I’ve been thinking about Seventh Heaven all day. It came out of nowhere. That stupid theme song just popped in my head, kind of in the background at first, like I don’t remember when it actually started, but it must have been imperceptible, gently blending in behind all of my other thoughts, slowly working its way into the forefront of my consciousness. And then it was all I could hear, that, “Oooooooh Seventh Heaven,” over and over again. It’s terrible.
And I haven’t thought about Seventh Heaven in forever, so my mind, while chewing on the never-ending theme song stuck on loop, it’s been digging up basically every Seventh Heaven related memory I have stored inside my brain. After having not thought about it in years, I can’t believe how terrible that show really was. Even worse than I remember. I can’t believe I actually watched it.
It started airing when I was in seventh grade. Seventh grade. Seventh Heaven. I’m trying to think of some sort of a connection, but I think that’s it, really, and it’s not even much of a connection at all. Or it could be a sign, from God, telling seventh grade me to watch Seventh Heaven. Seeing as how the show is all about cookie-cutter morality all draped in a semi-religious backdrop, I guess that makes about as much sense as any.
Who knows why I started watching the show? When you’re twelve years old, you’ll watch anything. It was on regular TV. It was on at like eight at night. What else would I be doing? Homework? Please. I never did homework.
Growing up, we weren’t allowed to watch a majority of what was on TV. No Fresh Prince. No Blossom. All way too mature I guess. Whatever, part of me wished my mom had banned Seventh Heaven, if only to spare me the nonsensical bullshit of the Camden family every week for the next five years of my life.
The dad’s a minister. The Reverend. As Newt Gingrich told Mitt Romney last year, “Enough of the pious baloney.” The whole premise of the show was a constant stream of black and white, good and evil garbage. On especially bad episodes, they whole program would basically turn into an hour long PSA. Forget plot, forget characters. Just get to the pointing of a random topic and start sermonizing about it.
There was a video game episode. One of the kids got a Game Boy but the parents tied the whole thing into a culture of desensitizing violence. There’s an episode where the brother starts smoking cigarettes. There are bullies at school. Cutting. Bulimia. Drinking, drugs, fireworks. Vandalism. Acne. Literally, just name some random topic, some random ill of society, and on that given week, every single member of the family will independently be confronted with and will have to deal with that specific topic.
Everything, every problem, every question, there’s always a clear-cut answer. No in betweens, no halfway, no gray areas. And while there’s always a lesson to be learned, usually coming right at you directly from the Reverend’s pulpit, they’ll always manage to dramatize the situation even further by demonstrating at length why good is good and just how evil all things evil really are.
One week the older brother Matt gets tempted with marijuana. He never smokes it, of course, but he drops the joint accidentally in front of his house. The mom finds it. The kids find it and think it’s the mom’s. Everyone in the family is all at the same time talking to each other about the evils of marijuana. The whole thing comes to a climax in the form of a good old fashioned family meeting. After the Reverend threatens to drug test everyone in the household, Matt admits it was his, at which point the little brother Simon flips out, starts crying, screaming about how his older brother really let him down.
In the world of Seventh Heaven, the act of simply considering marijuana makes you a full-fledged junkie. One sip of beer makes you drunk, and getting behind the wheel after that one sip makes you a felon. And don’t think you can get away with anything, because the Reverend owns the police. He’s got Sergeant Michaels on speed dial, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain peace and harmony.
Seventh Heaven was terrible, a truly awful, awful, terrible TV show. I can’t believe it was shown to a national audience. A bunch of bullshit ridiculous preachy sermonizing from a totally unrealistic family set in a town that doesn’t resemble any real place I’ve ever been to in my life. You want to watch TV and get lectured? Not me. I want to watch crime and space travel and really stupid funny stuff. Fucking Seventh Heaven.