Vodcast: God in The Handmaid’s Tale

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Handmaid's tale vlog

Hulu’s Emmy award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a dystopian future in Gilead, the former United States, where women are subject to the violent, oppressive rule of men—a system that those same men insist is backed by the authority of a spiteful, vindictive God.

This is a show Plugged In has been tracking and reviewing for quite some time, given that it’s one of streaming television’s most popular and—because of what some see of the show’s real-world echoes—most talked-about programs.

But what fellow Plugged In reviewer Emily Baker and I are really interested in is the way the show negatively depicts God, or at least, the “god” that the rulers of Gilead claim to follow. There’s lots to unpack here, which is why we’ve decided to give you a little taste of the complexities that lie within The Handmaid’s Tale.

Who wrote this?

Kristin Smith is the most recent addition to the Plugged In team. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. When she's not writing or editing, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband, Eddy, and running through Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods. She loves coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan), and is eagerly awaiting the birth of her first baby, Judah.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 6 months ago

What's it to you? I've always been into kids and Disney related stuff. From Hannah Montana to Ducktales, Winnie the Pooh, Fraggle Rock, Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire, The Suite Life on Deck, Jessie, Good Luck Charlie, and on and on I've always been a big cartoon/kids show fan. Though I also like stuff like Kill Bill, Austin Powers, American Pie, Clint Eastwood, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, and William Shakespeare. I like a little bit of everything. So sue me.


And for what it's worth, I've always loved the sweet center in every American Pie movie. Some people think it's just a bunch of teens and adults doing it every chance they get, but there's an underlying sweetness behind it all I think, and the last movie they made American Reunion is perhaps the sweetest one since American Wedding.

Anonymous 6 months ago
This show is not pro God.  Its just another attempt by the left to marginalize Christians and God  and accountability to God with made up scenarios absent reality.  If we look at history, Christianity has been a force for good in the world unless man messes up and becomes legalistic and self serving.   Our current culture attest to the fact that if we follow our base instincts and leave God aside not much good happens.  Addiction, suicide, broken families, war, poverty,  disease, every kind of gender dysphoria ..... none of these things are God's will for mankind.   He leave us to go down the path we choose. #choosewisely 
Anonymous 6 months ago
Why'd you gotta go and throw a hashtag in there?

-Evan.
Hannah Cole 6 months ago
In the book the show is based off of, Christian churches are actually described as attempting to resist the new government, only to end up getting persecuted themselves. I don't think the show is meant to marginalize Christians or to be anti-God, but to explore what would happen if America was under control of the oppressive governments of other countries. Margaret Atwood herself said that she drew all inspiration for the events of the Handmaid's Tale from real-world situations that are occurring today. She just transplanted these situations to America and made up a "plausible" reason for why they might occur there.
Anonymous 6 months ago
You’re speaking from a super privileged place. You say you don’t have to worry about Gilead-type situations if you’re a Christian. But imagine if you were a Christian and faced the daily oppression of the women in Gilead. Imagine getting your finger cut off for reading THE BIBLE. Imagine being raped once a month, being torn apart by dogs for using birth control, being forced into marriage as a child, having to marry your rapist, being shot for advocating for girls’ education. Oops, those last three actually occur today, in the world. And they’re all done by people who believe in a god - some are even Christian, and “have Jesus.” You do have to worry - maybe not so much that it will happen to you - but because you are a citizen of the world that your god created, and it is happening to people in this world. Handmaid’s Tale is not scary because we feel we are moving towards it. Handmaid’s Tale is scary because it is happening already. And Christians (Catholics, Muslims, Atheists, et al) do nothing. Also, HUSBAND and wife, not man and wife.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I've never once seen the Handmaid's Tale or even knew it was based on a book, but one show I have been watching from the very first episode to it's series finale just last night is AndiMack and frankly I've been frustrated and disturbed by it right from the get-go and continued to be so right up until the end, but for some reason in spite of all it's problems (Bex not telling Andi she was her mother until she was 13, not even letting her father know he had a kid with her all that time too, and once everything was out in the open refusing to marry him like she should have done all those years ago, and of course the whole thing with Cyrus being gay, everyone including his first crush Jonah being ok with it, and then last night out of the blue showing TJ having gay feelings as well, what with them holding hands romantically and all), anyway in spite of all it's many problems the show remained interesting and problematic enough for me to want to continue watching it in spite of me being disgusted at times. It was sweet, funny, thoughtful, curious, pushed way too much of a gay agenda, and frankly was the most adult frustratingly real show Disney's ever made. It certainly bugged me to death at times, but I admit there was nothing else quite like it on the Disney Channel before.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

A 39 year old man who watches the Disney Channel? Now there’s a sight to see.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I never said it was a bad sight; just one that you don’t see everyday.

I just find the Disney channel full of over the top corny shows with laughable acting. When I watch the Disney channel on slight occasions, it’s just to laugh at the poor quality.

For the record though, I do enjoy a lot of quality well written cartoons made for kids, like Justice League, The Clone Wars and Ninjago. And I still consider Pixar as the best studio in Hollywood.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Oh dear. This person has a bunch of random opions. 

But American Pie? Really?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Hannah Cole 6 months ago

The last Disney Channel show I watched was Good Luck Charlie as a young teen. I enjoyed it then, but by the time the last season rolled around I felt like I was outgrowing it. I haven't watched anything Disney Channel related in years though, mostly for the reasons First Comment Guy mentioned. I'm surprised but not too surprised that there are adults who enjoy them; even my dad got a kick out of the Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Good Luck Charlie.

The Kenosha Kid 7 months ago
Good discussion. The show (and Margaret Atwood's novel) is clearly not about God, but rather the way some people use religion to control and subjugate other people and rationalize their own selfish actions.

I think it's OK to feel despair after watching the show. That's a perfectly healthy response to watching characters be oppressed and brutalized. 

God: Great. Fundamentalism: Bad. Religion: Well, it all depends.

-- The Kenosha Kid