Jan 18, 2020

"Living Biblically": A Hard No, In Spite of the Beefcake and Bulges

Just the title of the tv series Living Biblically is terrifying.   And the plot synopsis:  a guy tries to follow all of the rules listed in the Bible.

Surely he doesn't plan to get circumcized, offer animal sacrifices, enslave his neighbors, and stone people to death.

More likely he'll be following what fundamentalists think are Biblical rules: avoid alcohol and movies, go to church twelve times a week, try to win the souls of your friends, and scream "God hates you!" at gay pride festivals.

Spoiler alert:  The Bible doesn't mention gay people. Modern gay identity did not exist in Bible times.  The "thou shalt not lie with man as with woman" passage prohibits temple prostitution, not same-sex dating. But everybody thinks that the Bible screams "hate gay people!" on every page.

But one of the executive producers is Johnny Galecki, who has played gay characters, and another is Patricia Fass Palmer, who has produced both the original and modern versions of One Day at a Time, with gay characters.  Plus Sarah Gilbert, who is a lesbian, appears in six episodes.  How homophobic could it be?

Turns out the guy hasn't actually read the Bible, and believes that the only rules it contains are the 10 Commandments. 

Piece of cake. When was the last time you were tempted to kill someone?  A few might be a problem, like "Remember the Sabbath."  The Commandments don't specify how to do that, so the Nazarenes filled in the blanks: no working (including homework), no shopping, no restaurants, no Sunday newspaper,  and spend six hours in church.

Each episode addresses a different Commandment:

1. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me": Throw away your cellphone, it's getting between you and God.

2. "Love thy neighbor."  Be nice to your noisy neighbors.  Not one of the 10 Commandments, but ok.

3. "Thou shalt not steal."  Return the office supplies that you have accidentally brought home.

4. "Honor thy father." But what if Dad is a jerk?

5.  "Thou shalt not bear false witness."  No little white lies.

6. Chip's atheist mother-in-law visits. Maybe "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'"  But that's not a Commandment.

7.  Rabbi Gill, one of Chip's spiritual advisors, moves in with him.  There aren't any Commandments about annoying roommates.

8. "Wives, submit to your husband."  Not a Commandment, it's from the Apostle Paul.

9. "Thou shall not covet."  Chip and his coworker Vince are up for the same award.

10. "It is better to give than receive."  Not a Commandment, just a proverb like "Don't cry over spilled milk."

11. "David and Goliath"  Chip takes on the big boss. Not a Commandment.  God doesn't actually require you to fight big guys.

I'm still terrified of watching.  I just know that there will be some "God hates gay people" rhetoric.  Besides,  it has an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe I'll just stick to checking on beefcake.

1. Jay R. Ferguson as Chip, the Biblical guy.   You may recall Jay as a teen idol in the 1990s with at least one gay role, and more recently as the father of a gay teen on The Real O'Neals.  There are underwear shots online, but the ginormous bulge makes them inappropriate to post here.

2. David Krumholtz (second photo), who you may recall as the cute math whiz on Numbers, as Rabbi Gill, one of Chip's spiritual advisors.

3. Ian Gomez, who you may recall as the gay Jauvier on Felicity, as Father Gene, Chip's other spiritual advisor, a chubby bear with nice biceps.  Haven't you ever wondered what your preacher looked like naked?

4. Tony Rock, younger brother of comedian Chris Rock, as work friend  Vince.

5. Ravi Patel (left) as Doug. I wonder if he plays a Hindu whose soul Chip tries to win.

6. Charles Emmett, who has appeared on such gay-friendly shows as Will and Grace and The Fosters, as a Baptist minister who Chip meets on a field trip.

There's apparently some beefcake-heavy cast members.  But I'm still not watching it.

See also: Jay R. Ferguson, Teen Idol


  1. According to my old college boyfriend, the whole "lying with man as with woman" refers to anal sex. In those days, it was common to anally rape captives as a form of torture. Basically, torture isn't for those you love, and until recently (basically until it was seen as a mental illness) men loved each other more strongly than they did women.

    Great guy. First guy I docked with. (And I was the first uncut guy he'd seen in person, since he was Israeli. He was the second cut guy I'd done anything with. A learning experience.)

    The nice thing is, I really don't like anal anyway. Not in a self-righteous way, just apathetic.

    1. Your college roommate was mistaken. Well, they did rape captives in ancient times,but the "lie with man as with woman" passage was part of the Levitical Code, which was meant to differentiate the Israelites from surrounding tribes, so whateveer they did became abomination. Such as consorting with male prostitutes as a religious ritual. That's why the "lie with man" passage is included with other abominations, like eating shellfish

    2. Possible, but, you know, he is Jewish. Can you guess the key phrase here?

  2. 1) That's Josh Peck. but a lot slimmer than when he was on TV.

    2) Good news: The show died. It was pretty horrible by any standard.

    1. Which one? None of them really look like Josh Peck, but if I had to choose which one Google Images got wrong, I would probably go with #4.


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