Tag Archives: television

BibleMan: Silencing The Gossip Queen

BibleMan: Silencing The Gossip Queen

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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.

“Silencing the Gossip Queen” is the final episode in the original series of Bibleman, called “The Bibleman Show.” As with the previous episode, “Six Lies of the Fibbler,” Willie Aames is credited as writer, producer, and co-director, as well as filling in the lead role as Bibleman.

The villain of the episode is the eponymous Gossip Queen, who looks like a traditional witch, and also has force lightning powers like Emperor Palpatine.  She apparently just generally hates friendship and good things, which is the extent of the motivation that is provided. She has henchmen by the names of Loose lips and Blabbermouth, which I guess fits with the dastardly theme of gossip. Once again, the villain somehow knows Bibleman’s secret identity without any explanation, and attacks directly at him before trying to go after the children. Also of note is that the Gossip Queen gets a musical number, which is the first time the villain has gotten to perform in the show.

gossipqueen3 “An ounce of gossip is worth a pound of trouble”

-Bibleman

The story of “Silencing the Gossip Queen” centers upon the same group of musical kids that appeared in the previous installments of “The Bibleman Show.” The time, a villain called The Gossip Queen conspires to break up their special friendship  through the use of planted rumors and hearsay. Once again, Bibleman has to help repair the damage and save the day from evil, but only after escaping his kidnapping by The Gossip Queen.

Once again, the villains die miserable, brutal deaths in “Silencing the Gossip Queen.” Bibleman evaporates both Loose Lips and Blabbermouth with deflected lightning blasts, and then melts the Gossip Queen with his laser sword, after which he looks directly into the camera and says:

“The bible warns against ladies like her”

Honestly, that part is pretty bad ass. However, there is something to be said for the fact that Bibleman seems to frequently leave his enemies as corpses. Most heroes that do that are well within the bounds of being anti-heroes, and the practice is pretty seriously frowned on as far as superhero decorum goes. I suppose you can chalk that up to his particularly brutal and conservative version of biblical morality.

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“Silencing the Gossip Queen” isn’t nearly as entertainingly awful as “Six Lives of the Fibbler,” but it is worlds better than the first two episodes in the series. Regardless, I’m thrilled to be done with “The Bibleman Show,” because I just can’t handle any more awful child-driven Christian musical numbers. I hadn’t seen any of these episodes previously, and now I think I know why they aren’t as popular as the later series, which strike me as being generally better polished in most regards. They are still awful, and I might eat my words on this, but they aren’t nearly as bad as “The Bibleman Show,” which is generally a dull, unfocused mess. As far as a recommendation goes, you could do worse than “Silencing the Gossip Queen,” but there are some more entertaining entries in the Bibleman franchise that are more worth your time.

BibleMan: Six Lies of the Fibbler

BibleMan: Six Lies of the Fibbler

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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.

“Six Lies of the Fibbler” is the third episode of the original Bibleman series, “The Bibleman Show.” Willie Aames wrote, produced, and co-directed “Six Lies of the Fibbler,” while also portraying the lead character of Bibleman. Chris Fann again co-directs, but Milt Schaffer and C. Scott Votaw are notably absent from the credits, and Tony Salerno is relegated to solely receiving creation credit for the episode. There is definitely a quality difference between the first two episodes and “Fibbler” that makes me wonder if there was some change in personnel and direction behind the scenes, which might explain a lot.

“Six Lies of the Fibbler” is once again a musical, as all of the original “The Bibleman Show” episodes appear to be. The introductory song is something like “Bible Vision,” which sounds like a useless power that Bibleman might actually have. The music certainly hasn’t gotten any better from the first two episodes, and the increase in necessary dramatic acting on the children’s parts results in a product that is hilariously awful, more so than the first two entries in the series.

The villain of “Six Lies of the Fibbler” is, of course, The Fibbler: a damn creepy orange clown who hypnotizes children into lying through the use of some sort of magic dust. The Fibbler is definitely the most ridiculous and over the top villain on the show thus far, and is genuinely a bit unsettling, particularly thanks to the makeup work (which is reminiscent of The Joker). I will note that for the first time in the series, the villain actually interacts with the kids, rather than just going after Bibleman. This does liven things up a little bit, and gives the villain character some badly needed additional screen time in comparison to the first two episodes.

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“Six Lies of the Fibbler” introduces a lot of elements that pop up a bunch later on in the series, including Bibleman’s laser sword, the recitation of bible verses while fighting, and a bible lair, which becomes a key set and base of operations later on.

The story of “Six Lies of the Fibbler” once again follows the same children’s musical group from “Big Big Book” and “Back to School,” but this time there is unrest within their ranks. Their youngest member is influenced by a villain named The Fibbler into compulsively lying to her friends, which drives a wedge into the musical group. Bibleman eventually figures out what is going on, and helps bring the group back together.

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One of my big issues with the plot of “Six Lies of the Fibbler” is that the kid was drugged into lying, but it still forced to apologize for her actions while under the effects of The Fibbler’s drugs. The other kids forgive her, but was it ever really her fault? She was a victim, and forced into lying to the group. It is also notable that Bibleman knows that this is the case, but never tells the girl that she was being manipulated by a villain with mysterious chemicals. Way to go, Bibleman.

Speaking of the villain, The Fibbler straight up explodes after his fight with Bibleman, starting a trend of brutal villain deaths that continues throughout the series. Bibleman doesn’t directly kill him, but something tells me that he doesn’t have a non-lethal code of ethics. I’ve read enough of the bible to know that.

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“Six Lies of the Fibbler” just sort of ends right in the middle of a musical number, like they were caught off-guard in the editing process by how long it ultimately ran. I had a brief flashback to the botched conclusion of “Dracula 3000,” which might actually be better than any given episode of “Bibleman.”

“Six Lies of the Fibbler” is actually an episode of “Bibleman” that I would recommend. The villain is ridiculous, the story doesn’t make sense, the acting is awful, and the series is still young enough that all of the costumes and props are incredibly cheap. Even the musical numbers are arguably baffling enough to justify sitting through, though that is definitely up for debate. If you are looking for an introduction to the world of Bibleman, “Six Lies of the Fibbler” is a good place to start.

BibleMan: Back to School

BibleMan: Back to School

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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.

“Back to School” marks the second episode of the original Bibleman video series, “The Bibleman Show.” Willie Aames is once again the title role of Bibleman, and also shares directing and writing credit for the episode. The rest of the team is pretty much the same from “Big Big Book”: C. Scott Votaw, Milt Schaffer, and creator Tony Salerno also have writing credits, with Votaw and and Chris Fann taking co-directing roles alongside Aames.

In the first episode of “The Bibleman Show,” “Big Big Book,” I understood the amount of singing involved. I mean, it was centered around a church musical. However, this episode also starts off with singing, but without the inherent, semi-reasonable justification. It is eventually explained that the same group of kids is going to be performing a similar musical at a local school (thus “Back to School”), but that bit of exposition has to be awkwardly forced into a scene in the form of a fake telephone call.

I can’t describe just how much my heart sank when it dawned on me that all of these original BibleMan episodes were going to be musicals. The fact that the kids in this episode aren’t even in an obvious venue to be singing makes it all seem much worse to me. To add to my frustrations with the whole situation, one of the songs, which takes place entirely in an RV, is specifically about a fictitious train:

Let’s take a trip through the creation
Head on down to the revelation
The train is waiting at the gospel station
so get on board the bible train

Could they not have come up with a song about a “Bible Bus?” That would at least be a closer comparison than a damn train. There is also alliteration to that phrase, which is perfect for this kind of lazy product. Why am I doing their job for them?

The primary villain in “Back to School” is Madame Glitz: a vaguely sinister, vain, and fame-obsessed woman who inexplicably knows Bibleman’s secret identity. She operates with the help of a henchman named ‘Mr. Thug,’ which is pretty much all you need to know about him. Her primary motivation seems to be envy over Bibleman’s popularity, so she plans to kidnap him to turn his fans against him. If that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you, you aren’t alone on that.

“I love it when famous guys don’t show up! Then you can boo and hiss and stuff.”

-actual dialogue from “Back to School”

The story of “Back to School” once again focuses on a children’s musical performance, this time taking place at their local school (which I hope isn’t a public one, because that sounds like a separation of church and state violation to me). Bibleman is scheduled to appear alongside them, as he did in “Big Big Book,” but is kidnapped by Madame Glitz just before the show begins. Bibleman eventually prays his way out of his binds, terrifyingly imprisons Glitz in a television, and shows up in time for a grand finale with the kids.

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After watching “Back to School,” I think I understand why the direction for Bibleman was changed so quickly. It is really just more of the same of what was offered in “Big Big Book,” and there are only so many ways to replicate the same boring story over and over again. The villain is once again the highlight, and she is unfortunately hardly in the episode at all. The largest chunk of it is once again dedicated to the godawful children’s musical numbers, which were really testing my patience with this one. Also, somehow the dialogue seems to have gotten worse for this episode. My favorite exchange by far is right after the musical has completed, when two kids in the audience enthusiastically say to each other:

Kid 1: Wow! That was excellent!

Kid 2: Yeah! Seriously, comic books are tame compared to this stuff. I think I’m going to go out and get me a bible!

Kid 1: Cool idea! Me too!

It is like the producers’ fantasy-land version of America’s youth. Shame it didn’t work out that way for them, isn’t it?

I don’t recommend watching this episode, but it is available in its entirely on YouTube if you are just deathly curious. If you can’t resist, I implore you to at least skim through the songs, because you aren’t going to be missing anything with them. The only exception is, of course, “The Bible Train,” which managed to inexplicably fill me with hate and darkness.

BibleMan: Big Big Book

BibleMan: Big Big Book

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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.

In 1995, the first ever installment of the Bibleman franchise came to be. “Big Big Book” kicked off the short lived initial incarnation of the series, called “The Bibleman Show,” and launched an evangelical quasi-phenomenon.

Willie Aames, who is best known for television shows like “Charles in Charge” and “Eight is Enough,” co-wrote, co-directed, and stars here as Bibleman, and is the person most publicly recognized as being associated with the show.

The character’s creation is credited to Tony Salerno, who also has writing and producing credits on this initial episode. The other two writers on the episode were Milt Schaffer and C. Scott Votaw, the latter of which worked in a variety of capacities on b-movies like “2001 Maniacs,” “Bikini Drive-In,” and Jim Wynorski’s “Dinosaur Island.”

The initial Bibleman costume used in “The Bibleman Show” episodes is pretty laughable, and was clearly constructed on a minimal budget. Compared to the shiny, chrome/plastic uniform that would show up in later episodes, it is amazing to see how far the show and the character came over the course of its run.

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“Big Big Book” doesn’t feature any sidekicks for Bibleman, who I assume start showing up in the later series. The villain is a pretty generic evil scientist with green skin, named Dr. Decepto, which is certainly a pattern for Bibleman villains as the show goes on. He isn’t quite as elaborate or offensive as many of the later antagonist, but the performance is plenty hammy enough to be entertaining.  He also has a great high-pitched evil laugh, which is always a plus.

The story of “Big Big Book” follows a group of children who are working on a bible-themed musical for their church. The planning isn’t going well, and a number of the kids want to quit, in order to not be embarrassed by a sub-par result. Bibleman shows up at a rehearsal, and tells the kids a story about a previous exploit where he prayed his way out of a hairy situation with Dr. Decepto. The story gives them the confidence to go forward with the show, which theoretically goes off without a hitch. Except, of course, for the fact that it sounds awful, but no one seems to care all that much. They are just happy that they went through with it.

“God’s probably sitting up there thinking: ‘Nice lame-o show, kids.'”

The content of the musical is of course ridiculous, and takes a handful of potshots at science education and evolution. It is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a Bibleman musical, honestly. Some of the kids straight-up cannot sing, which makes parts of it nearly unwatchable. The whole thing is kind of like a worse version of “Kidz Bop” for fake Christian music, if you can imagine such a thing. The musical section also takes up a huge chunk of the episode, which unfortunately (?) doesn’t have a lot of Bibleman in it.

The one fight sequence in “Big Big Book” is a blurry mess, and is almost as hard to watch as the musical. Bibleman notably doesn’t have the laser sword of the later episodes, instead using a traditional sword and shield.

If there is anything positive to say about “Big Big Book,” it is that it actually has some charm to it compared to the later episodes of the seriess, which attempt to be comedic and self-aware. It is still completely awful and beyond cheesy, cut it is at least an honestly made mess.

The theme song is also much different than what I am accustomed to hearing with the later episodes, which drift into a sort of pseudo-rock style. This initial theme song is pretty generic and forgettable, but certainly contributes to the heavy 1990s style of the episode.

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Speaking of which, the 1990s bleeds out of every pore of this video. The fashion, the hair, the music, the colors: all of it makes for an astounding flashback. The nostalgia factor of it all is actually pretty amusing, and might make the whole thing worth sitting through for some folks.

As you would expect, “Big Big Book” features awful acting from all involved,  and horrendous writing to boot.  However, the added ‘benefit’ of the musical is what makes this episode stand out from the pack that I had previously seen. Lots of Bibleman episodes feature a song, but this episode being centered around a children’s church musical makes it so much worse than any of the music offered with other episodes. It is nearly unbearable.

Brad Jones, better known as The Cinema Snob, took a look at this episode on his show “DVD-R Hell.” If you don’t want to stomach actually watching this, his overview hits the key points and highlights with his typical sardonic wit.

This is the first of the initial run of “The Bibleman Show” episodes that I have sat through, and I’m mostly just hoping (praying?) that the rest of these early episodes don’t feature as much cringe-inducing singing.

BibleMan Marathon (and Requests!)

June 10-17 is Secular Students Week, a week dedicated to the stories and work of the awesome students served by the Secular Student Alliance. The week also marks a big fundraiser for the organization (which I proudly support and work for), with a $20,000 challenge on the line if we can bring in 500 donations (of any size) over the course of the week.

ssalogoTo do my part, I’m going to be resurrecting my (God)Awful Movies segment with a bang: by covering the entire infamous video series of “BibleMan” over the course of the week. Also, I’m pledging to honor any coverage requests for people who donate to the Secular Student Alliance (through my fundraising page) over the course of the week. If you want me to cover your favorite movie, a movie you made, a training video you found on YouTube, a cat video, a movie you think I will hate/love, a horror film about killer rabbits, whatever: I’ll honor whatever you point me to. That doesn’t mean I’ll like it, but I will certainly watch and write about it. Caveat emptor, as they say.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with BibleMan, here is the rundown: it was a long-running home video series that starred an evangelical superhero in a garish armored outfit. Each story followed a vague biblical lesson, and often featured musical numbers, awful special effects, inane plots, and over the top villains. It has achieved a bit of cult status, and has been referenced and parodied in shows like “The Venture Bros.” and films like “Super.”

“BibleMan” initially starred Willie Ames of “Charles in Charge,” who was eventually replaced in the later installments. It managed to spawn a number of touring live performances, a video game, and some licensed merchandise that is still floating around out there somewhere.

One of the things that I enjoyed during my time as a secular student at the University of Alabama was the occasional ironic viewing of “BibleMan.”  A lot of people I knew grew up with the costumed crusader, who is a common presence in children’s programming in evangelical churches (which, as you might imagine, are numerous in the area). For many, college is the first time that they could look back and laugh a bit at some aspects of their religious upbringings, and BibleMan always made for a prime therapeutic target.

Of course, it isn’t all funny. Some of the lessons and content in “BibleMan” teach (explicitly or implicitly) xenophobic, anti-semitic, and anti-scientific rhetoric. I have made it a personal policy to buy any copies I find at buy/sell/trade stores (which doesn’t profit the BibleMan folks), in order to do my part to keep them out of the hands of kids.

In any case, the Secular Student Alliance helps build and sustain communities for young atheists, agnostics, humanists, etc. on college and high school campuses across the United States, much like the one that I was in at the University of Alabama. We also, as an organization, strongly support interfaith and progressive cooperation on campuses (LGBT orgs, Feminist groups, etc). If atheism isn’t your bag, that’s all cool by me! We aren’t out to destroy churches or shame the religious: we’re trying to be constructive, by building communities where they didn’t exist previously. I think many religious folks take for granted the advantages and benefits of having a natural community around their faith: it gives them a social network, a meeting spot, and a pool of people you can potentially lean on in times of need. That is the sort of thing we are building for the not-so-religious across the country, in cooperation with organizations like Openly Secular.

Regardless, enjoy the ride through BibleMan over the next week! If you can spare it, toss a couple of bucks to the Secular Student Alliance: it’ll help us (and more importantly, our students) out a ton. If you do, I’ll cover a movie of your choice. Again, here is my campaign page for donations. Just shoot me an email at mail@misantropey.com, and I’ll be sure to do your bad movie bidding.