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Monday, January 9, 2006
The Book of Daniel
Good Morning everyone! Welcome back to the work week, or the school week, or whatever Monday represents to you! If you've read this site for a long time, I have said that I wanted this site to be something that I would want to read. It would be primarily baseball related, but I would talk about other sports or even other topics that I thought were interesting. Today is going to be one of those days, so I hope you'll bear with me. Of course, if topics come up, I'll be sure to cover them. If you're looking for my comments on Corey Koskie being traded to the Brewers and not the Twins, or if you missed my 2006 Minnesota Twins projections, click here to read Friday's posting.
I was watching the local news on Thursday night after ER. One of their lead stories was about the controversy at the station regarding the broadcast of a new show on NBC called The Book of Daniel. As it was explained, the show chronicled the life of an Episcopalian priest and his family. In the show, Jesus shows up at times and talks to the priest, helping him with situations involving his family, his church and more. Apparently a number of NBC affiliates around the country chose not to air the show because of such themes. Well, the Fargo affiliate, KVLY, brought in a number of area clergy and had them watch the first episode. KVLY decided to air the show.
Fast forward to Friday night. My girlfriend and I are sitting around trying to figure out what to do. We had just watched the first episode of Season 2 of Da Ali G Show on DVD. We turned that off, and just happened to be on NBC when they announced that the two hour premiere of The Book of Daniel was about to start. Because of the controversy surrounding it, we decided that we better watch it, at least the beginning of it, to see what all the fuss was about. We watched the entire two hours and thought it was incredible! It was one of the most fun, most edgy, entertaining shows that I have watched.
To explain a little bit about the plot, let's start by just reading the beginning of an article at WorldNetDaily that discusses the issues that a pro-family group has with the show:
A pro-family group has launched a protest campaign against a new NBC drama featuring a troubled, pill-popping Episcopal priest who is the father of a dysfunctional family.
"The Book of Daniel," written by a homosexual, is being promoted as the only show on television in which Jesus appears as a recurring character and the only network prime-time drama series with a regular male "gay" character, a 23-year-old Republican son, says the American Family Association, which has an online petition.
Touted as the riskiest show of the year, it includes a wife who relies on mid-day martinis, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter. At the office, the priest's lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law.
The priest, Daniel Webster, played by veteran actor Aidan Quinn, regularly talks with a manifestation of Jesus, played by Garret Dillahunt.
The American Family Association says the people at NBC responsible for the program "consider it a good, religiously oriented show typical of Christian families."
So, what is the issue? Is it that Jesus is portrayed as someone who shows up as a ghost and has conversations to help a priest? Is it because there is a gay character who happens to be a Republican? Is it because the show is written by an openly gay man? Is it because issues such as drugs, sex, drinking, nepotism, the mob and more are openly discussed?
All of these issues are portrayed on television series every night and on every network. Is it that there are characters who have a number of issues that people do not think that people involved in a church should have?
Is this a fair representation of a "typical" religious family? Maybe not typical, but every family has to deal with its own issues. Do people really believe that priests, or pastors, or anyone in the clergy, or their families are perfect, or holy and without fault? Does anyone think that life in the church is free from negative situations? Does anyone think that politics does not play a huge role in the church? I think we all know that the gossip and rumor spreading of church members is a reality!
So, is this what is wrong with this show? As you may or may not know, my dad is a pastor and my mom is a teacher and principal in a Lutheran elementary school. Both have been involved in the church their entire adult lives. I know that my parents are not perfect (although they are pretty close.. and no, I'm not just saying that because I figure they'll read this) I know first-hand how church life works. I have seen how bad the politics of the church can be. I have seen people make mistakes and be chastised by others in the church. I have sat in the back pews and noticed how people look at each other in a church, judging. I have seen the people who sit in the front rows for one purpose, to be seen as someone who sits in the front seats. I have seen situations where the more rich members who put a lot of money into the church also think that they should be able to make more decisions. I became a PK (Pastor's Kid) a couple of years ago. I am sure everyone knows that PK's are awful, bad kids, right? Are they really that bad? Or, are they simply regular kids who make regular mistakes, only with an entire congregation watching, judging and frequently offering suggestions to parents on how to handle them.
Is this unique to church life? Of course not. These same issues happen in ever facet of life. In schools, in offices, in plants. Everywhere. But don't forget that we are all human. None of us are perfect and we all fall far from where we should be in life. Does that make us bad people? Not at all. It makes us human! In the Bible itself, Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
So, that brings me back to the topic at hand. The Book of Daniel is about a family who has to deal with all of these issues, the same issues that many families in all sectors of society have to deal with , only they have to deal with them as a church family, and church leaders. Sure, I am also a huge fan of 7th Heaven, where their issues are dealt with in a one hour show. However, the reality of things is that these issues are not always correctable in one hour. Sometimes they linger, for weeks, months, or even years. Sometimes the issues just remain. I believe that is part of what this show admits.
I happen to think that shows like this are great. Maybe they're controversial for discussing so many issues. Many want to say that the themes are too 'adult' for a younger audience. To that, first, I have to say that the show is on at 8:00 central (9:00 elsewhere). That isn't kids programming time. Secondly, why can't such a show be good for teen-aged kids? I am of the belief that if kids can be subject to these types of issues, they can see some of the negative results of such issues. For instance, the teenage girl that sells drugs. She was arrested. The show is not telling the audience that selling drugs is OK. It isn't glorifying the drugs or the drug sales. As a matter of fact, the show clearly shows how wrong it is, as it does with all of the other issues.
To summarize - I really think this is and can really be a good show. The idea of censorship is bothersome to me as a US citizen. There is no language or situations on this show that are not in other shows. Is a gay character really that bad? Are you telling me that there are not kids all over the place asking themselves some of those similar questions? I do not like when people tell me what I can and can't (or should and shouldn't) watch. Therefore, I will not tell you that you should watch the show. I will leave that up to you. If you are a parent, don't be afraid to watch the show and determine if you want your kids to watch it or not. Are there themes covered that you think your children can watch and learn from? If not, take a moment and ask yourself if other parents and their kids could use such a form of media as a learning tool.
I am bothered when I read about affiliates not wanting a show to air in their market. What it does is makes me want to watch it even more, and I'm positive I'm not the only one who thinks that. The same thing happened when Desperate Housewives started, so I had to watch the first episode. I wasn't all that impressed, so I have not watched it much since. The Book of Daniel turns out to be a very good, very witty, very (possibly) accurate show that I think is worthy of my time. I believe that I will continue to be watching it.
Oh, and for those who might be interested, Fred Savage is going to be on an ABC sitcom called Crumbs in which he plays a gay man. Start the controversy!
Please feel free to leave some Comments (at the bottom of the page) on your thoughts on this obviously controversial topic. If you would rather leave your thoughts just for me, please e-mail them to me.
Quickly, here were my predictions on the Wild Card weekend games:
NFC: Washington 27, Tampa Bay 16 - Carolina 24, NY Giants 13.
AFC: New England 38, Jacksonville 14 - Cincinnati 34, Pittsburgh 28.
Here were the actual results:
NFC: Washington 17, Tampa Bay 10 - Carolina 23, NY Giants 0.
AFC: New England 28, Jacksonville 3 - Cincinnati 17, Pittsburgh 31.
Three out of four isn't too bad, huh?
Have yourself a wonderful day and week, and we'll be back tomorrow, I believe with another Q&A!
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