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Sunday, May 2, 2010

V's Father Jack

I've been watching the show "V." It intrigues me, though I can't say I'm a huge fan. But one of the things that is most interesting and novel about it is that one of its main characters is a priest. Unfortunately, while they try to make the character interesting, he's more of a cliche than anything else. Not to mention a bit unrealistic.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "C'mon, Father, it's scifi--it's not meant to be realistic!" Sure. But it can't be totally ridiculous either. For example, how does Father Jack take care of his pastoral duties, when he seems to be spending all his time being an insurgent against the Vs? The occasional scene of him holding a rosary doesn't quite do the trick. True, he does serve as the conscience of the group sometimes, but the character needs to be filled out!

And I have to mention the most ridiculous thing of all. One can only conclude from his wardrobe, that he's not very bright. If I were engaging in subversive activities, like he and his rebel group are, you can be sure I wouldn't be wearing my collar all the time, like he does! Just think of the report from the witnesses to an attack by the insurgent group: "I didn't get a good look at them, but one of them was a priest." That narrows down the list of suspects quite a bit. You can imagine someone asking the obvious question: "What kind of idiot wears a Roman collar to a bombing?" Indeed. Father Jack needs to wise up, instead of just getting weepy-eyed every time they come up against a morally questionable situation.

But here's where the V producers could really do something interesting, which they haven't. So far, really, it doesn't matter that he's a priest. He could just as well have been a social worker. What they need to do is make the fact that he's a priest mean something. For example, wouldn't the arrival of aliens sort of rock the world of many people who are deeply religious? Shouldn't he be questioning how this fits in with his faith in God? Since they have a priest character, they ought to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the theological issues involved. For example, might he be wondering about the status of the Vs within his theological worldview? And what about the V-human baby, can and should it be baptized? What are the implications of his involvement in the fight against the Vs for his priesthood? Might it mean that he might have to take time off from being a priest? Should he have a spiritual director/friend of some sort with whim he an take up such questions?

I guess part of my frustration is that priest-characters usually come off one way or another. They are either one-dimensional, or being lured away from their vows. Refreshingly, so far it is not the latter, but the character needs some help. Father Jack needs to be more a priest, and less the weepy-eyed conscience figure. And for God's sake, Father Jack, if you find yourself bringing a gun along somewhere, lose the clerics! You could bring down the whole resistance by being so identifiable.

And while we're on that subject, why hasn't the savvy terrorist they've recruited to help them told Father Jack this already??!! You'd think he would have realized the problem from day 1, mate.