Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.
“A Light In The Darkness” was originally released in January of 2003, and was the tenth entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which was the second incarnation of the show after the short-lived “The Bibleman Show.”
“A Light in the Darkness” was written and directed by former sitcom star Willie Aames, who once again takes top billing as the central hero of Bibleman.
The central villain of “A Light in the Darkness” is again played by Jef Scott (who was previously Primordious Drool in “Jesus Our Savior”), but this time under the moniker of “The Wacky Protestor,” who can best be summed up as an evil Jewish scientist atheist clown. Oddly, he doesn’t really have any qualities of a protestor, not does he particularly do any protesting of anything. The evil computer, “L.U.C.I.,” also pops up once again as his support.
Bibleman’s allies in “A Light in the Darkness” are his trusty sidekick, Cypher, his supercomputer, U.N.I.C.E. (who receives an upgrade in this episode), and Biblegirl, who was actually a bit of mystery for me here. At first I thought that she had been re-cast again, because the credit on the episode is “Introducing Heather McSmith,” whereas she has previously been credited as Heather Hazelwood. ‘Hazelwood’ is also listed on the DVD credit, and after some research, it appears that the same actress has used both names. However, that doesn’t really explain why they continued using the ‘introducing’ credit after her first episode. Bibleman’s first sidekick, Coats, briefly appears at the beginning of the episode as a robot assassin sent into Bibleman’s headquarters.
The story of “Light in the Darkness” kicks off with a robotic version of Coats, Bibleman’s former sidekick, attacking Bibleman in his home. The assault damages U.N.I.C.E., prompting a repair and dramatic upgrade. The bible team, rightly assuming that the robot attack was planned by The Wacky Protestor, prepare for a battle. Meanwhile, the Protestor develops some sort of atheism gas that makes people depressed, with the intention of using it to prevent people from going to church. He ultimately decides to use it on Biblegirl, which causes problems for Bibleman’s team.
“A Light in the Darkness” stoops to one of the lowest stereotypes about people who lose their faith or leave religion: that the only reason they do so is because they are depressed, and that mentally healthy people would never leave their church of their own will. That’s pretty shitty, to say the least. Even more shitty is insinuating that depression is the result of evil, vaguely Jewish, clown-like forces acting on people, rather than noting the fact that it is a treatable chemical imbalance that people of any religious tradition deal with every day. At no point does anyone say to the depressed folks, “Hey, you aren’t alone in dealing with this, you can see a doctor for help! Maybe they can identify this weird fog on your face?” Instead, they are just sort of pushed to be more involved with their fellowship, and told to pray more. After all, sadness is apparently the result of evil demon clowns with bad teeth, so prayer should clear that right up!
“A Light in the Darkness” also features one of the worst child actors / characters who has been on the show since its initial incarnation. The character is essentially the protestor’s boos, and is likewise a perplexing mix of stereotypes: he speaks like a bad impersonation of an Italian mobster, dresses like a dork, and wears what looks like a biker hat. It doesn’t make even the slightest bit of sense, and the child who plays him is infuriatingly obnoxious.
“A Light in the Darkness” doesn’t feature any gratuitous deaths outside of Robot Coates, but to be fair, that one is pretty great. Overall, this is a pretty entertaining episode, but isn’t quite in the top tier of my list. As always, the comedy is bad, but the presence of Jef Scott doing his over-the-top schtick gives it a leg up on most of the other episodes. I think this episode also marks the first appearance of the unexplained guy in a white monkey suit, who lives in a cage in Wacky Protestor’s hideout. That certainly counts for something.