There’s nothing like a good controversy to make me want to watch a show. Tell me I shouldn’t and well…ha, I will. The news links have all had articles about NBC affiliates boycotting the show and advertisers not wanting to be slotted during it. My question is…why? I saw it described as a “mean-spirited show” and “objectionable.” Pretty harsh descriptions for this show, if you ask me. Clearly,not everyone is going to love it, but the content isn’t any more objectionable than what you can see on Oprah, Dr. Phil, or Judge Judy.

I watched The Book of Daniel and you know what I saw? It was real. Okay, I have a few doubts about Jesus appearing and giving counsel, (and trading vicodin for lime life savers) but that goes back to my own faith.

But the rest? A reverand with a troubled family? A teenage daughter who’s dealing drugs to make money (so she can publish the manga she writes), one son who’s homosexual and another who’s adopted, randy and cheeky. A wife who has a drinking problem (and who apparently only has sex on scheduled days…Fridays), a brother-in-law who’s run off with his 28 year-old secretary and 3.2 million dollars of church funds raised to build a new school (and then ends up dead while the money’s still missing). A female bishop who chastises him for delivering a sermon on the realities of temptation. A mom suffering from Alzheimers and a dad who’s a bishop…and disapproving.

And the good reverand himself? In the middle of it all? Battling his own addiction to pain killers to help the pain in his “back” while meeting his responsibilities and serving the needs of his family, his community and his congregation. Yeah, it doesn’t get much more real than that. Maybe we’re not all unlucky enough to have quite so much angst in one family, but they covered all the bases and in today’s society…it’s possible.

I mean, let’s face it, how many of us have gone through a period in our lives where one thing goes wrong and it’s like a domino effect? Where it seems like one more thing can’t possibly go wrong but it does? Or how many of us feels that’s what our entire life is? One thing after another? That’s what The Book of Daniel is about. Life spiraling out of control and how you deal with it–one thing at a time.

The show has a lot going for it, interesting story line, strong writing with bits of humor thrown in with lines like, “Judith, if you don’t stop crying, I’m going to smother you with an oven mitt” and scenes such as the grieving widow, at her husband’s funeral, yelling “Bitch!” and chasing after the thieving secretary who drives by in a smokin’ red convertible. And characters who are both likeable and dislikeable. You know, real people, not cardboard cut-outs. With some rather hysterical interactions.

Like I said previously, the most questionable thing for me about this show (besides having every dysfunction covered), was the regular appearance of Jesus to Reverand Daniel, providing both counsel and jokes. But you know, I liked the show’s portrayel Jesus and I’d like to think he’s really that kind of guy, someone you can relate to, not someone who’d judge you with a look.

So, The Book of Daniel. Thanks for the controversy, it introduced me to a fascinating new show. There are so many layers to this show I could not ever begin to describe all of them. You should watch it. As a good friend commented, “it’s so irreverent, but so faith inspiring… it’s so…normal.”

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