A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Living Biblically is a sitcom inspired by the book of the same name by A.J. Jacobs, in which a man determines to live according to the rules and practices of the Bible. It addresses the idea of faith more than it references organized religion, even though the main character's spiritual guides are a priest and a rabbi. Most values-based advice deals in generalities rather than specifics, admonishing dishonesty and adultery while encouraging introspection and prayer. There is some mild language ("hell," "ass," and "damn," mostly) and some alcohol consumption among adults.
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What's the story?
In LIVING BIBLICALLY, when Chip's (Jay R. Ferguson) best friend passes away unexpectedly and his wife announces she's pregnant, he searches for guidance and rediscovers his long-dormant faith. Well, what he really discovers is the Bible, and not one to do something halfway, he vows to use it as the roadmap to a new and better existence. With the help of his "God Squad" -- Father Gene (Ian Gomez) and Rabbi Gil (David Krumholtz) -- and the support of his skeptical wife, Leslie (Lindsey Kraft), Chip embarks on a quest to find illumination.
Is it any good?
Taking its lead from a book that is insightful, funny, and impressively balanced, this sitcom falls far short of what Jacobs' readers will expect. The humor is mediocre, not clever, and the content barely scratches the surface of what's possible with Jacobs' book and the Bible leading the way. Most of what's laughable concerns Leslie's forced tolerance of Chip's new obsessions and the way it interferes with conveniences and indulgences of modern life like cell phones and mismatched clothing fibers.
That said, Living Biblically does a good job presenting the idea of faith in refreshingly relatable ways. Chip's effort to balance his newfound biblical inspiration with the demands of his everyday life exemplifies (albeit in exaggerated form) a struggle many faithful feel. What's more, the exchanges between Father Gene and Rabbi Gil -- easily the most charming of the show's humor -- are good reminders that relationships can and should bridge ideological and religious differences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about faith and organized religion in Living Biblically. Are the two different? If so, how? Can you have faith in a higher power without following a specific religion? Does faith play a role in your life? Why is it important to have a values set that helps direct you?
Where do you turn when you need guidance through a difficult decision or station of life? Who do you consider mentors? What characteristics are important to you in someone you admire?
If you've read Living Biblically, compare and contrast it with this series. Would the depth of the book's content lend itself to a sitcom, or is it better suited to a movie? Did you learn anything about religion and the Bible from either the book or this series?
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