Friday, October 22, 2010

Religion on "Community"

"Community" is one of the best shows on TV right now. The ensemble cast doesn't have a weak link, and the writing is so good they even make Chevy Chase funny without reversing time back to 1980.

Last night's episode, "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" tackled the subject of religion with a fantastic mix of irreverence and deep respect (and no, those are not mutually exclusive concepts). I won't even attempt to explain the plot, except to say that it involves viral videos, a messiah complex or two, and a dash of ageism. Watch and see what I mean.

Here are the best religion related quotes from the episode:

"This lack of subject definition goes both ways. If farts are fair game, so is God" (John Oliver, defending the watching of random YouTube videos in Anthropology class)

"Being raised by TV and movies, I always thought Jesus just walked on water and told people not to have abortions, but it's so much cooler than that. He was like ET, Edward Scissorhands, and Marty McFly combined!" (Abed, the Muslim student and budding filmmaker, when considering directing a Christian viral video)

"Jesus, did you really die for our sins? That's dope!" (a line from the really lame Christian "viral" video. Jesus/Troy then proceeds to rap)

"Every minute of our lives is a world premiere, and my Father has already bought the popcorn" (Abed, playing a messianic figure)

"Did you just scripture me, Muslim?" (Shirley, getting mad at Abed proof-texting her)

"Isn't every movie (about Jesus)? Is the Matrix? Robocop? Superman Returns? All stories about death and resurrection." (Abed, talking the Dean out of shutting down his movie on account of separation of church and state, which, according to Christine O'Donnell, is not in the Constitution)

"Dear God, my movie is the worst piece of crap I've ever seen in my entire life. I've got a real 'Snakes on a Plane' brewing. Please take this project away from me." (Abed, out in the courtyard, or 'Gethsemane', if you will)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, word to the meek. The Kingdom of Heaven is open all week." (Troy rapping the Sermon the Mount. Incidentally, Donald Glover, who plays Troy, has a rap project called Childish Gambino, and it's really awesome)

So what did you think? Were there good quotes that I didn't include on the list? What, if anything, are the folks at "Community" trying to say about the place of religion in our world? Discuss!

1 comment:

Chris Davis said...

I thought the episode was amazing. I am a Christian, and I felt like the episode wrestled with the question of Jesus in a responsible, non-offensive way, much better than Glee having Finn pray to a "grilled cheesus" about making it to second base with his girlfriend. Or even Community's pan-religious Christmas show last season

I also liked how the episode cut both ways, challenging both Abed and Shirley (though, being a comedy, we know most change won't stick). Shirley had to face the sad standards of artistic expression in the Christian community, while Abed seemed to "get" the message of Jesus, even if not in a conversion scenario. I'll definitely watch this one again.