Via Lindsay Beyerstein at Majikthise, ABC will air a new reality show, Welcome to the Neighborhood.
“[O]ne of seven diverse families will win a beautiful dream home on a perfect suburban cul-de-sac in Austin, Texas. But in order to win the luxuriously furnished and opulently appointed house, they must first win over the very people who will be most affected by the ultimate decision — the next-door neighbors.
During the process, relationships become strained, fears are confronted, secrets are revealed, expectations surpassed and the inner-workings of all of the competing families are exposed.
But with every encounter with these families, the opinionated neighbors’ pre-conceived assumptions and prejudices are also chipped away, and they learn that, while on the outside we may appear different, deep inside we share many common bonds. The judges find themselves learning to see people, not stereotypes.
The three neighborhood families who will be judging the competing families all love their quiet, picturesque community and are used to a certain kind of neighbor — one who looks and thinks just like them. It will be up to this watchful group to decide who should move into the dream house next door and who should be sent packing.”
Discussions of the show (here and here) veer towards outrage, disgust, and shock. Interestingly, Focus on the Family has also condemned the show.
“But Movie Guide’s Ted Baehr said the Christian contestants will be the ones people love to hate. . .
‘Anyone who is portrayed as a minister of the Gospel,’ he said, ‘is treated as someone who is backward, a redneck, prejudiced, uncouth.'”
It goes on to encourage:
“‘Find out who the advertisers are and contact the advertisers,’ he said. ‘That’s the best way to impact a television program or series.’
But he cautions: Be careful that in your calls to ABC and its sponsors you don’t become the stereotype you’re protesting.”
(Hat tip: Dan.)