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Can We Please Relax About Aubrey Plaza’s ‘Little Demon’ Cartoon?

What are we mad about today? There’s no shortage of options. Soaring temperatures in California. Rising costs of living across the nation. Weird stuff going down at Mar-a-lago. Cory Asbury’s fingernails. But all of that has to be tabled, because we’ve found the real enemy of our present era: a cartoon.

Not just any cartoon. This one is called Little Demon, and it’s a FX joint starring the vocal talents of Aubrey Plaza. As of this writing, One Million Moms has almost 25,000 signers petitioning to take it down. Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana took to Facebook to declare that he “couldn’t get to the remote fast enough to shield my 11-year-old from the preview.”

The show follows a teen woman who is the (or, at least, a) Antichrist, given that her father is the devil. Shenanigans ensue, including all manner of diabolical goings-on, often with cartoon violence and nudity to round things out. So the show is emphatically not for kids (it’s rated TV-MA). It’s all presented as comedy, of course, albeit with a sharp and very adult edge. And that has some people worried.

“Along with the demonic content of this series, the minds of younger viewers will also be inundated with secular worldviews that reflect the current culture,” One Million Moms’ petition declared. “The first episode is more than enough for most Christian families to realize that Little Demon is an extremely dangerous series.”

Like most entertainment media, FX is owned (way up the food chain) by Disney. Disney somewhat perennially finds itself in conservative religious crosshairs, and this show provides some useful cannon fodder for those who want to set the House of Mouse up as the final boss of the culture wars.

“How many millions more will tune in to the new series, owned and marketed by DISNEY,” Johnson warned on Facebook. The One Million Moms petition asks users to sign a letter that reads “I urge The Walt Disney Company to cancel this dark show immediately.”

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It’s pretty clear that Little Demon plans to treat hell and its inhabitants with a light touch, and it’s understandable that many Christians might sincerely take issue with treating Satan with that kind of energy. And yes, Little Demon joins a long list of cartoons that are clearly not intended for kids, both in terms of its subject matter and mature content. But is rallying the pitchforks and torches for this thing really a valuable way to spend two seconds of our finite time on earth? Have any of the countless Christian campaigns against a movie or TV show ever accomplished anything material for the Gospel?

The level of five alarm outrage is so predictable it’s almost embarrassing. A show like this was clearly designed to stoke a little controversy, and you can be sure champagne was popped in the FX offices the day the One Million Moms’ petition went live. You literally can’t pay for that kind of marketing, but a savvy advertiser knows they can always count on a few Christian groups to fret, given the right combination of irreverent triggers. The outrage won’t get Little Demon canceled. In fact, it might just be the thing that boosts it to a second season order.

Meanwhile, there are real issues that require the mass mobilization and organization of the Church. It truly dizzies the mind to think of all the real, tangible good that could be done if Christians would mobilize their vast numbers and resources towards problems like systemic poverty, injustice and climate change. But as long as the attention is instead directed towards inconsequential culture war skirmishes, entertainment companies will continue to play Christians like fiddles for free advertising.

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