What do Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side,” Candace Cameron Bure in “Make it Or Break It” and Yvette Nicole Brown in “Community” have in common? Besides being famous and beautiful, that is.
Each has a character currently in a mainstream hit who is an avowed Christian, who is not a buffoon, a villain, ignorant or crazy — as has often been the case with Christian characters in product emanating from Hollywood in the last two or three decades.
Bullock’s portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, real-life adoptive mother of Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher, has her in the Oscar running, in fact.
Bure’s quietly faithful and sympathetic character, Summer Van Horn, is a standout in the hot ABC Family “Make it Or Break It” series about a group of champion gymnasts. She has been seen winning the confidence and friendship of the show’s beleaguered bad girl, Lauren (Cassie Scerbo).
Brown’s divorced mother, “Community” college student character, Shirley Bennett, certainly has her foibles, including repressed anger. The Christmas episode of the Joel McHale series had Shirley in a very unattractive, disapproving mode — but she learned a lesson about the perils of rushing to judgment by the end. She’s trying to be a better person and is ultimately likeable despite her failings. Those layers of character make Brown, a Christian in real life, feel happy indeed.
A hip comedy from the co-creator of “The Sarah Silverman Program” — Dan Harmon — might not be the place one would expect to find such a character, but Brown is quick to let us know that Harmon is respectful of her faith. And evidently, some of his cues about how to write Shirley’s Christian ways have come from Brown herself.
She tells us with a laugh, “Dan watches all of us like a hawk, and none of us will ever admit what things got in that made it out of our own mouths or happened in real life.”
As for what she’d like in Shirley’s future? “I’d love her to have a chaste love affair — a divorced Christian woman, a mother, wanting to keep it together ’til she gets another ring? Dealing with that mine field? It would be nice for people to see that option. I think it would be kind of cute. Goodness knows, we see enough of people going the other route.”
Stacy Jenel Smith