Hollywood Bush People by Harold Fickett
Keith David as Bishop James Greenleaf

Keith David in “Greenleaf”- The Best Preacher Ever on TV

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After shooting his brother-in-law, Mac, in the shoulder, Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) is now coping with the fallout from the violence and its cause: Mac’s serial sexual abuse of underage girls, including the bishop’s own daughter, Faith.

His crimes exposed by another daughter, Grace (Merle Dandrige), Mac (Gregory Alan Williams) sits in jail wondering if there’s really a hell.

Despite the role Grace played in exposing the truth about Mac, Bishop Greenleaf and Grace are alienated. He cannot forgive her for going immediately to the police about Mac; if she had only given him a little time, as he asked, what could have been “merely scandalous” wouldn’t have become “cataclysmic.”

These are only the major story complications in the weekly hour-long drama, Greenleaf. Power plays and sexual tensions abound.

Expectations Created by Advance Publicity

This summary makes the series sound like the fulfillment of its advance publicity, which promised plenty of scandal involving an African-American clergyman, his dynastic family and their mega-church.

The PR campaign foreshadowed so much mendacity that the show’s producer, Oprah Winfrey, felt compelled to call TD Jakes, America’s most popular African-American pastor, with assurances that the show was not based on him.

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Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan – (dumb, ignorant, stupid idiot white guy) – Genius

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I missed the entire first season of “The Jim Gaffigan Show” on TV Land because, when I heard that it was about a family man with a house full of kids in which Catholicism figured prominently, I did not want to risk seeing it be horrible.

I’ve long rooted for Jim Gaffigan. Few comics have ever made me laugh as hard. His famous “Hot Pockets” stand-up routine—however much he may be tired of being associated with it—is a classic.

He has often been cast in films and TV shows, to my recollection, that were pure asbestos—nothing ever caught fire. How could this screamingly funny comic come across as so dull in so many shows?

All was revealed when I began watching “The Jim Gaffigan Show’s” second season. TV Land had the wisdom to put Gaffigan’s talents to full use, as he not only stars in the show but also writes it with his wife, Jeannie. It’s a one-man vehicle like Louie C.K.’s eponymous show, but where “Louie” presents its star as an anti-hero in a grim world, whose redemption lies in his devotion to his children, “Gaffigan” shows us a middle-aged family man besieged by all the forces in our society that pigeon-hole him as a hapless schlub.

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Brooklyn the Movie

The Joys of “Brooklyn”

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“He’s decent.” That may be the most memorable line from the recent batch of Oscar-nominated films. It’s how Eilis (Saorise Ronan), the lead character in Brooklyn, describes her new American boyfriend, Tony (Emory Cohen), to her sister, Rose (Fiona Glascot), back home in Ireland.

Brooklyn takes place in two worlds, the close community of an Irish village and the eponymous New York borough in the early 1950s. These worlds share a common understanding of morality; a clear line between the “fellas” that young women like Eilis would describe as “decent” and others who wouldn’t quality.

Brooklyn might be described as a quiet film, as there are no scenes of violence and hardly a raised voice. Yet the picture carries with it a penetrating sense of risk at every turn.

Much of this risk is generated by Eilis’s situation as an immigrant. A priest from the old country has kindly provided her with a job and the ability to attend Night College, where she undertakes studies to qualify as an accountant. Like every immigrant she aspires to make a success in her new country while being desperately homesick.

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