Friday, May 13, 2011

The Best Christian Characters on TV

Look out Flanders you've got some competition.

In the annals (thank you spell check) of Christian TV roles there have been few as consistently funny (and poignant) as Homer and Marge's nay-diddely-aybor.  Even through the loss of his wife, Flanders has remained Homer's greatest enemy and kindest friend.  But there's a newcomer on the scene whose return appearance on this week's episode of "The Middle" got me thinking about what makes for a great small screen Jesus Freak.

The best Christian characters on TV in my opinion are the ones the ones that rightfully skewer us where we need to be skewered, and still have a sense of genuine belief and heart to them.  Some are one sided caricatures (Angela from the office, Kenneth from 30 Rock, both hilarious by the way, just no real substance, also not sure Kenneth is really a Christian, more of a backwoods superstitioner) and others are possibly too serious for their own good (the entire cast of "Touched by an Angel")

But somewhere in the middle lies a beautiful balance, meet "The Middle"'s Rev. Tim Tom.

Reverend Tim Tom strikes the perfect balance of silly earnestness and immutable truth, and in the few episodes he's appeared he's stolen every scene he's in.  Also, as ridiculous as that little song is, I'd be lying if I said it didn't speak to me a little bit as a Dad.  I personally hope to see Reverend Tim Tom encouraging the Heck family for many years to come.

So who are my all time favorites?

I'll give Flanders and Rev. Tim Tom the top two, followed closely by these fine fictional faith based  television entities:

Coach Taylor (Friday Night Lights) - To be honest I've never really watched the show, but I've heard enough to know I'd probably be shot if I left him off the list (in Christian love, of course).

Walker (Walker Texas Ranger) - The only man to ever beat a brick wall in a game of tennis, Chuck Norris is also apparently a devout believer, and if there's one guy I'd not want to leave off the list...

Hank Hill (King of the Hill) - The episode where Bobby gets involved in a youth group because of the cool youth pastor (an early predecessor to my beloved Rev Tim Tom) and skate park is priceless.  If for no other reason than the closing conversation between Hank and him about Christianity not needing to be "cool" to be right.

Who did I miss?


  1. Just brainstorming:

    I was a 7th Heaven fan back in the could pick from the family (or at least until the show turned into a soap opera). It was a pretty even depiction, even if pretty muted.

    Angela on The Office gets a big negative vote, but one episode when she was asked which two books she'd take with her to a deserted island, she replied "The Bible" and refused to name another, until forced, and said "The Purpose Driven Life." But one funny moment does not a good depiction make!

    Of course there are the angels on Touched By an Angel. Never explicitly Christian, though, uber-spiritual.

    Ekko on Lost. Sorta didn't add up with the darkness of his past, but a great baptism scene.

  2. I thought that Sarah Paulson's character on the short lived Sorkin show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" was at least a nice attempt at a fully fleshed out Christian on TV. I say attempt because she was drawn form Sorkin's POV rather than by someone who was an actual Christian, there was no understanding behind the character's actions. But it was a nice attempt anyway.