Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Couch Pretzels: Jack Van Impe Presents

Today's guest post comes to us from Peter (not Little George, but a different Peter). He's even been nice enough to write the introduction for the first in what we hope will be a continuing series. In Couch Pretzels, we'll unearth diamond-in-the-rough TV shows and other forms of entertainment so that you too can enjoy them as much as we do. Peter, the floor is yours:

We all come across shows by accident. Sometimes, you develop an odd fascination with them, often because they are a train wreck, other times because they are just entertaining in a way you can’t explain. You probably shouldn’t waste time with them, but you do anyway. Soon you realized you’ve watched or heard enough to be considered a fan.

In the spirit of The Couchwarmers motto to “catch everything that falls between the cushions,” I present to you the first installment of “Couch Pretzels.” You know the feeling of finding an old pretzel amongst the cushions, don’t you? Sure, it might be from the 1pm football games, and it’s most definitely not a smart idea to eat it, but you do anyway. And more times than not, it’s satisfying in an empty caloric way. Well, these shows are kind of like that.

Jack Van Impe Presents

This is a true diamond-in-the-rough of late night television, Jack Van Impe is not your average televangelist. He is a “prophecy minister,” which means he believes that the stuff in the New Testament -- especially the fire and brimstone details of the Book of Revelations -- will actually come true. So this former accordion player turned evangelist hosts his own news show (live from Troy, Michigan!), in which his plasticized wife Rexella reads the news headlines, and Jack interprets them through the lens of end-of-times prophecy. Yes, they act like this is an actual news show.

The best part is that serial viewers like me have come to know Jack’s favorite go-to signs that the apocalypse is coming. Many of you wouldn’t think twice about innocuous headlines in the USA Today (or even still read the USA Today), but in Jack and Rexella’s world…
  • Headline: “EU Commissioner Wants US Action on Trade”
  • Van Impe Interpretation: Anything involving the European Union is newsworthy for this “shadowy” organization represents the “revived Roman Empire.” I assume this is bad because of the whole throwing Christians to the Lions thing.
  • Headline: “India Gets Fewer Carbon Credits as UN Scrutinizes Project”
  • Van Impe Interpretation: The United Nations represents not a multilateral assemblage of mostly peaceful nations but the coming of a dangerous “New World Order” (though I am entirely not sure what that means—Jack doesn’t bother with the specifics.)
  • Headline: “US Makes Concessions to Russia for Iran Sanctions”
  • Van Impe Interpretation: Anytime Russia ruffles any feathers, it is a sign that the “Great Power of the East” that “leads the war of the latter years and latter days” is afoot. In case you are wondering, Jack’s “doctorate” is not in International Relations.
Not surprisingly, Barack Obama has been a target of late. Jack doubts whether our President is really a Christian since claiming in an interview that there are “many ways to heaven” and for inviting Muslim leaders to the White House for Ramadan (Jack: “Whose side are you on?”).

But Jack and Rexella had me hooked long before they became just another bunch of angry white people on TV yelling at our President. The real entertainment comes from the little things: the production quality one would expect from a Junior High AV Club, the oddly mesmerizing Rexella, who has had enough “nip-tucks” to look good even if the rapture doesn’t come for another hundred years, the bizarre tradition of having the show’s announcer Chuck play the saxophone during Christmas (my brother caught this in one of the truly great WTF? moments in a show that has frankly produced many) and Jack’s ability to spout New Testament verse after verse off the top of his head.

When setting your DVRs, look for it in the wee morning hours if you live near a city; I hear it’s on closer to primetime in hill-country.

1 comment:

  1. One of the best things about have 1.5 degrees in the Bible is that I can do this stuff too. It's mind-blowingly easy to take ANYTHING and make it into a Biblically-relevant "message." My hobby: making outlandish statements and then stating, firmly, that "it's in the Bible. Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 2, verse 16." It takes people a while to suss that I'm full of shit.