10 Mormon TV moments the good, bad and stereotyped
Forget the so-called "Mormon moment" of Mitt Romney's failed presidential bid. There have been lots of Mormon moments in scripted TV through the years some good, some not so good.
Here are 10 that stand out:
"The Single Guy"
September 1995 • In the pilot of this series about a single guy surrounded by his married friends, Jonathan (Jonathan Silverman) says, "You married people have this bizarre need to turn everyone else into married people. You're like vampires or Mormons."
January 1998 • Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) is fed up with the dirty dealings of his agent, Bebe (Harriet Sansom Harris), and replaces her with Ben (Robert Stanton), a Utah-bred Mormon who is as good a guy as there is. Heck, he even shows up in his Boy Scout uniform at one point. "Well, when there's a dirty job to be done, you can't go wrong with a Mormon," Bebe says sarcastically.
This animated staple has featured multiple Mormon references, including 1. Homer answers the doorbell and finds aliens Kang and Kodos on his front steps. "Oh, great, Mormons!" Homer says, rolling his eyes. (October 1998) 2. When Homer drunkenly marries a woman he met in Las Vegas, a judge tells him, "Mr. Simpson, under Nevada law, bigamy, or Mormon hold 'em, is perfectly legal." (January 1999) 3. In court, Homer's lawyer tells him, "You, sir, are a moron!" Homer replies, "A Mormon? But I'm from Earth!" (March 2004) 4. In the voting booth, Homer says, "Mitt Romney, I hear he wears magic underpants. I expect the leader of the free world to go commando." (September 2012) 5. Bart and Lisa are taken to a secret room, where they're dressed in black suits, white shirts and ties and told, "Welcome to the Mormon church, America's most respectable cult." (January 2013)
"The Drew Carey Show"
May 2000 • At softball practice, Mimi (Kathy Kinney) says, "I protect home plate like a Mormon girl on prom night." Drew replies, "If Mormon girls looked like you, they wouldn't need protection."
October 2001 • Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) is about to go on a date and doesn't want the guy to know she's pregnant. "Hey, what do you think is the better excuse for why I'm not drinking on this date tonight? Um, I'm a recovering alcoholic. I'm a Mormon. Or I got so hammered last night, I'm still a little drunk."
November 2003 • From the creators of the Tony-winning "Book of Mormon" blockbuster musical, this series is loaded with LDS references
Joseph Smith joined Jesus, Moses and Buddha as "The Super Friends" in one episode, but the "All About Mormons" episode was just that. A Mormon family moved to town and befriended Stan. The history of the LDS Church was retold (more or less accurately) in flashbacks, while characters sang "Dum dum dum dum dum." The episode ends with the Mormon boy confronting the boys about their anti-Mormon bigotry.
"Emily's Reasons Why Not"
January 2006 • In the one-and-only episode of this quickly canceled sitcom, Emily (Heather Graham) falls for an incredibly hot guy (Victor Webster) who refuses to sleep with her. She thinks he's gay; he turns out to be Mormon. And he didn't violate his principles by having sex with her.
March 2006-March 2011 • Yes, this series was about polygamists who were not members of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the show was loaded with Mormon characters in-laws, friends, neighbors, associates. Some, like Heather Tuttle (Tina Majorino), are absolutely lovely people. Others like Carl Martin (Carlos Jacott), who guns down Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) in the series finale are not.
October-November 2007 • One of the candidates to join the ever-obnoxious Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) on his team is a young, African-American, Brigham Young University-educated, single father by the name of Dr. Jeffrey Cole (Edi Gathegi) or, as House calls him, "Big Love." (Neither House nor the show's writers could distinguish between Mormons and polygamists.) In one episode, House talks Cole into drinking alcohol for alleged medical reasons, and then mocks him for it. In another, House mocks LDS Church founder Joseph Smith so severely Cole punches him.
October 2008 • Lawyers Denny Crane (William Shatner) and Alan Shore (James Spader) go to a Utah dude ranch, where all the Mormons are hillbillies/idiots. Crane is charged with fornication under old, unenforced Utah statutes, which writer/producer David E. Kelley uses as a club to beat up Utahns and Mormons on the issue of polygamy.
LDS women are scheduled, as of now, to offer invocations or benedictions at the faith's General Conference this coming weekend an apparent first in 183 years of Mormon history.
Join us live online at sltrib.com at 12:30 p.m. April 8 for a Trib Talk video chat about this and other news out of the semiannual gathering of LDS faithful. The Salt Lake Tribune's Jennifer Napier-Pearce will lead the discussion in which religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack, a representative of Let Women Pray in General Conference and others will participate. The group will take questions during the chat, which will last about 45 minutes.