Since nothing says “Christian” like a cheap knock-off trying to capitalize on a successful pop culture phenomenon, get ready for “Real Housewives of the Bible.” Because when I see screaming, catty, materialistic, self-absorbed women strutting around on television, I think “That would make a great Bible study.” Wait, what?
Ty Adams, creator of the new show, says that the current batch of housewife reality shows “have ruined and tainted our ability to secure good relationships and to make women into good wives.” OK, so the best way to combat this is to make a Christian version of the shows using biblical wives and sell the DVDs on your website?
Obviously, Adams is not the first Christian entrepreneur to attempt a faith-friendly version of reality TV. Several shows have come and gone in years past. But I want to know which shows are the future. What show will be storming through literally tens of … dozens of homes a week on TBN? Who will be the next Christian reality TV star recognized by four or five people? Here’s my best guess.
5. The Amazing Sunday Race: Sure The Amazing Race takes teams all around the world. I even had a friend, Kelly McCorkle Parkison, on the show and I interviewed her on this blog. But Kelly is now a pastor’s wife and she would even agree: the action on the show is nothing compared to the action of church members trying to get out of the building as fast as possible to be the first in line at the local restaurants.
There are road blocks just like the real show. The pastor is taking too long greeting people at the exits or someone new joins the church and you are supposed to go shake their hand. It all goes down like an elimination style tournament. Sure, you may be the first Baptist out of your parking lot, but what about the Presbyterians? Their preacher never goes late. And the Methodists? They’ve probably already started eating. The Pentecostals? Well, at least you’ll beat them.
This show has everything that makes the original Amazing Race so popular – pushing, shoving, crazy driving, fighting in the car, blaming your teammate for being late, forcing yourself to eat tons of food but not because it is a challenge. In this case, it’s an all you can eat buffet and you are getting your money’s worth.
4. Dancing with the Devil: This one would be one of those shows where you know it can’t last long, but it will be fun while it lasts. Twelve world class dancers are paired with twelve uncoordinated Christians who refuse to move their feet in any type of rhythmic manner or even listen to “Satan’s samba.”
Each week, a Christian is eliminated after succumbing to the temptation to dance. You see them fighting back toe tapping as they are surrounding by music 24/7. The competitors slowly whittle down until only two remain.
The final show provides the ultimate test for the dancing teetotalers. Suddenly, the band breaks out into 90’s hit praise chorus Shout to the Lord and a choreographer comes on to teach them an “interpretive movement.” Which dance-phobe will fall first? Who can resist dancing when its renamed interpretive movement? Find out on the season finale of Dancing with the Devil.
3. Deadliest Casserole: Have you ever been to a church potluck dinner? Most people bring normal things like fried chicken, potato salad or slaw, but then a few pop in with a casserole. It might be a green bean casserole or a chicken casserole or it might be a “here’s a bunch of junk I found in my refrigerator” casserole. There is no way to tell until you get some and take a bite, a potentially life altering bite.
Deadliest Casserole follows a group of extremely brave men going from church social to church social trying every casserole at the table. More often than not the men all make it back out to the van safely, but occasionally that was not the case. On two trips, they had to leave a fallen comrade behind.
In Missouri, one of the men bit into a Spam, bologna, cheese, egg, radish, turnip and leftover Chinese takeout casserole that left him hospitalized for weeks. One member of the team ate something (which has yet to be identified by government scientists) in Virginia and has not been seen since.
2. Pastor Swap: The show takes two pastors from completely different churches and swaps them for a month … hilarity ensues. In the show’s pilot episode, a small, traditional, country church pastor trades places with a gigantic, hip, urban church pastor. The country pastor keeps looking for somewhere to put his transparencies on the screen. While the urban pastor finds it difficult to live without a Starbucks located in lobby of the sanctuary.
The climax of the show comes during each pastor’s sermon. Country pastors mentions his love of fried chicken and three vegans in the front row pass out and another screams “Murderer!” and storms out. The urban pastor shows up to preach in skinny jeans and a graphic tee which causes three little old ladies to pass out and another to scream “Hippie freak!” and storm out.
In the season finale, a slow speaking, short sermon Episcopal priest swaps with a charismatic, long-winded AME Zion pastor. I’m pretty sure the Episcopal church didn’t know you could stay at church for that long and the AME Zion church made the Episcopal priest get back up in the pulpit and go again, even after he had preached every sermon he ever knew.
1. Survivor: Church Business Meeting: They have been to some exotic, even dangerous locations on Survivor but nothing could prepare Jeff Probst and the crew for the dangers that lie in the pews in wait this season. Contestants will be dropped off at a church in the middle of nowhere just in time for their quarterly business meeting and it’s going to be a good one.
They have to avoid several pitfalls. First, they want to make it through the severe boredom that deepens when committee chairs ramble on and on about nothing in particular. Then comes the finances. Oh, the finances. Many will never make it past the reading of budget before begged to be voted out. The next danger is hunger. As the meeting wears on, hunger sets in. But with no food to be had, contestants must scramble to find the “gum lady” or the “peppermint man” who can help them survive this stage.
The final challenge comes when tempers flare. The boredom and hunger have set nerves on edge. All that is needed is the spark and it comes when Brother Horace starts in again about the color of the linoleum in the men’s bathroom. Sister Alberta, who happens to be sitting on the same row as Brother Horace, is offended because she picked out that linoleum … in 1978. Contestants must weave their way through the flying hairpieces and hymnals to earn immunity.
Shows just outside of the top 5 – Wipeoff: Church nursery duty, Pastor Apprentice, Heaven’s Kitchen: How to deep fry everything, America’s Next Top Pastor, Bigger Brother: At least he is after eating too much from Heaven’s Kitchen, and Project Runaway: Avoiding being assigned a volunteer position at church.
What would make a great or just plain funny Christian reality TV show?