Author Topic: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family  (Read 3115 times)

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Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« on: July 14, 2019, 02:15:59 PM »
In which Louis returns to the Westboro Baptist Church for a third, and presumably final, time.

Official BBC press release...

Quote
Thirteen years since first encountering one of America’s most notorious hate groups, award-winning film-maker Louis Theroux makes a long-anticipated return to Kansas to spend time with the Westboro Baptist Church - a hugely controversial Christian ministry that for years has picketed at military funerals and other high-profile events with deliberately provocative and homophobic placards.

In 2006 - and again in 2011 - Louis uncovered a world of indoctrination, masterminded by church-founder and figurehead Pastor Fred Phelps, known among his congregation as 'Gramps'.

But since his death in 2014 the church has experienced significant changes which have threatened to tear apart what was once a tight-knit family community, and had their relevance challenged in Trump’s America, where outrageous statements are par for the course.

As well as a series of allegations about Pastor Phelps’ final days, including rumours of mental illness and his excommunication, the church has also been hit by a number of high-profile family defections, including Pastor Phelps's granddaughter Megan - now Westboro’s most prominent critic.

Yet despite the unrest, the church has continued to attract new members, including Bradford-born Mathias Holroyd, who sees Westboro’s fire-and-brimstone rhetoric as the perfect tonic to his struggle to fit in with modern-day Britain.

Immersing himself in the strange and unpleasant world of Westboro, Louis explores what happens when a hate-group largely populated by one family loses its patriarch. And, as he discovers, Pastor Phelps’ doctrine of divine hate has cast a shadow not only on the church's true believers, but also on those who have managed to escape Westboro's vice-like grip.

Louis Theroux says: "I am always interested in how people change over time - both physically and in their outlook - and even more so when they are involved in lifestyles that are somehow wrong-headed or self-sabotaging.

"With our unique access to the inner workings of the Wesboro Baptist Church over the last 13 years we’ve been able to track the changes in an extreme religious group from the inside, and also from the perspective of its ex-members. We’ve been able to tell a story about indoctrination, where it comes from, how it is enforced - but also about deradicalisation, and the way in which a handful of those who were formerly zealots have managed to break free and take a kinder less hateful view of the world.

"In particular, in this, our third visit to Topeka, I was curious to see how the Church was faring after the loss of the church founder, Pastor Fred Phelps, who died in 2014. Gramps’ angry and bigoted outlook had been the bedrock of Westboro's practises and I was curious to see whether his death might have caused any kind of break-up or re-evaluation within the church, especially since there had been rumours that Fred Phelps might have had some kind of change of heart at the end of his life.

"It was exciting going back for thirds. For their own reasons - to do with spreading their twisted take on the gospels - Westboro let me back in. For my part it was a chance to see the strange machinations of psychology, religion, and social conditioning. I feel lucky to have had the chance to conduct this kind of longitudinal documentary making."

It's on tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.


Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2019, 03:37:05 PM »
What if he finally ends up converting to their cause like Steve Drain?

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2019, 05:02:01 PM »
What if he finally ends up converting to their cause like Steve Drain?

While that would make for an extraordinary ending to this trilogy, the fact that Louis' previous encounters with these horrible nutjobs have almost caused the unflappable interlocutor to lose his temper - he's clearly on the verge of telling Drain to fuck off during that first documentary - suggests he'll probably keep a grip on his sanity.

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2019, 05:07:11 PM »
Does anyone remember the Keith Allen doc produced (by VLS) around the same time as Louis' first one? It's on YouTube so I might rewatch it but I remember finding it a bit shit and juvenile in comparison.

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2019, 06:01:04 PM »
Does anyone remember the Keith Allen doc produced (by VLS) around the same time as Louis' first one? It's on YouTube so I might rewatch it but I remember finding it a bit shit and juvenile in comparison.

Keith Allen Is Going To Hell (or similar title)? It was interesting because it was another look at these oddballs, but I don’t think Allen specifically brought anything particular interesting to the table.

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2019, 06:02:28 PM »
Keith Allen Is Going To Hell (or similar title)? It was interesting because it was another look at these oddballs, but I don’t think Allen specifically brought anything particular interesting to the table.

I did like the bit where he put his cock in Fred Phelps' pint.

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2019, 06:20:21 PM »
I did like the bit where he put his cock in Fred Phelps' pint.

Interestingly, in Phelps’ autobiography (“A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Picket Against Fallen Combat Soldiers, And Other Bonkers Things I Have Done”), he claims this single action is what galvanized his faith in being a mentalist and spurred him on to greater heights.

As always, it is the innocent who suffer the consequences of Allen’s banter.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2019, 07:53:15 PM »
Keith Allen Is Going To Hell (or similar title)? It was interesting because it was another look at these oddballs, but I don’t think Allen specifically brought anything particular interesting to the table.

He didn't, no, because Keith Allen is a bullish fucking idiot. Louis gently conversing with the Phelps reaped far greater rewards. Allen just barged into their commune and told them that they're all a bunch of tragically indoctrinated, bigoted cunts. Well yes, they are, but Louis managed to portray them - some of them, anyway - as conflicted, troubled human beings.

The mum and her eldest daughters actually sort of like Louis, so they opened up to him a bit. They shut down with Allen because even they, a profoundly horrible bunch of lunatics, thought "This guy is an asshole".

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2019, 08:03:25 PM »
Quite an exciting surprise, as the other two are among my favourite documentaries. That said, I do wonder about the necessity of giving this execrable family more airtime, given they largely go ignored these days. What more can really be gleaned from displaying them on the BBC to regurgitate yet more homophobia and myriad other bigotries? I can't really see what else there is to learn about this tiny band of hatemongers, who've already had vastly more attention and screentime than they deserve.

I can't imagine he'll convince them any more than the other two times, surely. I remember him seeming to get quite close  to breaking through Jael Phelp's views in the first one, only to come back for number 2 and find her totally fucking indoctrinated, a sinister presence who stopped him talking as openly to the younger members as he'd been able to with her.

But, who knows? I'm sure he wouldn't have made it without feeling he had good reason.

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2019, 08:54:11 PM »
Quite an exciting surprise, as the other two are among my favourite documentaries. That said, I do wonder about the necessity of giving this execrable family more airtime, given they largely go ignored these days. What more can really be gleaned from displaying them on the BBC to regurgitate yet more homophobia and myriad other bigotries? I can't really see what else there is to learn about this tiny band of hatemongers, who've already had vastly more attention and screentime than they deserve.

I can't imagine he'll convince them any more than the other two times, surely. I remember him seeming to get quite close  to breaking through Jael Phelp's views in the first one, only to come back for number 2 and find her totally fucking indoctrinated, a sinister presence who stopped him talking as openly to the younger members as he'd been able to with her.

But, who knows? I'm sure he wouldn't have made it without feeling he had good reason.

It’s a study of indoctrination and humanity in extremely straitjacketed places, rather than a platform for them. They’ve been spouting their mad views for decades at this point, and picked up a grand total of what, 2 new followers? The message is beyond palatable for even the most extreme bigot - that’s why they are so interesting. This is all patently completely insane, and yet these earnest humans stick with it, flying in the face of common sense. And they are human, sometimes, in little moments with Louis and that’s fascinating, because why are you like this. They are deserving of pity, rather than disgust - Louis gets at that very well (it’s always been his stock in trade).

I get your point that it gives them free broadcasting but that’s not done them much good, and to be honest probably does them more harm than favours.

I understand why Louis keeps going back, especially with the time in between because it removes the stasis. They all have these unshakeable beliefs that will never change and you won’t get me to admit any flaws Mr Theroux, then 5 years later the unshakeably faithful have left. It’s an interesting topic and covering them over time periods adds an extra dynamic - if you went once they’d all say “this is what we believe” and that would be it. With the benefit of time, you can add context and show development in the main players.

I’ll be interested to watch this when it goes out, and I’m in the UK so I’ll actually be able to see it as it goes out!

imitationleather

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2019, 09:03:33 PM »
Why is it a load of pricks driving cars round and round and laughing? This isn't like any Louis Theroux I've seen before. (Apart from the Demolition Derby one.)

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2019, 09:04:07 PM »
As much as I enjoy his documentaries I'm not sure what this five-minute "Will Young driving a car" intro has to do with anything.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2019, 09:04:22 PM »
Will Young, ffs

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2019, 09:05:06 PM »
Cant top gear just contain its pointlessness in its timeslot?

imitationleather

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2019, 09:06:21 PM »
Will Young talking a load of bollocks about how much he loves this show:

"It has been... Like a fairytale."

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2019, 09:06:38 PM »
Why is it a load of pricks driving cars round and round and laughing? This isn't like any Louis Theroux I've seen before. (Apart from the Demolition Derby one.)

That was the best one, to be fair. They were the only “subculture” who acknowledged they were (or at least, would appear to be) completely bonkers and were having a load of fun with it at the same time. The rest get all defensive - not these lunatics in their souped-up wheel barrows, smashing into each other and yowling out the window as their mullets flap in the breeze.

Even Louis had a good time, and usually he’s all dour during the closing monologue. Not this time, Theroux!

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2019, 09:08:17 PM »
Oh christ, that earlier reply was intended as a joke but actually this is nowhere fucking near ending isn't it.

Twitter's pissed.

imitationleather

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2019, 09:08:40 PM »
That was the best one, to be fair. They were the only “subculture” who acknowledged they were (or at least, would appear to be) completely bonkers and were having a load of fun with it at the same time. The rest get all defensive - not these lunatics in their souped-up wheel barrows, smashing into each other and yowling out the window as their mullets flap in the breeze.

Even Louis had a good time, and usually he’s all dour during the closing monologue. Not this time, Theroux!

I'm sure I remember Theroux saying he hated (or maybe just disliked) that one and it was why it was left off DVD releases and such-like.

Watched it for the first time in many years recently. It's about a thousand times better than the crap he puts out now, obviously.

WHERE IS MY NEW LOUIS CRAP, BBC2?

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2019, 09:08:51 PM »
Seriously has there been a scheduling fuck up? This is quite funny now.

imitationleather

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2019, 09:10:02 PM »
Episode's been pulled. BBC conspiracy to upset Blodwyn. Pass it on.

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2019, 09:10:26 PM »
I thought Top Gear was just running late.

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2019, 09:12:08 PM »
it is. on at 20 past.

imitationleather

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2019, 09:14:37 PM »
it is. on at 20 past.


"The scheduling doesn't have a headache even when it is a headache."

BlodwynPig

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2019, 09:16:12 PM »
Episode's been pulled. BBC conspiracy to upset Blodwyn. Pass it on.

This new TG is even more interminable than the last - like a shit parody..."sadly, Peterson died...from complications due to surgery" (LOTUS piece). Who gives a flying fuck about Lotus. Or Cars?

imitationleather

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2019, 09:21:04 PM »

"It's that time I'm afraid."

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2019, 09:37:36 PM »
well this is a very extreme way to cessate your inceldom

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2019, 09:39:23 PM »
well this is a very extreme way to cessate your inceldom

Isn't it just?

Louis taking the outright piss is quite funny.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2019, 09:40:58 PM »
well this is a very extreme way to cessate your inceldom

State of this lad.

Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2019, 09:41:39 PM »
Is that what Bradford does to you?

imitationleather

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Re: Louis Theroux: Surviving America's Most Hated Family
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2019, 09:43:57 PM »
How come in the early videos he's balding but now he lives there he has a full head of hair?

That's what God does to you, I guess.