Bless this Mess: A Review of The Soul Man
- Tuesday, August 07, 2012
The women of the church come across as meddling and backbiting busybodies. Trying to make a good impression, Boyce asks Lolli to put some pantyhose on for church. Consenting, Lolli responds, "Lord knows I hate panty hose but those church ladies, they want panty hose. They can't take these legs."
The above examples demonstrate how hard it is to find good examples of funny gags on the show. Though "filmed in front of a live studio audience" (even the exterior scene in front of the church?), it was hard to tell why there was laughter, so flat were the jokes. Now and then, Boyce will look up and offer conversational prayers to God a la Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, but of course they are intended mainly for laughs as well.
The writers seem acquainted with actual pastoral situations and there's even scripture quoted and applied when Barton rebukes Boyce for paying for two non-members to join the church's gospel singing team to win a choir competition, quoting Mark 8:36. And Boyce's ministerial attitude is genuine so it's a little startling when he switches from comedy to actual pastoral concern, usually near the end of the episode. Pulling off serious content to balance the humor isn't easy in a comedy and though apparently sincere, the lack of real jokes doesn't make it any easier. Sadly, rather than being a refreshing experience, The Soul Man is mainly old jokes in old sitcom wineskins
*This Review First Published 8/7/2012
**Watch Soul Man Wednesdays on TVLand.
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