Such is the conflict at the center of HBO Max’s Seth Rogen-starring comedy An American Pickle. Rogen stars as both Herschel Greenbaum and his great grandson Ben Greenbaum. Herschel is a salt-of-the-earth old world Jewish man who becomes quite literally salty when he falls into a vat of pickles and is perfectly preserved for a century. He wakes up to a world of a gentrified Brooklyn, ubiquitous cell phones, and a disappointingly unmasculine descendent.
The concept comes from novelist, short story crafter, and TV writer Simon Rich, who couldn’t help but wonder what his great grandfather would think of his privileged, comfortable position in life. That hypothetical became the New Yorker-published short story “Sell Out”, which in turn became the script for An American Pickle.