Saturday, January 07, 2006


Big date night last night. Our Publix rendevouz was particularly exciting because we are getting ready for Aidan's visit. And, as if that wasn't enough for late-yuppie style Friday night romance, we got home and channel surfed (if you can call what I do with a 17 inch tv with rabbit ears surfing) into the new NBC show Daniel. From what I understand from some of the Evangelical pundits, this show will push us over the edge into Armageddon and make a viewer go blind.

Its funny, though. It is a great satire on upper-middle/upper class American culture. The "Christianity" is spot-on liberal Protestantism. The prettiest actor plays Liberal American Protestant Jesus (hereinafter "LAP Jesus"), but nearly all of them are pretty, except for the characters of whom the writers disapprove.

The writers disapprove of Daniel's father, the bishop, but LAP Jesus, being LAP Jesus of course, says even the bishop is really a good guy. Of course, we know what LAP Jesus' problem is, my fellow Americans - he loves everybody, even Pharisees like the bishop. I don't exactly remember the Jesus of the New Testament (hereinafter "NT Jesus") loving the Pharisees. Maybe he loved them at some profound level, maybe like going to the cross for them (and me), but he certainly didn't like them. Would you call someone you liked a snake? But LAP Jesus likes everyone. I sort of like LAP Jesus, especially when he is as pretty as the one on Daniel, but I don't love him. In fact though he's a nice guy, he's sort of a, what's the word these days? a word of gentle contempt, something begins with a "w" or "wh", but I can't think of it. Anyway, he's one of those, this LAP Jesus. But good looks on a man or a woman go a long way - at least for however long that show went last night.

My favorite character was the RC priest. I've seen that actor before - playing Italian bad guys or Italian cops, usually ones that are just a little disturbed. He's just perfect for this part. If nothing else, he projects an aura of slightly malevolent strength. Frankly, the projection of strength by any male on this show, malevolent or not, is refreshing, because I saw it from none of the other male characters. (Speaking of male-strength-not, how about the father of the girl friend of Daniel's adopted, Asian son? Doesn't he sort of define TV American maleness?)

Every relationship in this show is "messed-up" and "abnormal" except, maybe, for Daniel's relationship with his wife and maybe his relationships with most of the other characters. Daniel, himself a priest, Episcopal variety, is the epitome of nice guy-ness, which is the character to which all of us should aspire, as the show teaches. That's obviously why LAP Jesus hangs around with him. (And why NT Jesus is nowhere in sight.)

The show sends-up all behaviors or "life-styles", but the writers make it plain of what they approve as they present the characters. The favorite character, other the Daniel, seems to be Daniel's gay son. This is the same same "gay" stereotype we see everwhere: gentle, sensitive, bright, reasonable, reasonably needy, reasonably giving, but, come to think of it, all the stereotypes are in this show. But its well put together, slick, and, when you crowd all those stereotypes in one fast moving TV show, it does offer even a NT Jesus follower a few moments of guilty pleasure.

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