Priests are supposed to be men of virtue and comfort, which is why subversions of the faithful friar motif are so common in horror movies. From Anthony Hopkins in The Rite to Bruce Davison in Camp Hell, from Cheech Marin in Machete to Vincent D’Onofrio in Rings, from FoxTV’s adaptation of The Exorcist to Preacher on AMC, horror movies and shows are resplendent with Men of God gone bad.
On such man of the cloth who almost had a bloody turn on network TV is Monsignor Martinez, the main character in a fictional Mexican telenovela featured occasionally on King of the Hill (voiced by showrunner Mike Judge himself). On Sundays, Monsignor Martinez leads mass, but when he’s not in church, he’s dispatching drug dealers and cartel kingpins, spouting his ironic catchphrase: “Viya con Dios!” (“Go with God!”).
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Back in 2000, FoxTV ordered a live-action pilot for a Monsignor Martinez; it came to fruition with Judge as director, and the episode starred Ivo Cutzarida as the Monsignor and David Herman as John Smith. Upon viewing the pilot, however, executive at Fox quickly shelved it. Rumors are that the execs were shocked by the idea of a Priest mercilessly offing bad guys (which makes us wonder what they were expecting in the first place?).
Over the past decade and a half, the “lost” Monsignor Martinez pilot has become the stuff of legends. While it reportedly ran in full in the early days of YouTube, it’s since become as elusive as proof of Bigfoot and the lost city of Atlantis. All that remains, it would seem, are detailed descriptions of the pilot uploaded by King of the Hill uber-fans. You can find a complete history of the non-show in the book Spinning Laughter: Profiles of 111 Proposed Comedy Spin-offs and Sequels that Never Became a Series by Richard Irvin.
Here’s the show’s Official Synopsis: A live-action spin-off of “king of the hill” about a macho, renegade priest who joins forces with a young stock broker and ex-nun to destroy the drug dealer that murdered his favorite altar boy.
The only way the Monsignor Martinez will ever see the light of day is if Fox decides to give it some kind of official release. Does anybody want to launch a petition?
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We may never know what a live-action Monsignor Martinez show looks like, but we can at least enjoy the cartoon version in the clip below (and on King of the Hill reruns, which are a staple of Adult Swim).
Viya con Dios!