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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that God Friended Me is a sweet drama about an atheist (Brandon Micheal Hall) whose convictions are suddenly shaken when he gets social media messages from what he calls the "God Account." The messages lead him to connect with and help strangers who need his aid, a setup that gives the show positive messages about kindness, tolerance, patience, redemption, and faith. Iffy content is mild, but present: Young adults talk about "hooking up"; a man and a woman go on a date and then go home together where it's implied they're nude (they do end up in a romance after this quick start). Scenes take place in bars with adults drinking beers and cocktails; we don't see anyone get drunk. There are references to death, and sometimes on-screen violence (like when a character is hit by a car and knocked out but quickly revived). Language is infrequent: "ass," "hell," "damn."
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What's the story?
GOD FRIENDED ME centers on minister's son Miles Finer, a podcaster and outspoken proponent of atheism whose life is irrevocably changed when he gets an unusual friend request on social media. "God" keeps sending Miles the names of total strangers who, it turns out, each need his help in some way, including struggling online journalist Cara Bloom (Violett Beane). With his worldview shaken, and new messages arriving regularly from the "God Account," Miles and Cara resolve to accept the job that's come their way: reaching out to help their fellow humans, one at a time.
Is it any good?
If you can handle the corny Touched by an Angel needy-soul-of-the-week setup, this earnest and sweet drama might wind up growing on you. The idea of an omniscient Presence who pings a guy when a stranger needs help -- a stranger who podcasts about atheism, yet -- is really pretty dumb. But somehow God Friended Me makes it work. It helps that Brandon Micheal Hall is so good he makes even the most hilariously cheesy lines work.
Yes, he says a lot of goofy things -- things no real human would say -- but it's emblematic of this show: ridiculous, but with a core of sweetness that puts it over. Storytelling has the power to shock, to entertain, to alarm, to educate -- and to inspire. God Friended Me's magic is that it does have that inspirational power, that undefinable something that elevates a premise you've seen before and characters you've just met into something that touches your emotions. With the dramatic possibilities inherent in a "case of the week" setup and the likability of its characters, God Friended Me is the type of show that goes down very easily.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about spirituality and how it's portrayed on God Friended Me. What are your family's religious beliefs? How do other religions differ in faith and practice? What other ways have religion and faith been portrayed on TV? How does the media treat religion and faith in general?
Do you think it's important to try to help others? Does this show agree with your viewpoint? What do you think about fate, purpose, and interconnection?
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