Those who know me well (or even tangentially, come to think) know I love me some reality television, and that I’m not a very discriminating viewer. True, I haven’t stooped to watching “Honey, Honey, Boo, Boo,” but I do watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” and its copy-cat shows like “Cheer Perfection” and “Dance Moms.” I don’t watch “Real Housewives of Miami,” but that’s only because I don’t want to confuse storylines with the “Real Housewives” series I do watch. That’s series, as in plural.
So I was really excited to read this week that several new Christian-based reality TV programs will begin airing in January. And none of these Christian-based shows deal with the Amish, which is a real surprise, since last fall the Amish were the bomb, so to speak, in reality television.
No, the most prominent new show will be called “Divas for Jesus.” And as a side note, when I Googled “Divas for Jesus,” lots of stuff unrelated to the television program came up. I had no idea there were so many divas for Jesus spreading the gospel message through their glam appearance, sparkly shoes, or ability to sing opera.
But the real “Divas for Jesus,” the ones appearing on the WE station in January, will follow—in a scripted/unscripted reality television way—the lives of six southern divas who, according to publicity about the show, “live naughty during the week, and act nice on Sunday.”
Here’s a bit more: “[Divas for Jesus] follows a group of fabulous Christian women whose faith consists of guns, God, gossip and great wine. Monday through Saturday, our ensemble cast of glamorous Nashville ladies live upper class lifestyles working and playing hard. Tossing Book Club for Bible Study, these ladies get together every week, and on Sunday they ask for forgiveness and cleanse their fabulous little souls.”
Yep, sounds like a winner to me: a little bit dirty, a little bit sanctified, and just like the theology I like to follow, in which I can live a degraded life all week, knowing that come Sunday morning, a bit of time in my local Quaker church will cleanse my fabulous soul completely, so that it can get trashed again the next week. I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus had in mind when he wrote the Bible.
Several other shows on the TLC network will be competing with “Divas for Jesus.” One is called “The Sisterhood,” and looks at the “everyday life” of five preachers’ wives in Atlanta. I can’t imagine how exciting that might be. When I think of my mom’s life as a preacher’s wife, the first thing that comes to mind is how TV-worthy her experience was: singing in the choir, though she didn’t really want to; having to put the kids to bed every night, because dad was always at a meeting; and acting consummate host for Sunday dinners with congregants, when what she really wanted to do was take a nap. That must be some good TV watching!
The other show is called “Preachers’ Daughters,” which will provide a “behind-the-scenes” look at teenagers whose dads happen to be Christian preachers, and how the negotiate “worldly temptations” with the “guidance of their parents.” Having been a preacher’s daughter and a teenager at one time, I fully know the potential of a show like this. If reality television has taught me anything, after all, it’s that people pretty much fit into particular roles: the bitch, the whore, the sweet Christian, the rube. Knowing that, I can’t imagine that TLC will play into any kind of stereotype about the naughty preacher’s kid who gets away with everything.
A good friend and neighbor who shares my interest in many reality programs has been floating the idea of a Real Housewives series, set right here in Dundee. Now that a bunch of new shows feature Christian women whose lives are guided by “deep love” and which explore “women’s secret temptations, fantasies, and their exciting and fun adventures,” I’m thinking my friend might just get her wish.
Imagine the possibilities. “The Secret Lives of Dundee Women,” in which the cameras following women picking up their kids after school, feeding them snacks, and taking them to Tae Kwon Do, battling the temptation to take a nap or get a chai from Chapter’s.
Perhaps “Shades of Quaker Grey,” in which women from the local Friends’ churches, gathered for a book group discussion, drink one glass of wine each, then admit that sometimes they’d rather read a novel then get some good lovin’ from their husbands.
Or, maybe, “Life in the Slow Lane,” which follows several women who work in Newberg but live in Dundee, and spend minutes of their precious days fighting the traffic, listening to NPR, grousing about a bypass, and thinking blissfully about the fat sweats they hope to put on, but only when those damn cars up ahead will move a little faster.
Yep, I’m seeing some really promising reality television. And if the producers need to cast someone as the bitchy feminist with a real heart of gold, I’m all set for the role.