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HBO’s “Righteous Gemstones” Skewers an Unrighteous Mega-ministry

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“The Righteous Gemstones”

Courtesy HBO

“The Righteous Gemstones” premiered on August 18, 2019, on HBO. Show creator Danny McBride developed the TV-MA series alongside HBO, Rough House Pictures, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8634332/parentalguide & https://variety.com/2019/scene/news/the-righteous-gemstones-nudity-danny-mcbride-adam-devine-1203281338/. The 18-40-year-old target audience will watch “The Righteous Gemstones” open in South Carolina with the Gemstone family, who are evangelists. Eli is the head of the family who is grieving over his late wife. He is also near stepping down as the leading Sunday preacher. When people think of the term preacher, they usually accompany it with being a holy man with good intentions. However, preacher is a loose term for this family. Even though they run a massive church empire bringing in tons of money every Sunday, they are more of spiritual bullies and are highly dysfunctional. The Gemstones value money more than God and have lots of family secrets. Not only this, but everyone has their own various dark secrets that get revealed throughout season one. Jesse, Judy, and Kelvin Gemstone are continually arguing in an attempt to please their daddy, Eli. He is the creator of this empire and primary Sunday preacher. Still, they also must work together, so they don’t ruin other embedded twisted lies and schemes. The grandson Gideon and cousin Baby Billy are also in the mix with their own plans and schemes that complicate keeping the persona of a holy church empire. The show is unpredictable as it continually introduces other characters plots and dicey pasts. The framework of the show is unlike any other show I have seen with lots of comical moments as well as emotional moments with unpredicted twists. It's the bawdy, depraved behavior and language that's satirical and sends up the hypocrisy of megachurches. The characters are somewhat silly, but during the season, you find them to be much more profound, and you learn why they act as they do. What has the church done or not done for them? Most are in search of fame and money through the church’s wide reach, but it allows you to think and believe who truly earns that fame. As we know, there can only be one lead preacher for a national broadcasted Sunday service.

The dialogue and script are intriguing and believable for the type of show it is trying to be. The characters are constantly arguing and playing out their own sibling rivalry with profanity-laced jibes You will laugh out loud at the pervasive, awkward scandals that reveal just how un-humble the characters are. Their actions and behavior should send shockwaves through the religious community. The script and context clues during the season enhance the characters. Judy, Eli’s daughter, goes through her own problems as everyone wants her to be like her late mother. However, you feel bad for her since we all know people who want us to be someone we are not. Jesse has his problems of being a visible part of the church while trying to hide things from his past that are not very Christian-like. Kelvin is the youngest, so we know what kind of problems and pressure can come with that. Kelvin also has a very interesting companion; he is constantly trying to “save.” Baby Billy feels he is snubbed from what is rightfully his because his sister was married to Eli and he feels he deserves more. Gideon is trying to figure out his own place in the whole thing as well as do what he believes is right. With this much family history, stories, an empire, and lies twisted all together and hidden from the public, it makes for a tremendous holy mess.

The actors in the show bring the show to life. They are comedians that can also be serious for some of the shows more intense moments. The best, in my opinion, is Danny McBride and Adam Devine. Danny McBride plays Jesse Gemstone and does an excellent job of it https://www.hbo.com/the-righteous-gemstones/cast-and-crew. When Jesse is caught in some of his lies, he looks extraordinarily flustered and makes up new absurd lies that he then tries to convince his wife, Amber, with. He does this with the perfect amount of seriousness to make the wife try to believe him but also be fun for the audience watching the show. Adam Devine plays Kelvin Gemstone https://www.hbo.com/the-righteous-gemstones/cast-and-crew. He is the youngest, as previously stated, and he acts like it. He has the textbook hair flip in the front and deals with all the churches Sunday school and youth groups. His companion is very different from typical churchgoers and he makes the character. Keefe Chambers, played by Tony Cavalero, is a once Satanist who has trouble adjusting to the new church life https://www.hbo.com/the-righteous-gemstones/cast-and-crew. Kelvin is trying to keep Keefe from going back to that life.

"The Righteous Gemstones" is a humorous spectacle that is unlike any other show. It is worth watching on a random night where nothing else is on. I would not say it is a show that is necessarily worth binging. Each episode is interesting enough to enjoy for the hour-long time slot. However, it never made me really want to continue watching the forthcoming episode. I watched it relatively fast as in a 2-3-week period. It is worth a second season thanks to the cliff hanger it left on at the end. My recommendation for the next season would be to add more action. The last couple of episodes that included the car chase and the heist intrigued me more than the first couple episodes. I am curious to find out in season two of what happens between Baby Billy and Gideon. I wonder how the family will bounce back and see who is on who’s side, after the wild season finale. To watch the official trailer click the link attached, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8Cza3vlwRA

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