Is it possible for a TV show to be so offensive that it’s offensive before it’s even a TV show?
Last month, Comedy Central announced plans to develop a new series called ‘JC,’ an animated comedy about a youthful Christ, and as expected, both the prospective show and the network itself – home to ‘South Park,’ which is regularly criticized as offensive – has come under fierce attack by religious leaders and conservative watchdog groups.
Those taking offense, described by The Hollywood Reporter as a “protest super-group” out to “preemptively smite the show,” include the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell, radio talk show host Michael Medved, the Parents Television Council’s Tim Winter and Rabbi Daniel Lapin of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.
Calling themselves Citizens Against Religious Bigotry, the conservative group has planned a press conference on Thursday where they will urge advertisers to boycott the show before it ever gets made. They also want to question support of the network in general for airing episodes of ‘South Park’ they have deemed offensive to Christianity.
“After we reveal the vile and offensive nature of Comedy Central’s previous characterizations of Jesus Christ and God the Father, we expect these advertisers to agree wholeheartedly to end their advertising on Comedy Central and discontinue their support for unabashed, anti-Christian discrimination,” Bozell said in a statement. “Why should they be supporting a business that makes a habit of attacking Christianity and yet has a formal policy to censor anything considered offensive to followers of Islam? This double standard is pure bigotry, one from which advertisers should quickly shy away.”
The show was announced in early May and described as focusing on a young Jesus as a “regular guy” who moves to New York to “escape his father’s enormous shadow.” The network called it a “playful take on religion and society, with a sprinkle of dumb.”
As the NY Daily News reported, “Comedy Central recently came under fire from Islamic groups when “South Park” depicted the Prophet Muhammed in a bear costume. The network later edited the show with numerous bleeps, leading some conservatives to view “JC” as a religious double standard.”
Question: Does it seem as if this show goes too far? Should satirists stay away from religion on TV? Is this subject matter untouchable? Does it seem as if the show should be seen before there are protests? What do you think?