Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Monastery: A Ten Part Series on TLC

So I saw the preview for this new show on TLC a couple of weeks ago but for whatever reason, kept forgetting about it. dUSt mentioned it on phatmass and it reminded me to post about it here. As impressed as everyone was with God or the Girl, I'm thinking that this will be a hit. I was not impressed with God or the Girl at all but I'm really hoping this one isn't the same way.

I went looking for some sort of explanation of the show and found the following...
By Steve Friess Special for, USA TODAY
ABIQUIU, N.M. — On normal mornings, the peals of the bell calling the monks to chapel for their 4 a.m. prayer simply float out into these remote desert hills to reverberate and die.
But for six weeks this winter, the sights and sounds were captured by film crews. And the men who pulled the rope were, many a morning, among five non-monks who were called to live there not by God but by producers from The Learning Channel.

A reality show set in a monastery? Sort of. But producers of this TLC effort, which is scheduled to air as a 10-part series this fall, say they're working on an "observational documentary" that follows people who are at spiritual crossroads and in search of profound answers.

The premise of The Monastery, an American version of a similar British show produced last year for the BBC, is to cloister five men of varied backgrounds and faiths at the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert here in the mountains northwest of Santa Fe and five women at the Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey on a farm near Dubuque, Iowa. Each participant has a dramatic back story, from a soldier who lost his leg in the Iraq war to a woman who had her first child at age 14 and yet put herself through school for an MBA degree.

"This isn't a reality show," series producer Sarah Woodford says.

"The point has not been to create traps for hapless people to fall into. We're interested in exploring how people like us can live a good and purposeful life and what the 1,500-year-old monastic tradition can teach modern people."
So it's not really anything like God or the Girl in the sense that people are not actually monks as they appear to be in the commercials. After reading this article (Read the rest here), I'm not sure if I really do want to see it. I'm worried about the premesis of the show - a religious vocation is a serious matter and is not for everyone. This could be very scandalous. I'm also worried about the level of orthodoxy that will displayed by this. I am reminded of a lot of 'Catholic' groups that seek to do things which are not wise. They call themselves orthodox but it is obvious to the truly orthodox that they are not. In this case, it seems the monastery is concerned with looking better in the eyes of others but I believe they are going about that in wholy unrealistic ways. I'm nervous...

Anyone have any thoughts on this?


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