This fall, the Showtime movie channel will air its sixth season of "Dexter," their show glorifying a just serial killer. They recently finished a fourth season of a show called "Californication." It debuted in 2007, with a dream sequence in which the lead character receives oral sex from a nun in a church. So it might seem surprising (or...perhaps not) that Showtime's new promotional package for the fall wraps Showtime characters around...Christianity. The new slogan is "Showtime Saves."
The low point in this perverse campaign is the visuals of the murderous Dexter character with golden-sunshine rays of holiness. Their St. Dexter the just-serial-killer routine matches the trailer for season six, where Dexter beats in the head of a man with a Jesus tattoo on his chest. This (set ital) Christian (end ital) (smirk, sniff) killed his wife rather than undergo a messy divorce, which makes Dexter the righteous judge and jury. Before he's whacked with a hammer, the wife-killer screams "God is a mighty fortress! And I have been washed in the blood of the Lamb! And He will protect me!"
In Hollywood, or at least at the CBS Corporation, which owns Showtime, it seems the only good Christian is a dead, hypocritical Christian.
As the website MediaReallyMatters.com proclaimed to CBS: "The God you describe is not the benevolent and loving God millions of us know and worship -- and your sacrilegious promotions, twisting his words to promote your lowlife shows are not at all clever or funny to millions of Americans."
The trailer also features clips of Dexter with the soundtrack of the old Depeche Mode pop song about "your own personal Jesus, someone to hear your prayers, someone who cares." Next to blood splatters, the red text on screen reads "This fall, he'll make you a believer." Underneath the official Showtime promotional video on YouTube, it promises, "Get ready for the most rapturous season yet."
While that pop song lyrically proclaims, "reach out and touch faith," that's not exactly what "Dexter" is about. In season two, Dexter proudly proclaimed his atheism in a narration at a church: "If I believed in God -- if I believed in sin -- this is the place where I'd be sucked straight to Hell...if I believed in Hell."
In a second Showtime promo, as the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" plays, Dexter walks past religious statues, including the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and wonders (or teases): "Maybe it's not a need, but a calling. After all, I rid the world of evil people. If they didn't exist, neither would I. Is it possible I serve a higher purpose?"
At that point, the camera frames Dexter with angel wings behind him. It is blatant anti-Christian (and especially anti-Catholic) bigotry. And for those at Showtime with the smug looks on their faces, allow me to show what cowards you are: never in a million years would you mock the prophet Mohammed like this.
Showtime is taking their pseudo-biblical slogans on the road. Take "Comic-Con," the annual comics and popular art convention in San Diego, which has become quite a marketing event for TV programming.
Their slogans are splashed across buses and splattered in convention programs. The "Dexter" slogan was "Do unto others." That's a bad case of turning the Golden Rule upside down.
Over at "Californication," the slogan is "Love one another." When you're on a roll mocking Jesus Christ, you're on a roll. But then, from the beginning, this show was never religious. In fact, the lead character Hank Moody's fictional novel, titled "God Hates Us All," was turned into an actual novel (complete with the character's byline) and published by CBS-owned Simon & Schuster in 2009.
The show "Weeds" is about a suburban mom moonlighting as a crooked marijuana dealer. Here's their slogan: "Glory in the highest." The seventh season began with Nancy, the pot dealer, getting out of prison, and her cellmate (and lesbian lover) Zoya gives her a key to the trunk of a car. In the trunk, were explosives that Zoya stole from her brother. Nancy sells them to the brother for marijuana -- so much for glory, or prison rehabilitation.
And the new series "Shameless," about a "fearlessly twisted, absolutely, wildly, unapologetically shameless" dysfunctional family, drew the motto "Feel the spirits within you." This is probably a reference to the alcoholic single-dad lead character. He is often drunk and therefore not caring for his six children, which in the real world constitutes felonious abandonment, but on Showtime it's a subplot.
You think of the hundreds upon hundreds of people involved in this Showtime enterprise -- the actors, producers, promotional and marketing staff, the blue-suit executives in New York, the advertising agencies. And of those hundreds and hundreds, not one will stand up to defend Our Lord? How sad.
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