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‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Review: A Study on Televangelists

‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Review: A Study on Televangelists

On Sunday, HBO released the series premiere of Danny McBride’s newest creation, a spoof on a family of televangelists called ‘The Righteous Gemstones’.

“The Righteous Gemstones” created by Danny McBride and Jody Hill; starring Danny McBride, John Goodman, Kevin Devine, and Edi Patterson; HBO

SCORE: A-

The opening sequence of Danny McBride’sThe Righteous Gemstones” sets up the premise of the show perfectly. Meet the Gemstones, a dysfunctional family of televangelists who fly in private jets, live in lavish mansions, preach in arenas that seat tens of thousands, and abide by the rules of God greed.

So what’s there left to tell? That’s the genius of this absurdist comedy series.

Meet Kelvin Gemstone (played by Adam Devine), the youngest of the Gemstone family. Kelvin is stubborn and hates to be told what to do, especially by his older brother Jesse. Initially, Kelvin appears to be the hippest of the Gemstones, deep down inside, however, he’s extremely insecure and desperate for company, even if it comes in the form of a former devil-worshipper with “666” tattooed on his chest.

Then, there’s Jesse Gemstone (played by Danny McBride). From the outside, Jesse’s family appears to be the perfect Christian family. However, look closer and you’ll find more dysfunction, especially between him and his son Pontious (played by Keiton DuMont).

Next, we have Dr. Eli Gemstone (played by John Goodman). Eli’s story is a little blurry at first. He arrives at his mansion and is greeted by plenty of individuals. However, once inside, he enjoys a meal sitting before a portrait of his lost wife, all by himself.

Finally, there’s Judy Gemstone (played by Edi Patterson). Eli’s only daughter, Judy is most definitely the most underappreciated of the Gemstones. Secretly, she hates her role in the Gemstone family. Outwardly, however, she does what she needs to keep up the families appearances.

The inciting incident occurs early on in episode one of “The Righteous Gemstones.” After tucking his children into bed, Jesse gets himself ready for bed where his wife awaits him.

Unexpectedly, Jesse gets a text message from an unknown number the contents of which include a video of Jesse snorting cocaine surrounded by topless women. To keep the contents of this video a secret, Jesse must pay a ransom of $1M to a couple of men in devil masks.

Now, you may not think that a man of God would never abuse his relationship with Christianity to get what he wants. Jesse, however, is not afraid to incite the name of God in an effort to obtain the $1M needed to quash his secret. Does he get it? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

NEXT: “ENTER THE DRAGON” REVIEW

“The Righteous Gemstones” packs a lot of commentary into its pilot episode – corruption and religious manipulation to name a few – and it succeeds at leaving the audience yearning for more. It’s a good thing HBO eight more episodes on the docket for us to enjoy this season.

 

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