Moral Orel: Pleasure
(S02E07) The first thing I noticed about this episode was the opening. As far as I know, this is the first time creator Dino Stamatopoulos wasn't credited with writing the episode. Instead, that credit went to Mark Rivers, who composes the music for the series.
At this point, I think fans of Moral Orel have come down off the high of the first season and have settled in to simply enjoying the show. We're more familiar with it now, but it's still smart and funny, and manages to go places you don't expect. When this latest episode began, it had a very "first season" feel to it: Orel hears Reverend Putty's sermon and takes the lesson to heart. I settled in for an enjoyable if not familiar episode, but by the end of it I was laughing so hard I had to take anti-laughing pills to stop.
Orel discovers a catch-22 in God's supposed demand that we avoid pleasure: while other people struggle to remain holy by avoiding the usual seven deadly sins, the only pleasure Orel gets is from helping others and pleasing God. In fact, he loves pleasing God so much that when he dreams of God he wakes up experiencing the same thing other little boys do when they dream about Pamela Anderson.
Orel learns to counter this feeling by applying pain whenever he feels good about something. What's especially funny about Orel stretching barbed wire across his torso, stapling himself in the face and putting glass in his shoe whenever he feels the love of God is that there's actually a school of thought that says you should associate your pleasure with pain in order to remain free of sin. It seems like a good idea if you believe God doesn't want you to be seduced by earthly delights, but what this episode so hilariously points out is that pleasure is a natural thing, and it's not so easy to avoid. After awhile, Orel learns to enjoy his pain, which puts him right back at square one. His father can't even whip him with his belt, because Orel gets off on that now.
In a twisted kind of way, this may be the most uplifting episode of Moral Orel yet. Rather than happiness being difficult to obtain, it shows us that happiness is actually unavoidable.