Sunday, March 7, 2010

(Fictional) Catholics in Films, T.V. Shows

Is it just me or are more and more Catholics being portrayed as unfaithful, egotistical, hedonistic, and/or just plain evil? I've always been aware that the secular media (as well as other Christian denominations) just LOVE to put down Catholics every chance they get. You rarely see them being morally responsible and devout. Lately, though, it seems I'm more hypersensitive when it comes to this issue.

Now, let me just say that I LOVE Glee. LOVE it so much I have to put the word in caps. I'm a musical geek and it's entertaining so it captures my attention. I just have a little issue with one thing: the only Catholic character, Quinn Fabray, is a total meanie who got knocked up out of wedlock. She does what she does because she wants to and, although she has her moments of redemption, she's more often than not the kind of girl you tried to avoid in high school. The theme of the good Christian girl who eventually realizes that sex is good and that isn't not that big of a deal (*rolls eyes*) is played out. We're seeing it more often than ever, but the Catholic characters always come out looking worse than the other Christian religions (one notable exception is the film Saved!).

Take another example: The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Two religious characters - one Christian, one Catholic. Both have sex in the second season. The Christian one regrets it, briefly, and decides to hold off until she's married. She eventually "realizes" that sex is good and that having it outside of marriage isn't a big deal (*rolls eyes again*). She's still portrayed as a sweet, loyal friend and daughter that wants to help others despite of her flaws. The Catholic character, though less visible, comes out looking worse. She broke up a couple (coincidentally, the "Christian" character and her "Christian" boyfriend), she starts revealing clothes, and well, the things she says and does make her look like an impudent strumpet (and, yes, I "stole" that phrase from a Shakespearean play.) She doesn't feel bad about what she's done, and continues to do what she's doing... even outdoing the most sexually promiscuous character (in some ways).

One final example: the character of Madison on the now defunct show South of Nowhere. If you ever saw this show, you know where I'm going with this. If you've never seen this show, I wouldn't recommend it in the first place. Anyway, Madison is head cheerleader, she's pretty smart, and has the "hot" boyfriend with whom she has sexual relations on a regular basis. I remember one particular scene in the first season in which she was telling a fellow cheerleader that, though sex is frowned upon in the Catholic Church, she was going to confession that weekend so that she would be in the clear. Basically, she was going to confession often for the same thing. Um... way to make a mortal sin even worse! No, strike that... way to mislead those young Catholics who don't know better.

And that brings me to my issue: while I do acknowledge that Christian characters usually come off smell like poo, Catholic characters are becoming the worse of the worse. You can argue with me on how I'm wrong and that all Christian characters are getting a bad rep, but (as I've said) I've become very aware of how we seem to get the short stick in the deal. What worries me more is that a lot of these shows are viewed by younger Catholics (a good portion coming from liberal and/or lapsed Catholic families) who don't know better. They get their information from what they see and then they think that what the characters are doing is what is "okay" in the Church... or is no big deal doing because you can always go to confession afterward. It's really dangerous.

I'm not saying boycott these shows; I'm not that extreme. Some of them have some redeeming qualities and can ultimately serve to teach us valuable lessons. I'm just saying, why do we Catholics have to be the black sheep in the media? Most importantly, why are those in the entertainment industry trying to do something about it? Why aren't those writers writing characters that are actually faithful) Not all young people are as crazy as portrayed. I know more 16 - 28 year olds that are extremely moral and faithful, and we (surprisingly) often outnumber those who are more liberal.

Anyway, this was more of a rant than anything else. I hope to write more in depth on this issue later on; I just wanted to get this off my chest. :D Homework now waits for me... ugh. lol.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D


Claire Christina said...

Ah, but we don't make as good fodder for television drama! (It's kind of like asking why the news media never reports on happy news. Ratings.)

In their defense: Probably no one writing this stuff in Hollywood knows any faithful Catholics.

Kathryn said...

I must say I agree it is sad that they portray Christian & Catholic and those characters that have faith, the way they do. I think it is more to make fun of them than anything else, because in today's society it is not the "popular" thing to be religious or Christian or Catholic, if you know what I mean. Sad that it is that way.

One thing I will mention though, is out of all the Catholics I have known (and I have known quite a few) you are the most devout, and Godly one I have ever seen. Everyone else just seems to use it as something they do. Like, "I go to Catholic Mass for Christmas" but they don't live it the rest of the time. Not trying to offend anyone, but this is just the people I have come across. Maybe that is why tv characters are portrayed that way? I don't know, and it can be that way with any religion or denomination. Some people will just give it a bad name because they don't care, and then the people who do get a bad rep!

Hope that sounds clear! Great post!

Emmy Cecilia said...

Claire - It is true. Wish we had more Catholics in the biz. Sometimes it makes me want to go back. Thankfully, those moments are usually fleeting.

Kathryn - Aww, thanks sweet pea! And, also agreed. A few rotten tomatoes ruins the entire bunch.