Monday, February 09, 2004


Yes. I did see some of this past Friday's Joan of Arcadia. And, yes, I did think it was an unfair caricature of a Christian of the type that we have all become unhappily accustomed in primetime. And, no, I do not feel any compulsion to defend the show. I haven't felt any compulsion to say anything critical about it up to now, but I'm getting confused and outraged emails, so....

Honestly, I couldn't stomach more than the first twenty minutes of the show, so I switched off, and maybe I missed the fair and balanced twist that the epsiode was going to get to eventually. If I did miss it, please, some of you JA devotees, post here.

The part I saw involved a redneck Christian middle-aged father beating a homosexual minister to a pulp, and then using the excuse that the minister had it coming because he had molested the rednecK's son. Of course, it was a trumped up charge, because AS EVERYBODY KNOWS, homosexuals do not molest children REALLY.

The episode was really badly written and had Joan's police chief father "trick" out of the man's son that he hadn't been molested using a stupid line of questioning that wouldn't have tripped up a four year old...but then, these are Christians and their bigotry makes them stupid...or else they are just innately stupid and so susceptible to bigotry...whatever.

Anyway, it seemed to me like the gist of the episode was to boldly challenge the homophobic notion that homosexuals tend to be attracted to minors. Oh yes, and to remind America that Christians are evil, sneaky, brutal and hypocritical.

Honestly (John...), the writing in the piece I saw was so bad that I didn't need the unfair characterization of one particular religion and the superficial presentation of a complex social issue to make me turn the channel. The problem is, when you are competing with fabulous procedural shows like NYPD-Blue and Law and Order, you just don't have the leeway to put on a sloppy, silly interrogation scene, without looking, well, sloppy and silly. I have a particular disdain for scenes that scream, "Trust us. We know it looks like the scene is obvious and just driving toward a plot-point, but it is really clever and tricky." It was just awkward and embarrassing.

I hate the idea of a show in which God is a character being cloying and easy.

What's probably going on here, is the all-consuming desire on the part of people in the entertainment industry to win the approval of their peers. You do that through the "brave" act of offending the sensibilities and impugning the intelligence of people who love God. It would actually be a much braver act in Hollywood to look the industry's elitism and politics in the eye and spit. But perhaps this would take heroic courage.

Pray for the show.

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