Thursday, October 7, 2010

Modern Family: Showing Glee how to Tell a Story (about God)

I would like to open this post with a couple of funny lines from the episode.  I am doing this because I am actually only going to discuss the Jay, Gloria, and Manny storyline.

"No, ma'am.  I'm not stepping into that one.  We're not going to play good cop, mom."--Phil

"I want to go the museum of tolerance."--Alex
"Fine, how far in tolerance?"--Haley

"Double it again and make it ten weeks"--Haley
"Oh my god! Do you not hear how much you need to study?"--Alex

"I was going to bring you wine but you finished the big bottle last night."--Luke
"Okay, off you go"--Claire

"You know what you are.  You're like a mob wife.  You look down on me an my ways but your happy to wear the mink coat that fell of the truck"--Mitchell

Two shows from the 2009-2010 TV season showed that the networks could still launch critically and commercially successful programming.  Of course they were in the genre which the networks do just as well as cable: comedy.  The two comedies, Glee and Modern Family, won the Golden Globe and Emmy for Best Comedy, respectively.

This week, the shows dealt with the issues of God, atheism, and skepticism.  After watching Fox's promos for the episode of Glee I decided I wasn't going to watch it.  I made this decision not because the episode was going to deal with God but because it was going to overdo it this week and then never bring it up again.  Glee is a show of themes.  That is, every episode deals with one specific theme that gets mentioned an infinite amount of times in that hour and then never gets brought up again in future episodes.

Now, I don't want to dwell on Glee too much.  After all, after everything I've heard and read about the episode, there is no possible way I can bring myself to watch it without thinking about all of the politics regarding the issue of Church and State.

Like Glee, Modern Family isn't much of serialized show.  However, while the plots do not usually cross over into subsequent episodes, the characters behavior remains consistent.  That is what made the Jay, Gloria, and Manny discussion of God (or lack thereof in some cases) seem so real for the characters.  Jay is not going to go to church just because his wife displays her concern for his eternal soul.  Manny's questioning of Jay's belief is in line with his curiosity on all subjects.  And his reactions to Jay's responses to the idea of there might not being a Heaven or Hell reveal that such thoughts have never passed through his young mind.


Like I said earlier, I didn't watch the Glee episode because of what I thought it was going to be like.  Well, apparently my expectations were a little off.  I read on other websites and blogs that "Grilled Cheesus" tackled atheism head on.  And not in the fairest of ways.  It showed characters like Kurt and Sue being angry with religion because of it has treated them in their lives.  According to what I read, the other Glee kids would not stop trying to convince Kurt that he should come towards religion and God.  So, the show teaches us that being gay is okay, but being an atheist is not. 

I have a gay brother that my mom has always loved and defended.  On the other hand, I am an atheist, who wouldn't dare bring that face up around her or most members of my family.  I am not trying to equate closeted homosexuality to closeted atheism.  Anyone paying attention to the news the past couple of weeks would know that gays, compared to atheists, are facing greater struggles in American society.  Of course, I should acknowledge that there are other gay atheists like Kurt out in the real world. 

People shouldn't be to proud of their ability for tolerating certain minorities if they remain intolerant towards other groups or people. As an example, if a person is tolerant of most faiths (and agnostics and atheists) but regard all Muslims as being evil, that person is not tolerant at all.  You either go all in, or don't go in at all.

That is why I, like Haley, want to now "How far is Tolerance?" 

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