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Not since they sold the New York Yankees to George Steinbrenner has CBS hit such a home run while swinging blindfolded. “Jericho” is a cultural phenomenon that inspires the imagination and brings tears of joy in more than a few episodes. Almost single handedly, the writers and producers of “Jericho” have restored at least a small measure of confidence in what network TV actually could be – moral, intelligent, family-oriented and visionary.
What’s truly amazing is that CBS actually canceled “Jericho” – wanting instead to air more racy programs – only to bring it back after a massive viewer protest. That protest included the sending of 40,000 pounds of nuts to the corporate offices of the network. The word “nuts” had to do with a line of dialogue on the show quoting a World War II American general who replied with the word “Nuts!” to a Nazi general requesting that he and his troops surrender. Not since the original “Star Trek” have devoted fans been able to successfully raise such a ruckus with our cultural elites. CBS now plans to air “Jericho” as a mid-season replacement.
There can be no doubt that the filth on network TV has driven many of you into the media wilderness. Yet like the U.N. and Hollywood, network TV isn’t a monolithic block. As such, “Jericho” is a show that should be embraced by every thinking and spiritual American no matter what race, color, culture, politics or religion they may hold dear to their heart.
“Jericho” features an army of good-looking characters so flawed, yet so heroic, kind and decent that you can’t help but stand up and cheer for them. It’s “The Day After” meets “The Stand,” with the best elements from “The X-Files,””The Equalizer,” “M*A*S*H” and “The Sopranos” all thrown in for good measure.
“Jericho” is everything we secretly fear yet perhaps yearn for on a subconscious level. More to the point, the show offers the chance to start history again, free of the ball and chains of postmodern life like political correctness, treason, the betrayal of U.S. allies, globalism, coddling mainland China, gang culture, weakness and sloth.
For the remnant in “Jericho,” it means embracing a sense of community as the great themes of life and history are brought back from theme parks to their rightful place in reality.
“Jericho” features a plot that goes something like this: Nuclear war/terrorism has destroyed a plethora of cities in the U.S. At least two missiles have been launched in retaliation. America has now been broken up into six countries with (count them) six different leaders. There’s no Internet. No Paris Hilton. No professional wrestling. No NFL. No eBay. No more “Saturday Night Live.” The Northeast of the U.S. has become its own country. Salt has become a priceless commodity. The kids aren’t obese because there isn’t much food to go around in the wintertime.
It might be said that watching “Jericho” can help us to prepare spiritually for what could actually befall our great nation. (Let’s hope not.)
In the world of “Jericho,” Blackwater archetype mercenaries roam the land. (Remember post-Katrina?) Fake Marines abound, along with the social distemper of the survivors that have crawled out of the radioactive cities. Everyone is off the grid and on their own. What happens when you have to take care of not only your neighbor, but yourself?
Don’t worry though, “Jericho” is all very politically correct. After all, this still is CBS. There’s a psychosocial conditioning process that can’t help but be transparent. Yet despite this minor inconvenience, the story lines seem a page out of the local newspaper in real life.
For example, China, of all nations, drops in food aid after the nuclear fiasco with flyers reading “China is your friend. Do not fight (us).” In fact, the only TV news available to the residents of “Jericho” comes a satellite beaming information from mainland China. There is great concern about some of the food having been poisoned – strangely prophetic considering that particular episode was aired before the recent tainted-food scandal involving the PRC and U.S. consumers.
The terrorists are all explicitly shown again and again by the CIA and the FBI’s most elite units to be white “religious zealots.” The random criminals whom the heroes of the show must battle are also 99 percent white (Jonah, the fake Marines, the residents of the rival town of New Bern). The escaped convicts who shoot the police are all white. Why is this? Is it because the setting is in Kansas? Have the writers of the show lost their copy of the federal crime statistics? Are they trying to make whites feel bad about themselves? Is this just more of the same anti-white Christian bias that so permeates our culture? Who can say?
FEMA camps, the kind built by Halliburton, also play a prominent theme in the show.
“Jericho” itself is a small town in Kansas, aptly named named along the biblical storyline about the walls of a fortified city tumbling down. The people of Jericho are just like you and me. As Don Henley sang in “The End of the Innocence,” “But somewhere back there in the dust, that same old town in each of us.”
Of course, no mention of “Jericho” would be complete without my favorite character, “Robert Hawkins” (played adroitly by the talented Lennie James, who was born in South London and raised in various foster homes). He’s a black man with a nice family that includes his wife, Darcy, and two wonderful children, “Baby Girl” and “Sam.”
“There’s no such thing as a good man or a bad man,” Hawkins tells his daughter while standing in the middle of a cornfield. It is a microcosm of the spiritual battle awaiting the residents of Jericho, and perhaps the rest of us as well.
Hawkins’ love for his children, along with the love the mother of “Jake” shows for everyone in the town, are elements of the rarest of commodities … TV that inspires the viewer to become a better person.
Hawkins is a role model, not just for African-Americans, but for all decent Americans, period. His daughter honors her parents and even protects them. She is a role model not just for African-American teens, but for all teens. In fact, she is the only child in town who shows up for school when things go haywire.
Finding out the truth about the “real Hawkins” as a character on the show is almost as interesting as his own search for his true, moral self. It ranks among the best television this writer has ever witnessed.
It is Hawkins who ultimately makes the show work. And it is no surprise that his secret past comes to dwarf that of the town’s prodigal mercenary bad boy, “Jake” (played by Skeet Ulrich), nor the fact that the two of them become fast friends, fellow soldiers and saviors of the town.
If you want to find out who Hawkins really is, and why Jericho was chosen by the federal government as the most vital town in the entire United States to set up a post-apocalyptic rally point, well, you’ll have to watch it for yourself to find out.
As the words on Hawkins’ EMP-hardened laptop say, “See You Soon.” Perhaps you the reader will choose to become yet another fan of the show millions of Americans fought so hard to save, a show that is rapidly becoming a part of the American narrative in these uncertain times.
One can watch all of the episodes online at the show’s website.
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