Vampires go to Alpha
23 November, 2010 Leave a comment
There’s a video circulating the internet at the moment, it’s a sketch made my Armstrong and Miller for their BBC comedy show. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a fan of Armstrong and Miller sketches. Some of their work is okay, but most of the time I find it boring and repetitive on their previous work. However, the video in question which was passed to me through a link on Twitter is, in my opinion, very funny and highlights some interesting points. The video, which can be seen below, rotates around two vampires who, through the want of ‘untainted virgin blood’ accidentally find themselves at a their local church’s Alpha Course. Comedy ensues.
This random sketch can show us some interesting insights into the way people perceive the Alpha Course and Christianity in general, and this can help us to know our positives and negatives.
Alpha is an introduction course to Christianity started by Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in South Kensington, London. According to Alpha’s website, a total number of 14 million people have attended Alpha courses worldwide, with 2.7million of those being in the UK. Many celebrities have attended over the years including TV adventurer Bear Grylls, former spice girl Geri Halliwell and former Prime Minister Tony Bliar. A simple vision by HTB vicar Nicky Gumbel to see Jesus explained in simple terms has resulted in millions of people having the gospel presented to them, with many of them making a commitment to God. It’s also been cross denominational, with even orthodox churches taking it up!
It must be that one of the writers of the sketch, perhaps both, have attended the course, or someone very close to them, as the video shows an insight into an Alpha course, which arguably you wouldn’t know without having attending one. Despite the fact that it’s about vampires, I feel that Alpha comes across positively in this sketch. Vampires are a very popular topic, with the Twilight book and film series and TV shows such as True Blood attracting a new set of fans to an age old genre. The Alpha course only started in 1992, so is many years behind the genre of, yet 25% of the UK population say they know that the Alpha course is a Christian course. It could have been that the audience wouldn’t have laughed when they see the Alpha Course sign, but they do. The idea of growth with Alpha is also revealed as it’s made clear in the fact that the vampires are there by an invitation, albeit that they arrive for a very different purpose.
The only weakness I can see is that the ‘Christian’ people come across as cheesy, but this is massivley outweighed by their friendliness and warmth, yet perhaps another element that has been experienced by the writers? By offering them a drink, it gives them a reason to stay longer and have a conversation. Of course, the clever part is the misunderstandings between the vampires and Alpha leaders, with the leaders thinking they’ve got a couple of great attendees! I even find it great that even after they realise where they are, one of them wants to stay, as they ‘don’t seem too bad’. It continues to show the warmth and kindness of the people present.
One of the negative sides shown throughout this sketch though is the miscommunication of people concerning potential relationships. I’m sure that no-one would deliberatley want to lead another person on, but that might accidently happen through warmth and kindness shown. I imagine this comes across through church being a very naturally friendly place, and the idea of ‘being nice to the new guys’ is one which might be common in churches throughout the UK generally.
It would have been very easy to twist the sketch and for everyone to end up in a pool of blood, saying something stupid like “Our master, Nicky Gumbel, will be pleased!”, but no! Instead, these Vampires, of very different lifestyle to the Christians, end up joining them in song! Brilliant. Great ending I thought.
The success of Alpha seems to have made an impact on comedy, and people got the jokes. As the new coordinator of LookingforGod.com, I hope that one day, people will make a joke about the website. When they do, it’ll be an indicator that people know about the website, and assuming people laugh, it means they know what it contains. Of course, we’d rather people didn’t laugh at Christian things, but it does allow us to see the positives and negatives from a third perspective.