Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"7th Heaven meets Desperate Housewives."

Such is the description that AP reporter Frazier Moore gives to a new comedic drama coming to NBC. Get the full story here.

The show, called The Book of Daniel, is about an Episcopalian "priest" and his troubled family - a gay son, an addict daughter, a hornball son, a drunk wife, and a son dead of lukemia. The minister pops pills to deal with his problems, and apparently has conversations with Jesus Christ in the flesh, "a loving, good-humored comrade whose robes-and-beard style stands apart in the starchy, posh suburb just outside New York City where 'Book of Daniel' is set."


I'm not sure which is more worthy of ridicule: the show or the news article. Moore calls the show "The gospel according to Jack Kenny", the show's creator:
A gay man raised in the Catholic Church, [who] says he drew on the Wasp-y, emotionally guarded family of his life partner.
There's a resounding endorsement. That should allay any fears about whether the show will be offensive to people of any religious bent, or even bent religion. But Moore anticipates that question in his interview with Aidan Quinn, the show's star. Quinn says the show is just about everyday folk. After all, men of the cloth can have everyday folk problems, right? Well, the answer is yes, and that's one reason they shouldn't get married, but I digress...

Kenny, whose relationship with life-partner Michael was the fathering force behind the show, claims that it's not about religion; it's about people. I imagine that G.K. Chesterton would pounce upon such a statement and point out that anything about people will be about religion because people are about religion and religion about people. But that's beside the point: you can't have Jesus Christ personified as a character in a television series (about a person in a ministerial role whose publicity photo features gothic vestments and architecture and men standing around b.s.'ing in cassock and surplice) and claim that such a series is not about religion.

"The fact that Daniel is a priest is secondary. The church is the backdrop. This is no more about religion than 'Six Feet Under' was about mortuaries." Now if the article were written by a cynical person like me, I might take this to be a roundabout statment about the nature of the Anglican orders compared with other "careers" and the ministerial priesthood of the Church; but I don't think I'm rash to assume that neither Kenny nor Moore have read Apostolicae Curae.

If I seem irritated, it's just out of perplexity. I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything... but it's strange to see how Hollywood kind of cycles. "Narnia" is storming theaters, but Aslan's roar may not be enough to crack "The Divinci Code." "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is available to come into people's homes and shine a positive light on a priest in a movie, for once; but maybe upon switching off the DVD, viewers will find Father Daniel giving approbation to his gay son after a long, 39 minute internal conflict about the matter. We only ever hear right-wingers and religious people speaking about the "cultural war," but it seems that the other side, although not acknowledging the war, is very calculated in its plans and counterstrikes...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe -- what weapon have we but the cross? ...total self-gift out of love and willed obedience to the Truth ourselves. Matthew 5:11-12.
-- Ged.

12/27/05, 5:45 PM  

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