Except for House Hunters and House Hunters International and maybe Bizarre Foods and a couple of other HGTV shows, I hate reality television shows, like the Housewives of Atlanta and the Kardashians, so you get my drift?
But will this Lifetime Television show make it? Will it inspire more vocations to women's religious orders? At least Lifetime knew that the ratings would plummet if they chose an LCWR group of women religious to be the orders that these girls would consider, just like LCWR vocations have plummeted. So there is some good logic here that even TV execs know but the LCWR types are complete obliviously, in denial in other words.
But here's the movie trailer:
The girls seem fake. No girl choosing to enter a convent of nuns that still wears a habit in 2014 is going to be shocked that they have to wear a uniform in the beginning. They would not refer to the habit as a "nun outfit". They don't use phrases like "pissed off". They aren't surprised that they can't use makeup or their cell phones etc. and they aren't shown in their homes with their boyfriends sleeping in their house.
And I really don't have much faith in a network that has programs like "Honey Boo Boo" and "Todlers and Tiaras" to present the religious life in a good light.
And it's not life of girls entering a convent either. It's not postulancy or novitiate. It seems more like a vocation dicernment retreat, which they don't make clear. The dead give away is that none of the nuns know the girls at all when they arrived.
I would be willing to bet that the five women dipicted in this were selected ahead of time by the producers and then they applied at the convent. These are not organic discernments to vocations where these five were chosen after they applied of their own volition. Sorry, but reality shows are far from reality.
Television is a visual medium, so it follows that you need to communicate things visually. A uniform does this.
Thus, in Hollywood movies, it's never the Pentecostal, Mormon, or nondenominational chapel that the devil is assaulting. It's got to be a Gothic church with extra angelic statuary. The clergyman in trouble is never some slick guy in a polo shirt but some priest in a cassock.
Ditto with nuns. Hollywood has not kept up with the times. For them, a woman religious still wears a uniform that says "I'm specially consecrated to God".
It's why cop shows must have the guys and gals with guns wearing badges. Why doctor shows must have the hunks and babes dressed in white lab coats. It's why movies about the military have to have some officer decked out in his class A uniform with a chest full of medals (real generals wouldn't go to some secret base wearing all that stuff).
So I don't think it's as theologically sophisticated as we might think. Hollywood needs viewers to IMMEDIATELY understand who the person is and what they're doing. You can't do that easily without some form of uniform.
You can bet the show is garbage. I like Jack Bauer…Nat Geo is good; the other night I saw a giraffe kill a lion by kicking it in the ribs and head when the lion was trying to kill the baby giraffe standing under mom's belly. Bad choice. Oh, check out Hell on Wheels if you haven't seen it...
I watched the first episode with my four daughters. What struck us is how one girl appeared to be shacking up with her boyfriend all the way until the day of her arrival. There was no hint or mention of her dealing with this in confession. Another girl, an aspiring actress, seemed to have little idea of what nuns were like and her only inspiration for joining was reading the biography of Sr. Dolores Hart. I don't want to be too hard on the show, because I think its premise is interesting. I did notice that the most "Catholic" of all the girls came from a very religious family that prayed together a lot. They are all entering a Carmelite house (NOT the more strict Discalced Carmelites who are cloistered) and one of the nuns commented on the girl saying something like, "I can handle conservative, traditional Catholics, but I am concerned about their ability to relate to people" or something like that. The implication being that this is the "modern" "get with it" Church and we have got to weed out these heartless Traditionalist types. I am going to watch this series closely for other hints of such bias.
What religious congregation is this?
I agree with your concern. On the one hand this seems to be a welcome change of pace from much of what is on television these days. On the other hand, how many of these girls are "plants" just to make the show more interesting. Still, it may turn out to be a net positive, especially if it faithfully portrays the process and experience of becoming a professed, consecrated religious.
I just hope that some of what should be included does not end up on the cutting room floor or rather, edited from the recording medium.
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