It was recently announced that the DIY network will be airing a new TV show called “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.” Of course, this comes as a huge disappointment to all those who hoped that reality programming based on the Amish, which is a pretty big segment of the population. It also comes as a huge blow to everyone hoping there wouldn’t be any more Vanilla Ice based programming, which covers pretty much everyone else. I could respond to the mainstream fascination with Amish lifestyle, but that would quickly head in a predictable direction.
I’m trying to be more positive these days, so I’ve come up with a few ideas of Mennonite themed TV shows that we actually do want to see.
Breaking Bread – a Mennonite pastor finds out he has terminal cancer and starts selling unpasteurized milk on the side to raise extra money. Does his new secret life harbour hidden dangers like the bacteria in the milk he sells or is he simply freeing himself from needless religious and governmental restrictions?
Not Dancing with the Stars – a TV crew follows around a group of Mennonite young people who visit high end night clubs and try to demonstrate to their contemporaries that they can have fun without dancing. Episodes usually end with the group putting up non-violent resistance when the bouncers seek to remove them from the club.
The Shame of Thrones – an HBO history style show. The story of Münster, a city of apocalyptic expectation, exclusive political and religious practice, vanity and struggle for superiority, and what late-night TV audience wants, wanton sexuality. (This one isn’t really a joke, this story is made for this genre of TV history. Historical details had to be altered to make the Tudors and the Borgias sexy, but this story is ripe for the picking.)
Mad Mennonites – a travelling deacon/conference minister visits various Mennonite congregants who are demonstrating far too much agression to be in good standing with their spiritual or birth families and are either on the verge of being shunned or are already being viciously gossiped about (or both).
Boardgame Empire – a home-schooling family designed their own boardgame and travel North America trying to find buyers for their game and keeping up their education as they travel.
Downtown Abbotsford – a hidden camera show where residents of British Columbia’s Mennonite Bible belt are presented with moral scruples while their pastors sit in a van and watch the action/inaction unfold on TV screens.
The Voices – a choir director at a Mennonite college is trying to assemble his ensemble for the year. The contestants try to demonstrate the right amount skill, personality and lack of personality that the panel is looking for in a Mennonite college choir member. The panel consists of the choir director, college president, the wife of the school’s biggest donor, and the diva from the previous year’s choir that couldn’t get a job with her music degree and so she has nothing better to do with her time. (Rejected name: The MezzoSupranos)
Any TV networks interested in developing these ideas should indicate so in the comments.