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God, Seinfeld Character, Ice Cream Man = Web Series

As we all know, the line between entertainment and information, between amusement and education, has become increasingly blurred in recent times. New words and phrases like infomercial, Brangelina and 'teaching as an amusing activity' have crept into the national consciousness and vocabulary. Sometimes these changes are for the better, sometimes not.

However it all shakes out, we're left with a passel of hybrids and hyphenates; two last names, episode plus the web equals webisodes being just a couple of things now joined that never went together before.

Tony Denison
Tony Denison from "The Closer"

This last example is central to the point of this article. What would you get if you crossed a lesson from the Bible (or the Torah, the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita) with an episode of Seinfeld? According to the brand new webisodes made available for review, you'd get something like "Prophet or Madman," a sometimes delightful, sometimes confounding, sometimes hilarious and always uplifting web series set for immediate release on computers near you.

Prophet or Madman tells the story of one Bruce Adams, ice cream man by profession and a divine messenger by heavenly dictate and his sidekick (and our narrator), Steve Allen, head of the bicoastal PR firm Steve Allen Media. (Steve also happens to be a bona fide Seinfeld alum, appearing in the recurring role of the Father of the Ugly Baby, hence, it is presumed, the droll humor and 'much ado about nothing' sensibility that informs the series.)

Bruce was leading an ordinary life - husband, father, businessman - when he was interrupted by what he identifies as the Almighty, told to change everything about his life, become an author and write a book meant to set the world straight. He did all this, losing his family and businesses along the way, and, upon completion of his task, found nobody was interested in what he had to say. Bruce's next move, logical in its own way, was to hook up with Steve Allen, whose firm specializes in representing the Deepak Chopras and Wayne Dyers of this world. Steve made the executive decision that the best way to get Bruce exposure was to enlist the help of his pals and film everything and everyone that Bruce knew and hoped to know.

Along the way we get plenty of testimony from friends and family as to the sensibility, not to say sanity, of the proposed effort. This is where the real fun comes in. Not only do we get Oxford educated theologians, ex-wives and ice cream parlor habitués, we get honest to goodness Hollywood celebrities and rock stars, all weighing in on what we should do and where we should go in this world and whether or not Bruce is tipping toward prophet or madman.

The Chinese have a saying, "Before enlightenment, mountains, rivers trees, after enlightenment, mountains, rivers, trees." Maybe the Seinfeld gang was on to deeper truths than we recognized. Maybe there are no big deals in higher consciousness, but there's never been a more lighthearted, good natured, upbeat take on the topic than that offered by Prophet or Madman.

- Kelly Johnson

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