Those “Crazy Christians”

Aaron Sorkin must figure that conservative Christians won’t watch his show anyway.

On a tip from a colleague, I watched his new show, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” last night on NBC (going back and forth with Monday Night Football). It’s about the making of a fictional sketch comedy show like “Saturday Night Live.” The dialogue is fast, hip and rings of the dialogue on Sorkin’s last show, “The West Wing.”

A key plot on last night’s episode centered around the planning of a sketch called “Crazy Christians.” A Christian magazine (called “Rapture”) leaks word of the sketch and local network affiliates in a few small markets go running. The network chairman wants the sketch pulled, but Amanda Peet, as the courageous network president, stands up to the Religious Right.

We won’t find out until next week how the sketch goes.

Of course, conservative Christians have made a fuss about a few TV shows over the years. They helped get “The Book of Daniel” off to a bad start early this year, arguing that the drama about a disheveled Episcopal priest offered an insulting portrayal of Jesus (he was in the show) and was pro-homosexuality.

Is Sorkin goading the Religious Right? It sure looks that way. An actress on his fictional show ended her relationship with Matthew Perry’s character because of his secular ways.

One interesting point: The show’s characters are shocked to find out that “Rapture” magazine has a much larger circulation than “Vanity Fair.” It seems to be Sorkin’s way of admitting that the liberal elite, like himself, are out of touch with much of mainstream America.

The ratings will show if anybody cares.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.