Two-way cultural transfer: the case of the Israeli TV series BeTipul and its American adaptation In Treatment

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Abstract

BeTipul, the first Israeli TV series purchased by American television, and its American adaptation, In Treatment, provide an intriguing case of bidirectional (peripheral-global) cultural transfer. Focusing on the psychotherapy content of the show, this article examines the effect of foreignness versus compatibility it generated in the two different reception spaces. In America, the adaptation strategies and critics’ response to the remake reveal a smooth naturalization in the target setting, whereas in the (source) Israeli setting critics’ commentaries and anonymous online comments to the original series reveal that it was conceived from the outset as an American-like production made in Israel – evaluated either positively, as matching international standards, or negatively, as a cultural pretense. The antagonism between Israeli viewers of this show illustrates the powerful ‘foreignness effect’ associated with psychotherapy images in the local culture, inciting a social contest between elitist and mass audience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-797
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Israeli TV
  • Israeli–American cultural interference
  • bidirectional intercultural transfer
  • elite and mass audience
  • foreignization versus domestication
  • psychotherapy in Israeli culture
  • reception discourses

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