Morality, Money and “Two and a Half Men”

First of all, when does the kid on “Two and a Half Men” stop being counted as half of a person? I mean, the kid is nineteen years old and he appears to be as tall as I am. Who knows? Maybe John Cryer is actually the half now.

Anyhoo…

The interwebs are all abuzz with the release of a video by child-star-turned-born-again-Christian Angus T. Jones for trashing “Two and a Half Men,” the very show on which he stars. “I’m on Two and a Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it,” he says, after warning people to stop watching the show. “Please stop watching it,” he continues. “Please stop filling your head with filth.”

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He continues in a longer version of the video to explain how he has come to a new way of thinking, following his experiences in “black Gospel” church.

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Apparently, one of the pastors of the Seventh Day Adventist Church visited Jones in his home to engage him in a personal Bible study, during which the pastor taught him about the Biblical case for hell. To which Jones responded: “Wow, this is awesome!”

Not the word I might choose, but okay…

All of this is well and good. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion about his show. and as far as his assessment of “Two and a Half Men” being filth, I’d argue he’s not far off. Yes, the jokes tend to be very low-brow, lascivious and cater to the so-called lowest common denominator, but just because it’s crap doesn’t necessarily qualify it as filth in my mind. There’s a distinct difference, though I prefer not to watch either crap or filth, thanks.

I do also have some compassion for Jones who was thrust onto an international stage through this insanely popular sitcom at the depressingly young age of ten; hardly old enough to know any better than to get a handle on the content of the show he’d be starring in. For that, his parents should be held accountable.

But here’s the problem I have with the whole story. Only one day after the video surfaced online – promptly picked up by numerous bloggers and news outlets – he recanted the entire thing, saying, “Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked and over the past ten years who have become an extension of my family.”

Absent from his statement was the fact that he is presently under contract through the end of the current season, for which he gets paid $300,000 per episode. We’ve seen this kind of thing before. “Growing Pains” Kirk Cameron walked away from Hollywood because of his Christian beliefs, giving up what otherwise might have been a lucrative career on the large and small screens for a fruitful – if not exactly lucrative – career as a media mouthpiece for his apocalyptic religious ilk.

Yes, I think Cameron may be two steps left of sane, but at least he sticks with his beliefs, crazy as they may be. For Jones, now a legal adult, to throw his show under the bus, and then to come out 24 hours later and take it all back, does far more harm than good for the faith he claims to embrace.

Looking for examples of hypocrisy to support your bias that Christians are disingenuous opportunists? Look no further; you’ve found your new poster boy.

It’s more than a little stunning to me that such a poorly written show has even survived following the meltdown and departure of its main star, Charlie Sheen. I like to think I tend to be culturally in tune, but in this case, I just don’t get it. But quality aside, Angus Jones has to come to terms with the fact that he has a powerful public platform at his disposal. If he decides to trash the show he’s been on for a decade and walk away, fine. If he opts to stay and complete the terms of his $13 million contract, great. But don’t try to claim moral high ground while cashing six-figure checks every week from the same network you claim to be purveying filth.

Hollywood can absorb such scandal and volatility as if it were fueled by it. Christianity, on the other hand, is supposed to be about something a little bit more authentic. Next, time, do what you believe is right, one way or the other, but for God’s sake and ours, keep your opinions about it to yourself until you’ve taken a firm stand.

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.howard.33 Benjamin Howard

    Christian, I think you have to give him a little leeway since he is just a convert. I know there a lot of things I said in the heat of passion and emotion that I thought were great ideas until I took a second look.

    This isn’t a mature Christian going back on his convictions, it’s a new convert who is (very possibly) being exploited by someone for exposure and pageviews (whoever filmed the YouTube video). I definitely feel like there is something off about it, but give him a break.

    He’s a young guy who shot his mouth off and thought better about it in the light of morning.

  • Carolyn M

    Folks, this is Hollywood…. like it or not, they go for the ratings! I think Christian that you are jumping on a train that hasn’t even left the station yet. Give this one time, it will all pan out….

  • hamoncan

    For his sake and yours, ease up he’s just a kid sorting things out. The fact that there is a frenzied entertainment media willing to run a story every time anyone even moderately well know burps isn’t really his fault. I could create scandals with what I do daily all on my own if anyone cared to hear about it.

  • Randy

    “during which the pastor taught him about the Biblical case for hell. To which Jones responded: “Wow, this is awesome!”

    Not the word I might choose, but okay…”

    What he’s referring to here is that the Seventh-Day Adventists’ position on hell is that it does not exist and there is no place of eternal, conscious torment. The unrepentant are annihilated and ultimately cease to exist. I am not a Seventh-Day Adventist but I agree that this is what the Bible teaches. It seems to be much more loving and merciful than to torture someone for eternity. Wouldn’t you agree?


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