The time is the 1950s. A heroic group of Israeli girls and boys from Tel-Aviv has set up a secret society called "Hasamba"; they gather in their secret base, the Electric Cave hidden in Haifa's Carmel mountain range, and fight the British Mandate for Israel's statehood- all the while crossing swords with various sleazy criminal elements.
All rather idealistic, right?
Hasamba 3 G (Or more literally Hasamba The Third Generation; Hebrew "Hasamba Dor 3", "חסמבה דור 3") is a 2010 Israeli TV mini-series sequel to a series of pocket books written by Igal Mosinzon since the 1950s and regularly until his death. The books feature the adventures of Hasamba (which stands for "Absolutely Secret Group" in Hebrew), a Seven Man Five-Man Band: Yaron (The Leader), Tamar (The Second-in-command), Uzi (the Thin), Ehud (the Fat), Moshe Yerahmiel, Shulamit (The Medic) and Menashe (the Yemenite). Hasamba constantly struggled with anyone that got in the way of Israel's foundation or was generally a prick, but held a particular (mutual) grudge for criminal kingpin Elimelech Zorkin, essentially Hasamba's Arch-Enemy.
Well, as mentioned earlier, that was then and now is now. As You Know, Israel was founded in 1948, so the 1950s was a rather sensitive and desperate time which called for idealism and positive thinking; this is why the books are rife with Black and White Morality, patriotism and Happy Endings. This state of mind has since been derided and mocked endlessly, by the left-leaning and otherwise, so now- 60 years later- some Israeli screenwriters had decided to go back to Hasamba and make a Darker and Edgier reconstruction of it.
The show is set in the Present Day and attempts to Retcon all the zany adventures described in the books to make sense while taking them to their logical conclusion. 60 years have passed, and Hasamba has grown old. Yaron is a lt. colonel in reserve duty in the IDF and a pensioner, he and Tamar are divorced and everyone had generally dispersed each to their boring hum-drum lives. Then a Dr. Zacks calls up Tamar, telling her that he has something she "wants very dearly"; it turns out to be a hard disk which supposedly contains some sort of important information. They set up a meeting- then mysterious bad guys show up at the place of the meeting first and shoot the doctor dead.
Thus the 70-year-old Hasamba gets dragged back into the action one by one. But they're not alone: Several guys and girls of the younger and fresher generation find themselves involved, including but not limited to Yaron and Tamar's granddaughter Renan and her schoolmate Iggy (who happened to be assigned to "help" Yaron as a part of an obligatory "help a pensioner" school program). Though inexperienced, reluctant and often at a loss, these two and the other teenagers who soon join are obviously supposed to eventually become Hasamba's third-generation counterparts.
And they don't have an easy way ahead of them. They're up against Big Bad Sunny Zorkin, daughter of Hasamba's hated arch-enemy Elimelech and CEO of Israel's largest cellular communications company, Zorcom. Sunny is incredibly ambitious, ready to do anything to get her hands on that apparently crucial Hard Disk and personally oversees some rather shady conspiracies involving corporate expansion and prototype brainwashing technology.
Hence the title, punning on Hasamba's evolving third generation and the 3G (third-generation) cell phone technology so popular in Israel 2010-ish.
It is hard to give the average non-Israeli reader the gist of how absurd this premise is. This is like putting Disney Characters into a Final Fantasy Game. This is like if Dreamworks made a CGI movie where we find out that Tom Sawyer had a son, only the Illuminati put him in Cryogenic Suspension and now, centuries later, he is defrosted and starts a great trek across the USA driving a Subaru station wagon in search of his heritage while unravelling a malevolent conspiracy involving the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. Hellish copyright disputes had to be resolved before the concept even took off the ground.
Will Yaron and Tamar recover their lost love? Will the third generation of Hasamba pull together to save the day? Will the Mind Screwy plot to brainwash children into worshipping cell phones succeed? How will Hasamba deal with the fact that someone took the real cave which inspired their mythological hideout and built a Hilton hotel on it?
All these questions and more will be answered, young love will bloom and hardened avocado fruits will be thrown on the way to Hasamba's most epic mission yet.
Renewed for a second season, which started airing on August 2013.
This show contains examples of:
- The Alleged Car: Yaron owns one of these; his driving license has expired, so Iggy has to drive it.
- All There in the Manual: If you're familiar with the book series (or even at least bothered to read up on it), a lot of foreshadowing will jump at you that wouldn't otherwise.
- Ancient Tradition: An ultra-orthodox yeshiva in Safed guarding the secrets of the Hoshen, strangely enough.
- Batman Gambit: Dante's almost-successful plan of Assassinating the Prime Minister using Alpha as a proxy is disturbingly believable, so much so that you are forced to wonder whether Real Life VIP security has strictly enforced procedures to prevent that sort of thing.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Hufni and Luda; also a case of Opposites Attract. Though as of the 2nd season Reality Ensues and their diametric needs and approaches to life are quick becoming a difficult, not-at-all-sexy issue.
- Betty and Veronica Switch: Hufni has to choose between free-spirited, mildly exotic and non-Jewish blonde Luda (Veronica), whom he clashes with constantly over culture differences, and the chaste, religious brunette Bat-El (Betty), who seems to be his perfect match. Of course, Luda is mature and reliable, while Bat-El turns out quickly to be an Ax-Crazy Yandere.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Zorkins are shaping up to be this - the two main villains of season 1 being Zorkins was bad enough; now apparently there's a third Zorkin, Zerah, who is also involved in some sort of shady conspiracy involving a religious-themed MacGuffin.
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Rachel - member of Hasamba G2, Uri's ex-girlfriend and apparently the mother of his daughter - who grew up to become a radical leftist and international criminal, though her motives have not yet been revealed in full.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Averted with Sunny; she keeps Tamar around only to extort information about the Hard Disk out of her, and the moment she manages to obtain the Hard Disk via other means she just goes "fine, we have no more use for the old lady- kill her and cover it up".
- BrotherSister Incest: Freddy's attraction to his sister Sunny is really out of place in this otherwise family-friendly series, which is probably why it's so understated.
- Cannot Spit It Out: "You have it all wrong, he took naked pictures of her and now he's trying to frame me for it!" - Come now, Iggy, wasn't it at least worth a shot?
- Casting Gag: The prime minister is played by Yaron London, who originally inspired the character of Yaron Zehavi.
- Changing of the Guard: Essentially the premise, though it's danced around for several episodes before being announced outright (and even then the old Hasamba is far from hanging their coats and going home; the show is going to explore this plot for all it's worth). The moment where the new Hasamba is officially assembled is where they, in true Hasamba tradition, get to choose their own monikers (Renan the Commander, Iggy the Second-in-Command, Hufni the Yemenite, Luda the Hacker and Yuval the (sexually) Confused. Yes, really).
- Competence Zone: Applies to the original book series with flying colors; At one point the books actually featured a "second-generation" Hasamba (or a Hasamba Zeo, if you will), complete with Generation Xerox, who were conceived when Mosenzon figured that the original Hasamba had already reached the ripe old age of twenty and ought to retire. (During the first season this is merely another, slightly more obscure, level the title makes sense on, with the now-assembling youngster Hasamba generation really being the third; in the second season Hasamba 2G actually comes into play, with several of its members becoming main characters). Ridiculously and purposefully inverted in the actual show, where the usual Competence Zone for this sort of action series (20-45) is an incompetence zone and all the good guys are either teenaged or elderly, though this rule seems to have an exception now that Uri has been freed from his brainwashing and works for the good guys again.
- Continuity Nod: When Moshe Yerahmiel sees that Yaron has picked up Iggy, a ne'er-do-well high school kid who was forced on him via the "help the pensioner" program, Yerahmiel comments "rehabilitating the teens again? Wasn't one time enough for you?" in reference to the 1971 Hasamba and The Teens movie (released internationally as Get Zorkin).
- Convenient Coma: Elimelech Zorkin turns out to be in one.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Sunny.
- Cosmic Deadline: Episode 16 of season 1 has that 2/3-into-the-season feel to it. The series' next, and last, episode:
- Cleans up the romantic loose ends by having designated couples kiss and share 3-4 lines of dialogue, after plenty of episodes of diet Ship Tease.
- Sees the plan of Team Evil shift into gear, reach its climax and fall apart: At the beginning of the episode the original Hasamba is tied up in an airplane about to crash into the sea, Sunny holds Uzi firmly by the balls and Alpha is on his way to Assassinate the prime minister. By the end, The Good Guys Win. Somehow. It involves an avocado.
- Goes through everything you'd have expected the Alpha arc to include and was put off until now: Someone he knew before his brainwashing seriously confronts him for the first ever time, he fights from the inside against his orders, he manages to disobey them, he is admitted to a hospital, we see his full rehabilitation, we don't even see what trouble he is in now for very nearly killing the Prime Minister in cold blood...
- Paints the aftermath in a broad stroke and a half: The Zorkins are seen taken into custody and asked a few questions by the press. We don't get to see their inevitable failed escape attempt or any trial.
- Has Yaron and Tamar apparently reconcile the differences that led to their divorce, brought together again by the return of their prsumed-dead son, after they haven't as much as discussed the issue before.
- Skips straight over very obvious trust issues Hasamba and Uzi have to sort out all the way to Welcome Back, Traitor. (Notably, Uzi is completely absent from the 2nd Post-Script Season opener, which means that these obvious issues may well have been retconned back into existence now.)
- Spends its last writhing gasp revisiting Moran and Mr. Lerner, stuck in their Satanistic ritual chamber, lamenting that they seem to have been forgotten there.
- Deal with the Devil: Uzi is reduced to having a "you rub my back, I rub yours" conversation with Sunny where he pleas with her to work her connections and move his grandson ahead in the waiting list for experimental cancer treatment. In return he's expected to throw around his political weight and push through Zorcom's cellular antenna construction permissions, which have been stuck in committee limbo (and for a good reason). Later he's even further reduced into becoming The Mole inside Hasamba.
- Debut Queue: During the first few episodes both older and younger Hasamba members were being introduced on a one-per-episode basis. Yaron was tracking down the older Hasamba and rallying them; the younger Hasamba started sticking together out of circumstance and, later, commitment.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Long after Uri is freed from his Brainwashing, Iggy decides it would be funny to say goodbye to him while doing what the standard observer would refer to as "doing the robot". Uri is not amused at all.
- Enemy Mine: Subverted. Elimelech wakes up from his coma and a major power struggle ensues between him and Sunny over control of Zorcom. You keep expecting either Elimelech or Sunny to give Hasamba a hand, even if temporarily, in dealing with the other one - and the series plays up plenty of opportunities for them to do so - but nope: They both stay as committed to making Hasamba miserable as they are to thwarting each other.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Also Subverted. At the series' climax, Yaron pleads with Elimelech to not push Alpha's self-destruct button, which would kill both the prime minister and a great many innocent people. This is way worse than anything Elimelech has done up to then, Yaron argues, and this is where Elimelech should draw the line. "Oh, I see," goes Elimelech, and contemplates this, noting that he does love the country after all... Then, a few seconds later, he goes, "You know what, SCREW the country," and moves to push the button. Thankfully, an unripe avocado hits him square in the head before he can do so.
- Fake Faith Healer: Elimelech's brother Zerah, a former embezzler, is now a fraudulent "energetic healing" guru known as "The Microwave".
- Five-Man Band
- Fruit of the Loon: What's the matter with those avocadoes, again?
- Genre Blind: The moment Iggy learns Renan has been drugged by Moran who took naked pictures of her, he... Opts not to tell her about it. Not sharing crucial information like this with someone on your side who is likely to take you seriously is never a good idea in this genre, and it comes back to majorly bite him in the behind soon enough.
- Gambit Roulette: When Iggy confronts Moran with the whole drug-girls-and-take-naked-pictures-of-them thing being out in the open, the school principal intervenes... Renan later arrives... Then they go to Iggy's locker... And the naked pictures of Renan are pasted on the inside of the locker door?! Wait, what? At first you're wondering how it was even possible for anyone to do this, which gets an indirect answer later (The school principal is rolling with team Satanic conspiracy). Then you wonder, even then, why would have anyone thought to do this? Right up until the moment of confrontation Iggy had absolutely nothing to do with anything, and as far as Moran (and his accomplice) knew nobody was onto them, so why go to the trouble of doing a Revealing Cover Up like this? And even if they decided to, how did they know planting the pictures there would do them any good and got the timing to be so perfect? If Iggy had opened that locker himself under any other circumstances, he would have just freaked out, taken the pictures off the door and no harm done.
- Idiot Ball: Everyone involved with the Prime Minister's security, and most of all his wife. You're telling random strangers you've met half an hour ago your husband is the Prime Minister? Then you're taking them to see him- the most important person in the state- face to face? Not even a little, tiny, twinge of "maybe this isn't a good idea" in that plan? No itty-bitty speck of paranoia? Something? Anything?
- "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Inevitably, the final confrontation against Alpha is this. Peculiar in that the results are very much near the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The brainwashing is so strong that Alpha is brought to brutally incapacitate his own daughter, who is hugging him, crying and begging him to recognize her. The only sign that it's not working perfectly is that he was not ordered to incapacitate her but to kill her. The most his daughter manages to get out of him through repeated pleas is to yield his assault on The Prime Minister, throw his weapon in malfunctioning confusion and pass out. Thankfully it's enough.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Tamar
- Jumped at the Call: Renan is much less reluctant to get involved in all of this than you'd expect, which is especially glaring when contrasted with the rest of neo-Hasamba's "just here for the ride" attitudes- not to mention Iggy's constant "oh my god what am I even doing here" disposition. The culmination of this is when everyone's suddenly asked to choose their own monikers and Renan declares herself commander before anyone else even gets their act together enough to say anything.
- Lampshade Hanging: When Freddy tortures Iggy he actually gets him to spill the entire plot of the show- about how a now-geriatric Hasamba has regrouped to foil the Zorkins, and he has joined them because of his school community service. Freddy immediately zaps him, lets him know how ridiculous his story is and demands to know who really sent him. So, pressed for a story so the pain will stop, Iggy gives him the plot of Tekken. No, really.
- Laughably Evil: Sunny and Dante are apparently out to subjugate the entire population of Earth, but it's hard not to let out a chuckle when Sunny's cell phone rings a joyous chorus of Kesha's Tik Tok and they spend about 20 seconds grooving to it before she deigns to pick up the phone. Slightly justified in that things have been going particularly well for their nefarious plans just up to that moment and they were in a very good mood.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: also doubles as Mythology Gag.
- Shulamit mentioning that nobody could ever remember whether her name was Shulamit or Shlomit. Readers of the books will be familiar with that problem.
- During an argument about who commands Hasamba when Yaron and Tamar are indisposed, Moshe Yerahmiel claims seniority only for Menashe to reply "Who even remembers you were in Hasamba? You only became a character here!". Moshe was indeed considered somewhat of a secondary character in the original books, and is likely to be forgotten when trying to remember the original cast members. The series put him in the spotlight in a big way.
- Initially, the Hard disk. Lampshaded in a mind-numbingly direct way; when Tamar is captured and interrogated by the bad guys, the first question she is asked is "Where's the MacGuffin?", only to be later followed by the explanation that a "MacGuffin" is a type of hard disk. The Hard Disk turns out to actually influence the plot in a meaningful way after all- it contains information on Yaron and Tamar's long-lost son.
- For all its playing with this trope in the 1st season described above, the show is quick to return to it and play it completely straight right in the beginning of season 2, with the Seal of the House of Aaraon that is apparently incredibly important, even though no one knows what it does (or at least no one is willing to mention that detail, which from a Doylist perspective is really the same thing).
- Mandatory Unretirement: Uri is offered one of these by Yoav Zur, the former commander of the 2nd Hasamba generation who seems to have reached a high-ranking position in the Mossad. He initialy rejects the offer, but reluctantly accepts when he finds out about the stakes - namely that the mission involves neutralizing a dangerous enemy agent who 1. killed one of his former colleagues the other day and 2. happens to be Rachel - Hasamba 2nd Generation member, mother of Uri's child and traitor to the state. He is later implied to hold a strong grudge against her, which is probably the reason he changed his mind and accepted the mission.
- Milkman Conspiracy: The High-School principal, Mr. Lerner, head of the boy scout tribe, Moran, and some of his friends, secretly drug teenage girls and take photos of them in their underwear. And then the crazy Mr. Lerner, who thinks the devil talks to him, takes the best one - Renan - and plans to sacrifice her to Satan, with Moran's help. No, really.
- The Mole: Uzi becomes one, though his motivation makes him more of an Anti-Villain than anything else.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dante, who pioneered Zorcom's mind control technology, does it For Science! and because he likes "being on the winning team".
- Never Found the Body: Yaron and Tamar's son, Uri, who disappeared while on a Mossad mission abroad and is presumed dead.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In season 2, we are introduced to Elimelech's brother Zerah, who had been convicted of embezzlement during the '80s, served his term and is now an "energetic healing" guru known as "The Microwave". This is an obvious sendup of Rabbi Yaakov Israel Ifergan, known by his nickname "The X-Ray" or "The Röntgen", who also has a reputation as a popular "diviner" and "faith healer" among those who are into that sort of thing and can afford the premium (you often hear in the news that this-and-that celebrity went to the Rabbi Röntgen the other day to hear divinely inspired advice, or have a blessing bestowed or a curse removed for an upcoming stage show or sports match or what-have-you).
- Not Quite Dead: Elimelech Zorkin, who in Canon was supposed to have been killed.
- Out-of-Character Alert: At first no-one but Yaron catches on to Tamar's kidnappers impersonating her being "okay and just busy" through her cell phone, but later they make the mistake of sending her granddaughter Renan a message calling her "Mami"- a very informal and intimate way of addressing someone, which is all but unheard of within the Ashkenazi community. This is when Renan starts seriously believing that her grandfather's babbling about how Tamar has been kidnapped might be the truth.
- Post-Script Season: Season 2, though if episode 1 is anything to go by, it seems the producers have basically decided that if preserving the tension requires creating a whole new grand conspiracy plot then fine, that's what they'll do.
- Retired Badass: Yaron
- Retraux: Done subtly in the scene transitions, which are of the discredited gradual scroll sort typical of the Hasamba era but nowhere to be found in any other serious television in production nowadays. Done much less subtly with the opening credits, which are completely in the style of the now-antiquated original Hasamba book covers.
- Sequel Escalation: Sure, the old books were also supposedly action-laden and whatnot, but evil cellular communication megacorps, cold-blooded torture and plots to take over the world via brainwashing would not have felt at home in the original.
- Shout-Out: To Tekken; of the most memorable 1st season moments, if not the most. You can watch the whole thing here.Freddy: Who is Zehavi working for? Who is paying you?Iggy: I don't know who we are working for.Freddy: For the Germans? For the Japanese? For who?Iggy: (incredulous) What Japanese?!Freddy: (electrocutes Iggy.)Iggy: STOP! STOP IT! Yes, for the Japanese! The Japanese, it's all the Japanese, the Japanese are paying us!Freddy: Japanese who? What Japanese?Iggy: It's the Japanese... Mishima...Freddy: Mishima?Iggy: It's...Freddy: I've never heard about this "Mishima".Iggy: It's a secret organization, controlled by Heihachi Mishima.Freddy: Keep talking.Iggy: Heihachi is um... He's this old guy who has white hair sticking out from both sides of his head...Renan: Also his son.Iggy: Also his son, his son, Kazuya Mishima, and his grandson Jin Kazama.Renan: And Nina Williams and her twin sister...noteIggy: Anna.Renan: Anna.(Freddy walks about the room menacingly for a bit.)Freddy: Williams?... Anna? That's not Japanese.Renan: It's an international network.Iggy: All over the world.(Freddy contemplates this.)Freddy: That son of a bitch, Izax. He went all the way to the Japanese?
- Show Some Leg: Hufni is all too eager to employ Luda in this crucial diversionary role and seems rather content when he gets to watch the diversion play out.
- The Unfettered: Alpha, a cold-blooded Professional Killer in Sunny's service and apparently an Empty Shell exhibiting no emotion or personality. He's actually Uri, Yaron and Tamar's presumed-dead son, who has been brainwashed by Sunny's corporation.
- Transparent Closet: Yuval. By the 16th episode, he's out of the closet, to nobody's surprise...except Hufni.
- Token Minority: Played straight in the original book series but lampshaded here. Moshe lists all the member of Hasamba complete with titles for Iggy's benefit, including Medic, Second-in-command and whatnot. When he arrives at "Menashe the Yemenite" Iggy immediately goes, "'Yemenite'? That's a job?". Menashe pauses to contemplate this, then goes, "You know what, he's right. Why 'The Yemenite'? I was a pretty good sniper. Couldn't you have called me 'Menashe the Sniper'?"
- Trailers Always Spoil: The "next on..." segment basically gives away the whole plot of the next episode, give or take a plot twist or two.
- Verbal Tic: Moran describes everything as "one of the [things]" (e.g. "How was your trip?" "One of the good ones"). It's a viable form in slang, but the extent he uses it is ridiculous.
- Villain with Good Publicity:
- Moran, the not-quite-model boy scout, drugs Renan and takes naked pictures of her. Then frames Iggy for doing it and comes across, for the upteenth time, as a model do-gooder student.
- Sunny pulls off a completely outrageous version of this. She's highly esteemed among the population for setting up free playgrounds for children; nobody has any idea that said children are being used as brainwashing test subjects.