Lisa Loeb as Natalie in Hanukkah on Rye

Lisa Loeb as Natalie in Hanukkah on Rye

Steven Ackerman/Hallmark Media
Lisa Loeb as Natalie in Hanukkah on Rye

Lisa Loeb as Natalie in Hanukkah on Rye

Steven Ackerman/Hallmark Media
Lisa Loeb as Natalie in Hanukkah on Rye

Lisa Loeb as Natalie in Hanukkah on Rye

Steven Ackerman/Hallmark Media
Fill 1
Fill 1
December 16, 2022
Online Originals

My Seven Shows: Lisa Loeb

The singer-songwriter and costar of Hallmark Channel's holiday movie Hanukkah on Rye shares her top TV shows.

Mara Reinstein

First came The Nanny. Then The Drew Carey Show, Gossip Girl, Workaholics, Community, A.P. Bio, Fuller House and Family Guy. The truth is, though Lisa Loeb is famous for her singing-songwriting talents — especially her No. 1 hit "Stay (I Missed you)" — she's popped up in dozens of TV series since the 1990s. "I grew up more as an actor and actually studied it," she explains. "I became a musician for my career because I had more success with it."

She serves up her two great loves — with some coleslaw and pickles on the side — in the Hallmark Channel movie Hanukkah on Rye, premiering December 18. Set in a small town, it chronicles two deli owners (Yael Grobglas, Jeremy Jordan) embarking on a new romance. Little do they realize they're each other's biggest competition. During a song contest at one of the restaurants, a bespectacled music teacher strums her guitar and croons a tune called "Light" about the miracle of Hanukkah. Close-up on Loeb, who's proud to both showcase her original track (which she wrote a few years ago) and cameo in the special film. "It's fun to feature different holidays because it can help people learn about other traditions and cultures," she says.

Loeb, however, does not play herself. "[The producers] really wanted to create this feeling of everyday people in this little community meeting each other," she says, "And Lisa Loeb would not be a person living there." Still, the real Lisa Loeb does celebrate Hanukkah every year with her husband and two children by lighting candles on the menorah for all eight nights, playing dreidel and eating potato latkes. And if anyone in her household — or in her Los Angeles neighborhood, for that matter — asks for a serenade, she'll happily oblige.

She's also generous when it comes to the family TV. Loeb says she makes time to watch RuPaul's Drag Race with her teen daughter and the Netflix drama Raising Dion with her ten-year-old son. They all gather for The Mandalorian, Lego Masters and The Great British Bake Off. That's not to say Loeb isn't passionate about her own many, many small-screen favorites. "It was so hard to narrow my list down to seven, oy!" she says. She did it anyway for Emmys.com.

  • The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959–64)
    When I was a child in Dallas, I had a small black-and-white TV that I could sometimes put in my bedroom. I watched the Zone-A-Thon a lot, which was the original way to binge. I loved the stories and the twists. It was science fiction but without it being a lot about space and aliens. My favorite episode was the one about the man who dreams about living in a library and reading all the books he wants by himself [1959's "Time Enough at Last"]. Then it happens and his glasses break.

  • The Carol Burnett Show (CBS, 1967–78)
    I was obsessed with how Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Tim Conway could play all these different characters in these amazing costumes. I just laughed so hard at them! Also, the comedy was hilarious and over-the-top and clever — but the song at the end had such a melancholy feel. It inspired me a lot in terms of exploring how a show could include a variety of humor, storytelling and music.

  • Sesame Street (PBS, 1969–; HBO/HBO Max, 2016–)
    This was one of the first shows I watched religiously in the 1970s. It made me want to move to New York City, and I did! I also liked watching the original episodes with my kids — there's a disclaimer on the DVDs that the material may not be appropriate anymore, but I thought it was important for them to watch because of the quality of the stories. There's magic in how kids can see all different kinds of people and ages and backgrounds on the show. You learn that the ABCs are just as important as saying you're sorry.

  • Pee-wee's Playhouse (CBS, 1986–90)
    I know this show was supposed to be for kids, but I watched it a lot in college and collected all the toys that went with it. I was obsessed with things that were kitschy and vintage and offbeat, so I really liked Paul Reubens' sense of humor. He used these anthropomorphic characters, which were hilarious to me. Chair was called Chairry, John the genie was Jambi. It broke boundaries that way. But there was also a sweetness to all this bizarre humor.

  • The Office (NBC, 2005–13)
    At first I wasn't sure how the writers could achieve the greatness of the British version. But I ended up loving it. The show was so funny and groundbreaking in how it perfectly captured the mundane qualities of office life like copy machines and silly contests and water-cooler gossip. And all the characters were so well-developed. Even as the people in the office came and left, everybody fit in that world perfectly and you cared so much about them. In my opinion, it's even one step past The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show in that sense.

  • South Park (Comedy Central, 1997–)
    I love the idea of an animated show for grown-ups that makes fun of grown-ups. That alone is funny. It also takes place in a community in Colorado and the action is set in everybody's houses. That's a regular set-up — but then all these bizarre and evil things happen and these crazy things come out of these kids' mouths that you wouldn't expect. What's the word for that? Not "anti-establishment," but something like that. The music is well-written, too.

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO, 2000–)
    I always laugh watching this! Again, you're talking about Larry David taking mundane situations and putting himself in the worst situations possible. He always paints himself into a corner, like he's talking too loud at a funeral or playing golf when he's not supposed to or he casts a terrible actress in his TV pilot to avoid being sued. Everything is painfully funny because it's so cringe-y and wrong. It's like we're getting a window into the darkest part of somebody's behavior.
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