Netflix’s Gay Jesus Special is Outrage Marketing at its Finest

If you’re not familiar with the term “The Streisand Effect,” it refers to situations where trying to keep people from seeing something makes it much, much more visible than it otherwise would be. It’s named for an incident where Streisand sued to have a picture of her house taken off of Google; it was at 6 views when she brought her lawsuit but has subsequently been seen by millions of people.

About two weeks ago, a Christmas special from Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos called The First Temptation of Christ landed on Netflix. It’s an irreverent comedy set at Jesus’ surprise 30th birthday party which he shows up to with his ’friend’ Orlando. It is heavily implied that Jesus and Orlando have spent the past 40 days in the desert having gay sex.

The special itself has the same sort of irreverence for religion that Monty Python’s Life of Brian did, although maybe not as funny. The strongest bit is the portrayal of God as Mary’s ex-boyfriend and Jesus’s real dad who tried to win Mary back and upstage Joseph. It wasn’t my favorite thing and a lot of the jokes had been done before in one form or another, but it was good for some solid laughs.

Religious people, however, have lost their fucking minds about it. Honestly, the explosion of outrage that came seemingly out of nowhere over the past few days, well after the release of the special, is the only reason I had even heard of it.

In an interview with Variety on Monday, Fábio Porchat, one of the founders of Porta dos Fundos, said that the issue is homophobia among Brazilian Catholics, which kind of makes sense since we didn’t hear a peep about last year’s Emmy Award-winning The Last Hangover, a similarly sacrilegious special about the last supper. It just seems to be the implication that Jesus is gay that has people riled up.

Netflix hasn’t officially commented on the special as far as I’ve seen, but the last time I logged into the Netflix app on my TV the trailer for The First Temptation of Christ autoplayed for the first time, which is weird because the special is almost two weeks old. I don’t know if that was deliberate or algorithmic, but it was interesting timing.

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