Christianity on The Mindy Project

I watch a lot of TV, and one show I actually really like is The Mindy Project. I like a woman-led project, and the show has laugh-out-loud moments and characters I care about (ish).

But recently there's a storyline with Mindy's "Cool Christian" boyfriend that has me scratching my head and wondering if I should stop watching. Instead I thought I'd just write about it.

Mindy has started dating a pastor, which on the surface sounds great. Christianity being portrayed in pop culture seems like a good thing. Christians are people too, etc. But the storyline unfolds bizarrely and in a way that is incompatible with my understanding of how Christians, particularly pastors, should believe (which flows into how I think they should behave).

Mindy goes to Pastor Casey's church service and watches as he is treated like a rock star in the pulpit (he wears a collar, and the sanctuary is typical pews and raised pulpit area, but otherwise seems like a contemporary-type service). I've never seen a preaching session or church dynamic like that, although maybe I'm just out of it/used to my traditional, methodical church experience.

But how Mindy and Casey's relationship unfolds is definitely weird when viewed through the lens of my expectations of Christianity and pastoral behavior.

There are sex scenes, including a shower one that would be funny if I weren't thinking about "what?!" He asks Mindy to convert to Christianity, breaks up with her when she won't and then changes his mind ("G" told him to make it work/that they can overcome the differences/that she's the one/etc.).

The season finale has Casey deciding to go to Haiti for a year and inviting Mindy to go with him. They're going to live together in a tent for a year -- with plenty of "making love" as he calls it. WHAT?! Would a mission trip anywhere be like that, with unmarried people living together as if it's not a thing?

So I still haven't decided what I think, other than "HUH!?!?" I also know that TV is not at all representative of what life actually is, so maybe that's just what this is? But it still bothers me more than any other ridiculous storyline on TV.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Me thinks that real life might be much more like this TV depiction than some want to think.

The proverbial rub comes when society has repeated the same standards (and stereotypes) over and over again so often that even the believers start to believe....

So eventually we in our minds start matching the stereotypes and the standards and deciding that one of those is "reality" (when perhaps it never was).

So I dunno...

I do know that I was seeing tornado reports from the Midwest and I thought of you.

- For The Love

Mari said...

I'm sure you're right, but I guess what struck me is the openness of the behavior.

And I think the standards and stereotypes of society are the ones that the character is playing into -- that Christians are just like everyone else and that sex without commitment is good for everyone.

And I have to keep remembering this is just a piece of fiction, even if it does say something about reality. Still not sure what it's saying.

Sydney said...

There is no question about what the Bible says about sex outside of marriage. We should never look to society for moral advice. God is always available and He is the authority on what is right and wrong.

Mari said...

I definitely didn't mean I want to take my cues from culture or any TV show. I guess it just shocked me to see such a wrong portrayal, when it was clear the intent was to somehow normalize Christianity. It wasn't making fun of him as a holy roller, because he's "just like us." Mostly I wonder if anyone else noticed it/has a problem with it. But I'm probably not looking in the right places.

Unknown said...

I took the show off my DVR list and won't watch it any more. Very disappointing, but I guess her decision to run this story line means she's willing to jettison viewers like me. Will a beer-drinking Muslim imam be next?

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