Gentle Fudge
religion, politics, current events, and other fashionable dinner conversation.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
"Crazy Christians"
I'm very impressed with the publicity NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" has been getting. Takes place in NBS Studios (ah hah! I get it!) on a sketch comedy show stage that feels very similar in format and even bumper music to SNL. Hmmm... well, NBC has the power to mimic their own format since they own it. Anyway, good writing, good cast, good characters. Compared with the glut of reality shows feeding our ever-growing sick appetite for voyarism and the just-add-water-wealth gameshows, I have been pleasantly surprised.

And of course, with all shows that mention the word 'christian,' there has been controversy.

All good network producers know the sacred cows. Repeat after me:
  • We do not mention politics.
  • We do not mention religion.
  • We do not mention race.
  • We do not mention sexual orientation.
  • We do not mention mental illness.
  • We do not mention sex. (We just hint at it.)
  • No smoking (on camera).
  • No drinking (to excess without consequence).
  • No drugs. (No admitting if you did. It's an herbal supplement.)
Most fear lawsuits in our happily litigious society. Somewhere along our sedated journey, we began remembering that there is no Constitutional right against being offended. There have been a few brave souls that have begun to refocus the spotlights in the past few years which of course brings controversy. Will and Grace brought gay out of the closet. Now, all biases aside, they still erred on the side of safety; there was little seen about the personal lives of the gay men and more focus on the clever writing, but it all rang similar to the shenanigans of the early bed-swapping Friends.

And all has been quiet on the western front recently until it was discovered on Studio 60 that there is an openly xtian character. Southern Baptist blonde who will damn you to hell with a smile. There are cracks about the Religious Right (and sorry guys, but you brought it on yourselves) and a few stereotypes in general including a jab at Pat Robertson -- again, Pat, you did it to yourself. And a continual allusion to a banned skit called "Crazy Christians."

I've seen many other 'xtian' characters on other shows and very few pass beyond two-dimensional -- weak sketches of every characature made: clueless about their faith, moral but self-righteous, stubbornly close-minded toward others, doormats, know-it-all isolationists that hide behind their double-locked doors, quivering and waiting for the rapture. Before Jesus leaves the real sinners for judgement, of course.

But the woman on Studio 60 shows a depth I haven't seen with any religious character on any show up till now. Sure, she lets slip some attitude once and a while against her fellow unsaved coworkers, but she is flesh and blood. She makes mistakes, but she still relies on her faith to give her guidance. And is open to sharing about it with others. I do like her attitude that this should not be the main focus -- it isn't for others. She is not the novelty act just because she is a xtian. There is more to her than just this label.

An article written by Brent Bozell III kinda charred my cookies. He lambasted the show for daring to berate xtians. (I'm sure he would be offended that I don't spell the word in its entirety either.) He states that Hollyweird is back to their usual self, wanting to take good moral programming off the air and replace it with immoral shit that encourage kids to sleep around, shoot up, and denounce their faith. First, I want to encourage him to turn off The 700 Club. Next, I want him to count how many non-xtian friends he has that he is not obsessed with converting within his lifetime. After dinner and watching The Passion or Matthew. Also, we are living in the world. And we have been told to Go, not Sit-And-Hide.

If he had kept up with the show, which is funnier than hell, he would see that the writers are turning all kinds of sacred cows into hamburger. They poked their stick at xtians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists during a sketch about the origin of the earth. The most recent episode showed DL Hughley and Matthew Perry skip out on the wrap party to scout a black comedian because Hughley's character insisted on hiring a black writer for "diversity". He was sadly disappointed when the comedian's act consisted of racial slurs toward whites, glorifying his part in multiple pregnancies with countless "bitches" -- "My next kid's name's gonna be 'Oops' " -- and not paying his bills on time; the typical ghetto attitude that has entrapped much of the black community. Racism and sexism coming from from another side, not our redneck-white-trash-cracker poster child? Risky.

Xtians are a target for a reason. Do we attend church just to point our fingers at others who don't measure up to our standards? Do we think we're better because we're told we said the right words and are paid up on fire insurance? Or have we only changed our Sunday morning schedule instead of our way of life? Let's not forget John 3:17. If we remember that G-d loves everyone and every person we encounter is an eternal soul, maybe our attitude would be a little different. Let's lower our noses a little bit and quit being so snobby and easily offended. I always find it amusing that the only people Christ got truly upset and angry at were the hyper-religious and legalistic.

When we find something desperately wrong with this picture, we need to start fixing it. And watch the show. It's damn funny.

UPDATE (11/06/06):
Well, if the rumors are correct, my beloved late-night show may be getting canceled. It had a good run and entertained many of us.

The mutterings are that the show was "too smart" and "too offensive," daring to make fun of the average TV viewer. Well, I'm not one for Roman holiday reality shows, mindless game shows of chance employing models and briefcases, and politically correct sitcoms the flavor of stale toast. I miss scripted TV written by writers who earned their journalism degrees by keeping current and edgy. And if that's offensive, then I'll have to buy more books because the replacement will definately have its sharp corners rubber-capped for your protection.

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posted by Sara @ 10:45 PM  
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Name: Sara
Home: gypsy wanderer, United States
About Me: Those who know me find me stubborn, opinionated, open-minded, strong-willed, of some intelligence, and yet they still hang around.
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Love God. Love all. Serve both.

There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor. -George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

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