Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Track Review

Lady Gaga is courting controversy once again—of course—with the second single from her Born This Way release. Just as Madonna once shook up the music world's spiritual status quo with "Like a Prayer" (in 1989), so is Gaga in 2011 as she appropriates a tragic character from the gospels and reshapes his narrative.

The story this time has Mary Magdalene confessing her love for the duplicitous disciple. Over and over again we hear Gaga-as-Mary sing, "I'm in love with Judas, Judas."

It's a bad romance indeed, and Mary knows it. Yet she says, "When he comes to me, I am ready/I'll wash his feet with my hair if he needs/Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain." Then, as if admitting her folly even after she gives into it, she rationalizes, "I'm just a holy fool, oh baby, it's so cruel."

The next lines seem to be directed at Jesus: "I'll bring Him down, bring Him down, down/A King with no crown, King with no crown."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue is not impressed. "Lady Gaga tries to continue to shock Catholics and Christians in general: she dresses as a nun, she gets raped, she swallows the rosary," he said in an official statement. "She has now morphed into a caricature of herself. She is falling short. She wants to shock, does she actually believe her own BS?"

The question is crass, but it may be worth trying to answer. Take a look at the last—and most lyrically problematic—verse in the song: "In the most biblical sense/I am beyond repentance/Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind/But in the cultural sense/I just speak in future tense/Judas, kiss me if offensed/Or wear ear condom next time."

I'm sure there are many possible interpretations for Gaga's bizarre mixture of spiritual and sexual wordplay here. So we'll settle for her own. In a widely publicized interview with Britain's NME magazine, Gaga said this about her need—or not—for repentance: "People say I am trashy or pretentious or this and that. ['Judas' is] my way of saying, 'I've already crossed the line. I won't even try to repent. Nor should I."

Her video, not surprisingly, amps up these themes. It imagines Jesus and His disciples as a biker gang, with Gaga riding with Jesus but lusting after Judas. Jesus' leather-clad posse ends up at a roadhouse of sorts called the "Electric Chapel," where Gaga keeps sidling up to the quiet and reserved Christ even as she clearly longs to be with the beer-guzzling, womanizing Judas.

Those images marinate in Gaga's sensual sensibilities: One scene pictures her with Jesus and Judas in a bathtub-like basin, where Gaga washes their feet … while writhing and dancing.

In the end, a mob stones her.

If Gaga intends for any sort of serious point to poke through all the sensationalism—and that's a big if—it seems to be about the battle between our good impulses and the ones we know are wrong. Mary knows that Jesus deserves her loyalty, but Judas is the one she really wants. "I wanna love you," she sings to Jesus. "But something's pulling me away from you/Jesus is my virtue/And Judas is the demon I cling to."

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gaga's creative director, Laurieann Gibson, suggests that's how the video should be interpreted. "It went through several changes and late-night debates because at one point, there were two completely different views and I was like, 'Listen, I don't want lightning to strike me! I believe in the gospel and I'm not going there,'" Gibson said. "And it was amazing because to have that conversation about salvation, peace and the search for the truth in a room of non-believers and believers, to me, that was saying God is active in a big way. And the place that it came to is surreal."

Gibson also believes Gaga's creative team succeeded at steering clear of sacrilege or blasphemy. "We don't touch on things that we have no right touching upon, but the inspiration and the soul and idea that out of your oppression, your darkness, your Judas, you can come into the marvelous light. So it's about the inspiration and to never give up."

But remember that Gaga says it is about giving up—and giving in. She told MTV, "'Judas' is a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal and things that haunt you in your life and how I believe that it's the darkness in your life that ultimately shines and illuminates the greater light that you have upon you." Then, in a separate interview with USA Today, she added, "It's meant more to celebrate faith than it is to challenge it."

Is it? Can anything Gaga says really be taken at face value anymore? I'll not answer that. But even if we avoid judging her motives, we're still left with the results: an underwear- and lingerie-clad woman vamping for the illicit lover who's luring her away from Jesus Himself. Her final choice? Judas.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Debuted and peaked at No 10.

Record Label





April 15, 2011

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!