Rev works a sitcom miracle

03/08/10 | Posted by Simon Jenkins

Some of the best moments of watching BBC Two's Rev the past few weeks have been the kitchen sink prayers, where we’ve eavesdropped on Rev Adam Smallbone’s calm, interior conversation with God. Walking down the high street, washing the dishes, sitting on the loo, Adam asks God for a bigger congregation, for more energy in bed with his wife Alex, for protection for Colin who’s in danger of getting a kicking, for strength to visit a lap-dancing club he’s opposing, and a hundred other everyday concerns.

tom hollander as rev adam smallbone
 Rev Adam Smallbone (played by Tom Hollander) has a crisis of faith

But in last night’s series finale, Adam questions his whole vocation as a priest and falls into a dark crisis of faith. Lying flat out on the front pew of the empty church, his prayers become an interrogation of God: ‘Why is the graveyard strewn with litter? Why do Nazis always live till they’re 96? Why are there no more bumble bees? Why do African women get raped every day by boy soldiers going to get water for their starving village?’

And so Rev hurtles off course, out of the traditional territory of the sitcom, leaving behind the sunny uplands of Dibley, and dives into an ugly scene where his wife marches him, drunk and disorderly, out of a vicars and tarts party, and they both angrily tell each other to go forth and multiply. There wasn’t a laugh in sight in the stunning final 10 minutes of the show, and yet it more than held together to give what I think was the best piece of religious television I’ve seen in years.

Adam regains his vocation not in an easy comic plot shift, but in a tough moment under pressure from an unsympathetic policeman. Unexpectedly, he recalls the words of Isaiah chapter 6 – ‘Here I am, send me’ – which were read at his ordination, and then prays at the bedside of a dying woman; scenes which provided an inspiring and spine-tingling sequence of television, for me at least. That Rev dared to attempt this sitcom miracle, and that it worked, shows how far the show has carried its growing audience, and how it has made us care for and believe in Adam and his flawed and faithful calling.

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Dear My reverend Adam,
Any way while reading proverbs I come to know smocking and drinking must be avoided by our Xians.“It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is amde weak.” Rom.14:21 while looking the photo you are holding the bottle is not good. It is my personal request. Pastor I would like to bring some few words here. I am not belong to any church But I am doing my ministry with the slum children and students. As they are the incoming generation we should bring them very close to our lord
with in ten years India must be a Christian Country. It is my willingness and desire.
Expecting reply.

In His Service,
Rev.N.M.LALL

#1. By Rev.N.M.LALL on August 03, 2010

Yes, the prayers have been one of the highlights, particularly Monday night’s. How can anyone make a prayer such as “Why do African women get raped every day by boy soldiers going to get water for their starving village?” funny whilst leaving it in tact as a profoundly painful question?

I was also impressed that they avoided the moment where it all slots into place again, even though that was what I was hoping for at the time. On reflection though it would have been taking the easy way out. Something the series has conscientiously avoided.

Please BBC make a second series.

Matt

#2. By Matt Page on August 04, 2010

What a wonderfully refreshing series, funny, serious, and shows a more human side to the church - marvellous.

Come on series 2!!!

Lulu

#3. By Lulu on September 16, 2010

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