Dino explains it all (about Moral Orel)
If you read my reviews of Moral Orel, you know I've been a fan since the first episode. It's often misunderstood as being nothing more than an eleven-minute joke at the expense of Christians, but its real target is not Christians or Christianity, it's how people will twist and contort their religion until it jives with their own selfish needs. The stop-animated residents of Moralton aren't seeking any kind of Divine Truth, they just want a religion of convenience.
Granted, Moral Orel can sometimes be quite vicious in its satire, but that's comedy. Aside from knock-knock jokes and preschool riddles, it's rare that comedy, and especially satire, doesn't offend on some level. Another "truth" about comedy is that you shouldn't analyze it too closely. The more you tear into it to see what makes it work, the more the magic seeps out of it.
I mention this because of something I didn't mention in my last Moral Orel review. I'm not going to recap the plot here, but it centered around a wounded Jewish doctor who couldn't convince his Christian caretakers he needed serious medical attention, not just prayer. Somewhere in my big ol' brain I wondered why the doctor's religion wasn't being satirized as well. I wasn't offended by the episode, and I didn't want to suck the humor from the episode by putting it under a microscope, so I decided to go to the source: Moral Orel creator Dino Stamatopoulos, who was kind enough to offer this explanation:
I feel that Moralton in Moral Orel is a town like Hooterville in Green Acres, only instead of representing simple yokels, they represent the part of Middle America that is mostly made of Fundamentalist Christians. In order for the show's premise to work, they have to be an island unto themselves. Yes, it's a satire, but it's also a comedy. I always get people asking me, "Why don't you show Muslims in a bad light, or Jewish people?" Well, because that's not what the show is about. It's about this backwards Green Acres town. This town has no respect for anyone else's religion but their own. This town uses their own religion only in ways that are convenient to themselves. They are lazy when it comes to morals, ethics and raising their children. That's the premise.
I also get asked, "Why don't you show any Christians who aren't corrupt or stupid?" To me, the person who best represents the audience is Orel. Yes, he is naive, but he is pure and trusting and wants to do good. I relate with Orel. I've grown to respect him. Yes, Season One was a little heavy handed. That's because I had to establish the premise. Really cement it. Season One of many shows is usually more "high concept." But as I learn more about who these characters are, I start respecting them more and more and treating them like real people. By the Christmas Episode last year, I felt a little ashamed of how I treated poor Orel early on. Seeing him come alive through the animation and the voice acting, I grew very empathetic toward the little tyke.
This show is growing in very exciting ways for me, and I believe that 3rd season will be very different. I want these characters to be the most real people on TV, which isn't that big a feat these days. I think they're all going to grow in different ways, especially Orel. Religion will take a back seat to each characters real psychology, and maybe we'll realize why they use religion in the ways they do.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is the way I feel.