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Dead on Arrival

CBS’ television comedy sitcom, “The Great Indoors,” was dead on arrival. It is not surprising that it was cancelled after one season.

Stereotypes are half-truths, but they feel like whole lies. Millennials are repeated victims of public stereotyping. They come by their defensiveness honestly. Most millennials resist the moniker itself, as it has come to associated them as lazy, narcissistic, entitled, coddled, uncommitted, and technologically obsessed. Rarely has there been a demographic cohort that has been more studied and more misunderstood. The press has not been favorable or fair.

Consider this. If you tell a story about a group of people and they don’t see themselves in the story, and worse your story pisses them off, then just maybe there is something wrong with the story being told. Almost everything said about millennials is wrong. People have used a 2-D lens to describe a 3-D reality. Distortions are inevitable. No one likes being so slandered.

“The Great Indoors” was an attempt at satire based on these false stereotypes about millennials. The premise of this show was to make fun of millennials in the workplace, who are attempted to be managed by an older adventure reported played by Joel McHale.

From the outset, millennial-aged entertainment reporters protested the show’s pilot. But since the inside joke among the older producers was that millennial are coddled and sensitive, this criticism was only taken as further proof of their premise and laughed off. Another example of self-serving generational blindness. Guess who got the last laugh?

Negative press heaped unfairly on millennials has put all millennials understandably on the defensive. The tragedy is not simply the cross-generational rudeness, but the blindness and lack of respect that comes with it. The labeling stereotypes mask the unique perspectives millennials carry, a perspective I describe as the New Copernican mindset.

It is my contention that millennials not only think different, but they think better—that is they have a more accurate assessment of human nature and reality. As they are the first generation that is post-Enlightenment and post-secular, they are overturning 300 years of biased left-brain binary either/or thinking. Their sensibilities are right on the mark.

Of course, some of the stereotypes have some truth to them and some of their protests against the establishment are over the top and indefensible. But none of this undermines the enormous contribution they potentially bring to society... and especially the church. When attempts at humor blinds us to a needed societal corrective, it is no longer funny, but tragic. Good riddance to “The Great Indoors.” We need and deserve something better. We need to start listening and taking seriously millennial voices.

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