Right now in Britain, the first in a terribly imagined three-part series is airing. It’s another reality TV show, and with an even worse premise than “The Simple Life.” David Waters explains in “Reality TV Goes to Hell”:
Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote that “hell is other people.” Personally I think hell is other people in reality TV shows. Or maybe it’s other people who come up with ideas for reality TV shows.
“In this three-part series,” Channel 4 explains in a press release. “A group of volunteers give up their normal lives and attempt to live like Christians for three weeks.”
The 13 volunteers (that’s right, 13—I can’t wait to see which one turns out to be Jesus) include an atheist biker, a lap-dancer who likes expensive shoes, a Muslim convert, a young womanizer, two middle-class parents too busy for their kids, an unmarried couple expecting a child, and a lesbian who’s into witchcraft.
What’s so absurd isn’t the cast of potential converts, which you might find at any reputable tent revival. What’s driving me to distraction is the show’s notion of what makes a Christian.
According to Channel 4, the busy parents will be asked to spend 15 minutes a day with their children, the lesbian will be asked to get rid of her explicit photos and books, and the young womanizer will be asked not to “look lustfully” at a girl. “Can they embrace Christian ideals and learn to live in a different way or will their old lives prove just too strong to resist?”
The Revelations Will be Televised.