Last year I became a big fan of Jim Gaffigan, and apparently so has much of the American entertainment scene. It has actually been refreshing to see a clean and down-to-earth entertainer win increasingly sponsorship deals and celebrity appearances on the top shows.
His show, The Jim Gaffigan Show, which airs on TV Land (unfortunately not viewable to the Canadian audience) is full of heart and is semi-autobiographical in his depiction of a large Catholic family trying to navigate the quintessentially modern secular American life of New York City. There is no pulling back on the Catholic aspect of the stories, whether it was the episode in which he had to tolerate the culture war that erupted around his carrying a Bible in public, or depicting the role his parish priest plays in the life of his large family. The season premiere of the Second Season (which includes a quick cameo by Cardinal Dolan), entitled “The Calling”, explores the idea of vocation and how it is not limited to what vocations directors these days recruit for.
The Jim Gaffigan Show has been undoubtedly the most unique form of the New Evangelization that I’ve seen thus far. It almost appears accidental, but without pushing any explicit values onto the viewer, the use of humour and the simple exhibition of regular people trying to live regular lives, Catholic values shine through in navigating life’s complexities.
When asked in an interview about why he has so many children, his answer is so simple: “What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life,”
Gaffigan’s values are almost the antidote to the nihilism of Seinfeld, also about navigating life in New York City – a good sport, Jerry Seinfeld also appears in the season premiere. My hope is that the show is successful enough to be part of the dialogue with a world with a much different set of values.
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