Can we get a fan in the first pew? This is so not mama’s sweet hour of prayer.
Quick, let’s sample the flavor.
Here are spouses and co-pastors Brian and Tara Lewis. He was raised Jewish, but now preaches evangelical Christianity. Tara was “an adulterer” in a previous marriage (we know because she held up a big sign by the road saying so), but is now a super-fit mom who is given to wearing, say, a hot little purple number with a big “Jesus” belt.
The couple say they had to leave their new church shortly after arriving from Los Angeles. They tell their fellow castmates, on camera, that they’ve decided to launch a national television ministry. Tara, for her part, is described on her “Momfit” Web site as a “Global Television Personality, Mompreneur, Published Author, Certified Fitness Instructor, Certified Sports Nutritionist, Pastor, TV Host, and Très Chic Passionista, best known for her radiant beauty and Southern charm.”
Somehow this Career of Awesomeness does not impress her compatriots.
“I’m not sure what [her] show is going to look like,” Domonique Scott, the first lady who was the drug addict, tells the camera. “But I’m always up for a good laugh.”
You may have guessed by now that “The Sisterhood” is less about reality — “it’s definitely entertainment,” says Wendy Douglas, the show’s senior director of production — and more about a spicy pseudo-reveal on one of society’s most visible but least understood unelected positions.
Douglas says that, like other TLC shows, be they about people who talk to the dead (“Long Island Medium”) or the Amish (“
Breaking Amish”), “The Sisterhood” delves into a subculture everybody has heard of but doesn’t know much about. Religious faith is “a space in culture that people don’t talk about a lot in reality shows, and I think we’ve broken some new ground,” she says.
That’s true, the show’s observers say, but whether or not it’s ground that needed this kind of tilling is another matter.
None of these first ladies are at major denominational churches, such as Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian or Methodist. Instead, they’re all at what are loosely known as “prosperity churches,” with names like the Oasis Family Life Church, Emmanuel Tabernacle, Work with Wonders and The Good Life Ministry. Two of the couples were between churches during filming.
Three of the five first ladies are black (one is white and one is Latina), giving the show a predominantly black viewpoint, and not everyone is thrilled about the portrayals. First ladies at historically black churches are particularly high-profile positions, with an emphasis on social standing, decorum and, well, class.