God on TV

There are many wonderful things about summer. I love going to farmers’ markets and getting fresh fruit. Going to the beach – not here, of course, but maybe in Marin. The one thing that isn’t great is the TV. There is a lot of time between mid-May and the end of September to ponder the goings on at a certain Seattle McHospital, or with people with extraordinary powers scattered all over the world. Some networks, like HBO, TNT and TBS, have gotten wise and have new summer series. I also use it as a chance to catch up on shows that I would like to watch in the regular season but have already committed myself to too many shows.

I started watching The Closer last year because it’s a new series in the summer. It’s not a great show. It’s entirely predictable, but it’s something new to watch and I generally enjoy the procedurals. When TNT started showing previews for the new Holly Hunter show called Saving Grace, I was intrigued by the concept and decided to set my DVR.

Here’s the premise: Holly Hunter (Grace – naturally) is a hard-working, hard-living Oklahoma City police detective. She’s from a large Catholic family, and lost one of her sisters in the bombing. She’s long since rejected God and church, drinks a lot, is sleeping with her married partner, among others, and is generally morally bankrupt. One night as she drives home from a bar, completely drunk, she hits and kills a pedestrian. As she stumbles out of the car and realizes what she’s done, she mutters for God to help her. Lo and behold, who should appear but Earl (EARL) her last-chance angel. He encourages her to change her ways and to give God a chance. She reluctantly agrees, and so the show continues with Grace puzzled by questions of faith, stumbling in her personal life, all the while fighting crime in the OKC.

It’s not a bad show, but more importantly, it’s not a very good show. It’s fraught with stereotypes, predictable outcomes and plot holes. The thing I like least about it is the fact that they use a lot of profanity, but it makes no sense. They say shit all the time, just because they can. Half the time it doesn’t make any sense. It’s as though the show runner came from a meeting with Standards and Practices and said, “Well, folks, they’re giving us the s-word, so let’s use it as much as possible!” Now, we all know that I’m prone to let fly when the mood strikes, and the s-bomb is one of my favorites. However, it has purpose – I’ve missed my exit, smashed my finger, seen a picture of George Bush. These uses make sense. But all the time? Ok. I get it. you’re on cable, so you can cuss. Good for you.

Another show that I watch in the summer time to catch up is The New Adventures of Old Christine. I’ve been a fan of Julia Louis-Dreyfus since her time on Day by Day. You heard me. Day by freaking Day. It’s generally hilarious – well written and well acted. Last week’s episode was entitled Oh God, Yes, and I have to tell you, it was a riot. Christine’s ex-husband and New Christine took their son Richie to church, and he was begging to go back. Christine then has to explore her personal objection to organized religion and it is rooted in some childhood experiences. She decides to face her fears and take Richie to church – comedy commences. While hilarious, it’s a great picture of how people who don’t go to church see church. Unfortunately, CBS isn’t showing it online and I can’t find that particular episode on other sites. If anyone out there finds it, please send me a link. Until then, it’s saved on my DVR and anyone who wants to can come over and watch it.

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