We are going to have to stop watching Hot in Cleveland I’m afraid. The show, like many these days, skirts on the edge of immorality, and has, on occasion, and with a few characters, also crossed the line. For instance, Jane Leeves, who we loved as Daphne Moon on Frasier, here plays Joy Scruggs, a make-up artist from England who has spent three years trying to procure a green card, and in that time, the other women make cute little jokes about how Joy likes to sleep around, and that’s putting it mildly. Occasionally, they show enough to confirm her character’s immoral inclinations, but we excused it because, well, most shows these days cross the line on occasion, including The Big Bang Theory, which I still collect on DVD (and being a Christian, perhaps I should re-examine that one too!). We’ve always liked Wendy Malik, ever since Just Shoot Me, and her character here of vain actress Victoria Chase is right up this funny lady’s ally. Betty White as Elke adds some cute one liners at times, and it didn’t bother us much that sometimes their characters skirted the moral line here and there with various boyfriends and shenanigans. Some of it is merely the set up for some funny punch lines, and after all, that is the nature of comedy and sitcoms, is it not?
But then they took the sweet character of Melanie, played by the very cute Valerie Bertinelli, and wrote her into a storyline where she and her handsome boss Alec enter into an almost purely physical relationship verging on pornographic. Valerie’s character even bemoans it! When they had the aftermath of one of their encounters where they both look disheveled and she’s turned backwards on the bed with her feet on the wall, we finally determined that enough was enough and decided to stop watching it, especially when they showed previews to the next episode where Victoria, currently filming a Woody Allen movie, is in bed with her famous costar Emmet… when his wife shows up. Okaaaaaay! Enough!
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so judgmental when I still watch other shows that a Christian perhaps shouldn’t really be watching (The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory, along with both versions of Being Human, to name just a few), let alone collecting on DVD, but I’m picking my battles as I feel led. Hot in Cleveland merely got to a point where it definitively crossed the vulgarity line for us one too many times!
We’re still holding out hope for Hart of Dixie, because we really like that show. It’s very cute, though they’ve crossed the line on a few occasions, most notably with Zoe and Wade’s current relationship, which is surprisingly similar to Melanie and Alec’s on Hot in Cleveland, but not quite that offensive… yet. When it is, I suppose we’ll have to stop watching that cute show too!
For those that think I’m making a big thing out of nothing, I would say that morality matters. There are those that want to kill the very concept, and it’s not good for this country, and not good for this world. I was just watching an episode of Supernatural while doing my daily treadmill (and don’t think I’m missing the irony of using a TV show in the horror genre to make my point here). In this episode from the first season called “The Benders,” the Winchester brothers, who normally hunt demons and ghosts, are trapped by a backwoods family not too far removed from the one in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They delight in kidnapping people and hunting them for sport. The youngest member of this grisly hillbilly bunch is a little 13 year old girl who seems all southern cuteness and charm, until she helps her Daddy and older brothers subdue the female sheriff, capture Dean, and later threaten him with a knife to the eye.
The lesson we can learn here is one of my late Uncle Herb’s favorite concepts: Indoctrination! I know they are just fictional characters, but this is happening out in the real world as well. You want proof? Watch The Jerry Springer Show sometime and you’ll see lots of people of the same caliber and low moral standards. This imaginary little girl was brought up this way until she became a part of it. Don’t think we aren’t doing the same sort of thing to our own children! What they are learning and internalizing may be different from what this fictional little girl is learning and internalizing, but make no mistake that they, and we, even as adults, are learning and internalizing thoughts and ideas all the time, seeping into our brains and changing us in some way… for better, or for worse. Perhaps watching shows like Supernatural and Being Human aren’t doing my own brain any favors, but you can see why I might be concerned enough to at least worry about it, and write about it. They put on a bunch of shows like Hot in Cleveland and Hart of Dixie, and they might seem harmless on the surface, yet it slowly teaches people over time that a purely physical relationship outside of marriage, and a rather aggressive physical relationship at that, is perfectly fine, and this is just one more nail in the coffin of this nation’s morality. And if you happen to be one of those that thinks we’re behind the times and need to catch up with Europe, I’ll simply counter that the God-free, moral rot is ten times worse over there!
I’ve stopped watching Hot in Cleveland, and my Christian friends and family are probably thanking the Lord and saying, “It’s about time!” Meanwhile, we’re still watching Hart of Dixie, which we continue to classify, perhaps shamefully, as “cute”, and I still watch The Walking Dead and Being Human and The Big Bang Theory and old episodes of Supernatural since I have the first five seasons on DVD, but in the back of my mind, I’m often thinking “What would be Jesus’ reaction? What would He tell me about what I’m allowing into my brain? In fact, what IS He telling me about what I’m allowing into my brain?”
That should be the thought we all should be thinking. And if the people who made these entertainments thought such thoughts on occasion, perhaps Hot in Cleveland might have been a humorous show with some funny actresses that we could still be watching and enjoying today!
You see, being a Christian isn’t really all that easy. There seem to be times that the only answer would be to live in a complete bubble! But then, that’s not really living, is it!