March 4, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 80  

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Hollywood’s newest It boy: the Messiah

Mark Polishuk

Opinions Editor

Jesus is the new It boy.

Well, I guess He never really went out of style, but there’s no question the overwhelming success of The Passion of the Christ has definitely put the ‘yes’ back in Yeshua. Whatever your opinion of Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion is definitely a sterling example of the power and emotion that can be conveyed by cinema.

And thus, in turn, it’s up to TV to ruin all that. In the long tradition of TV networks greedily exploiting the current big Hollywood trend, it’s only a matter of time before we see Biblical programming up the yin yang. I can just see some slick-haired moneylender of a network executive sitting back in his padded chair and saying, “That Jesus is so hot right now,” in his best Will Ferrell-in-Zoolander voice.

Here are just a few of the upcoming projects featuring Nazareth’s favourite son.

• The newest hit game show, What Would Jesus Do? Players are presented with a number of philosophical problems to solve. For example, if you are confronted with a leper, you...
A) Heal him
B) Treat him with kindness and compassion
C) Run away yelling, “Eww! Eww!”
D) Start singing “New Test Leper” by R.E.M. and heal him through the joys of music
Players are provided with two lifelines: a “Second Coming” that lets you get a second chance at answering a question, and “Call a Disciple,” provided by our good friends at AT&T. The only trick here is, if you end up randomly calling Judas, he’ll give you a wrong answer.

• Since Martha Stewart is going to jail, Jesus takes over her cooking show. He tells us all how to feed the masses with only a few small portions of bread, fish and wine.

• Being whipped and beaten? That’s pain. Being crucified? That’s Motrin pain.

• Since The Passion is the most violent movie since Kill Bill Vol. 1. (Mel Gibson’s original title was Kill Jesus), it only stands to reason that the Christ appear on the most violent show on TV. It’s the ultimate Hell in the Cell steel cage match when Satan and Pilate team up to battle Jesus and Stone Cold Steve Austin on WWE Smackdown!

• On American Idol, all of the contestants alternate between “Love Hurts” by Nazareth and “I’ve Got The Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down In My Heart (Where?).” On the bright side, Simon Cowell is revealed as the Anti-Christ.

• From the Greatest Story Ever Told to the Greatest Spinoff Ever Told, get ready for the hilarious new series Crossing Paths. This sitcom takes a look at what happened to those two criminals that were being crucified at the same time as Jesus. Thanks to a clerical error, these two get off their crosses and decide to go straight by opening a small coffee shop in downtown Bethlehem. But when a ritzy jewellery store opens up next door, it takes all their willpower to keep the sticky-fingered semi-saints on the straight and narrow! Starring Jonathan Silverman and Breckin Meyer, with Tim Curry as the jewellery store owner. This fall on ABC.

• Turning in your Messiah: 30 pieces of silver. A giant cross: 5 pieces of silver. Sacrificing yourself for humanity: priceless.

• A Nike ad with Jesus, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. They’re out on the golf course and Jesus hits it into the water.
Tiger: Tough break, JC! Looks like I’ll win the match now!
Jesus: Oh really?
Jesus walks on the water, finds His ball and knocks it onto the green
Tiger: Aw rats!
Michael: Must be the shoes.

• Jesus guest-stars on That ’70s Show. A hilarious misunderstanding develops when Hyde asks Jesus if He’s ever been stoned. Jesus teaches Eric and Donna that the key to a good relationship is communication. Red calls Jesus a dumbass and is cast for eternity into the fiery depths of hell.

All of these and more are no doubt coming to a small screen near you. I’d write more, but I’m limited by the fact I haven’t actually seen The Passion of the Christ yet. My big-mouthed friends, however, went and ruined it for me by telling me the ending: it turns out Rosebud was the name of His manger.

—with files from
Andrew Clark



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