It’s an old scenario that television viewers have watched recur for years: boy meets girl, falls in love, hides his love or faces rejection, as the tension builds fans yearn for their union, until finally it happens and the episodes that follow are awash (either concluding the whole series, or just simply ruining it)! We saw it with Ross and Rachel, with Stephan Urkel and Laura Winslow, and with David and Donna (Beverly Hills 90210). Perhaps this is why I am so desperate not to see Jim and Pam wed. I like the show The Office too much! The thought had occurred to me recently, however, that as a Biblical Christian I ought to desire to see a Biblical marriage represented on television. Certainly I find marriage to be a wonderful thing, and wouldn’t it be great to see Jim and Pam live out the vision of marriage that I have on National Television? I wonder what that would look like.
Marriage as described in Ephesians 5 is certainly a beautiful picture. The respectful wife, the sacrificial husband, and the picture of the gospel displayed to the world. Yet the reality of the marital relationship between a husband and wife in this sin-filled world is messy, sometimes boring, and often requires excessive amounts of hard-work. I can’t help but wonder if this makes for good television.
Marriage on television is often depicted, yes with silliness, but that silliness is often an overly dramatic representation of the average marriage these days (marriages filled with selfish men striving to love their wives, nagging wives striving to please their husbands, and sinful couples wishing they had a better marriage). Think of couples like Tim and Jill Taylor, Doug and Carrie Hefernon, Homer and Marge Simpson, Jim and Cheryl (According to Jim). As I think about these shows I must confess they don’t often represent boredom, even if some of them do represent cheesy writing and poor plot development. So why is it that inevitably Jim and Pam’s marriage will be the end of The Office?
I suppose it has something to do with the culture we live in: marriage just isn’t as popular, or interesting to the larger public who sees co-habitation and promiscuity as the essence of fun and freedom. But perhaps a more reasonable answer has to do with the thrill of the chase. We love watching a man pursue a woman, a woman turn him down, and then the switch, a woman pursuing a man who has moved on, etc. There’s something exciting about the tension and the twists. And while I certainly think marriage is as equally, if not more exciting, I don’t imagine that I would find the marriages of everyone else as exciting as mine! Nor, do I imagine, you will find my marriage very exciting to you.
So while marriage itself, as God ordained it, is very exciting, perhaps the marriage of Jim and Pam just won’t make for good television. It’s just not as exciting as watching their relationship go through massive ups and downs. Until that wedding day happens though, I’ll be glued to NBC every Thursday night watching the excitement of the chase! But if Jim and Pam do marry, I guess that will free up thirty minutes more for me to enjoy the excitement of my own marriage, and that won’t be so bad.