Hulu just released a completely NSFW animated series entitled “Little Demon” that I watched on a whim when it popped up in my streaming suggestions — and boy, did it take me by surprise. Less than 10 minutes into the first episode, amidst all my gleeful and shocked (in equal turns) laughter, I was delighted to catch a glimpse of a fun Easter egg: a tattoo written in Hebrew on one of the main characters’ chests.
In the first episode, we are introduced to Laura Feinberg (voiced by Aubrey Plaza), the Wiccan-Jewish mother of the protagonist Chrissy Feinberg (Lucy DeVito), who has many occult tattoos and tattoos in lots of different languages, including some Hebrew inked across her sternum. A quick Google Translate claims the tattoo says “stop sucking.” Given the nature of the show, I’m not sure if it’s a bad translation or actually intentional to the character (honestly, I suspect the latter). This is only the beginning, as it turns out, of a surprising amount of Jewish content for a show that centers around the narrative of the 13-year-old Antichrist.
The basic premise of this series is that teenage Chrissy Feinberg has been raised all her life by her single mom, Laura Feinberg — a physically jacked Wiccan-Jew with controversial morals, who has done many questionable things in her past (such as when she “drank pee on a dare at Matt Levy’s bar mitzvah” or, you know, shtupped the Prince of Darkness — more on that in a second). All Chrissy’s life, the duo has been constantly moving around from town to town, never staying in any place for too long.
When Chrissy is 13, she finally gets her period… which also happens to summon Satan. This leads Chrissy to discover that she is actually the Antichrist, and her father is Satan (Danny DeVito), who has been searching for her to join his dark forces all these years. (In case you missed it, Danny DeVito is Lucy DeVito’s real-life dad! Not to mention, Lucy’s mom is the hilarious, incredible Jewish actress, Rhea Perlman. Lucy Devito, according to her bios online, identifies as half-Jewish — and since her character has a Jewish mom and a demon dad, it seems Chrissy identifies that way as well.) Suddenly, Chrissy is plunged into the world of being a teen dealing with the typical awkwardness and body changes of puberty — as well as those related to her new demonic super powers.
The show follows Chrissy and her family as they navigate the complex family dynamics of the new co-parenting situation between her mom and Satan, bonding with a(n evil) father she never knew, and figuring out who she is — both as it relates to her newly inherited demon super powers and who she is as an otherwise typical 13-year-old girl. (As a Jewitchy individual who went through a year-long macabre demonology phase when I was around bat mitzvah age, when I knew everything there is to know about vampires, werewolves and zombies, this show really checked off a lot of boxes for me, though it’s a little too gory and crass to be one of my all-time favorites.)
With the main character written as a half-Jewish, half-demon 13-year-old, and the first episode kicking off with Chrissy progressing into her own* womanhood by getting her period and supernatural powers simultaneously, this show is giving some serious Demon Bat Mitzvah vibes (step aside, “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah“). Dear Hollywood, please bring us more content in this genre. [*Note: I say “her own” because not every woman has a uterus, and not every person who menstruates is a woman!]
It’s not just the explicit references — like the “dybbuk box” that shows up later into the first season or the joke that Laura thinks Elijah’s Cup on Passover is a waste of wine — that are incredibly Jewish about “Little Demon”: Ironically, the show itself portrays modern Jewish life in a surprisingly relevant way (demonic possessions and disemboweled monsters aside, of course). Throughout the show, Chrissy grapples with her conflicting identities. Her parents are constantly at odds with each other, trying to get Chrissy to follow one parent’s individual lifestyle at the expense of the other’s. Satan encourages her to join forces with him to bring about the apocalypse, teaching her the tricks of the trade to win her over — such as how to possess people’s bodies. However, while Satan has a blast tormenting an exorcist priest with this ability, Laura pressures Chrissy to use her newfound powers to fight back against becoming like her father and instead help others.
In addition to all of this pressure, Chrissy is still a teenage girl dealing with things like awkward encounters with one’s crush (including a meet-cute in the midst of splattered carnage). And like any teenage girl who’s been tipped into the hellscape of puberty, she is annoyed and embarrassed daily by her mom as they struggle to connect with each other. While some people might have experienced this parental and cultural divisiveness in a literal way (such as actually growing up in a divorced interfaith family), it’s also a relevant analogy for anyone Jewish living within a majority culture that is not Jewish.
Now, let’s address the elephant (probably possessed by Satan) in the room: we are likely all at least a little weary to hear about a show called “Little Demon” which stars Jewish characters, given the obvious connection between the demonic theme and the repulsive “horned Jews” antisemitic trope. However, I’m happy to report that none of the main characters (even the non-Jewish Satan) have horns or typical demon characteristics — and in season one, I wasn’t stricken by any particular Jewish stereotypes. If anything, the show breaks most stereotypical archetypes, for characters that are Jewish and not. Fingers crossed that this holds true as the series progresses.
“Little Demon” is the crude, grisly animated series that blends Jewishness with Halloween-like themes in a way we never knew we needed. If you feel possessed to watch it (and you don’t mind excessive blood and guts), then this is your sign to give it a try — hopefully, you’ll have a wickedly fun time.