rabbi: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Pimp My Ride are both “hip and healing.”

rabbi: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Pimp My Ride are both “hip and healing.”
“I hereby proclaim the Gospel of Pimp My Ride and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. What I see in these two shows is a saving radiant glimmer of how television married to compassion (and a blown 450cc short block engine) can produce programs that are both hip and healing, both popular and profound.” With that, Rabbi Marc Gellman begins an essay in Newsweek about why those two shows, which star “the prophets for this generation of spiritually acceptable television.” At first it’s hard to tell if this is satire or not, especially when he writes sentences like this one: “I have seen the transfixed ecstasy of Pentecostal snake handlers and it is nothing compared to the joy of a guy learning that he now has a bowling ball washer in the trunk of his car.” But then he gets serious and writes that both shows “unselfconsciously obliterate the traditional ways we often treat the poor. First, both shows treat the needy without a hint of condescension or pity. … Also the workers on both shows work with real joy. Charity is often seen as a dutiful burden, but in these cases it is a labor of love.”

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