"How could they do that to Mr. Funky?"
A DVD of BIBLEMAN -- DIVIDED WE FALL, an episode of a religious program for kids, came into my possession through the good services of my soon to be ex-good friend Kent, who demanded that I post on it forthwith. BIBLEMAN stars Willie Aames, who was on EIGHT IS ENOUGH and CHARLES IN CHARGE, as millionaire religious zealot Miles Peterson (Peter Son, upon this rock the church is built, get it?) who has:
1. A pair of protegees, one African American guy nicknamed Cypher and a white girl named, what else, Biblegirl. They've all got spiffy ill-fitting uniforms, featuring Biblical Superhero Accessories like the Helmet of Salvation and the Shield of Belief, and my personal favorite: the Shoes of Peace. The attempts to impose muscular definition upon Willie Aames' distinctly non-buff torso is among the most amusing elements of the show.
2. The full Bruce Wayne set up. A big mansion with what appears to be an extensive series of caves below it, filled to overflowing with "high-tech" impossible computer equipment.
3. An apparently endless series of ideologically loaded supervillains. The villain in DIVIDED WE FALL is known as the Wacky Protester. No, really. The Wacky Protester is a probably legally actionable ripoff of Jerry Lewis' Dr. Julius Kelp, with really hideous prosthetic teeth and ill-fitting clothes. There are some other villains as well: secular children's television programming, disobedience, and disrespect for authority figures, for example. One of the lowpoints of the episode is a gratuitous clip from a Saturday morning TV series called Mr. Funky's Wild Time, an inane animated comedy with vaguely anti-Semitic overtones.
DIVIDED WE FALL centers on the Wacky Protester's attempts to drive a wedge between the members of the Bibleman Team, so he can Divide And Conquer and take over Mr. Funky's Wild Time and use it as a mouthpiece for his own evil designs, which has something to do with destroying the Bibleman Team because um, well, who wouldn't want to destroy these guys? See, the Bibleman Team is never at a loss for an appropriate Bible quote, which they supply at the drop of a hat including book chapter and verse. They don't just do this blindly, though. Bibleman himself warns that they must take care that the Scriptural tags they ceaselessley use are "relevant to the situation, and they apply." They also engage in badly written banter, designed to show that you can have a sense of humor and be self-righteous, too.
The show is pretty idiotic on pretty much every level. It has PLAN NINE level production values. It borrows pretty blatantly from the worldly entertainments that it works so hard to denigrate. The whole silly thing would be hilarious and disturbing if it just wasn't so completely lame. I'd bring up how odd it is that the villains all seem to have New York connections (the characters on Mr. Funky's Wild Time and the evil computer Luci all speak with broad Noo Yawk Accents, and the Wacky Protester is from Hackensack) if I felt it was worth the effort.
But there's a problem. Like the equally idiotic 300, this idiotic Bibleman thing has a following. There is a Bibleman website, complete with Bibleman tour dates for the Bibleman Live show, and there's a list of Bibleman Personal Appearances at local Christian bookstores around the country. I guess I'm just way too insulated and corrupt, as a cinephilic gay man living in NYC, to understand how any even remotely media-savvy kid wouldn't collapse in hysterical laughter at the general ineptitude on display in BIBLEMAN -- DIVIDED WE FALL.