(I wrote a variation of this in my LiveJournal a while back, so if it seems familiar to anyone, that’s where you’ve seen it.)
Vicar of Dibley never could have been made in the US.
It’s a really cute, silly, fluffy comedy about a female vicar (Dawn French) assigned to a tiny little parish in a tiny little village in England. Dawn French plays a vicar who’s single, has a picture of Mel Gibson beside her picture of Jesus, and has a sex life. With men. Right there in front of God. Not often, but it does happen. A vicar – a minister in the Church of England – has sex without being married. Additionally, two of the older people in the village talk merrily about the values of having sex with lots of people, and one older gentleman comes out of the closet.
Imagine this show airing on NBC. That morning, Matt Lauer would interview Jerry Falwell and Al Sharpton, who would explode from agreeing with each other for the first time ever about this abominable representation of Christianity. Never mind that there are sects of Christianity (even here in the US, though we’re not allowed to talk about it for fear the Pitchfork and Torch gang will come calling) who have read the very same Bible as Jerry Falwell and do not, in their considered opinion, feel it is saying premarital sex is automatically evil.
By that afternoon, the NBC studios in New York would be blocked off by a human chain of protestors yelling about how God is going to strike down the infidels and completely missing the irony when someone asks them what they think of bin Laden’s stance on Americans.
By that evening, the show would be cancelled before the first episode could even air, and the president of NBC would issue a public statement on their air about how they’re terribly sorry to have offended everyone and of course they’ll happily cancel the heinous crime against godliness because… well, hell, you can’t buy publicity like this.
A few minutes later, they’ll return to regular programming – a mini-series filled with titillating rape scenes. Which, oddly enough, Jerry and Al will never ever mention. Possibly because they’re too busy watching.