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In my opinion, the 1970s were the Golden Age of situation comedies. Barney Miller, All in the Family, WKRP, MASH and the Odd Couple were all unforgettable and still hold up today. But my favorite may have been Soap. Time Magazine called the series one of the 100 best shows of all time. At the same time, the Museum of Broadcast Communications said it was arguably one of the most creative efforts that network television ever put together. As for me, I hung on the show’s story arc like a bloated tic to its host. Even so, Soap only lasted four seasons and fell prey to a much higher authority.
No, I’m not referring to the all powerful Neilson Ratings but the almighty himself. We know because an onslaught of religious pressure from organizations like the National Council of Churches, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church told us so. In concert, they proceeded to seal the show’s fate by 1981.
Love the Sinner, Hate the Hypocrisy
How lucky we were to have the holy among us stand up in protest. Most especially as the serial sitcom portrayed a homosexual as a real person. Yes, we love the sinner, and who couldn’t revel in Billy Crystal’s portrayal of the mainstream gay character Jodie Dallas? But Jesus Christ knew the outcasts in society were there for a reason and required all the shunning that was due them.
We also had to endure a torrid affair between Corrine Tate and a Jesuit Priest. And if that wasn’t abomination enough, the consummation yielded a chid, who just happened to be possessed by the devil.
Nonetheless, the case could be made that only human frailty was on display here, but the problem was it was on national television for millions to see. The digression could have led the uninformed to think relations such as these are a common occurrence.
Scholarly interpretation of the Bible clearly stipulates that turning the other cheek does not apply when it comes to mass consumption. (Of course, if the transgressions involved a pedophile priest, and his cadre of alter boys, that would be another matter.)
Oh, and the onslaught of adultery, unsavory sex, and the diminishment of family values, living a life of purpose is hard enough. Of course, to deny that even the best among us could succumb to temptation is almost a sin.
Thank you, we had Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Pat Robertson to provide example enough—especially when wealth provides the best redemption money could buy. Even so, all one had to do was look to more acceptable forms of interpretation in the likes of Dallas, Dynasty, and every daytime soap in existence.
A Loving Family at the Core
So you get it, I’m being sarcastic and maybe it’s just wrong to make light of the dark side of the human condition. But even to the teenager who once lived for this show and certainly enjoyed its racy delivery, one thing stood out among all the salaciousness and so-called immorality.
Love bound this highly dysfunctional TV family together, and in the end, conquered all evil. There is clearly reference to the human struggle in the Bible, but I guess all those who mixed religion and politics so effortlessly and conveniently skipped that chapter.
They obviously never took the time to actually watch the show either and bared false witness by the barrel. As such, today we have The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. Where is your big mouth and sense of decency now when we really need you?
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