The New York Times has the weirdest review of a new dating show on television. Admittedly, the show — “It Takes A Church” — itself seems a bit weird.
Each week the show visits a congregation and matches up one of its single members with a prospective mate. The first episode travels to the Rock Worship Center in Charlotte, N.C., where 30-year-old Angela laments, “I can’t find a man.” Apparently, she hasn’t been looking very hard, because when the TV cameras come to town one Sunday, bachelors pop up from the congregation like weeds, each accompanied by a “matchmaker” — his mother or some other advocate — extolling his virtues.
The review goes on to dismiss the “gimmick” of the show, which is that the congregation winnows the field each week. Unlike most people who work at the New York Times or in journalism in general, I’m a journalist who goes to church every week. So I of course think this gimmick is a fantastic idea. There are several couples at my church right now who owe their relationships to the hard work of many of us. (All we ask in return is that they name their firstborn child according to a list we’ve prepared.)
In fact, when one of my single friends from church and I were mocking this review, he told me, “That’s not a game show, that’s my life!”
Anyway, the show sounds weird, sure, but not nearly as weird as the problem of otherwise normal people being unable to find a spouse. (Seriously, single friends, you’re killing me.) And not one-billionth as weird as everything else on television that gets praised to the highest heavens by the same paper. I mean, I think we all know that if Lena Dunham proposed a show around her taking a dump naked each week the review (which I imagine would be headlined “In A Golden Toilet: A Girl Satyricon”) would be unbearable.
OK, but this still isn’t what’s notable about this piece. Check out the penultimate line:
The show is utterly frivolous and is reviewed here only because it’s another development in the continuing spectacle that is religion in America. It’s also another development in the continuing, sometimes desperate effort to find something the conservative Christian audience will watch.
Well then! Seriously, the problem isn’t even that reporter Neil Genzlinger is doing the New York Times standard operating procedure of mocking Christians but that he’s too lazy to even write the gibe. It’s the casual contempt that galls. He’s just so comfortable assuming that everyone will just nod their heads in bigoted agreement. “Christians are stupid TK” would have been more clever.