TV's 'American Gods': Blasphemy, Gay Muslims, and Illegal Immigrants

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Imagine a universe where the Christian God and pagan gods coexist as flawed entities. Then imagine the story revolves around immigration and the supposed terrors of gun culture.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Starz' American Gods

 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly's Mark Snatiker, Michael Green, a showrunner and producer of the series, explained the plot of one of the latest episodes, which, according to the writer, addressed the question, "What does it actually mean to be an American?"

 

The show itself is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name, and according to TV Guide, depicts the war between "the old gods of biblical and mythological roots and the new gods of the growing age of media and technology." Its diverse cast of characters include a Muslim who identifies as deeply religious despite his active attempts to practice homosexuality, a depiction of Jesus who, in Green's words, is seen as just as flawed and vulnerable as the rest of the characters, and a trigger-happy town, based on Birmingham, Alabama, that worships the owner of a gun factory, who is the Roman god Vulcan in disguise.

 

The creator then made a statement about how gods will meet their end in the show, and told Snatiker, "Gods can die. . . they are not immune to cessation. They can be rendered extinct." Whether or not Green was referring to the character of a god or reality is unclear. TV Guide hailed this series as something that has "potential to be the next prestige drama" and highlighted its poignant immigrant story. 

 

This tale unfolded in the specific episode addressed by Entertainment Weekly, where a group of Mexican immigrants illegally cross the Rio Grande, guided by Jesus, only to be shot down by border militia, whose guns are "inscribed with Bible verses." Is this considered prestige drama in the liberal Hollywood community? Or is this a new way of painting people who oppose illegal immigration as trigger-happy, murderous vigilantes killing innocent people? Regardless, both the show and its creators blithely avoid any mention of the issues that come with illegal immigrants, particularly drug cartels and other sources of crime.

 

Jezebel writer Charles Pulliam-Moore detailed the graphic sex scenes and nudity in the show as "purposeful and integral to the plot." That being said, for a show that is trying to be relevant about religion and politics, the sheer amount of nudity is astounding, breaking barriers that have never been broken in Hollywood before.

 

In addition, in the interview with Entertainment Weekly, Green described the character of Salim, the homosexual Muslim, as someone who has "the most boring religious attitude out of everyone because he is a practicing believer in one of the big religions." However, if the character is breaking one of the standard laws of Islam in his homosexual acts, then he is not a "practicing believer" of a "boring big religion." Ultimately, the show is not worth anyone's time and energy.