I like TV. I watch quite a bit of it, some of my favorites include Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D, Blacklist, Big Brother, America’s Got Talent, Survivor, oh and This Is Us, who doesn’t like This Is Us?
This summer however I discovered Last Man Standing, and no this blog post is not about the politics expressed in the show that many believe got it canceled off the uber liberal network ABC, though it’s quite obvious since Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) is a die hard Republican loyal to Reagan, disses Obama, and speaks out against everything the Democrats stand for. And ABC wouldn’t cancel a show that blatantly expresses views different from their own, that would be…shall we say, intolerant. Nooo they wouldn’t do thaaaat!
But there is one more thing found in Tim Allen’s show that isn’t found anywhere else – God, faith, family, strong male leadership, traditional family values, a male lead that that isn’t a complete idiot who sleeps with anyone and everyone like, oh, I don’t know every other sitcom on TV!!
Kidding aside, I love (AGT) America’s Got Talent. This summer a gospel choir made it very far and they received very good feedback from the judges and America! One of the things about AGT that I love is the stories of the contestants, the producers do a great job of giving viewers a peek into their lives. This way you’re not only watching contestants on a TV show, you also feel like you know them a little, you can relate. Well they also did a story on the gospel choir wherein the choir members shared some of their struggles and hardships and it was very good, heart wrenching even, but you know what was missing every time they (the producers) delved deeper into their story? The Gospel! God! How can an interview with members of a gospel choir not mention, even once the one thing that brought them all together? Now I’m not saying it’s the choir who omitted God from their story, though it’s possible, but far more likely is the notion that NBC and AGT didn’t want God in there because it’s too risky for them to be seen as friendly to religion by their non religious viewers. Don’t say God, it’s too controversial. Unless of course it’s Mel B screaming it from the judges panel that is, then it’s okay.
Big Brother and Survivor are not much different either, I mean I love those shows. Though this season of Big Brother has to be the worst one I’ve ever seen, Paul as a puppet master? Not likely, not to dis Paul too much, I’m sure he’s a decent player, thing is, this year their were no other players! Those who tried to play were villianized and evicted, punished for playing against Paul by his minions who seem all too willing to just give him half a million bucks! I’d like to see how much of a puppet master Paul would be if he were playing with the likes of Dr Will, Derrick or Dan, or even the year evil Dick played. Those people wouldn’t have let themselves be manipulated by Paul, unlike these fools playing this year, I’ve got some very un-christian-like words I’d like to use to describe their gameplay, but hey this is a Christian blog after all and I’m way off topic… So anyway, Big Brother did have a Christian player on this year, like they’ve done before. But also like they’ve done before they present that player in a way that isn’t too friendly, they made her look wierd, with the music and sound effects they used when she was in the HOH bathroom praying she looked more like a crazy person off her meds than a sane person just talking to God. And I know she was speaking in tongues, for many that’s already wierd, even for most Christians I know that’s wierd. All I have to say is read Corinthians a little closer if you wanna know more about that. But even when she called Paul out to be the snake that he is, Big Brother would use the sound of a snake as a funny sound effect effectively mocking her obvious reference to the serpent in the Bible. Again, CBS can’t be seen as portraying Christians in a positive light, that would be too risky for them.
All this ranting aside, what other options do we Christians have when watching TV if we want to relate to the characters on our favorite TV shows besides the cheesy stuff we find on the faith channel? None really. So the best thing we can do is use our favorite shows as examples of what not to do, except This Is Us, there’s some great stuff in there.
The other thing we can do is not get all bent out of shape about it either, I know we like to say that it’s all these shows these days that don’t show or teach any morals or values, but if we’re honest, we’d have to go waaay back to find a time when they did. I’m in my mid thirties and I remember growing up and watching shows my parents hated – Seinfeld and Friends to name a couple. Disclaimer: I’m not knocking Friends, I know some of you are hardcore Friends fans and I’m not trying to offend you, just wanted to say that. But, if we’re honest, those shows had a whole lot of sleeping around, they weren’t exactly do-gooders who caught themselves in bad situations, they wanted to be in those situations.
TV and movies have for a long time shown us what they knew we would pay for – people living lives that we secretly dream about. Is it really the fault of the entertainment industry, or is it our fault for continuing to watch?
What we can do is use TV exactly for what it is – entertainment. We can also learn from it, use it as a teaching tool for our kids and if you give it a chance there are now actually some really good, and well made Christian based movies and TV that don’t look like they were shot with an iPhone 3GS. We recently watched The Case for Christ and I have to say it was really good! No sugar coating our faith, just an honest look at the Bible through the eyes of an atheist who later surrendered to Jesus. The God’s NOT Dead movies are also good, though I can see where some potential criticisms would be. War Room was really good, almost anything recently made by the Kendrick brothers is good. And believe it or not, I might get some flack for saying this but The Shack also was well done.
Point is, TV was never intended to be all hugs and kisses, despite what Full House may have shown us, it’s entertainment. And entertainment is going to change based on what people want to see. So use TV as entertainment but if you want to be edified and have your bucket filled, read the Bible. If you want your kids to grow up knowing Jesus don’t expect the TV or anyone else to do that for them, you do it, by reading them the Bible, walking with them, talking with them, listening to them, leading them to Jesus yourself because everyone knows, if we expect our kids not to turn into the things they see on TV, you have to show them something else, you have to BE something else.