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The 5 Types of Jewish Characters in Sci-Fi Movies

#2. V: The Scientists (Figuratively) and Abraham Bernstein (Literally)

Hey, remember V? No? Congratulations, you're young! Even though it's left very little trace on the public's consciousness, V was one of the biggest miniseries of the '80s. It even spawned a TV show that crashed and burned instantly. V is about a bunch of lizard people who come to Earth to eat us. But because it's hard to do that undercover, and because lizard masks are expensive, they look just like us. They're really pretty folk who pretend to come in peace, infiltrate our society, show us a brighter tomorrow, get humans to join up and then eat us.

Here's how they recapped it in the '80s. It was a different time: We could wait 10 minutes to have a premise explained. But if you make it through this clip, you'll see that in order to maintain control, the aliens fabricate propaganda to disenfranchise the intellectuals, specifically the scientific community. The scientists become outcasts, driven from their homes and attacked by these alien troops who all dress alike and have a symbol that looks like a digital swastika.

Now, if this analogy wasn't clear enough for you, the show also features a Holocaust survivor, Abraham Bernstein, who is most certainly Jewish and takes in the show's main scientist as a fugitive. (Jump to 3:07, where Bernstein actually explains that this is totes like the Holocaust -- presumably with more lizard men.) Bernstein is kinda badass as exhibited in this clip, where he helps give spirit to the revolution.

Still, he's not the hero. Much like Cracked.com, the heroes of V are all Irish. Plucky reporter Mike Donovan saves the day. (He's portrayed by Jewish actor Marc Singer, but shhh, we'll keep that on the down low. He can pass.)

#1. Independence Day: Julius and David Levinson

Independence Day is about as close as you can come to Jew pride in a science fiction movie. For anyone who doesn't know, it's the story of a plucky band of resistors, including a jet-flying president, a flying-saucer-flying Fresh Prince and a Jewish computer genius, who all help save the world from an alien invasion.

Yes, right off the bat, the Jewish character is the least cool and the only one in the movie wearing glasses. Having said that, it is his plan (giving the alien ships a computer virus) that saves the world. Yes, it's a completely ridiculous plan that could never work anywhere but the movies, but let's not be picky. After all, this movie has some Jew depth. In addition to Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson, it also has Judd Hirsch as his father, Julius Levinson. Neither character is greedy. Both are smart. Both are brave. Perhaps most startling for a Hollywood movie, Julius Levinson is actually a religious practicing Jew who leads a group of characters in a multidenominational prayer before the big battle.

But the payoff is really the ending, after Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum return to Earth having downed a mother ship. We see that Jeff Goldblum is cool enough to rock a tight undershirt, smoke cigars with a real-live black guy and get the girl!


Kick ass!

Is it sad that Jeff Goldblum, who spends half the movie doing Woody Allenesque gesticulating, is the coolest Jew ever in a sci-fi movie? A bit, but we'll take what we can get.

Both Jews and gentiles are free to watch new episodes of HATE BY NUMBERS. Also follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

For more from Gladstone, check out The Top 5 Worst Lines of Dialogue (From Movies That Don't Actually Suck) and TV's Greatest Off-Screen Quotes and Catchphrases.

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