Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

TV Guide on Faith on Television

posted by Nell Minow

Craig Tomashoff’ has a thoughtful article in TV Guide about the portrayal of religion and spirituality on television. It has some surprising examples. The often-outrageous animated series “The Simpsons” was praised for using “Christian faith, religion and questions about God” as recurring themes.Ned_Flanders.jpg

At first glance, it seems odd that a child-choking, beer-swilling glutton who has embodied all seven deadly sins could be considered a shining example of a man of faith. Then again, as the Vatican paper explained, the Simpson family “recites prayers before meals and, in their own way, believes in the life thereafter.” Even Melissa Henson, director of communications for the Parents Television Council, says, “The Simpsons is one of the more balanced treatments of faith-based characters that you’ll see. Flanders seems like a dork, but he’s sincere.”

Advertisement

Most prime-time elevision shows are designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience and producers worry that identifying characters with a particular religious faith will be controversial, offending both those who share that faith and those who do not. The result is a pervasive cynicism on television with regard to faith and people of faith.

A recent TV Guide Magazine poll found that 59 percent of readers believe religion and faith-based characters aren’t being treated fairly on prime time. As one respondent put it, “So often, religious people (read: Christians) are portrayed as crackpot, hypocritical, ultraconservative nutjobs.”

community.jpgThomashoff points to “Community’ as an example of inclusion and “The Middle,” “Lost,” and “The Good Wife” as shows that grapple with questions of faith in a sincere and respectful way. “Hellcats” has a Christian character whose faith leads her to decide not to have sex with her boyfriend. And Will Scheffer of the polygamous HBO drama “Big Love” says, “Faith is our main theme. All our characters will be struggling and questioning, but in a way that won’t be off-putting to viewers, whether they be atheists or true believers.” Stories — whether drama or comedy — are about conflict. When television writers and producers portray the struggles of their characters to find meaning and direction, questions of religion and spirituality provide an authenticity and connection to viewers.

Previous Posts

The Hobbit: The Definitive Movie Posters
The Hobbit: The Definitive Movie Posters is a gorgeous new book and a must-have for all would-be denizens of Middle Earth. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTI5XHs-odg[/youtube] ...

posted 3:16:48pm Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Ebertfest #3 -- The "Ida" Panel
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk2--Y8hfqQ[/youtube] Thanks to Matt Zoller Seitz, Sheila O'Malley, and Todd Rendleman for our superb discussion about this year's Oscar winner for best foreign language movie, "Ida." ...

posted 8:59:24am Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Movies vs. Science -- The Worst Science Mistakes on Film
The Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum used to have a great little video with a claymation Albert Einstein shaking his head over the many mistakes in sci-fi movies. "They're breaking my rule!" he exclaimed. As the animated genius went on to ...

posted 8:00:59am Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Ant-Man
Okay, I admit I was skeptical. I was thinking along the lines of Teeny Little Super Guy from Sesame Street. But I love Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll and this trailer has me sold. [iframe width="560" height="315" ...

posted 3:25:31pm Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Movie Scenes in Grocery Stores -- Featuring Macaulay Culkin, Michael Keaton, Natalie Portman, Steve Martin, Ryan Gosling, and More
Check out Slate's compilation of movie scenes set in grocery stores.  It has a lot of my favorites, but leaves out this classic with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, from the fact-based "Yours, Mine, and ...

posted 8:00:01am Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.