Merry Happy Whatever: S1E2 Harmony
A Note to Parents: Merry Happy Whatever is designed to be a family show, yet things have changed since The Brady Bunch was popular. This show features a teenager deciding he’s an atheist, a young woman embracing her homosexuality, and the implications of unmarried couples sleeping together. We at The Source For Parents never want to introduce something to kids that you wouldn’t want them to watch, so we develop discussions that parents can use if they feel the show is appropriate for their child. This show avoids the language and violence we often see today, but each parent will need to decide on their own if it’s appropriate for their family.
Season 1, Episode 2: Harmony
The Quinn family is preparing for their annual Christmas Caroling outing, much to the surprise of Matt, the boyfriend of the youngest Quinn daughter.
Matt: Wow, caroling. I, uh I didn’t think people actually did that anymore.
Don: They don’t. That’s why we do it.
As the family looks forward to the unusual evening of singing, we learn that Sean, the only male among the Quinn siblings, has a secret he is reluctant to share. It appears he has lost his job, and he has kept this news to himself. Sean’s wife, Joy, is out with her brother-in-law, Todd, when they see Sean walking into a movie.
Todd: Isn’t that Sean out there?
Joy: No, he’s at work. Wait, that is him.
Joy: Why is he going into a movie? [calls Sean] Hey! What are you doing? Oh, you’re sitting in your office? At work? Well, then I’ll let you get back to work. I love you, too.
Joy intends to confront Sean, but he beats her to the punch, telling her that he has been laid off and is out of work. Joy is disheartened to learn that her husband has been holding this in for weeks out of fear he would “spoil Christmas” if he told her.
Throughout this episode there are other situations where a person is not directly lying to others, but is holding a key piece of information that is causing them to be deceptive in order to keep things hidden.
It seems to be a common theme among these characters to fake their way through life to protect the way they will be seen by others. After telling Joy about his job loss, you might think Sean would feel free and would tell others openly, but that is not the case. While Sean indicates a feeling of relief in sharing this news with his wife, he continues to keep his employment status from his father. It is hard not to notice that these deceptive actions are widely accepted by others as normal.
The question to be asked at this point is whether or not it is considered lying to hold back important information from others. If you are not actually telling lies then are you still lying?
Looking at this situation, we can learn some things when we examine Sean’s actions. It appears that he got up in the morning and pretended to actually go to work. It does not seem far-fetched to assume along with those actions there were times when he verbally indicated he was going to work, or even recapped how his day went.
But what if he never actually said anything? Could Sean be considered to be honest if he was very careful in his words and never actually said something that is untrue?
Let’s look at God’s Word and see what He has to say.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
This is where someone might pose the question of what exactly is considered a lie? Rather than move toward a deep philosophical discussion, let’s try to keep it simple and ask whether or not the actions build and maintain trust or do they erode trust? When you look at Sean, do you see him as a person who can be trusted? Or would you question his actions moving forward?
Another point to be made is the motivation behind the action. In Sean’s case, he seems to want to avoid experiencing the shame and embarrassment he will feel in letting others down. Is that a good reason to deceive? Let’s take some time and have what hopefully will be a helpful discussion on this topic.
Discussion Questions (for parents and their children to engage in together)
- Have you ever been Christmas caroling? If not, would you ever go? Explain why you think this practice is less common today than in previous generations.
- What do you think goes through Joy’s mind when she realizes Sean is not at work?
- Why do you think she calls him? What do you think she was hoping would happen?
- Why do you think Sean finally tells Joy that he’s out of work?
- What do you think is keeping Sean from telling his dad about his job status?
- Do you think this situation will impact Joy’s ability to trust Sean? Explain why you think the way you do.
- Why do you think Colossians 3:8 focuses on lying to “each other?”
- What does the verse mean when it says you have taken off your old self with its practices?
- Can you think of a time when you acted like Sean and kept something important from a loved one?
- What are some situations where you think it might be acceptable to hold back information from loved ones?
- What role do you think motivation plays in whether or not it’s wrong to withhold information like Sean did?
- Would you consider Sean to be a person of integrity? Why or why not?
- What are some of the costs of being a person of honesty?
Let’s close in prayer and ask God to make us people of honesty and integrity.
Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org