‘The Righteous Gemstones’ take corporate christianity to new heights in season 2 trailer
Everyone wants to know WWTGD.
The first season of Danny McBride’s smash hit The Righteous Gemstones was one of HBO’s best comedies in years. They piggybacked off of the comedic sensation of Danny McBride and Walton Goggins on screen together (Vice Principals), and added John Goodman, Adam Devine, Edi Patterson, and Cassidy Freeman into the fictional universe of Gemstone family mega church fame, tapping into a culture that had never been successfully joked about on such a large scale: televangelism. While many watched the show for its absurdist humor and enrapturing character-driven heists, other viewers were sucked in because of the show’s familiarity. Ask anyone who grew up in evangelical America raised on a steady diet of patriotism and faith: while outlandish, the Gemstones are revelatory reflections of real upbringings — ones often shrouded in the advantageous twisting of Christ’s teachings and the monied inclinations of the Jesus industrial complex.
Part of the charm of The Righteous Gemstones is that the show perfectly satirizes the grand ironies and hypocrisies of weaponized christianity, which is often used to make some rich while subjugating others under conservative values. “It is time to stop the filth coming out of Hollywood," demands Jesse (McBride) in the trailer. "If they're going to fill the airwaves 24/7 with that garbage, we gonna do the same thing!" John Goodman’s Papa Gemstone enthusiastically exclaims, “Amen!”
While the show is a cathartic comedy for anyone who has escaped the world of cult faith — especially “recovering southern baptist sissies,” as beloved writer/director Del Shores deemed them in his oeuvre of work about the demographic that is perhaps the blueprint for McBride’s creation — this second season also promises COVID comedy as well. They won’t be alone, as this summer and fall’s premiers have started incorporating the pandemic and its myriad cultural nuances into their fictional universes, but many programs have made the inclusion feel forced and thus flat.
Danny McBride however saw the gospel, if you will, of how Gemstones would play off of pandemic culture immediately, and re-wrote the second season in 2020 after production was shut down three days into filming. He told Entertainment Weekly, “I feel like the Gemstones have more to do with a massive corporation than they actually have to do with most Christians, and so like many corporations, COVID was very kind to the Gemstones. They were able to deliver to the world a streaming service that allowed people to stay at home and watch Gemstone broadcasts. So while everyone around them suffered, they're in a better position than they've ever been in before.”
McBride also promises this new season will be “nastier and crazier,” begging the question of if its reliability will remain, but also exciting fans for elevated antics. From the trailer, the upcoming season will mostly focus on which Gemstone progeny will take Goodman’s throne as he ages out of being head of their megachurch — a Jesus-flavored, slap stick fun mirror of god’s favorite hit show Succession. It’s a conceit that’s rife with comedic potential, but also could fall into the sophomore slump of played out concepts. With how obscenely funny the first season proved though, hopefully The Righteous Gemstones can take exhausted story lines like family rivalry and the pandemic and turn them into gold just as shiny as the paved streets of heaven.