Am I the last person in the world to be turned onto the greatness that is (was) Moral Orel? Wow. My friend Randy (he of the fantastic bike-buying advice) turned me onto it, and I am everlastingly grateful.
That such a show was on TV at all, even Adult Swim, which I understand is some sort of late night part of the Cartoon Network, is pretty mind-blowing. Its brilliance is it’s simple-mindedness: it is ostensibly the story of a sweet-cheeked kid, Orel, trying to be a good Protestant. The dark corners of society this takes him to and the hilariously insane (yet logical!) lengths he goes to live up to the letter of the Christian law perfectly exemplify the ludicrousness that is Christianity.
Its takedown of religion is so adorably vicious that at times I felt guilty for good Christians watching the show—I know a few sweet Christians, and I know they feel that their religion helps them be a better person. I find this idea saddening and incredibly weak-minded, but at the same time I’m all for people doing whatever they can to become the highest version of themselves they can be. Do those people see Moral Orel as harmless entertainment poking fun at beliefs incredibly close to their hearts? I don’t see how they could. Does this make me love the show even more? Yes, of course. (For the record, in this Onion interview, one of the writers says that “the show is not against religion: It’s against mistreating religion or using it for your own ends and convenience and bending the lessons of religion to suit what you already believe.”)
If you are free from thinking about Christians in your life, which is a wonderful thing of which to be free (might as well be grammatically correct if we’re getting on a giant moral high horse here anyway, right? But can that bizarro grammar possibly be correct??), you are free to joyfully enter the deep dark satire of Moral Orel, which is incredibly fucked up in the best possible ways. In post-Bush America, it’s a little harder to shiver at the accuracy of the society we could easily become if the religious right gets their way, but Moral Orel certainly provides a bone-chilling vision of what that society would look like. (For one thing, we would be stop-motion animation characters.)