Dear reader, I know what you’re thinking: the Passover holiday doesn’t always have the glitz and glam of Hanukkah or a bar/bat mitzvah. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy when Pesach and seders make it onto our TV screens!
So we’ve decided to compile a list of every Passover episode to consume this spring — and where to find them. There are 18 episodes on this list with varying degrees of Passover plotlines (from the entire episode to just a subplot) on so many streaming platforms — and even DVD, if you can believe it!
In no particular order, here are the best (and possibly only?) Passover TV episodes you can stream:
1. “A Rugrats Passover”
Season 3, episode 23 of “Rugrats”
Aired April 13, 1995
My colleague Emily called the Rugrats Hanukkah special “the blueprint for a special Hanukkah episode,” and the same is absolutely true of The Rugrats Passover special. (And actually, the Rugrats Passover special came before the Rugrats Hanukkah special, so it’s kind of the OG.)
In the iconic special, the Pickles family, Angelica and her family, and Chuckie and Chas all descend on the home of Boris and Minka (Tommy’s grandparents) for a Passover seder. After Boris and Minka have a disagreement over wine glasses, Boris is suddenly nowhere to be found (OK, Elijah much?) and Minka assumes that he has left her. Still, the adults continue to prepare for the seder, including Stu grinding his own gefilte fish, while the babies are trapped in the ever-troublesome playpen.
But in a stroke of kindness, Angelica frees the babies because “Passover’s all about freedom.” (So true, bestie.) And they all head to the attic to find better toys.
Once there, they find Boris, who locked himself in! The bad news is that the door doesn’t open from the inside, so they are also now locked in the attic. So Boris takes the opportunity to tell the babies and Angelica the story of Passover.
All-in-all, Boris’ retelling is pretty accurate and includes the iconic line from Moses (played by Tommy), “Nope, I came to tell you to let my babies go!”
So yeah, “A Rugrats Passover” slaps.
2. “Seder Anything”
Season 2, episode 21 of “Gossip Girl”
Aired April 20, 2009
Baruch HaShem for Cyrus Rose, stepdad to Blair Waldorf and the Jewish influence “Gossip Girl” needed from the very beginning.
As Amanda Silberling wrote for Hey Alma in 2021:
“Thanks to Cyrus, we do get a glimpse of Jewish culture. In the Passover episode (season 2, episode 21), called ‘Seder Anything,’ Cyrus prepares ‘a brisket that is going to blow your socks off’ while wearing an apron embroidered with ‘shmutz happens.’ Then, during the seder, he flaunts his dad joke skills: ‘That was the washing of the hands. Also called the Title 88 of the New York City health code.’ If that’s not Jewish, I don’t know what is.
Still, the titular Gossip Girl gets the best line of the episode. When Serena returns from Spain, Gossip Girl says: ‘Baruch Atah ay dios mio! This Passover is going to get its own Spanish Inquisition!’ Knowing that (spoiler alert) Gossip Girl isn’t Jewish, does this come off kind of weird? Yeah. Do I still love that line? Absolutely. ‘Seder Anything’ may not rise to the glory of the Rugrats Passover episode, but you could say that Cyrus is the Grandpa Pickles of the ‘Gossip Girl’ universe.”
There’s plenty of other drama that happens in and around the seder: Serena returns from Spain with a secret and Dan takes a catering job that ends up being for the seder, plus plenty of college admissions shenanigans. But honestly, Wallace Shawn’s performance is the best part of the whole episode, so I’ll leave you with that.
3. “Exciting and New”
Season 3, episode 10 of “Transparent”
Aired September 23, 2016
If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to conclude a season finale, “Transparent” proves it’s an emotionally fraught seder.
In “Exciting and New,” the Pfefferman family goes on a cruise as an escape from their everyday problems. Of course, their problems follow them onboard. Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) is unable to get gender affirming surgeries due to her underlying heart problems. Shelly (Judith Light) recently broke up with her boyfriend Buzzy and feels rejected by her family. Josh (Jay Duplass) is still struggling with the death of Rita, his former love interest. Sarah is still dealing with the implosion of her experimental synagogue space with Rabbi Raquel. And Ari (who still went by Ali in this season) has a complicated relationship with partner Leslie and also ends up having a fight with Josh onboard.
To try to bring everyone back together, Ari and Sarah put together a makeshift seder plate and attempt to bring everyone together for a seder. But this also goes badly: Josh leaves and Shelly finally stands up for herself, calling out Maura, Sarah and Ari for excluding, mocking and pitying her. There, the seder ends; however, Shelly invites Maura, Sarah and Ari to watch her perform a one-woman show in the lounge. Shelly puts on one hell of a performance and her family give her a standing ovation.
Fun fact: Judith Light was nominated for an Emmy for this episode and truly it’s a crime she didn’t win.
4. “The Passed-Over Story”
Season 4, episode 21 of “The Nanny”
Aired April 9, 1997
First things first: “The Nanny” never misses. From the fashion to Fran’s too-muchness to the Hanukkah episode, you’re sure to find entertainment from Fran and the Sheffield family. And this Passover episode is no different.
In “The Passed-Over Story,” Fran wonders if she’s made the right choices in life when Mr. Sheffield hires her high school friend, actress Morgan Faulkner (formerly known as Marcy Feldman), as the star of his new show. At the same time, Morgan hires Maggie as her new assistant, leaving Fran feeling replaced and Mr. Sheffield worried about his oldest daughter’s future. In the end, the entire gang, including Niles, end up at Sylvia’s for a seder, where Maggie reveals that she’s quit and intends to go to college instead. Before Maggie fully quits, however, she lets Fran do her last job: picking up Babs and James Brolin from the airport.
5. “The Seder”
Season 5, episode 7 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Aired November 13, 2005
This episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” leans into the part of Passover where Jews invite friends, neighbors or anyone else who wants to break matzah, regardless of religion, to the seder table — with a Larry David twist, of course.
When a sex offender named Rick moves into the neighborhood, Larry is initially outraged (saying that Rick’s combination of baldness and being a sex offender is “bad for the bald community”), but then softens up when Rick shows him kindness. In return, Larry invites Rick to the seder. Naturally, the seder guests eventually find out that Rick is a sex offender and chaos ensues. Of course, matters aren’t helped much by Larry accusing one of his neighbors of stealing his newspaper — he also suspects a child of cheating in finding the afikoman.
All-in-all, “Seder” will probably leave you wondering what it would be like to attend an actual seder with Larry David.
6. “Taraji P. Henson”
Season 40, episode 18 of “Saturday Night Live”
Aired April 11, 2015
Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy character is a classic Jewish character in late night comedy, so, naturally one of his hilarious Weekend Update segments tackles Passover. But why was that Saturday night different than all over Saturday nights, you ask? Because Billy Crystal joined Vanessa to play Jacob’s dad, Dr. Hanken!
In this very cute bit, we get a sense of where Jacob’s shyness comes from, as Dr. Hanken arrives at the Update Desk and immediately gets out his own prepared speech about why Passover is different than all other nights.
Some of the best jokes include Dr. Hanken mirroring Jacob’s tendencies, like clearing his throat and wiping tears from his eyes when Michael Che brings up Derek Jeter leaving the Yankees and Jacob’s line, “The second reason is we eat bitter herbs to remind us of the cruel way the Jews were punished in Egypt. Sounds pretty bad, but not as bad as my brother Ethan got punished for grinding at his BBYO dance!”
BONUS: Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy actually explained Passover a few other times on Weekend Update, including when Seth Rogen hosted in 2014 and when Jimmy Fallon hosted in 2017! You can stream both episodes on Hulu as well.
7. “The Nana”
Season 1, episode 23 of “The O.C.”
Aired March 31, 2004
As we all know, for a teen drama series, “The O.C.” is a surprisingly nuanced portrayal of a Jewish family. So, naturally, there is a Passover episode!
In “The Nana,” Sandy’s mother Sophie arrives to celebrate Passover with the rest of the Cohens, but something is clearly off. The stereotypically overbearing Jewish mother is unexpectedly kind to Sandy’s non-Jewish wife Kristen and, despite being more religious than her family, seems uninterested in doing a normal seder. When Sandy pushes Sophie, she finally breaks, revealing that she has lung cancer, is dying and is refusing treatment.
Whether or not it’s intentional, “The Nana” plays into the part of the Passover story that deals with pain and affliction, and I love how it affects the episode. Where other Passover episodes put heavy emphasis on the seder, “The O.C.” addresses the values of Passover over the rituals in a way I haven’t seen many shows attempt.
Much like the plight of the Israelites, affliction turns to hope for Sophie. After talking with many members of her family, she decides to leave to seek treatment after the seder and praises Sandy for taking in Ryan.
Like “Seder Anything,” “The Nana” also has a bunch of other dramatic subplots going on, so if you’re interested in reading about those, let me direct you here.
Cycle 3, episode 2 of “High Maintenance Web Series”
Aired April 20, 2013
If you thought your family seders are dysfunctional, try watching this 10-minute episode of the “High Maintenance Web Series.”
In this episode of a show which centers around a nameless drug dealer visiting different clients, we meet the Waxman family having a seder. While hosts Joel and Shira desperately try to entertain their young son, everything seems to be going awry around them: Mom Debbie is criticizing everything, the chef puts bacon in the matzah balls, youngest daughter Rachel is drunkenly flirting with the chef and The Guy (the drug dealer) arrives at the end.
It’ll definitely give you a bit of perspective the next time there’s a slight argument at your seder table.
9. “Family Goy”
Season 8, episode 2 of “Family Guy”
Aired October 4, 2009
Imagine you’re throwing a Passover seder and instead of Elijah, Jesus arrives. That’s exactly what happens in this episode of “Family Guy.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
After going to the doctor, Lois (voiced by Alex Borstein) learns through her medical history that her mother is Jewish and a Holocaust survivor. Lois’s mother confirms that she is Jewish, and her father adds that he asked his wife to hide the information so they could join a country club. At first, Peter is very supportive, but then, out of fear about going to hell, he becomes an antisemite set on converting his family to Catholicism.
Still, Lois doesn’t want to suppress her heritage anymore and decides to hold a Passover seder. Peter tries to ruin the event and celebrate Easter instead, when Jesus appears. Jesus reminds Peter that he is, in fact, Jewish, and that Peter should treat those of other faiths the way he wants to be treated. Peter and Lois reconcile, but are now unclear what their religion is. Upon asking Jesus for his advice, he replies, “Six of one, they’re all complete crap.”
10. “April is the Cruelest Month”
Season 2, episode 19 of “Sports Night”
Aired March 28, 2000
You may not have heard of “Sports Night,” but hot take: it’s an Aaron Sorkin show I actually like better than “The West Wing.” Alas, the reason you may not have heard of it is that the show only ran for two seasons.
Starring Jews Josh Charles and Josh Malina, as well as non-Jewish actors Felicity Huffman, Robert Krause and Robert Guillaume, “Sports Night” portrays the day-to-day lives and jobs of the hosts and crew of a late-night sports show. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the show on “Sports Night” is also called “Sports Night.”
In this second season episode, everyone at “Sports Night” is slightly on edge because the network has started cutting their budget — and it seems this is just the beginning. But it’s Passover, and co-host Dan (Charles) and a few others plan to hold a small seder in the office that evening. Jeremy (Malina) catches wind of the whole thing and decides to make it a little more festive, writing a Passover pageant to be read during the seder.
What makes “Sports Night” great is the dynamic of the ensemble cast, and “April is the Cruelest Month” shows that off with the seder at the end of the episode, bringing everyone together in unity during a particularly trying time at the show. Some highlights of the episode include Josh Malina singing the blessing over the wine and an exchange between Jeremy and Dan that goes like this:
Jeremy: I’ll go write the pageant!
Dan: The pageant?
Jeremy: There are sections of the Haggadah that, quite frankly, could use a polish.
Dan: You’re going to do a re-write on the Haggadah?!
Jeremy: It’s not written in stone, Dan.
Dan: Actually, some of it is!
11. “Jerry Seinfeld”
Season 17, episode 18 of “Saturday Night Live”
Aired April 18, 1992
In this “SNL” sketch, Jerry plays Elijah the Prophet, unexpectedly arriving at a Jewish family’s Passover seder. Clad in a white tunic and a long white beard-hair situation, Jerry’s Elijah is certainly not the kind of dinner guest you want. He barges in, complains about the food and drink, hits on the teenage daughter and then introduces his friend Jesus Christ, played by Phil Hartman.
It’s a little cringe and very ’90s, but worth a watch.
12. “Passover Bump”
Season 3, episode 1 of “Difficult People”
Aired August 8, 2017
Doing what this show does best, “Difficult People” approaches Passover in a slightly less traditional way — centering just how annoying and stressful it can be to eat a 5-hour long meal with your family.
“SSRIs are like my own chemical Moses getting me through a family seder,” Julie (Julie Klausner) exclaims to Billy (Billy Eichner) early in the episode. In case you didn’t get that, Julie intends to use (less-than-ethically prescribed) anti-depressants to get through the holiday.
But, when she is unable to get a new prescription and Billy gets a job that prevents him from going with her, Julie is left to fend for herself at the seder. As expected, the seder goes so-so; in the end, however, Julie and her overbearing mother come together in unity to trash talk Aunt Bonnie (played by Stockard Channing.)
13. “It’s Passover, Grover!”
Season 2, episode 2 of “Shalom Sesame” (2011 series)
Aired March 7, 2011
Grover from “Sesame Street” is Jewish and you cannot convince me otherwise.
In this episode of “Shalom Sesame,” the Israeli counterpart to everyone’s favorite educational Muppet TV show, Anneliese, Grover and Avigail realize they have no horseradish for the seder! So, cleverly, Anneliese and Grover trick Oscar the Grouch’s Israeli cousin Moishe Oofnik into lending them some. But in the end, no tricks are necessary: Moishe brings the horseradish and comes to the seder!
Interspersed with the story are a few segments, including an incredible bit where Jake Gyllenhaal emerges to explain what an afikoman is.
Watch sections of “It’s Passover, Grover!” above.
14. “The Body in Question”
Season 3, episode 6 of “Northern Exposure”
Aired November 4, 1991
“Northern Exposure” was a comedy-drama show that depicted the life of Jewish doctor Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) as he practiced medicine in a small town in Alaska. So, with Jewish guy at the forefront, it makes sense that “Northern Exposure” has a Passover episode — or two! (We’ll get to the second in a moment.)
As Linda Buchwald wrote for JTA, “In this vaguely Passover-themed episode, Joel (Rob Morrow) makes a connection with his ancestors — he dreams about his Polish relatives having a seder and of talking to Elijah. After waking up in a feverish state, he says the Shema and, when his would-be love interest Maggie (Janine Turner) asks him if he knows his name, he gives his Hebrew name.”
Unfortunately, “Northern Exposure” is not currently streaming online. However, you can watch “The Body in Question” by purchasing the series on DVD.
Season 15, episode 4 of “South Park”
Aired April 4, 2012
Be prepared to be at least a little offended — as with anything “South Park” does, this episode is edgy.
In “Jewpacabra,” Cartman spreads a rumor about a blood-sucking creature called a Jewpacabra, but there’s one problem: the Jewpacabra is supposedly real. Due to his knowledge of the creature, some malcontents kidnap Cartman, dress him in an Easter bunny costume and chain him in a forest as an offering to the Jewpacabra, which will apparently make an upcoming Easter egg hunt possible. (I know, the logic behind this episode is pretty wild.)
Still, Cartman has the opportunity to be saved by his Jewish friend Kyle, on Kyle’s condition that Cartman admit he lied about the Jewpacabra. Instead, Cartman cannot admit this and Kyle leaves him, resulting in Cartman being shot with a tranquilizer gun by a team of zoologists who think he’s a Bunny-Man.
In his tranquilizer-induced dream, Cartman is transported back to ancient Egypt during the time of the Passover story and has a terrifying visions of plagues and Jews slaughtering lambs. Upon awaking and being saved by Kyle, who had a change of heart, Cartman announces that he has converted to Judaism.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this episode and I’m sure you probably aren’t either, but it was too Passover-y to not include on this list, so there you go.
Season 1, episode 2 of “Shalom Sesame” (1991 series)
Years before the 2011 series of “Shalom Sesame,” an early ’90s version of the show also included a Passover episode.
In this episode, “Shalom Sesame” viewers learn all about the letter pey (פ), matzah and counting to ten in Hebrew! The highlight of the episode, however, is an Indiana Jones parody called “Jerusalem Jones and the Lost Afikoman.”
In this segment, Moishe Oofnik disrupts a lovely rendition of “Dayenu” by hiding the afikoman and proclaiming that the seder cannot go on until it is found. Thankfully, Jerusalem Jones (played by guest star Sarah Jessica Parker) arrives to help find it!
Together, Jerusalem and Kippi (a giant hedgehog) go back in time to ancient Egypt, find lost treasure and, finally, discover the afikoman in a place you would never think to look! (Hint: it rhymes with shmaggadah.)
17. “Why Is This Night Different?”
Season 5, episode 4 of “Homeland”
Aired October 25, 2015
You may be thinking, “There’s a Passover-themed episode of a Homeland?!” There’s no need to adjust your television set; yes, the spy drama based on the Israeli TV show “Prisoners of War” has a Passover episode.
When I texted my dad, an avid “Homeland” watcher, to confirm this is the case, here was his response:
“The full answer to your question—is this a Passover episode?—is complicated.
18. “Fish Story”
Season 5, episode 18 of “Northern Exposure”
Aired March 14, 1994
Again, per our friend Linda at JTA:
“This particular episode is notable for showing how the holiday affects interfaith couples: Maggie wants to prepare a Passover seder for Joel, and he doesn’t want her to because she isn’t Jewish and he says it would be like if he did something for Easter (which he wouldn’t do).
But then, Joel has a fishing accident. While unconscious, he imagines talking to his rabbi, who says that denying Maggie Passover is the equivalent to denying her intimacy. Since he can’t (or won’t) have that connection with Maggie, the rabbi advises Joel to find a nice Jewish girl — which he doesn’t do, of course. The show concludes with Joel hosting a seder for everyone in town.”
Unfortunately, “Northern Exposure” is not currently streaming online. However, you can watch “The Body in Question” buy purchasing the series on DVD.