“Soon By You” is a wildly buzzed-about web-series about a group of shiny haired Orthodox Jews and Jewesses looking for love on the dirty dirty Upper West Side.
I had heard of the show, which was created by one of the show’s stars, Leah Gottfried, who bases it on her own experiences as a single Orthodox woman. But since the title is almost always said as one word (“soonbayou”) I assumed people were talking about a food trend. Last night I finally comprehended what “Soon By You” is — a 5 episode comedy web-series inspired by the Israeli hit “Srugim” — and I instantly sat down and watched the entire thing in one sitting while chugging La Croix. Over a year after the show premiered on YouTube, but only two days after the season finale dropped, I, a Reform Jew, fell in love with “Soon By You.”
First, let’s thank God for bringing us to this day (the day of having watched all of “Soon By You” without so much as getting up to find snacks that compliment tangerine La Croix) and remind us how we got here. A brief synopsis of “Soon By You” season one, episodes 1-4:
Sarah Feldman (Sara Shur) and David (Danny Hoffman) the sort-of Rabbi are the only two people in the world who have memorized “Walden,” and they are both very impressed with themselves. They meet when David sits at the wrong table at a set-up — he is supposed to be meeting the un-self aware Sarah Jacobs (Gottfried) but inadvertently sits down with Sara Feldman (Sara Schur), who in turn is supposed to be meeting Ben (Nathan Shapiro). After an interlude of Shakespearean confusion, Sarah J. and David team up with David’s roommate “Z” (the one and only true star of the show — if they don’t make a web-series category for the Emmy’s and give it to Noam Harary then US democracy is dead and that is a fact.) The three of them quest to find Sarah F. and Ben, and with them, true love and Jewish continuity. Through these antics they meet Sarah J.’s roommate Noa(Jessica Schechter), who is a truculent Orthodox feminist (which is interesting and a little painful). That’s it! They become a sort of sensually-charged friend group.
This all culminates in the final episode of the season, when David and Z crash Sarah F’s cousin’s wedding (where Sarah J. is a bridesmaid) to win Sarah F. back. Sarah F., a woman whose quirkiness is signaled by the fact that she sometimes has paint on her hand (“Soooo embarrassing,”) is mad because she wants to make aliyah some day and Rabbi David thinks that leaving America for a desert land where all the chocolate is made out of plastic is a weird call. First date: should we move to the Middle East together? Second date: Should I crash a wedding and propose to you to make up for being a bad listener?
For this, we live.
Now, to the season one finale. I recorded my feelings as I watched so that we could all experience catharsis together:
1.Aha! David and Z are crashing a wedding as Mr. and Mr. Mark Markowitz so that they can get to Sarah F. at her cousin’s wedding so things don’t have to end like they did at the craft store! Take that, Forward columnist who said this show wasn’t progressive! (He still made some good points.)
2.Sarah J. leaving her “Naked Basics” eyeshadow pallet in a Ben’s hands and then walking away and forgetting about it is the single most unrealistic thing that has happened on this show. No woman would leave Urban Decay out of her sight for a moment, least of all Sarah J., whose eyeshadow is always so on point!
3.Skintight sequin-covered pink floor-length gowns make me want to become Orthodox.
4.ALERT ALERT ALERT! Phrase “Soon by you” finally used in conversation! Hark! This is happening at last! I feel like I am “A Part Of Their World” à la the Little Mermaid.
5.Drinking every time you hear the phrase “Soon by you” is funny, but taking a shot every time you hear Sarah J. advertise Shabbat.com is the real drinking game for a “Soon By You” fan.
6.Poor Sarah F.! Being asked how you can make a living as an artist is going as an artist TRULY is the secular equivalent of “Soon by you” and she has to deal with both.
7.Pareve deserts: I’m going to say it. So small and so bad. So there it is, I said it.
8.The reoccurring waiter/bartender character (played by Carol Mazhuvancheril) thrills me to my soul — where is his spinoff series?
9.Accusing a rabbi of breaking various commandments is truly one of the greatest pleasures of not being a Rabbi and if you haven’t done it yet I suggest you try it now.
10.I would buy a wall calendar where all the pictures are just shots of David eating loose cereal out of Z’s hand.
11.It is exceptionally hard to imagine that David is the only Rabbi at this Orthodox wedding but I am LOVING the storyline nonetheless.
12.Sarah F. is a stone cold maniac! I can’t decide whether I love her or hate her!
13.Wow the bride looks so beautiful that honestly it is hard to watch especially because I can tell her acquaintances are about to ruin her wedding.
14.I have only been to one Orthodox wedding in my entire life but it honestly was exactly like this.
15.A PERSON I KNOW IS ON THIS SHOW! JEWISH GEOGRAPHY SHALL REIGN FOREVER! SHOUT OUT TO JONAH WEINSTEIN, STAR ACTOR.
16.Amazing soapbox for Halachic prenups! Wow! This is even better than the amazing ad spots for JScreen.
17.David, do not talk to Sarah’s mom and aunt that way! You are a RABBI, maybe!
18.A character is making SEXUAL REFERENCES while spooky music plays! This show is becoming urbane as hell.
19.“You think you know a guy, and then…SURPRISE!” Whoah, Aunt Sylvia did not come to play.
20.Z, the kindly genius, is my favorite character on this show, but Ben, the rude and self-obsessed law student, is the most believable character on this show, I am sorry to report.
21.Who the eff is Aleeza Ben Shalom and why am I already in love with her?
22.Rude lawyer is comparing women to button down shirts and I am here for it, shockingly. That is what love stories will do!
23.No offense, but if anyone interrupted my walk down the aisle, even to help her very sad and drunk friend, I would have her killed by a highly trained team of assassins.
24.Some seriously biblical imagery with a weeping woman named Sarah crying out to God! Getting strong B’reishit vibes.
25.An amateur wedding crasher child Rabbi performing my wedding in a desperate bid to get a girl to go on a second date with him is my actual nightmare.
26.David word-vomiting about Sarah F. from under the chuppah: “She means what she says and you want to hear what she has to say…you’d do anything to keep being around her.” This is actually beautiful!
27.Man interrupting him: “This is a wedding, and some of us are starving. Not all of us got to eat before the lamb sliders ran out.” This is also very accurate!
28.I know there’s a complex narrative going on here but Noa’s hairstyle is actually slaying me.
29.Is that a bedazzled mechitza? Should I become Orthodox so I can have a bedazzled metchitza? (No.)
30.David and Sarah F. are the two cutest but most boring people I have ever seen! They should get married to take each other out of the running.
31.Finally realized what David reminds me of: a sexy muppet.
32.Are these people going to kiss or what?
33.OK are they not kissing because of a medieval female uncleanliness thing or because of dramatic tension?
34.NOW WE DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED WITH SARAH JACOBS AND BEN I CAN’T LIVE THIS WAY.
35.This was the best 36 minutes and 38 seconds I have ever spent.
36.Please come back, “Soon By You!”
You can watch full episodes of “Soon By You” Right Here: