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December 20 2004

Wonderfalls scene deemed to be 'negative' to the clergy in PTC report. The latest study by the Parents Television Council into how US networks treats religious matters claims that Hollywood is hostile towards religious institutions. A scene from Wonderfalls where Jaye berates a priest is cited as an example of this.

Though another scene was deemed to be neutral in the 'Institution and Doctrine' category.

Ah, yes, the PTC. A great friend to Buffy and Angel. Not. This is the group that persistently listed Joss's shows as among the worst in television. (Sex, violence.)

I read an interesting little piece on this group in the Washington Post the other week. I am not a fan.
And what - it's bad to be hostile towards religious institutions? As long as it's equally hostile towards each and every religious institution, I don't have problem with that. Of course, the institution isn't the religion or its beliefs, just one generation's earthly interpretation of those beliefs.

Edited to add: I take back the above fairly charitable comment - this is ONLY about Christianity not religions so the thousands upon thousands of time I see Islam or Hinduism mis-represented don't even count! Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of instances are postive to neutral in EVERY category (usually about 70-75% pos/neu to 25-30 mix/neg). Also, I didn't even see half the allegedly negative comments as being that!

[ edited by catalyst2 on 2004-12-20 16:29 ]
The PTC strikes again. These people drive me batty.

And you're right, Catalyst2. This is all about Christianity; not all about religion in general. For example, "Joan of Arcadia" comes up in the positive categories quite often, but they complain about it in the conclusion because it "certainly focuses on faith, but tends to do so with broad strokes."

By the way, I think "Faith in a Box" is a very appropriate title for this report. The PTC has a very limited outlook on faith, apparently.

[ edited by obsessed on 2004-12-20 16:43 ]

[ edited by obsessed on 2004-12-20 16:48 ]
It's funny how shows like Buffy and Angel seem to split peole so heavily in this regard. One lot of people think it's blasphemous and devil-worshipping, and others think it's a modern take parable of morality and the struggle for redemption.

Slight Wonderfalls spoiler here, but in the end didn't Jaye re-affirm the woman's faith in God and return her to the church with the Priest? Sure, she lambasted him at the start, but through the course of the episode didn't she change her mind?
Phleb: I suspect the piece you read in the Post was discussing
this interesting bit of news. A good example of how "public" or "groundroots" opinion is increasingly being, well, made-up, for want of a better term, in the service of political points-scoring.

Undoubtedly there are many viewers out there who are concerned about such things as blasphemy and indecency. However, the PTC's disingenous response that it doesn't matter where the complaints come from won't do, since they clearly have an army of supporters poised to fire off an angry call or letter who probably aren't even watching the shows that they're protesting.

When it comes to trivial stuff like Janet's Superbowl flash, I'm can't get too bothered (other than to decry the usual double standards) - and I think the network shot itself in the foot in that case anyway. But when it comes to well-scripted drama, complaints by people who appear to have watched only the 2 minutes in which the "bad thing" occurred, so have no understanding of context and, hence, the need for the scene, just make me furious. (I haven't seen Wonderfalls yet, but Gonnas appears to point this very detail out in his post). On/Off switch? 1,000 other stations? Need to supervise one's own children? Enough already.
“I read an interesting little piece on this group in the Washington Post the other week. I am not a fan.”

I believe that article ran in my local paper on Saturday, phlebotinin. The woman who was reviewing a short scene from “Sex and the City” had to rewind the scene nine times to get all the lines down. Watching “smut” over and over, sacrificing herself and her moral values so she could warn others that a show called “SEX and the City” has sexual content. Bless her. I never would have guessed.

“On the March 26 episode of Wonderfalls, Jay accuses a priest, who is later said to have fathered a child, of “Agnes-of-Godding” a nun he is trying to convince not to leave religious life.”

I don’t exactly remember the plot, but I think Jaye’s line was something like “He Agnes of Godded all over her”. So they think the shame is on Jaye, not the priest who fathered a child?

Is there something about reducing religion (well, Christianity, as noted) to percentages and pie charts that has drained the PTC of any sense of humor? It’s misleading to take the dialogue (mostly from comedies) out of context so they can use it as examples to whine about how put upon anyone with religious affiliation is. Unquestioning devotion gets a positive. Sarcasm gets a negative. Not only are their views narrow, they don’t seem to understand that a little sardonic humor concerning God and all his paraphernalia isn’t the end of the world. If the American public is as religious as the council says, shouldn’t their faith be strong enough to deflect any perceived “Hollywood hostility” towards them? They should welcome it. Tell Johnny and Susie if they act like those characters, they are going to burn in Hell. There’s your teaching tool! (insert sarcasm font where appropriate)

ETA: Very interesting article, SNT.

[ edited by bloodflowers on 2004-12-20 19:10 ]
The PTC isn't about children. It's about an organisation trying to inflict their values on everyone. If the PTC cared about children AT ALL, they'd be teaching parents how to properly monitor their children's viewing habits & encouraging parents to watch television with their children. Instead, they're trying to make it easier for parents to just abandon their kids in front of the television, safe in the knowledge that their minds won't be subjected to anything inappropriate. Why bother being a parent when you've got a virtual nanny in the living room?
I don’t exactly remember the plot, but I think Jaye’s line was something like “He Agnes of Godded all over her”

Yes, that was the line in the episode. And that was the first time I really roared with laughter during that show. That was the moment when I took notice and said, hey, this show is freakin funny! And I've loved it ever since.

Take that, PTC!
This is kind of humorous, but in a black comedy twisted concoction of evil.

I really don't see how any of this can be claimed to be for the benefit of the children. It seems like a group of bible-thumpers intent on creating a world of Ned Flanders. There are now ratings on television before each show, any responsible adult would help screen TV for his/her children. It's not that hard to walk in every little while and check what's being watched.

[ edited by rabid on 2004-12-20 20:02 ]
“And that was the first time I really roared with laughter during that show. That was the moment when I took notice and said, hey, this show is freakin funny! And I've loved it ever since.

Take that, PTC!”

Ha ha! That was the line that really hooked me, too. On top of watching Angel and Buffy, I guess that means we’re morally corrupt or evil or something. Cause she is drawn to the fire/some people never learn… ; )
I know I'm morally corrupt and evil. I'm a W.hedonist after all.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2004-12-20 19:54 ]
Well, we should be careful not to extrapolate too much from this report or wander too far afield into a religious debate. I don't believe the PTC analysis has anything to say about "forcing" religion upon people; rather, it expressly confines itself to "the treatment of religion in prime time broadcast entertainment programming." Not how much religion should be on TV, but how it is presented when it is there.

Not that I'm not guilty of pulling the thread off-topic nearly every time I post, but this is a subject area where tempers tend to flare fairly abruptly.
I did in fact extrapolate too much, and too unclearly in my commment there. Direct result of me getting annoyed lol. :)

Anywho I will however state that I am concerned by the fact that while positive comments on Christianity are smiled upon (and neutral are too unclear.) Other religions are left out of this.

It seems to me like a certain double standard is at work which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Good mod-ing, there, SNT. And I agree that the subject is volatile. But enter PTC into search the archives and see how the PTC has not really limited itself to presentation of religion in our or other shows but in fact attacked much of our precious smut. They issue a lot of other "quantitative analyses" (don't get me started on the methodology).
I wandered over and read through the PTC's reviews. My first thought is- these people have way too much time on their hands.
It's also pretty obvious that 'religion' to the PTC means 'Christianity'. They're a pretty scary bunch, those PTC people.
Thank you for the Mediaweek link, Sodding Nancy Tribe. God save us from the mind police. (And I use God ironically here... take heed PTC.)

[ edited by looking on 2004-12-20 21:44 ]
The PTC seems to favor idiotic shows with bad acting, writing, directing, etc as long as they are pro-Christian. Here i was thinking that acting, writing, directing, etc were central to making a quality show when all that is really needed is to say how great god is a few times per episode and follow the bible's rules (or have someone break the rules and then realize that they made a mistake and return to the lord's way).
People like the PTC are the people responsible for 7th heaven still being on, and that is a sin if there ever was one.
They really seem to limit their analysis of the shows to a terribly simplistic description of the plot. Not sure what good it does for their readers either, since they're describing things that already happened. Hard to avoid what's already been. I guess you could kick yourself (oops, shouldn't have watched that.).
Still, there are people that crave affirmation of their beliefs, and in this case the PTC fills the need some have to see and hear only that which they already believe.
As a practicing Christian, I would rather watch a show that constructively engages and even criticizes religious ideas (whatever their iteration) than one that simplifies my beliefs into the ridiculous. If your faith cannot withstand criticism, it's not your faith.

Also, I should say that I've learned much more about love, faith, guilt, and redemption on Buffy and Angel than I have on any of the PTC's favorites. (I'd have to admit that I haven't given those shows equal time as they tend to cause spontaneous bleeding from several orifices, but still...)
So, Sloane talks to Sydney once about redemption and Alias gets a tick in the "good" column (Sloane isn't christian anyway, he's a Rambaldian, or whatever they call themselves), yet the entire plot of Angel is about redemption, and yet the show's evil (I know it's not mentioned here, but they probably think that there dislike of the show is so well known, there's no need to mention it again).

Really can't stand this type of group, can't see what type of person watches hours and hours of TV just to tell people they're going to hell for enjoying Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2004-12-21 00:32 ]

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2004-12-21 00:34 ]
These are the people who printed a form letter on their website for their followers to copy and send to the CEO of a network telling him, amongst other things, not to "patronise them by replying with a form letter....."
At least people are still talking about Wonderfalls. I'd count that as a good thing as I wait for the dvd release.
There are now ratings on television before each show, any responsible adult would help screen TV for his/her children. It's not that hard to walk in every little while and check what's being watched.

Theres also this little thing that was put in all TV's a few years ago called the "v-chip" you may have heard of it. It blocks out any show that has a rating you may not like. Ratings are TV-Y,TV-Y7,TV=PG, TV-14, and TV-MA. Buffy and Angel were rated TV-14. If one doesn't want their children to view such things, they use the remote and block all shows rated TV-14. But how many bible thumpbers actually use it? I doubt many.
Interesting read there, SoddingNancyTribe. Censorship in action for the common "good" of the masses (rolls eyes).

BTW, congratulations on being our newest MOD. Whedonesque made an outstanding choice.
Oh, I didn't know, (fancy blue font) SNT (/fancy blue font) you've been modified :-). Always a pleasure to read your posts. And now with even more authority. Cheers, mate! (virtual ale slops onto table . . .).

[ edited by Drifter on 2004-12-21 19:20 ]
Things like the V chip amuse me, it's usually only the kids who can work out how to program these things!

"Sorry Dad, I can't let you watch that..."
This subject has always bugged me. I have two kids, one is now 18 and the other is 15 and I always knew what they were watching and if I didn't want them to watch, they weren't allowed to. I didn't use a V chip or the rating system. You know what shows are appropriate and which aren't. If a show was questionable, like Buffy and Angel, I'd tape it while I watched it and if I thought they were mature enough for it they were allowed to see it. But, and here's the key, I watch what they watch too and if something does come up that I wasn't expecting I can actually talk with them about it. Isn't that something? Just watching the shows with your kids and talking to them about it?!! What an interesting concept!! I think people used to do that all the time back in the days before V chips and ratings!
Sadly FF I think many parents these days look on television as a passive babysitter, just plop the rugrats down and leave them for hours while you do whatever... We've had a couple of cases recently of parents going on holiday and leaving ten or twelve year olds to fend for themselves, cook, get to school, whatever. I doubt much TV discussion goes on there!
Sad but true. Society should stop pointing it's fingers at what's on television and hold the parents accountable for what they are allowing their kids to watch. I love Nip/Tuck but I wouldn't let a kid watch it and if someone's kid is watching it, that's the parents fault (if it's in their house that is).

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