Brent Bozell

Take the concept of marriage, building a lifetime of ongoing love with a spouse. "Orel" writers think that's a joke. They have Orel's father define love for his son like this: "Love is a very beautiful, very intense feeling for a startlingly short period of time. Before long, you realize it gets in the way of the really important things in life, like just going to sleep and being left alone."

In that episode, Orel befriends a dog so lovable that he tells the dog he "makes Lassie look like a heathen." But when it's discovered Orel loves the dog more than Jesus, the town's adults surround the dog and have it killed. Orel's father says the dog was spreading so much love he was "dangerous."

This is comedy?

But "Orel" really departs from earthbound reality when its crazy Christians hit the streets to protest and purify the world for God. In one episode, the plot includes protesters outside a Denny's-style restaurant, screaming: "Hate! Hate! Hate! When the gluttons put on weight!" A sign claims "God Hates Fats," and protesters yell at a heavy-set woman coming out of the restaurant: "God hates you, Fatty! God hates you; you're going to Hell."

In another episode, Orel joins the uptight town librarian, "Miss Censordoll," on a loopy parade of ridiculous rants. It begins with protesting the faithful 1964 movie on the life of Jesus titled "The Greatest Story Ever Told" at the local theater, since the film is so "boring" it leads people to "whoring." It gets even more bizarre, as these ersatz Christians stoop to protesting supposedly godless institutions like a blood bank, a coffee shop and a hospital. It ends with Orel's crusade to ban eggs from the town.

Perhaps the greatest offense for an entertainment network is that this show doesn't entertain. It's not funny. It's painted in dark, depressing tones. It's the very definition of heavy-handed propaganda, a cheaply animated "Scared Straight" for Christian addictions. Going to church seems to disqualify you from being capable of love, charity and the slightest fraction of common sense.

Imagine, if you can, the long stream of producers and actors and writers and artists and executives who work on the assembly line of a TV production like this. No one in this imposing chorus seems to have had a fleeting thought that this series of unfunny, wildly inaccurate smears crosses a line from good-natured ribbing to mean-spirited character assassination.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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