Guess who came to Channing’s Shabbat dinner

Guess who came to Channing’s Shabbat dinner

If you’ve been longing to hear actress Stockard Channing recite the blessing over the Shabbat candles, or Idris Elba praise matzah balls, Paramount Plus has just the show for you.

Strangely enough, that show is “Knuckles,” a live action series about Knuckles the Echidna. Echidnas, also known as spiny anteaters are, generally speaking, found in Australia and New Guinea; like their local neighbor the platypus, they are egg-laying mammals. Knuckles, however, is not from Australia; he is an alien echidna, sole survivor of his people, with a baroque back story suited to a character who originated 30 years ago in a video game, Sonic the Hedgehog 3. In the series, Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) is on Earth, teamed up with an earthling police deputy, Wade Whipple, played by Adam Pally.

Episode three of the six-episode series is called “The Shabbat Dinner” and features Wade Whipple and Knuckles seeking refuge in Whipple’s childhood home, where his mother — played by Channing — is delighted to have her son back for Shabbat dinner and happy to meet his friend, who turns out to be a fan of her matzah balls, though Knuckles is somewhat skeptical of the gefilte fish.

Nothing to be skeptical about in Channing’s pronunciation of the Hebrew blessing over the candles, however. Even better, one of the episode’s running gags is that Channing mispronounces Knuckles’ name as “Nuchles,” with the Hebrew guttural “ch” sound used in words like “Chanukkah” and “naches.” We look forward to its inevitable Emmy nomination for “best use of Hava Nagilah in a Krav Maga action sequence in a video-game-inspired streaming series.”

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