Cut to TA opening a Zoom room with her former classmates from high school. They are all wearing sweats and tichels for those that are married (literally all but two. High five to my other single friend-you're the only one I really love.) They seem concerned, but also hopeful, as TA told them this is an emergency, so naturally they assume she is getting engaged.
TA: Thank you all for joining me tonight. I had a realization today that has really shaken me. Most of you have been with me since Kindergarten, if not earlier. We were all taught the same thing and yet there was a massive truth that has been hidden from us. I'm wondering if maybe this was something they cover in Kallah class and I don't have the knowledge because I haven't been to Kallah class.
One of the class mates, we'll call her Jane, interjects:
Jane: TA you've already asked most of us, and we told you what they said in Kallah classes. I think you really need to get over the idea that there's a secret alien conspiracy that we all discovered in Kallah class.
TA: Let me finish. Was there anything in Kallah class that shook the core of your very belief system?
We see on Zoom all the classmates shaking their heads.
TA: I'm going to tell you something. It's horrifying. Gird your loins.
Shot of all the women girding their loins on Zoom.
TA: The song Deaf Man in the Shtiebel was not created by Hashem and given directly to the Jewish people as a yerusha (inheritance.) It was ripped off of a song called Blind Man in the Bleachers by goyim.
Shot of the women on Zoom looking confused. A classmate (Called "Elizabeth" chimes in.)
Elizabeth: Oh, Archer, no one told you that because you don't have any older siblings! My sister told me that in third grade.
Archer: And none of you bothered to share with me
Another classmate, Mary: We thought you knew! You were the class smarty pants at the time, we didn't think we needed to tell you!
Another classmate, Kitty: Is anyone else concerned that TA considers that one acapella song to be the basis of her religion?
Another classmate, Lydia: Does anyone want to play Psych? My kids are finally asleep!
TA shuts the computer in frustration. We cut to that night where it is clear TA is not sleeping. She tosses and turns and takes out her phone and listens to the goyish song Blind Man in the Bleachers over and over.
Title Card: The Next Day
TA comes downstairs. It is clear she hasn't slept much. Her family is engaged in their various tasks of making breakfast to prepare for their long days of staring at Zooms.
TA: Excuse me everyone
Her family ignores her, thinking she is saying something about how many trees Taylor Swift posted on Instagram and what that means.
TA: Excuse me! This is real news. I have had the very foundation of my religion shaken and I have not come away unscathed. I have decided that I can no longer live life as an Orthodox Jew after finding out the news I found out.
Archer's Sister (we'll call her SA) SA: You were living as an Orthodox Jew before? You haven't worn anything but sweatpants in 5 months.
TA: I have discovered that Deaf Man in the Shtieble is a rip off from the goyim. If the goyim could make something so powerful and wonderful they must have made other things. I have to be where the people are. I have to explore the world. The shackles of this religious life are coming off!
SA: You already don't cover your knees, what else can you possibly add?
This sick burn concludes the pilot of "Blinded by the Shtiebel" coming to a streaming service near you.
Plots of future episodes include:
The Archer tries to relate with the plot of the song "Blind Man in the Bleachers" and goes to a football game blindfolded while listening to the commentary on the radio. The Archer discovers that Football and Yom Kippur are very different, though the devotion shown to each is similar. The Archer also discovers that no matter what is happening in football if you yell "go! go! go! Come on!" You will always be right.
The Archer demeans her previous life as an Orthodox Jew who listened to Deaf Man in the Shtieble by trying to create a rap remix of the song featuring Lil Nas X as The Gay Man in the Minyan. The song gets middling reviews and two teen choice awards for "best use of tears in a music video" and "best music video that was directed on a reality show."
The Archer goes to an elementary school in Lakewood and parks outside blasting Blind Man in the Bleachers to let the children know they are being fooled. The Archer is upset to discover that day is parent teacher conferences and none of the children were around.
The Archer goes for her first slice of non kosher pizza and is SHOCKED to discover that there are no fries at non kosher pizza restaurants. Pizza and fries is strictly a frum tradition. Upon learning this the Archer begins to consider doing teshuva.
Yom Kippur approaches. The Archer approaches the holiday with tremendous trepidation. This is the day that was sung about in Deaf Man in the Shtiebel. The Archer wants to use this day to do Teshuva for the football game and Lakewood school and Lil Nas X video. The Archer turns her eyes to G-D and realizes that though she may have felt betrayed by her creator He was guiding her the entire time.
Like how a blind man, must have been guided up every step of those bleachers. The Archer realizes she too, is blind and deaf when it comes to G-D's ways. If He wanted to test her by having an acapella band named after a Jewish cult steal a song from the goyim and make it the one and only good Jewish song, then that was her test. She may have not passed with flying colors but here she is, in the shtiebel.
Now it's right before Yom Kippur.