Monday, May 16, 2005

On the box

Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray

God became man! Cooooool!

‘The Simpsons’ sends up the Catholic faith
Or its version mangled for comedy’s sake including:

• Homer hashing the Hail Mary in praise of pancake suppers.
• A bucket o’stereotypes including of course Irish brogues (featuring the voice of real Irishman Liam Neeson).
• Bart, dude, that’s the wrong hand to cross yourself... but you’ve got the Latin down, lad! In nomine Patris...
• Revd Lovejoy’s ridiculous claim of heaven separated by denomination with stereotype Anglicans playing croquet in Prot heaven and looking down on the immigrant stereotypes in RC heaven... hello, might the ethnic English instead be Anglo-Catholics? And haven’t you read Brideshead Revisited? OK, these are American stereotypes.
Our Lord chooses to party in RC heaven with fiesta-ing Mexicans, step-dancing Irish and amorous Italians. Echoes of Hilaire Belloc! Benedicamus Domino.
• The part of Catholic heaven with dish-breaking dances, circle dances, ouzo, vodka and Cossack dances didn’t show up as it’s still not on most Americans’ cultural radar (the convert boomlet hasn’t changed that yet) but we know it’s there. (As is the English camp part.)
• The usual regrettable slur that’s pro-contraception but that’s to be expected from these people.
• No liturgical scenes, which is probably for the best, but we see Homer and Bart lighting votive candles to Our Lady (I want Christmas cards of that scene) and Bart with the Rosary!
• Revisiting the point about the faith being childlike (not childish): vivid stories of saints (St Sebastian! Cooool!) are partly what win Bart.
• Nobody romanticised or even bothered depicting the new-breed religion the church types bragged would be so successful. NOT! Actually ‘The Simpsons’ has been good about taking the piss out of it. There was the mock-Super Bowl commercial: ‘... we’ve made a few... changes!
• Quotation:
...you’re going straight in the army, where you’ll be sent straight to America’s latest military quagmire. Where will it be? North Korea? Eye-ran? Anything’s possible with Commander Cuckoo Bananas in charge!
- Homer

This was going to air last month but was pulled out of respect for Pope John Paul II who had just died.

The end of ‘Enterprise’
Nice to see Jonathan Frakes (whom I’d like to look like) and Marina Sirtis (you can hear a little more London in her voice now — she’s English) again... the reactionary Earth people who were the bad guys in the next to last one shown had a libertarian, small-government point. By-your-bootstraps miners who colonised the moon sound pretty cool to me, more so than the actually totalitarian ‘good guys’ of ‘the Federation’ (the US government) that Capt. Kirk and company (the US military) work for (preaching the late Gene Roddenberry’s godawful worldview, which was also intensely anti-religious). A likeable cast: Scott Bakula was cool. Jolene Blalock was OK but not as hot as everybody made her out to be. Didn’t follow it but liked the un-Trekkie theme song and it did outlast the old ‘Star Trek’ by one year, nothing to be ashamed of.

Hoshi’s job was a nice touch: for once the show didn’t assume that newly discovered aliens speak English or that some ‘universal translator’ gizmo is going to work with them.

I’m sure that by now Comic-Book Guy and thousands of other fans have written and posted their versions of Capt. Archer’s speech.

‘Family Guy’ is back
And still great! Jingle, jingle, jingle, jinglejinglejinglejinglejingle... ‘Good night, honey’.

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