But instead of focusing on the fallout from Obama's exotic given name, or the fact that some members of his extended family practice the Muslim faith, Laura Ingraham, guest hosting 'The O'Reilly Factor' (weeknights, 8 PM ET on Fox News), blamed Obama's gym schedule for the public's confusion over his religion.
"Christmas Day of last year, the president doesn't go to church, doesn't go Christmas Eve either . . . he goes to the gym and works out," Ingraham insinuated. "Now for a president of the United States, that just seems a little odd."
Muslims: getting buff on Christian holidays since the year 610.
God's Warrior, a CNN documentary, will delve into the world of religious fundamentalism.
A lot has been said about religious fundamentalism in the United States, but CNN's doc, hosted by reporter Christiane Amanpour, has a wider scope, looking not only at Christian fundamentalism here at home, but Jewish and Islamic fundamentalism around the globe. The doc will also feature the final television interview of the late Jerry Falwell, who passed away back in May. The report will center on how certain groups wish to bring religion and politics together, and how this is happening everywhere in the world, not just the United States.
If ever a subject of this PBS documentary showcase series lived up to the title "Independent Lens," it's eighteen year old Shadya Zoabi. Shadya is a Muslim Arab living in Israel, a beautiful, athletic and headstrong girl who loves karate and who has very little interest in following the typical Muslim path of becoming a servant and housekeeper. Throughout the film, Shadya's feminist views clash with those of her older brothers, the eldest of which insists Shadya must give up karate and behave in a manner more fitting to Muslim customs and laws. Shadya, meanwhile, flaunts her independence at every turn. She even gives up praying because she says she hasn't got the time.
(S02E08) Well that certainly didn't disappoint. Definitely a fitting end to what I think was the best mini-series that aired this year. I think it's pretty lousy that Sleeper Cell wasn't nominated for best mini-series in this year's Golden Globes (it was last year), but at least Michael Ealy got a nod for best actor. Although I am a little torn because Andre Braugher was spectacular in Thief and I loved that show too. But I think Ealy may have the edge because this finale was just phenomenal in every sense of the word.
(S02E06) One of the things I love about this show is how they pick simple one word titles (the first season did it too) and the given episode stays committed to portraying that title (a theme really) from everyone's perspective. It's a very cool storytelling technique, the way they expand upon everyone but manage to keep it cohesive. Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, and everyone else who has a hand in writing and producing this show deserves a real pat on the back. They've created quite the epic. Entertaining because, well, it is. And scary because... it's real.
(S02E05) Sleeper Cell really doesn't quit. It's just keeps moving at you from all angles and once again, things that I never expected happened. For the most part, I think plenty of people have a good sense of predicting what's going to come next in TV and films because often we've seen the same stories and plots told over and over in different ways. Sleeper Cell is just throwing all convention out the window because I keep making guesses that make sense and nothing pans out. I love it because it's genuinely holding my attention as a result.
Writing the series is Kario Salem, who wrote Don King: Only in America and The Rat Pack for HBO. The series is Salem's idea-- he pitched HBO with a 100-page, thoroughly-researched outline. HBO agreed to the project, but asked him to cut it down from his projected ten hours to eight. Salem will write the first four hours and Don McPherson will write the final four.
No air date has been announced.
(S02E01) Sleeper Cell is an incredibly impressive show. The first mini-series which aired a year ago was publicized quietly and didn't garner the attention it deserved until well after it had aired. Hopefully people are listening to the buzz this time around because Sleeper Cell is the closest thing Showtime has to HBO's The Wire. Yeah... it's that good. Visually impressive, rich in dialogue, a host of characters to love and despise. The list goes on. Not to mention the fact that it's topically relevant and due to it's place on a premium cable station, it can address the issues directly -- often to an uncomfortable extent. Something that a similarly themed broadcast network clock-ticking drama unfortunately can't compare to. Trust me. You owe it to yourself to be watching Sleeper Cell.
A comedy news show airing in Iraq that pokes fun at America's involvement in the region, the Iraqi government and the various militias has become an instant hit with the Iraqi people. The series, which is hosted by one man who plays six different characters, is called Hurry Up! He's Dead, an Iraqi slang term. The show is set in the year 2017 and is hosted by Saaed, the last man alive in Iraq. And yes, the Americans are still there. The show is produced during Ramadan, and it airs just as Muslims are breaking their fast. Talib al-Sudani, the creator of the show, insists the show does not support any specific government, and that he himself does not support any government. While the show does air in Iraq, it actually tapes in Dubai where it's less dangerous and more convenient.
The opportunity was there, and I missed it. You see, the most recent episode of South Park focused on an episode of Family Guy which (didn't) show an image of the Prophet Muhammed. In the episode, Family Guy, at least on one level, became a kind of symbolic representation of South Park. By the end of the show the question wasn't whether Family Guy would show an image of Muhammed, but whether South Park would (as many people pointed out, this was made clear in the last line of the episode: "If Comedy Central doesn't puss out").
I didn't focus much on that aspect in my review of the episode, choosing instead to examine the episode's negative assessment of Family Guy. My prerogative, of course, but by doing so I missed the chance to mention something that was staring me in the face the whole time: South Park already has shown an image of Muhammed, and they did it almost five years ago. The episode was called "The Super Best Friends" and featured Jesus and all of his religious super hero pals, one of which just happened to be Muhammed. So yeah, I could have sounded smart, but I didn't. My only consolation is that this will only happen about twenty more times today.
Note: I went back and read the comments on my previous post and noticed Elliott alluded to this, as well. Nice job, E.
Update: YouTube has the relevant portion of the episode available, embedded below.
Last night South Park, in a way only South Park can, managed to mix Family Guy and the recent kerfuffle over cartoons involving the Prophet Muhammed into a scathing indictment of both. In the South Park universe, the "offensive Muhammed cartoon" is an episode of Family Guy which the Fox Network decides to censor. Cartman convinces Kyle to join him on his quest to get the episode off the air. It turns out Cartman doesn't care about the offensive episode, he just really, really, hates Family Guy, calling it poorly-written and accusing it of using interchangeable jokes, rather than jokes that actually have something to do with the plot.
I've said it on this blog and elsewhere that Family Guy's humor can be very jarring at times. Whatever plot there is has to be ground to a halt in order to insert as many one-off gags as possible. There's no effort on behalf of the writers to try and weave jokes into the story, jokes simply pop in and out wherever they seem to fit. In that regard, it's not even comparable to shows like South Park and The Simpsons, which take a more substantive approach to their humor and satire, even if South Park appears to delve into the same scatological humor as Family Guy at times.
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