Friday, December 15, 2006

TV Pushing Religion To Margins

A new study says positive portrayals of religion are fading in primetime. Some ntoable exceptions that spring to mind: the Christian star of "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" who deals with idiots and insults (which this study might classify as negative) which she endures with dignity and self-respect and a refusal to back down (which I would say makes it more positive). Another big exception: "Friday Night Lights." The religious life of the characters took a backseat for a few weeks, but it came back this week. Smash is attracted to the daughter of a pastor back in town and he is often seen at Church where the congregation raises money to help his studies and prays for his success. Also, the cheerleader who cheated on her crippled boyfriend told her parents she was unfaithful and her mother comforted her by saying that sin entered the world so we could feel God's mercy. A subtle moment, but certainly a positive one that makes clear the importance of faith to them. "FNL" remains a terrifically entertaining, well-acted drama.

By the way, the exception to this trend is reality TV, where the study points out that the faiths of people involved in "The Amazing race," "American Idol," and various game shows are presented regularly and without condescension. Of course, those same reality shows also reflect the lives of gay people in the same positive light, so people on the far right might think it's a zero sum game.

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