“Kim Davis: Jesus Clerk” Episode 101 Recap: Eye of the Tiger

Now that regular old teevee is being forced to compete with streaming services like Amazon and Netflix for ratings and ad revenue, all networks are looking for a new way to get eyeballs on their new fall shows. NBC surprised everyone when it dropped the pilot for its new primetime series, Kim Davis: Jesus Clerk, this afternoon, presumably to get ahead of new episodes of Empire, which dominated ratings when it premiered last year. So we figured we’d roll out a recap real fast and see if y’all are interested in seeing full coverage of the show.

You can actually watch the pilot episode here.

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The Constitution stacks the odds / Still we take to the street / For the kill with the skill to survive!

The show opens outside a detention center in Kentucky where a middle aged woman named Kim Davis emerges into a crowd of superfans while “Eye of the Tiger” plays triumphantly. She is flanked by two elderly white men, each clutching one of her hands. The elderly white man on her right looks like he might be played by Peter Graves. I thought he passed away a couple of years ago. I guess not! And the elderly white guy on her left is played by Kevin Spacey in a fat suit, I think. Weird. I wonder how he got the time off of House of Cards.

Anyway, these appear to be our three main characters. Oh, wait! Here comes another white guy in overalls and a hat that is like if a straw cowboy hat had a baby with one of those old timey card dealer visors with the green plastic bills. He grabs onto Peter Graves’ hand and holds their intertwined fingers up for the crowd to see. The crowd is going crazy! They’re waving around cardboard cutouts of the alphabet. A lot of Ts. And some signs that say like “Enough is enough!” and “Freedom of religion!” And “Eye of the Tiger” is still just a-blastin’ over the loudspeakers.

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Practicing for the gold medal podium at the Bible Olympics

Apparently, Kim Davis is in a poly relationship with these three guys, which of course is praised very highly in the Bible. Everyone was doing it! King Solomon, a dude God said was the wisest guy ever to live, he had like 300 wives and 700 concubines. So I guess these four people are really into traditional marriage — that must be what all the Ts are for that everyone is waving around, Traditional — and Kim got arrested for it because the damn United States government is always trying to get involved and go against what the Bible teaches about God’s plan for marriage.

It’s not that hard, Supreme Court! Biblical marriage is either between a man and a woman, a rapist and the woman he raped, a man and multiple women, a man and multiple women and his concubines, and between male soldiers and their female prisoners of war. Have you never read Genesis, Exodus, or Numbers? It’s all right there in the first five books of the Bible!

Kim Davis and her husbands are standing strong, though. And the crowd is wild for it! (Although, all of them are white, which is a weird casting decision if this show actually expects to compete with last season’s really successful, racially diverse shows.)

Chubby Kevin Spacy hands Kim a microphone and she cries and laughs into it for about ten minutes and almost falls over a couple of times. Weird editing, actually. This episode is already dragging. ChubSpacey smacks her on the shoulder a little bit and she pumps her fists and laughs some more while the white people keep screaming. ChubSpacey wipes some tears from his eyes.

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I love the Old Testament! I love the part where women get beaten to death for bleeding on stuff during their periods!

Kim Davis: Thank you all so much! I love you all so much!
Crowd: KIM! KIM! KIM! KIM!
Kim Davis: I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people!
Crowd: [Waves their Ts around.]
Kim Davis: We serve a strong God who knows where each and everyone of us is at. Just keep on pressing. Don’t let down, because he is here. He’s worthy, he’s worthy. I love you guys.

Kim Davis hugs her favorite husband, ChubSpacey. (I say he’s her favorite because he’s practically groping her the whole time and she’s looking at his face like he’s heaven.) Then Kim Davis hugs her Peter Graves-looking husband. He’s a little less familiar with her, so I standby what I said about ChubSpacey being her favorite. Apparently her third husband is named Joe? I dunno. He’s really underdeveloped in this episode. I have no idea what his motivation is or what he’s about. Pretty thin writing, to be honest. He doesn’t even have a single line of dialogue.

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President Snow, fire is catching, and if we burn, you’ll burn with us!

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But not because of global warming. Global warming is a myth.

Oh! Kevin Spacey’s character is named Mike Huckabee. Oh, shit! And he’s running for President of the United States of America on a platform of Traditional Marriage! Polygamy and rape in the White House, then, I guess. I wonder if he’s going to get elected and try to pass a law that says a brother has to marry his dead brother’s wife! Or that if dudes spill their sperm on the floor they gotta get stoned! Traditional marriage is some salacious shit.

Mike Huckabee: Let Kim go! But if you have to put someone in jail, I volunteer!

He says he’ll spend eight years in the White House or eight years in jail but he won’t spend eight years under the tyranny of the checks and balances that were built into the branches of the United States government by the Founding Fathers. He says God has a habit of intervening in America’s history, like when he wiped out all the Native Americans with blessed smallpox-infested blankets. And then, verbatim:

Mike Huckabee: As Forrest Gump so eloquently said, “God showed up!”

The crowd loses its goddamn mind at that point. If life is like a box of chocolates, this day is their gooey caramel center.

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I know I said I wasn’t into pegging.

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But maybe we could just try and see.

Aaaand that’s it.

Hmm. Well, I mean, I guess it was an okay first episode. The premise is pretty unique. Biblical marriage is weird as fuck and if they’re willing to explore it, I guess it could be interesting to watch. There’s a lot of batshit crazy stuff if they expand out into the whole Old Testament, but I’m not sure how well a non-HBO channel would fare with that. Like remember when Elijah conjured those bears to eat the faces of 42 children who were making fun of his bald spot? (4 Kings 2:23-24) Or like those guys who raped that concubine until she died and so her owner chopped her up into 12 pieces and sent her to all the tribes of Israel? (Judges 19:22-30) Or when David wants to marry Saul’s daughter so Saul demands 100 foreskins, and David goes out and collects 200 foreskins just to be on the safe side? (1 Samuel 18:25-27) Or the time God got so mad when Moses tried to look at his butt? (Exodus 33:23)

Anyway, there’s a lot of source material to work with, so it’s really lazy writing that leads to Kim Davis’ third husband being so underdeveloped, and the Mike Huckabee character ultimately just spent the whole time quoting Tom Hanks movies and The Hunger Games. He seems like a dolt. I don’t understand why he’s her favorite.

I don’t know if I’ll keep watching. This show definitely isn’t going to pass the Bechdel Test. What did y’all think of the pilot of Kim Davis: Jesus Clerk?

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 835 articles for us.

70 Comments

  1. God bless you, Heather Hogan.

    I can’t wait to watch the hell out of this show. I wonder in what episode KD:JC will realize that as an adulterer, she must be executed, according to the bible. Too soon, and that will make this one short series.

  2. I heard there was a spinoff of this show also. The Kevin Spacey character is running for President, right, so the spinoff is all these other dudes running for President. You know how Survivor and Amazing Race have all those challenges? This show is trying to parody that, so, like, every week it’s just these guys trying to build some wall? Sounds like it’s going to be kind of repetitive, and will probably get old really quickly.

    I say these network people scrap both these shows and go try to steel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Grace and Frankie from Netflix.

  3. This is such a shitshow. As expected, the Christians and/or conservatives are going full martyr with this one. The Republican candidates are scrambling for her approval so they can use her for their campaigns. Look at Huckabee and Cruz. They couldn’t wait for a photo op.

    • Not ALL Christians agree on the scriptures. Some are actually quite educated and engage in thoughtful exploration of the meaning of the Gospel. The World also does not exist in black & white. There are many LGBTQ people who also believe in the teachings of Christ, and there is more overlap between these two groups that you seem to realize. By lumping all Christians into one category, you are doing the very thing you accuse some Christians of doing to the LGBTQ community. A point to consider is that Davis is a hypocrite. No one made her moral decisions for her by refusing her 2nd, 3rd or 4th marriage certificates on the basis that divorce(s) is an abomination. It was a long path of moral failings that led her to her current relationship with God (whatever that may be). She exercised her free will, along the way. She is now denying others the right to the same, and she is using a government position to do so. This is hypocritical, and Jesus exposed hypocrisy wherever he went.

      • I appreciate this comment so much. I wish I had had this argument up my sleeve back when I knew a bunch of fundamentalists who were genuinely conflicted about how to apply their beliefs to a pluralistic society. I think they would have found this really compelling.

    • Gunna hafta narrow down what you mean by adultery kiddo, but more importantly; does it make moar babies for the Lord?
      Or does it waste the precious, precious chance for a new and sacred child of God to be brought forth like an arrow and added to the quiver of the Lord from the field of womanhood?
      I think you know the answer, in your heart o sister.

  4. This recap is just brilliant.

    That said — and I know y’all are getting tired of my saying this, but I still gotta — I’d be a lot happier if this circus weren’t stirring up shit in the state where I live. It’s already crept into the governor’s race, and I guaran-damn-tee you that next year’s legislative session is going to be an epic shitshow of homophobia (and they’ll throw in some transphobia just for spice). So I’ll just be in my room bein’ grumpy, mm’kay?

  5. You know, I alllllllllllmost feel bad for her because Huckabee & Co. are clearly using her, but I also don’t believe for a minute that she’s also not pulling this temper tantrum of a stunt because she knows how hard it is to remove her from her job. So much grandstanding. So much hot air.

  6. “He says he’ll spend eight years in the White House or eight years in jail but he won’t spend eight years under the tyranny of the checks and balances that were built into the branches of the United States government by the Founding Fathers.”

    Hah 🙂

    That said, accusing fundamentalists of cherry-picking because they’re not following the old testament isn’t going to change any fundamentalist minds – they have well-developed theology that determines what sorts of things are still valid after Jesus came around and changed the rules. Explaining the bible to people who read the bible every day as though you understand it better than them is a little disrespectful. I mean, they’re being disrespectful too, in worse ways, but my point is, they’re wrong whether or not their biblical reading makes sense to non-fundamentalists.

  7. First, anything you write is amazing. Just thought you should know.

    Second, I am a very literal person, and after reading this entire brilliant thing, I can’t decide whether you’re kidding about the TV show, or whether we’ve really sunk to that level as a country. And I don’t want to click on that oh-so-enticing Pilot Episode link to verify the trueness of this article, because I half-expect it to link to some very loud, very embarrassing, “HAHAHA!!! Gotcha! Sucker!”-type page. I’m in a dilemma here…

    Third, I’ll let other, more articulate people write about the real issue(s) at hand here, cuz I just can’t go there. It makes all the self-hating, internalized homophobic, self-harming monsters, who normally lie dormant in me, raise their ugly heads, so I’m gonna rely on other to be reminded that it’s okay to be gay… :-/

  8. That video is frightening, awkward, cringe-worthy and makes me want to run a million miles in the opposite direction of religion. I don’t know how you Americans deal with this. I could only get through the first 10 seconds.

  9. HH you are a marvel.

    P.S. The rest of the world is wondering why the person who issues marriage licenses is an elected office… Much consternation and confusion in the social media sphere.

  10. Since I read this out loud at the home of my girlfriend, the daughter of a minister, she ran to get the nearest Bible to actually look up the passages that were sited here. In the version she found on the shelf, God told Moses he could only look at his “back,” and David “brought proof of killing” 200 men but there was no mention of foreskin. This is when we discovered that the English Contemporary Version of the Bible intended for teens in youth groups in the 1990s left out all the good parts. And we were disappointed.

  11. This is easily the funniest thing I have read all week.I am so happy to see someone using satire as a way to take down all of this ridiculousness and “freedom of religion” rhetoric surrounding the Jesus Clerk. It is welcome relief from all the super-serious debates from both the “liberal” and “conservative” viewpoints.

  12. But I thought the musical director deserves some credit there. I heard from an insider that when they were hunting for a theme song they seriously considered ‘I’ve got to Break Free’ and ‘Jesus to a Child’, and even ‘Indiana Wants Me’ (only for a hot second), but calmer heads prevailed and they settled on the subtle intertextuality of the Rocky theme.

    There was almost a catastrophe on the final cutting room floor, however, when the musical director’s assistant was left in charge of locating and using a ‘free rights’ version of the Rocky music – and that’s how ‘Time Warp’ almost became a new anthem for a new generation.

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