M.K. 22 TV Series Overview (2004)


Introduction

M.K. 22 (Hebrew: מ.ק. 22 – Mem Qoph 22) is an Israeli animated sitcom, revolving around the adventures of soldiers in a fictional Israeli Defence Force (IDF) military base hosting the so-called “Israeli doomsday weapon”.

Outline

The bizarre adventures of “jobniks”, office workers, serving their mandatory Israeli Defence Forces’ service in a desert nuclear base.

Cast

  • Danny Steg as Corporal Shlomi Hanukkah: A narrow-minded soldier and a Mizrahi “ars”.
  • Haim Yafim Barbalat as Corporal Itai Shulman: Hanukkah’s friend, an Ashkenazi nerd.
  • Albert Iluz as Camp Commander Warrant Officer Gabriel Shukrun: A stupid, stubborn and manipulative NCO.
  • Inbal Luri as Michal Levinstein: A handicapped volunteer, generally hated by all other involuntary soldiers for her self-righteousness.
  • Adib Jahschan as Abed Abu Jamal: An Israeli Arab living near the base. He appears to be Shukrun’s humble friend, while secretly being a terrorist training bionic shahid sheep. In the show he represents the “fifth column Israeli Arabs” stereotype.

Production

M.K. 22 satirically deals with Israel Defense Forces manners and culture, and with general issues of Israeli society and current events in Israel. It is situated in the fictional top-secret logistics military base M.K. 22, in the south of Israel, storing the country’s so-called nuclear missiles. Two of the show’s creators, Yaron Niski and Doron Tzur, actually served together as logistics soldiers in an Israeli military base and the show is influenced by their experiences there.

The show’s initial goal was “to combine the style of South Park with local cult such as Giv’at Halfon”. Director Assaf Harel claimed that the fact that the show was created for a cable network made it possible to use a blacker and more extreme type of humour, which he compared to that of South Park. In general, South Park is widely considered the show’s biggest influence by Israeli critics and fans. Obvious similarities to South Park include the crude style of animation, the use of live-action (the episode “One of Us” showed parts of the 1989 Israeli film of the same name, which the episode parodied), and a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer similar to that of South Park.

Name

M.K. stands for “machane keva”, Hebrew for “permanent [military] camp”, while the words “Mem Qoph 22” might sound like “milkud 22”, the Hebrew translation for the idiom catch-22.

Themes

The show’s themes included, among others, the tensions between Haredi Jews and homosexuals, the media attention given to Ilan Ramon (prior to his death), the aliyah from Ethiopia, the West Bank barrier and the Split broadcast incident. The show also parodied several films, TV shows, politicians and celebrities.

Animation

According to Harel, the show’s style of animation was influenced by South Park, although M.K. 22 uses more 3D computer graphics and more complicated backgrounds. The show’s characters and backgrounds are made to appear deliberately crude, though not as if they’re made of cut-out pieces of paper. There is only one round shape in the entire series, one of the soldiers’ helmet, whereas other naturally round shapes look quadrilateral or polygonal. The Sun for instance, is a plain yellow square in the sky.

Controversy

In 2005, when it was decided to broadcast the show on Channel 2, the show’s straightforward treatment of delicate Israeli issues caused Keshet to censor parts of it. One of the episodes, “Robo Rabbi”, was completely censored. It has been suggested that the background for the episode’s censorship was the upcoming expiration of the Channel 2 tender. The episode parodied the threats of violence of Haredi Jews towards the pride parade, and spoofed the film Yossi & Jagger.

Trivia

  • M.K. stands for Mahane Keva, which is Hebrew for “regular army base”.
    • The number 22 is a reference to Heller’s novel Catch 22.
  • The disabled soldier is named Michal Levinstein.
    • Beit Levinstein (“Levinstein House”) is a rehabilitation institute and hospital that helps disabled people function better with physiotherapy and other treatments.

M.K. 22 Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Assaf Harel … (10 episodes, 2004).
  • Producer(s):
    • Irit Amber … producer (unknown episodes).
    • Muli Segev … producer (unknown episodes).
  • Writer(s):
    • Assaf Harel … (10 episodes, 2004).
    • Yaron Niski … (10 episodes, 2004).
    • Doron Tzur … (10 episodes, 2004).
  • Music:
    • Assaf Gidron … (10 episodes, 2004).
    • Oded Goldshmidt … (10 episodes, 2004).
  • Production:
    • Bip.
    • Shortcut Films.
    • Shortcut.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Channel Bip (Israel) (all media).
    • Keshet Broadcasting (2004) (Israel) (TV).
  • Release Date: 21 March 2004 to 13 June 2004.
  • Running Time: 22 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: Israel.
  • Language: Hebrew and English.

Video Link

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