The Righteous Gemstones is an American black comedy television drama series created by Danny McBride. The series follows a famous yet dysfunctional family of televangelists and megachurch pastors led by widowed patriarch Eli Gemstone (John Goodman). Eli and his immature children, Jesse (Danny McBride), Judy (Edi Patterson) and Kelvin (Adam DeVine), lead opulent lives funded by church donations.
While the series is obviously based on real-life televangelists and megachurch pastors (the Bakkers come to mind instantly), it is an extreme satire that borders on farce at times. For anyone outside of the Christian community, it is almost unbelievable to come across such tone deaf, self-deluded characters. But anyone understanding how American evangelicals think, the series functions as a perfect commentary on this community that is able to laud and revere a con-man like Donald Trump as a saviour!
That all said, while the characters in The Righteous Gemstones do come across as caricatures most of the time, the series does do its best to make these characters sympathetic to a certain degree. If this was not achieved, then it would be virtually impossible to engage with such narcissistic, hypocritical personalities. Sad thing is that this characterisation is too close for comfort, as these televangelists are often sociopaths. justifying their immoral behaviour as somehow divinely sanctioned.
As expected from a HBO series, there is a fair bit of sex and violence in The Righteous Gemstones, with unlikable characters – something akin to a religious version of Succession. But with more humorous facets. The main plot in season 1 involved a blackmail scenario involving the three Gemstone siblings. The story events are often farcical and quite clearly not meant to be taken too seriously though once again, there is enough truth in what is depicted to make the series dark and disturbing at the same time.
The season 2 is about halfway through as this review is being written and we would expect a review of that as well, as soon as it is completed. Highly recommended!
Now streaming on HBO Max.
… still there’s more …