For a month now I've been waiting for the other shoe drop on NBC's new hit, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

It really is a superior show (no surprise with Aaron Sorkin at the helm), despite the heavy use of "Christian right" material. It's smart, funny and thoughtful with a superb cast.

That cast includes Sarah Paulson as Harriet Hayes, a "devout" Southern Baptist who's actually quite cool for a Christian character on TV. She says a few lame things every now and then, but mostly she's sharp -- discerning between Christians who ought to be off-limits on the fictional comedy show and those who are all but asking for it.

Ever since the show started, I was wondering how they were going to handle the whole sex thing with her. It's inevitable because one of the central plots is her long-term relationship with one of the show's writers, who is not a Christian. On Monday night, they cleared the air.

As her character was being interviewed behind the scenes, a reputable journalist asks about the conflict between her faith and the content of the sketch show. What about a skit with pre-marital sex? "I have no problem with pre-marital sex," Harriet replies. "It might be the only sex I ever have."

Ah, there it is. Not only is it a reach that a Southern Baptist woman who prays daily wouldn't have a problem with fornication, but it's kind of sad. This is how they're going to make her character palatable -- she's got to be compromising. Should they try to pass off a Christian character as flawless? No. That's why it would have been better for them to at least make her conflicted about it (i.e. she has sex, but doesn't think it's great for her). Instead they make her milquetoast.

The upside is there's a prime-time Christian character on TV who doesn't pledge allegiance to Pat Robertson and is actually intelligent. Baby steps, I guess.

1 comment:

girlfriday said...

I'm disappointed. But I shouldn't be surprised. I just find the pandering to the masses tiresome. It lacks originality and courage. You can be Christian and likable. Hollywood just doesn't know it.