Breaking Down Righteous Gemstones: A Comedic Take on Megachurch Culture and Family Dysfunction


Righteous Gemstones & Megachurch Culture

Danny McBride’s latest HBO creation, The Righteous Gemstones, is a satirical take on a Southern megachurch, following the dysfunctional lives of the Gemstone family. 

Megachurches and televangelism can vary in regard to delivering their spiritual messages. While some megachurches give more robust sermons leaning heavy on scripture, others are more feel-good, motivational messages—like spiritual fast food.

So, how does Righteous Gemstones satirize some of the more nuanced elements of televangelism?

Listen to ‘Righteous Gemstones & Megachurch Culture’ here, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Being Human

Every week our panel of Shrinks breaks down trending topics of psychology in the news that we call Being Human.

The Righteous Gemstones follows a megachurch and the dysfunctional family that runs it. While the HBO comedy frequently uses the imbalanced family dynamics as a punchline, another psychological concept it relies on is moral hypocrisy.

The current research aims to test a self-enhancement account for why people often display moral hypocrisy. Self-enhancement is a fundamental human motive to maintain and strengthen a positive view of the self. One of the most prominent manifestations of self-enhancement is that people often consider themselves as superior to others, especially in moral domains.

Our panel of Shrinks breaks down their thoughts on these findings.

You can read the study that inspired our discussion here.


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