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.
2006’s “Tuning Out the Unholy Hero” marks the second episode of the third and final incarnation of the Bibleman franchise: “Bibleman: Powersource.” Robert Schlipp stars in his third episode as Bibleman, after taking over the role from Willie Aames.
The antagonist for “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero” is a silver-coated, media-obsessed, and fame-powered man named “2kul 4skul,” played by Jeff Durham, who is clearly styled to be like a rap artist. He also has a quasi-henchmen named “Werner B,” which I assume must be a reference to Warner Brothers. A secondary villain pops up in a brief sequence (not unlike “The Cheater” in “Terminating the Toxic Tonic of Disrespect”) named “I. M. Wonderful,” who seems to be based around vanity. The concept reminded me a bit of “Madame Glitz,” a villain who popped up way back in the second episode of “The Bibleman Show,” called “Back to School.”
Biblegirl is once again absent in “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero,” leaving the bible team composed of the trio of Bibleman, Cypher, and the newcomer, Melody, who was introduced in the previous episode.
The story of “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero” focuses on the new celebrity “2kul 4skul,” who is using his new-found fame to corrupt children into being disrespectful and rebellious. Bibleman and his team take notice of this, and discover that he is using his media platform to essentially brainwash his audiences. Despite his possession of a magical remote control, Bibleman and company are able to expose 2kul as a villain, and foil his scheme to cause teenagers to behave rebelliously.
The villain’s power in “Tuning Out The Unholy Hero” is the use of a magical remote control that can manipulate reality. If that sounds familiar to you, it is because that is the plot of the 2006 Adam Sandler summer flick, “Click.” If I am not mistaken, this video would have been released right in the middle of the promotional campaign for that film, so I have trouble believing that this decision was entirely an accident. In any case, the humor in this episode derived from the device makes Sandler look like a comedic genius.
The portrayal of the villain 2kul 4skul is, at the very best, insensitive and misguided. The character, who is designed to speak and look like a rap star, is a stone’s throw from being in black face (the makeup color is silver/gray). Clearly, the writer of the episode had an axe to grind with the violent, brash, and ‘un-Christian’ content of some popular music, and wanted some kids with sideways baseball caps to get off his lawn pronto. It is beyond ludicrous, but it is hard to laugh at a depiction that is so obviously racially charged. Honestly, I’m surprised anything was able to top Wacky Protestor’s flamboyant Jewishness, but here we are: a silver-coated, old white guy brainwashing children with his rap music and rebellious attitude.
Speaking of 2kul 4skul, he stands out from the other villains in the series in another peculiar way: bible verses apparently cause him physical harm. Bibleman, of course, spots verse constantly in combat, but there has never been any indication that the verses themselves actually did anything in the past. In this episode, however, 2kul visibly and consistently flinches when confronted with bible verses, which is never explained in any detail. Is this meant to be specific to his character, or has Bibleman finally figured out a way to weaponize the bible?
This is another episode in the series that I had never seen previously, and it honestly isn’t a standout. The villain is the only reason to catch this one, because the portrayal is astoundingly out of touch and tone deaf, even for a Bibleman episode.