When You Make The Filth

Photo: ABC

This week we learned that 19 year-old actor Angus T. Jones believes that Television in general, and the show “Two and a Half Men” in specific, promotes the work of the Devil.  This wouldn’t normally be a shocking statement, especially if you’ve seen an episode or two, except for the fact that Angus T. Jones is currently starring on “Two and a Half Men”.

In fact, Jones made the public statement that the program he appears in is “filth” and that people “should stop watching it.”

This is where you are expecting a piece of information to be revealed that will make these pieces of opposing information fit together and make sense.

That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

Young began starring on a television program completely inappropriate for children at the tender age of 10.  9 years ago, no one seemed to mind that a kid was starring in the television equivalent of a Maxim subscriber’s frat party fantasy.

It seems that no one was willing to ask whether or not a T.V. show that celebrated the excesses of bachelorhood was an appropriate place for a child grow up.

Last year another star of Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen, had the well-publicized “Personal Meltdown of the Century” and it was not only televised, but people bought tickets to see the roadshow.  While we all know that the high-octane combination of sex and substance abuse is self-destructive, Charlie merely put the exclamation point at the end of the sentence.

In the 9 years that Angus T. Jones has appeared on the program his parents have divorced and he has experimented with drugs.  It seems that Sex, substance abuse, and selling-out have been an “elephant in the room” since before he could shave.

Now that he’s growing up, he’s actually the first person to speak up about it:

It’s very weird being on a television show, especially now that I’m trying to walk with God, because my television show has nothing to do with God and doesn’t want anything to do with God.” 

Angus’ uncomfortability with the lifestyle that not only surrounds his life, but that he actively portrays, isn’t just a spiritual awakening, it’s the sign of an emerging maturity.

One of the hard things about growing up is that we believe that our family is normal, no matter how weird it is.  It isn’t until you begin spending time with other families that you begin to see that what was “typical” in your home may not actually be “normal”.

What happens after you begin processing the new information is what usually turns children against their parents during the end of their adolescence:  You begin to see that the options you had weren’t necessarily the best, and that other, “better”, options were available.

That’s when you tear into your parents.

Unfortunately, your lack of life experience also means that you have no idea that you are burning down the only house available for you to live in.  You’re essentially forced to weigh how “bad” your home is against how strong your sense of idealism is.  You can see this reflected in Angus T. Young’s words:

” I’ve considered not continuing on the show.  It’s a strange position that I’m put in … I’m under contract for another year, so it’s not too much of a decision on my part. … I know God has me there for a reason for another year.”

So what do you do when you find yourself involved with something that you no longer want to be associated with?

In a situation as strange as this one is you can make just about any argument you want to:

-Leave in protest because you’re a part of the terrible machine you despise?
-Stay and use your position to be an agent of change?

Whichever option you choose, you have to remember that you can’t actually do both of these things at once.

When you’re a teenager it seems best to complain, but not move out, because it’s really hard to make it without the cash that your parents are providing.  That’s where our young actor friend seems to be stuck; he makes more that $300,000 per episode.

The moral dilemma that he’s facing is a difficult one for even an adult to come to terms with.  I have to think that figuring this out at 19 would be even harder.

For Young, complaining while keeping the money is truly disingenuous but before you crucify him, take into consideration that it’s also actually his first step towards adulthood.

Whether he stops here, or keeps moving towards one of the two decisions, will reveal whether or not he’s taking a big-boy step or a false one.

We’d all like to have a high-paying job with social privilege benefits thrust upon us.

None of us want to wake up and realize that we hate that job.

It’s a situation that demands growth on every level:

Emotional,

Spiritual,

And

Physical.

It would be easiest if millions of viewers wanted to see changes in a show they love.  It would be easier if the writers wanted to write change into the show.  It would be simpler if it wasn’t hard for people to walk away from millions of dollars.

But that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

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