Monday, January 16, 2006

The Funniest Tv Show of the Season...(unwittingly)

NBC's "The Book of Daniel" premiered last Friday with a two-hour special that was heralded as the next "Desperate Housewives" but ' stank up the joint' with a third-place showing in the ratings. Actually it's hilarious not in the Sienfeld way but in the 'Plan Nine from Outer Space' way. Pat Robertson and room full of angry Bob Jones graduates couldn't have written a more hyperbolic satire proselytizing the pitfalls of 'liberal Christian theology' and its inevitably ends. This "toleration" approach to sin was so prosaically demonstrated in Reverend Webster's "sermon" it left the viewer with impression that the 'Good Reverend' has no coherent understanding of sin not to mention the human condition. That sermon was an almost perfect distillation of liberal theology expressed as mind-numbing non-judgmentalism. This priest 'Daniel', and his family are poster children for postmodern times. I cannot recall a series in which a greater number of characters seemed so desperately detestable. The real writers perhaps realizing they've created a crop of characters who are so morally compromised, irredeemably mean, venal and idiotic, that they try to tell us these people are really sweethearts, using a therapeutic Jesus as head cheerleader. Amazingly, this "Christ figure" just wants humans to get over their 'hang-ups' about sin. Sin!!! Sin!!! This show wouldn't recognize a sin with both hands on a bible! It was so bad I actually shed tears... laughing very hard at its flailing attempt to push the cultural envelope. But, believe it or not I think this show could be 'saved' (Pun intended). 

First things first, who was the executive genius that saw this and said "this make sense to me, this is a plausible story, I think people are gonna wanna watch this, go forth and make it so"? This guy should be 'Soooooooo fired'. Tom Shales of the Washington Post observes, "There ought to be a worse punishment than cancellation for a show that tries this hard to be offensive and, even at that crass task, manages to fail." I agree wholeheartedly, crucifixion anyone? (LOL) Ironically, the show may succeed in accomplishing what it almost surely does not aim to do – demonstrate clearly that 'tolerant liberal theology' inevitably leads one into being trapped by almost every form of sin, temptation, and dysfunctional syndrome imaginable with no end in sight. This I think is a foundation you can build on, for bitter sweet-comedy. I see that with just few tweaks NBC could be sucking in millions of Christian eyes now turning away offended, while staying edgy enough to win awards from their media friends.** 

How to Move This Debacle from 3rd to 1st

  1. Make it a ½ hour comedic morality play (think My name is Earl)

  2. Simplify Give him a 'holy adversary' 'Jimmy the evangelist priest' (think Cheers, Melville's/Gay's Olde Towne Tavern) who's every success, stable family, larger flock, etc drives Daniel to all of Seven Deadly Sins and let the hilarity ensue.

  3. Dump the carpool buddy, hippy Jesus, The mere portrayal of him in this way turns people off, accept it, move on.

  4. Streamline the show plot "how does Daniel of keep church growing to please his bosses, his ego, God etc., keep his flock sinless, and family together. Not how to 'shock and awe' Christians this week.'  

  5. Hire a religious "advisor" someone, anyone who's cracked a bible open to help all the priestly "inside baseball" scenes ring more true. (details count)

  6. Start the show with sermon (think early Seinfeld) quoting a scripture, which he spends the entire show tying to fudge for his own petty ambitions. The more he tries the more his life humorously spirals out of control.

  7. At the end of each show, have have him break the fourth wall with a 'Final Thought', as he gets the point of his own sermon.

  8. Bitter-sweet Character Arch (over years); as Daniel slowly "gets it' and accepts the priestly life he's chosen and all its requirements. He'll divorce his wife, come to an impasse with his gay son, etc. but becomes more at peace with himself. (sam never got Diane or played baseball again)

  9. Move the show to Tues. Leave it be, so people can find it and let it grow.

  10. Fire the mutton-head who green lighted this mess! TODAY!!

**Discloser I'm part of the 'godless' creative class... and I'm a Christian.

Hat tip to Dr. Albert Mohler's who's commentary inspired me to post this and from which I borrowed 'liberally' 



Blogger The Platypus said...

Wow, you actually watched that? You should get a medal for bravery. Or did you miss all those commercials with the reverend driving around listening to platititudes from Pretty Boy Christ?

I'm no stranger to masochism. I'll watch 7th Heaven just to see how far they can push the envelope of lameness, but a blow-dried Jesus? Ouch!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Race Bannon said...

I hung for the first 40 min then zapped in from the scifi channel during thier commercials. (LMAO a man has limits)

12:00 AM  
Blogger Call Me Ishmael said...

I thought it was really blow-cornflakes-out-your-nose funny that NBC actually paid money for this series.

10:12 AM  

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The devil is just one man with a plan, but evil ... true evil is a collaboration of men which is what we have here today. If I am a guilty man, my crime is in daring to believe that the truth will out ... I believe it still. Much as you try to bury it, the truth is out there. Greater than your lies, the truth wants to be known. ...It'll come to you as it's come to me, faster than the speed of light. -agent Fox Mulder