Sunday, January 6, 2013

719: The Bible Network

Well, hi there. As always in the Josh world, things are always crazy, and that was certainly true again this past week. I'm struggling to schedule recording sessions, let alone find time to produce the sound design and music cues. So, sadly, I will have to once again push back the debut of Candid KOnversations with  Josh and Ally. The script's going through polishing as we record, but I'm really liking where it's going. One thing that will make this podcast unique is the storyline that will pretty much be a separate segment from the interviews that make up the KOnversations part of the show. It's a story arc that will probably take the whole season to complete, but hopes to bring up thought-provoking questions about...oh, I probably shouldn't give that away. But I'm excited, and I really hope you enjoy the podcast (which, by the way, will be audio unless we see a great opportunity to use video)! So look for it now later in the month. However, I'm pretty much positive that the pilot WILL come out later in January, so don't worry! I don't want to promise in case something horribly catastrophic goes wrong, but I am convinced. And now to our review...

"What's your name? Rick. Rick; beautiful name. Thanks. And I have one too! You will address me as Sir! Or Mr. Combs! Or Sergeant Combs! Or Drill Sergeant Combs! Or Brother Combs! Or Brother Drill Sergeant Combs!" - Drill Sergeant Combs, Rick

"But my Bible's all wet, sir. Then dry it all off with the lip rag of your cowardice." - Ron, Drill Sergeant Combs

"I forgot that you have a Master's degree in counseling and went to seminary for four years. And I completely blanked that you've been in the ministry for twenty-two years and have trained people in discipleship for the past six. Well, actually, I didn't do any of that. You didn't? Uh, no, that's you. THAT'S RIGHT, IT'S ME! NOW DO WHAT I SAY!" - Drill Sergeant Combs, Stanley

Marshal Younger takes a third crack at writing an episode involving three parodies of pop culture to bring attention to Biblical teachings, this time looking at Scripture and four ways to apply it to our lives (from 2 Timothy 3:16). The three segments on this show are "Who's the Real Sheep," "BSI: Bible Study Investigation," and "Bible Boot Camp." Unlike the first two episodes he wrote with the same format, the very funny Hidden in My Heart and The Devil Made Me Do It, the parodies are not as focused on a particular genre or "show," which leaves less room for humor, and if the hope was to again make fans have their stomachs hurt from laughing too hard, it doesn't fulfill that hope in that regard, but does succeed in teaching the Bible in a fun way.

"Who's the Real Sheep" does a good job with explaining different points of view other than a Christian worldview and explaining how the Bible is useful for teaching truth.  The skit, while not overtly humorous, has some light touches in there, and I enjoyed hearing Lori (the contestant) apply her Bible help to the question being asked. If anything, it mostly suffers with some overacting by some of the panelists.

"BSI: Danny's Apartment" holds the job of transitioning from the first skit to the final large skit. "Lassie the Wonder Dog" performed this job beautifully, as the Lassie snippets made a coherent story as told through "commercials." "BSI" could have been better told if more time was given to the skit, but the snippets for BSI seemed way too short. I hate to compare, but when these types of episodes use the exact same format, it's worth looking at the ones that did to see how effective they used the format. If there's anything humor-related that works, CSI fans might find a chuckle from the name of the detective, Danny Caluso, who I believe is spoofed from the lead of CSI: Miami, David Caruso. However, after further listens, I enjoyed the parody on the "investigation" but didn't understand the need for the "going to prison" motif. "Star Trip" succeeded because it spoofed Star Trek perfectly while teaching a valuable lesson and creating humor from the cliches. "BSI," while lightweight entertaining, fails to teach the lesson memorably, although attempts to (along with the humor). 

"Bible Boot Camp" is the best skit of the three, although I'm not sure what Younger was not parodying (the tough sergeant reminded me of one of the trainers from The Biggest Loser). The acting is spot on and the characters are funny and easy to identify with. All of the memorable quotes from this episode for me came from this segment. I loved the Bible verse jabs when the contestants got heated, and appreciated how the application (All Scripture is profitable for correction and training in righteousness) felt very organic into the story, which I felt "BSI" didn't have time to do.

I thought Ron's answer to Sergeant Combs about why he didn't read his Bible was interesting: "There's a lot of words in that big Bible; it's overwhelming to carry that Bible, let alone read it." That's how a lot of people see God's Word; they feel like God should compress His message into something easier for them to digest, perhaps through a paragraph or two for easier reading. Although this episode didn't illustrate this, it takes a love for God and trust and willingness in Him to start a hunger and thirst for the Word. This episode took a verse and tried to make it easier to digest, which is not a bad thing, but couldn't capitalize on the success of the same episode format that was used in the past. 

While humorous in certain parts and interesting in others, it lacks the comic energy and organic applications found in other episodes with the same format. I give this episode an 87/100, or a 


Best Line of Dialogue - "What's your name? Rick. Rick; beautiful name. Thanks. And I have one too! You will address me as Sir! Or Mr. Combs! Or Sergeant Combs! Or Drill Sergeant Combs! Or Brother Combs! Or Brother Drill Sergeant Combs!" - Drill Sergeant Combs, Rick
Best Actor - Dan Hagen 

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