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 this reality series addresses the potentially sensitive topic of religion, with some bias toward or against certain religions. Jay Bakker (the son of '70s and '80s TV evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker) mentions having a difficult time with religion as he was growing up, and he's now creating his own religion, which bucks some of the conventions of Christianity. This may upset viewers who have an unquestioning faith. It may prompt others to think about what they do or don't believe in.
What's the story?
The engaging reality series ONE PUNK UNDER GOD documents the efforts of 31-year-old Jay Bakker -- son of former televangelists/PTL Club hosts Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker -- as he tries to generate interest in, and funding for, a new religion he's created called the Revolution. On first impression, with his heavily tattooed arms, pierced lip, and black T-shirts, Jay comes across as a typical punk, but as the camera follows him around, viewers see that there's a down-to-earth, sensitive soul behind the rebellious facade. "All I want to do is love people," Jay says in reference to his preaching, and several times when he's talking -- to the camera, to his wife, or to a gathering of followers -- about his faltering relationship with his father, his emotions clearly well up to the surface. Jay's followers congregate in, of all places, a bar, and he receives financial support for his undertaking from his friend Stu, a father-figure type who owns an auto body shop. Jay's wife, Amanda, on the other hand, says in her interviews that she has no involvement whatsoever in Jay's mission but that she does give him her full moral support.
Is it any good?
While today's teens may not know much about the Bakker saga, they'll probably be able to relate to Jay's story in many ways -- feeling confined as a child (in his case, by the rigid structure of religion), wanting to express himself in his own unique way and make his own mark in the world, and wanting to mend relationships with a parent but not knowing how. Jay's honest, straightforward manner draws viewers in as he embarks on his emotional and spiritual journey.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about faith and religion and what it means to them. If you go to church or another place of worship, do you enjoy what you learn there? Is there anything about your religion that you question or that makes you uncomfortable? How do you handle that? What do you think of the religion that Jay has created? Is religion a good topic for a TV show? Why or why not? Do you think Jay would have a TV show if his parents weren't Jim and Tammy Faye?