Friday, May 04, 2007

General update - television

P-momma here!
My shoulder seems to be on-the-mend (FINALLY!). I have so many comments to catch up on,... I wonder if I'll get around to them all. Thanks to the possums for keeping things interesting.

Possum#1 has a busy day tomorrow. Actually, her whole weekend is jam-packed. She's playing trumpet, tomorrow, at Universal Studios... then, on Sunday, she's got a steel drum performance. Ah'...to be young and have so much energy, again.

Possum#2 has decided to stay with the grandparents. He went to a "Youth in the Law" seminar, a couple of days ago, and has been cracking me up with little "legal nuggets". For example; Did you know you get THREE phone calls if you're arrested? Or, that, they employ more jurors for drug cases than for murder cases, just in case there's a conflict of interest? I'm starting to feel like I'm living with Judge Wapner.

Ok...so, this *is* an atheist blog, maybe I should have an atheist topic?
I've been watching more television than is humanely tolerable. I started keeping a list, in my head, of blatantly religious shows, parading on network televsion. THERE ARE A LOT! I realize that this is limited to the United States (because, I don't know what's on in other countries)...but how can theists, in America, claim that the media is anti-theist?
So, what shows are there that don't drown you in prayer and Christianity?
The Daily Show...obviously. But, I'm thinking of prime time stuff.
House, MD?

On the other end, which shows bash you over the head with Christ?
Discuss. :)

24 comments:

AlisonM said...

Hey, on my cable network, we even have three (count 'em, three!) Christian STATIONS! All Jebus, all the time! I can't even re-read books I liked. I have a hard time watching movies or TV shows I've already seen. How mind-numbingly awful it must be to derive all your "entertainment" from a single source!!!

Then again, even the non-christian stuff is mind-numbing. I was confined to bed for the last 13 weeks of my first pregnancy, and I wouldn't wish three months of network TV on my worst enemy.

Psychodiva said...

well over here in England / UK/ Britain :) we have a lot of religious shows on the satellite network so at least we can avoid those ones- although me and DH do find it an amusing half hour to wacth and pull apart / critique those shows- anyway- on terrestrial tv here most of the religious shows are confined to the Sunday morning slot and do are tending towards general discussion of loats of religions - there is howvwer a sad lack of discussion of atheism. One thing i did like the other day was on the radio 4 (BBC) programme they had a short discussion of atheism but the athiest they had on wasn't very good at debating with the religious person they had on and kept letting hinself be interrupted- well at least we are getting the odd ebate- and there have been complaints that the regular 'thought for the day' slot on radio 4 is too religious so they are trying to get secular and atheist speakers on it now.

elianara said...

Bones is atleast partly atheistic. Dr. Temperance Brennan is an atheist, while Agent Booth is Christian.

Vincent said...

I mainly just watch reruns, and not regularly so my experience is limited.
Friends - Gellers are Jewish but there's never any religious content so far as I recall

King of Queens - nope

Everybody Loves Raymond - theoretically catholic but I don't recall any church scenes or discussion of religion

Scrubs - less religious than I would expect what with all the people dying

Supernanny - nope

Extreme Makeover Home Edition - okay, this is usually ridiculously religious just because the people are always thanking god for their good fortune (same god that caused their old house to get blown away, their dad to die, the dog to go lame...?). I do think that shows some of the economic disparity though. Poorer people get the help on the show and poorer people are more likely to be religious.

There's actually a channel I get called I. It used to be called PAX and had very christian programming, but for some reason also shows reruns of Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica (original). I guess they like Lorne Greene. Anyway, no god stuff in those old shows.

There's much more woo-woo than religion on TV. Ghost Whisperer, Lost and the like.

aiabx said...

House is in many ways a crappy show, but Hugh Laurie is such a fine actor and the character of House himself is so delightful that all flaws get swept away.

When House told the delusional nun "I thought seeing things that weren't there was a job requirement for you people", I wept with joy, and I was so happy to hear a TV character openly say "I have no use for faith". It doesn't wash away the 2 local Christian channels, but it's a start.

PerpetualBeginner said...

Vincent, I can't comment on Bonanza, but the original Battlestar Galactica is actually heavily religious, just Mormon-religious rather than general Christian, so it's harder to see if you're not familiar with their schtick. My husband who is familiar with it (he's been officially consigned to the outer darkness, a source of much family amusement), actually calls it Battlestar Mormonica.

estocastica said...

South Park is great non-religious programming. Well, actually, they cover religion, but definitely in a non-traditional, non-flattering, manner. The Office is a great show as well. Also gotta give props to Veronica Mars...awesome in every way and extremely underrated. That's about all I watch of the ole' boob tube.

Greg said...

I always find it kind of funny when people say "House, M.D." is an atheistic show. It's not. Dr. Gregory House, the character, is an atheist, yes, but look at the guy. He is a good doctor, but his life is not one I would want for myself. He only has one real friend, has to call hookers for company, is addicted to pain killers, and is an all around jerk to everyone near him. Hardly what I would call a shining ideal example of atheism.

The show, meanwhile, has some pretty strong religious undertones. It doesn't like dogma and blind faith so much, but I think the concept of some higher being at some level is understood. Remember the episode with the teenage faith healer? Yeah, the kid was full of bull, but the cancer's remission, while not technically a miracle since it was explained scientifically, but I think the show added "the chances of him having the right kind of herpes and her having the right kind of cancer and them meeting at the right time... it's astronomical." So, "House" doesn't have an omnipotent, point-and-make-it-so kind of God, but it does seem that there's something guiding from behind the scenes.

I mean, yeah, the show isn't a "Christian" show by any means, but it's not Atheist either. It's agnostic.

Aimee said...

You need to watch Penn & Teller: Bull Shit on Showtime. This is the best series I have seen in a looong time. They debunk all kinds of crap from the Ouija Board, near death experiences, crazy environmentalists to bottled water, that is just the first season. Not one for the kiddos though. It is informational and hilarious, especially since Penn is an atheist himself. We got the 1st seaon on netflix, but after seeing it, we are definately going to buy the seasons.

One time while channel surfing, there was this teen christian game show. It was like the bible meets Jeopardy. It still cracks me up to this day, but one of their parting gifts was this chocolate candy called TestaMints!!!

And of course South Park is on our top viewing list, again though without the kids. E.R. isn't really laced with religion, or CSI, I only watch the Vegas one though. And no religion in Desperate Housewives.

oh yeah, Glad to have you back Pmomma : )

aimee said...

I believe you can get a taste of Penn & Teller's show on youtube, it is so worth checking out. Check out this one on "The Bible Is Bullshit"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RV46fsmx6E
ENJOY!!

smellincoffee said...

@ Vincent: there are a couple of religious scenes in the first season. Raymond goes to Confession after offending his parents in some way, and there's a great line in one of the episodes..

Debra: Ray was just about to tell Aly the truth about Santa Claus.
Marie: What?! My own son, an atheist?!

It's a line I've wanted to use as a forum sig ever since watching it. :-D

Chakolate said...

It's too bad Studio 60 got axed, as it was wonderfully anti-religion sometimes.

Maggie Rosethorn said...

Welcome back,Pmomma. Hope you are feeling better. Television...I can't speak to it, because I'd rather read. My TV hours work out to maybe 3/month...if I am really bored or desperate. Really enjoyed the postings from the little possums; you are raising a great set of kids.

Summer Squirrel said...

Welcome Back!!

I've been disappointed in the supernatural undertones in Grey's Anatomy. The treatment of death is, well, creepy.

jellybean said...

I miss Studio 60, too!
And Scrubs is fantastic. I used to like Grey's Anatomy, until the episode where one of the doctors says that to be able to do her job, she has to believe in an afterlife. As a nursing student, I found that offensive, as no alternate opinion was offered.

As for Penn and Teller, I agree with some of their stuff, such as the ones about the Bible and spiritual stuff, but some of the others, like the recycling one, not so much. And the overt sexism present in every episode makes it totally nonenjoyable for anyone one who's not into treating women as objects.

Lorenzo said...

Overt sexism? You ever stop to wonder WHY they show the naked chics?

Riker said...

Interestingly enough, I happened to catch two episodes of Law & Order (well, one of L&O, and one of L&O:SVU) last night, and both of them were taking potshots at religious nutbags. The first one was about an evangelical preacher and his family, who had a gay son and ended up being implicated in the murder of his lover...

The second one was about a guy who murdered his daughter's science teacher. His defense was that his teaching of evolution was weakening his daughter's faith, and the killing was justified as he was protecting his daughter from the threat of immediate divine retribution. Turns out he actually killed the dude because he thought the teacher was sleeping with her.

Both were great episodes!

Berlzebub said...

House, MD is an atheist show, inasmuch as the main character is an atheist. The same goes for Bones (ironically, both on the FOX network).

Honestly, I love both shows, and try to watch them, whenever I can. Mainly because House deals with religious and medical woo with a dry dark humor, and Bones (Dr. Brennan) talks to people, who believe in nonsense, like she would to another scientist. Most of the time, both get looks of either complete shock, or the blank stare of someone thinking "Wha...?"

I don't like how both are painted as being 'lonely' and/or 'antisocial'. They seem to be sending the message that any atheist who's visited blog world has seen. "If you don't have religion, you're lonely because you're searching for more... Even if you don't know it."

-Berlzebub

Zipi said...

I stoped watching "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" because I could not take all the "They are great deserving people because they believe in God" and the "This can only happen in America, the greatest country in the world, because we have God with us".

The show is plain conservative, not only religoius. They never select a family with even one member who could be seen as leftish, liberal, not god-fearing, or even *gasp* gay.

One of the episodes even including giving the family full scholarships for all the kids to attend Liberty University. That is when I stopped watching.

aimee said...

I quit watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition because I got tired of crying every Sunday : )

It did drive me crazy that all their thanks would be because "if it wasn't for god"...

It's like when I watch football and the players point up to the sky daddy thanking him for making that touchdown or whatever, arg!

HeathenAngel said...

I'm new here. Been reading a little while, but just recently decided to pop in and add my two cents.

First let me say, it's good to have found this blog. I appreciate knowing that I'm not the only Mom out there who is an Atheist. Quick "aside".. do you have to deal with the same kind of grief I get from my family members? It's pretty harsh. After a recent letter to the Editor of the local paper, I am convinced that my grandmother hates me.. story for another time.

Onto the subject.

House MD, mainly. I think this show is very Atheistic, which is why I am really drawn to it. I was noticing some of the examples that everyone was quoting.. let's not forget the most recent episode where House and two of the ducklings find Foreman in the chapel, and House asks him if he is finished talking to his imaginary friend.

Sure, Chase WAS in the seminary, but like he says, he left.. and he has that nice little speech that he gives to Foreman about how he "talks to god" and "pretends someone is listening". I'd say out of all the ducklings, Foreman is probably the most "theistic".. but, and I'm not meaning to sound racist here, isn't that common among the African-American community? Isn't there a statistic that actually shows that there are fewer Black Atheists than Whites? I seem to remember reading that somewhere.

Also, I think the CSI franchise is pretty UNtheistic, if not Atheistic.. mostly because of the science and skeptic aspect of things. I think Miami is probably the most theistic of the three. The L&O franchise too.. since it deals with the legal field.

Sure.. all these shows are going to have moments of theism.. but, overall.. I'd say they are Anti-theistic.

I just found out by reading this blog that Studio 60 was canned... and I'm quite upset about that. It too was one of the best Atheistic shows to watch. How very depressing.

So.. "Hi" and let me say again that I'm glad I found this blog.. I may be able to actually save some of my sanity now.

Bwian said...

You blogged a while ago about the song about the little girl with evil satanic parents. You know, the one who had never been exposed to His Word, despite being raised by a television. I vaguely remembered television being this bad, but I haven't had one in so long I wasn't sure if it was still true. Good to know there's yet another strike against that song...

Greg said...

Berlzebub said...
House, MD is an atheist show, inasmuch as the main character is an atheist.

------------------------------

Is that really all it takes? The moment I read that, I had a great idea for a sitcom, with an atheist main character, who hilariously denies obvious "miracles" around him. Man walks on water, atheist guy claims he was walking on ice, cue laugh track. But since the main character is an ahtiest, the whole show is anti-christian? The point is, just having a main character who is an atheist isn't enough to make the show atheistic.

Really, atheistic shows are shows where the subject of religion never even enters the conversation. I think it's a bad sign that I can't think of any off the top of my head.

aimee said...

Boston Legal is another good one.