Editor’s Note: The information in this article came from a piece published by the venerable Scott D. Pierce at the Salt Lake Tribune. Scott was very, very displeased to have someone share his work and has labeled us rampant plagiarists. We apologize for such an error. Please know that what you read below, while certainly of our own brand of writing, contains information provided by the indomitable Mr. Pierce. We shant cross him again. That is, of course, unless we want to cover his repeat article on basically the same thing where he brags about making ABC execs quiver in their boots due to the tour-de-force that is his prose.
We will hyperlink to his original article anywhere in this article where information came from Mr. Pierce.
ABC, the network that once gave you family entertainment in the form of Step by Step, Family Matters, Full House, and all sorts of other classic TGIF shows, knows that its current audience is more interested in Shonda Rhimes-inspired dramatic nonsense than anything that is parent company, The Walt Disney Co., would typically release.
In that spirit, staying true to form, a new ABC show called Quantico, which follows the exploits of a bunch of recruits at the FBI academy in Quantico, VA, apparently will feature a Mormon character who traipses about in his garments.
And if that’s not enough, the Mormon RM in question appears to be repeatedly questioned about Mormon stereotypes by his one-dimensional buffoon roommate:
And so forth.
Mark Gordon Company, which has given us such critical darlings as Grey’s Anatomy, Army Wives, and LAX, is really gunning for the highbrow, Emmy-worthy stuff here, folks. If there’s one thing these showrunners know, it’s about nuance and characterization. They definitely don’t just go for low-hanging fruit. *cough*
Honestly, I’m pretty sure Trey Parker and Matt Stone give Mormonism a fairer shake than this.
What’s more – and this is a SPOILER – it turns out Elder Eric likely should have been disciplined for some behavior on this mission. Because of course the Mormon can’t just be a good person living his or her faith.
To editorialize, this is garbage. America still cannot figure out how to portray Mormons fairly. Almost always, the Mormon is a source of thin jokes and weak characterization. Can’t “good,” pious Mormons be portrayed as something other than kooks or mysterious figures with a sordid past?
Moreover, Mormonism does not have a monopoly on all that “be chaste and honest” stuff, but where’s the obvious overture to how the Catholic girl breaks all the rules, or low-hanging jokes about yarmulkes for the Jewish guy?
Sure, this is network television, and ABC at that, which proudly broadcasts The Bachelor franchise, mind you, but still. I want more from American media than the usual caricatures.
Personally, I do not like garments being portrayed on TV, even less so as the basis for a number of easy Mormon jokes. I am an ardent supporter of free speech in all its forms, but Quantico‘s producers aren’t disappointing me just for being crass; they are also disappointing me because it’s clear they just aren’t trying.
Bear in mind I do see both sides of this. The FBI does recruit loads of Mormons, and I’d argue the bulk of them are garment-wearing returned missionaries. So the chances of a Mormon being in garments down in Quantico are reasonably high. But that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like seeing my religion reduces to one-note gags while having a mockery made of something sacred. I can’t read the showrunners’ minds, but I’d venture a guess that the inclusion of a character in garments is made to titillate and scandalize more than it is to be true to life and character.
Beyond that, this looks like every other generic suspense drama. Everything isn’t as it seems! Our heroine has been framed! Veiled allusions to racial profiling!
If you’re bored and want to watch a promo video of the show – which has only shot a pilot thus far – check out the video below. Skip forward about thirty seconds to avoid pointless sexual moaning from a Chevy van. The garment segment is not in the video.
Also, since I follow TV ratings and the like, I give this… three episodes until cancellation.