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The Bible and Pop Culture

Which long-running animated series features a character named Reverend Lovejoy?

The Simpsons (1989–present). Middle-class America with all its cultural trappings is satirized via the lives of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and the other citizens of Springfield. References to the Bible are frequent occurrences throughout the long-running series. On April 4, 1999, the episode “Simpsons Bible Stories” focused entirely on the Bible. Reverend Lovejoy, encouraged by the fervent Ned Flanders, delivered a very long sermon one muggy Sunday. During the sermon, the Simpson family napped. Each family member dreamed of a scene from the Bible, adapted and parodied Simpson-style. Marge dreamed that she and Homer were Adam and Eve during the “Applegate” scandal. The Simpsons is the longest-running comedy television show in history. It has widespread secular appeal.

The Simpsons is not the only long-running television series to contain biblically based content. The late-night TV show, Saturday Night Live! (1975–present) has made a nearly forty-year career of spoofing every aspect of American life. A recurring trope on the series is the use of fake television commercials. One such fake commercial was for the “Myowling Bible” which aired in May 1987. According to the smarmy salesman played by actor Phil Hartman, the Myowling Bible was ideal for sharing with your cat. He promised, “Told with moving reverence but told in language even your cat can understand, the Myowling Bible will enrich your life—or nine lives, as the case may be.” The camera switched back and forth from Hartman to a cozy domestic scene where an elderly lady sat reading with her cat. The watercolor illustrations featured human figures with cat heads.


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