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[CHRISTIANITY] Jim Bakker's Son & "One Punk Under God" TV Program

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  • madchinaman
    Jim Bakker s son leads One Punk Under God The show follows the son of a fallen televangelist duo as he goes on his own movement. By Paul Brownfield, Times
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13, 2006
      Jim Bakker's son leads 'One Punk Under God'
      The show follows the son of a fallen televangelist duo as he goes on
      his own movement.
      By Paul Brownfield, Times Staff Writer

      The god in "One Punk Under God," an arty docu-reality series debuting
      tonight on Sundance, is either God the Father or Jim Bakker, the

      The lowercase dad proves harder to reach; you have to go through his
      assistant, Armando. The punk is Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy
      Faye, having turned 30 and, as the show opens, living in Atlanta,
      where he walks among a coffeehouse niche of the tattooed and pierced,
      trying to get his own liberal-humanist ministry, called Revolution,
      off the ground.

      Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the producers of "One Punk Under
      God," are something like official biographers of this indelible clan;
      they have an inherent understanding of our fascination with the
      Bakkers' status as the First Family of Disgraced Televangelism.

      Their highly entertaining 2000 film "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" caught
      up with Tammy Faye Bakker Messner in a gated community in Palm
      Springs as she waited for another husband to be released from prison
      and pruned her perma-lashes. The film, narrated beautifully by
      RuPaul, was like a cinéaste's cheeky take on an "E! True Hollywood
      Story": Puppets provided meta-commentary and the real Tammy Faye
      emerged as still wacky but also touching and sympathetic — part
      tragic icon, part Liza.

      The tone of "One Punk Under God" is considerably different, because
      it's bathed in Jay's post-rebellion slacker ennui and has the
      soundtrack to go with it.

      The son, with his postmodern dream of marrying a punk aesthetic to a
      Christian ministry, is somewhere between sympathetic and entitled — a
      Southern, Bible-thumping version of a Tori Spelling.

      The child of show business parents, Jay seems to have inherited Tammy
      Faye's sweetness and Jim's jaw line, but neither parent's gift for
      shameless exhibitionism.

      It's a blessing, you think, even if Jay can't quite get his head
      around it. Beneath the look — a tapestry of tattoos on each arm, a
      hoop in his lower lip, a Castro-as-young-revolutionary thing going
      with the horn-rimmed glasses and hat — is a recovering wastrel,
      abashed and open-hearted, the self-absorbed part of him kept in check
      by his patient wife, Amanda, and Stu, a surrogate dad who runs the
      Spray Glo Auto Body shop.

      The series is partly about Jay's efforts to keep Revolution afloat,
      and partly an excuse for Bailey and Barbato to go catch up with the
      people who continue to fascinate them — I'll cop to it too — Jim and
      Tammy Faye.

      Jim Bakker is in a part of America that will have him — the dinner-
      theater country of Branson, Mo., where he co-hosts "The Jim Bakker
      Show" with wife Lori.

      Tammy Faye's in North Carolina, reduced from her former essence by
      cancer. Jay and Tammy's scenes together come off as sad and awkward.

      But at least Tammy's available; Jay can get to his father only by
      booking himself on his TV show. The comic ruination of Jim Bakker had
      its zenith in Heritage U.S.A., the PTL theme park. It's a wasteland
      in transition now, symbolizing cartoon corruption, although Jay,
      bounding around the property, seems not so much bitter as wistful.

      "My 11th birthday was somewhere over here," he says, pointing in the
      direction of some trees.

      "One Punk Under God" has this somewhat poignant, mournful tone, and
      for this it's worth watching. If Revolution seems fated never to
      graduate beyond a kind of audiovisual club, it's as much a result of
      Jay's failings as an outsized salesman-preacher as his acceptance of
      the gay and transgender communities.

      From the pulpit of the cabaret club in Atlanta that doubles as his
      church, his sermons come off as stumbling and real. And here is the
      show's weirdly affecting hope: Jay Bakker's failings as a chip off
      the old block also make him a human being.

      One Punk Under God
      Where: Sundance Channel
      When: 9 tonight.
      Rating: TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children).
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