I’ve never sat through an episode of Two and a Half Men, but I’ve seen clips enough to recognize the weekly comedy is, fundamentally, sordid, vapid trash — pre- or post-Charlie Sheen, pretty much twenty-two minutes of juvenile, sex-saturated, potty humor. A booby/genital/whoopee-fixated farce. Exactly the kind of product, in other words, which typifies the 21st century sitcom landscape.
Imagine my gratification, then, when I found out at least one high-profile TV personality agrees with my conclusion.
Now, imagine my shock when I further discovered the source of that penetrating analysis is none other than one of the series’ regular players.
Headlines have shrieked: “Two and a Half Men Star Calls Show ‘Filth’, Urges People Not to Watch It”. My first instincts were that Angus T. Jones’ dig at this TV program, in which he’s prominently labored for a decade, was a stunt; an ironic gimmick meant to garner some attention and steer more eyeballs to the little screen.
Turns out Jones, a newly converted Christian, takes his Bible seriously enough to realize a diversion majoring in salacious plot lines and lewd guffaws ought not qualify for a God-pleaser’s regular viewing.
What is decidedly not shocking? This nineteen year old actor’s being widely raked over the sophisticates’ coals for his faith-fueled admonition; ritualistically mocked, scorned, dismissed by society’s cultivated claque.
Questions remain, obviously: exactly why doesn’t Jones summarily quit the show? Are there contractual obligations at play? Is he softening his actions in deference to his fellow actors and crew? Or — is the $350,000 he reportedly snags per episode shaping the incongruous decision to stay with a program he has, otherwise, splashily condemned.
Then there’s Jones’ sort-of retraction issued a few days following the initial unveiling of his “filth” put-down. Okay, not exactly a “retraction” — more a clarification that he still appreciates the undeniable personal opportunities afforded him throughout Men‘s ten seasons. And an apology for any unintentional slight he’s heaped on those involved.
However this Hollywood foofaraw turns out, it does yield an illuminatingly instructive moment regarding issues of American entertainment and religion:
Behold the levels of animosity stirred up when someone merely takes a meaningful stand for his religious/Christian beliefs. It’s truly, unsettlingly chilling.
Jones isn’t stumping for the government’s banning the show. He’s not callously bailing in the middle of its taping schedule. As a professing Christian, he’s simply ventilating his objections over Men‘s content.
I’ve a whole lot more respect for this young thespian than for other celebs whose glib references to their “faith” in Jesus ornament their interviews or awards-acceptance speeches, but who schizophrenically proceed to crank out, for years on end, sleazy dramas, scatological comedies or libidinous music which brazenly repudiate everything “their Lord and Savior” taught.
Had Jones callously disregarded legal obligations and stalked off the set for conscience’s sake, I promise you the secularists would be excoriating him for not keeping his word. Had he put the series’ Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer, et. al in a career bind by bluntly refusing to perform alongside them any longer, the Bible-bashers would be cynically and snottily parroting the Good Book about “love” and “kindness toward others”.
Well, assuming he’s sincere about what he’s recorded for all the snickering world to hear, Jones’ deepening faith in a holy God has apparently put him in a bit of a bind — and he appears, albeit falteringly, to be attempting a morally navigable route out of it. I could cite ongoing, in-your-face decadence by scores of other Tinsel Town glitterati which has been — and I’m betting will continue to be — lots more deserving of the general public’s contempt.
Curiously, back in 2007 Mandy Patinkin attracted comparatively little grief for unexpectedly severing his alliance with CBS’s Criminal Minds. The actor’s gripe? What he considered the program’s gruesome and exploitative violence: “It was very destructive to my soul and my personality, ” he explained in a contemporaneous interview, offering scant suggestion of any particularly religious motivation for his unceremonious departure. (During a 2012 sit-down, in fact, Patinkin specified he is “spiritual but not religious“.)
Yet, Angus T. Jones’ commentary? That has elicited reaction of another sort. The youthful star has committed two of the few, unpardonable transgressions secularist America any longer recognizes: he’s had the impudence to actually apply his CHRISTIAN faith beyond syrupy rhetoric and in the most pragmatic of ways.
To boot, he’s taken an implicit swipe at the barnyard-sexuality ethos revered by our society. The fashionable fraternity can’t abide that, no, no.
Had young Angus dissed Two and a Half Men because he deemed it anti-woman, racist or “homophobic”, he’d be the toast of today’s beautiful people; or, at minimum, they’d accord him unspoken, if grudging, respect.
Instead, he’s reminded entertainment-idolizing, libido-addicted Western culture that some individuals do put Jesus Christ first in their lives; that their devotion carries with it engaging, on-the-ground, often challenging responsibilities; that sex is not just a toy to be played with or the punch line for naughty jokes.
Cue Beverly Hills hedonists’ shrieks of horror.
Contemporary culture prefers its religious-types be of the Jessica Simpson variety (unmarried, embonpoint with child and nude on Elle’s March 2012 cover); settle on the Katy Perry model (occasional, complimentary remarks about Jesus; lifestyle like every other bawdy pop-trollop); or take after “non-judgmental, liberal Christian” Kristen Chenoweth (formerly fronting ABC’s now cancelled Good Christian B*tches).
Cosmopolitan company will breezily put up with superstar Denzel Washington’s chummy references to prayer and church attendance — providing he continues helming box-office winners like his latest, Flight, complete with blistering profanity and full-frontal nudity. You’d think, considering his A-lister juice, Washington could persuasively insist the studios tone down that kind of stuff — or junk it altogether — in his projects. That’d be nice.
Then there’s our celebrity President: the paramount reason Bill Maher and other occupants of the God-hating Left yawn at Barack Obama’s periodic, Bible-reference outbreaks is, from the beginning, they’ve intuited: he doesn’t really mean any of it. They’ll countenance BHO’s sentimental, “Christian-ese” boilerplate because it serves him/them politically; and doesn’t much matter beyond that.
Angus T. Jones has given the impression he means his Christianity. For an appetites-driven, shallow-minded society that’s “filth”; no one should “watch it”. It’s unforgivable.
Lower Image:Angus T. Jones; author Hollywood Branded; www.gigaset.com; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license