Since the pilot, the television in our house has been tuned to NBC on Monday nights for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It’s a beautfiul portrayal of the pressures that surround entertainment in this day and age. At the same time that special interest groups are fighting for their right to free speech, other groups are fighting to silence that which sheds negative light on their particular message.
NBS, the fictional network that airs the fictional SNL clone, Studio 60, heavily controls what sketches make it to air. If small-market Terra Haute is threatening to not air the show, NBS balks. That was then. In the pilot, the current producer freaks mid-show (it airs live, as does SNL) and walks on camera to slam the censorship that is a result of ridiculous political correctness for the sake of art. This, my friend, is real life.
The show continues and we find that the newly hired president of NBS actually stands up for art, by refusing to continue the micro-managing, hiring back the ex-writer and producer that were on the show in its hey-day, and brute-forcing her way through protests, small markets refusing to air the show, etc. All of this leads to newfound success on the fictional network and show.
So, what’s the point? Several articles and conversations have recommended a boycott because of the token sketch causing the ruckus at the fictional Studio 60, titled “Crazy Christians”. Though it airs, we never get to see the sketch, so we have nothing to go by but the fictional show’s frenzy. Also at the forefront of the criticism of the show is how the female lead is portrayed as a hardline Christian and somewhat “nutty”. Because the show paints Christians in a negative light, and makes fun of this seemingly “nutty” group of people, we, as Christians, should not watch the show, regardless of its entertainment value.
Some people fail to see the humor in this real world fight against Studio 60. The show ignores the protests and boycotts of Bible-belt markets and airs the sketch anyway. They poke fun at the protests. Yet, here is the same group of people, in real life, boycotting a show that is poking fun at the group boycotting the subject of the show. Seems kind of counterproductive, no?
Besides the fact that I enjoy the entertainment value and humor of the show, I see something that we as Christians can take away from it. Lose the bubble mentality. Look at the show from the perspective of the “other side.” They’re writing the material into the show because that’s how they see us. Why give them more ammunition by taking the defensive and boycotting the show that is making fun of us boycotting?
Rather than fight against the show, use it as research. Find out what they’re really trying to say. Is it simply humor for humor’s sake? Satire? Probably, but let’s assume for a moment these people really do hate Christians and are using Studio 60 as their platform. Find out why, and embrace it. What a concept, huh?
We as Christians too often take the defensive approach. Sure, there is reverse discrimination happening all over the place these days for the sake of political correctness. By taking the defensive approach, we build this little bubble around us and prolong the idea that “Christians are crazy.” When people think of Christians, they think of protests, annoying “ram-it-down-your-throat” evangelism, boycotts, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Joel Osteen. Why prolong the insanity? We don’t want to listen to what they have to say about us, but we’ll talk all day and night about what’s wrong with them. People, believe me, we have our flaws too.
Remember, Studio 60 is an entertainment program. You may not think it’s entertaining, but don’t make it your platform for saying “Christians aren’t crazy.” We may not be crazy, but the rest of the world sure thinks we are. By doing exactly what they say we do by being crazy, we don’t help our cause any. It’s time we actually do something to change the world’s opinion of us and speak their language.
We don’t have to change the message, but we definitely have to change they way we present it.