I grew up in a bubble of what I refer to as ‘Christian Replacement Media,’ which is this space full of movies and tv shows where the budgets are low, the talent pool is shallow, and there’s a host of very natural and normal things that the shows can’t depict, because it’s a moral evil to have a character swear. It’s not enough that the work shows people who swear as bad, or that swearing be rare, it’s that swearing at all is bad.
These are stories that try to do moral panic and endangerment and horror of the other by such things as ‘someone grabbed my wrist’ or ‘a black person said hey unprompted, with an accent,’ and the romances in them appear at the last instant, as the boy we’re followed meets a girl and she smiles at him and the music swells, implying they are absolutely going to be together forever.
Christian Replacement Media is a lot of things. Mostly it’s surreal, a sort of heightened reality where the story winks at you and says You know how this is meant to work, meaning they don’t have to show you the things they’re hinting at. It’s media by summary.
Anyway, what that means is that when I discovered Dave and Jeb Aren’t Mean, a podcast about two normal humans with normal frames of reference reviewing the movies of the Hallmark network, I was hooked.
Hallmark make movies that are not Christian Replacement Media, but are designed to form part of that space, the spackle of the entertainment media. You know, you don’t necessarily want to appeal only to those consumers, but if your work fits in their landscape, there’s a large market of the no-swears no-offensive-content as-few-black-people-as-possible media.
These stories are weird and unnatural, and this podcast makes them a hilarious part of the landscape that I heartily recommend you check it the heck out.