As a former Catholic girl, I am accustomed to making confessions. Not sure how many Our Fathers and Hail Marys this one will cost me, but here goes:
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I have been seduced by a reality television show.
Ugh! I am so ashamed!
First, let me declare that, on the whole, I detest reality TV. Honestly. My girls and I don’t even watch American Idol or Dancing with the Stars (although I don’t actually have anything against either of those programs). I have, on occasion, when feeling low and vulnerable, succumbed to the high-calorie delicious wickedness that is The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or (gasp!) Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But I always felt dirty and small afterward, as if I, too, was a bitchy rich girl with nothing to do but complain all day and change my shoes.
But then I found Jennie. And I’m hooked. I admit it. I’m a Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country junkie.
I know, I know…. time to hand in my membership in the well-educated, erudite, PBS-watching Women Who Are Too Good For Reality TV Club.
But, seriously, I’m writing this because I actually want to encourage you all to check it out. Yes, it’s Jennie Garth of Beverly Hills 90210 fame, and yes, she’s still prettier than a 40-year-old mother of three has any right to be, but she’s not perfect. And there’s something touchingly endearing about her that I think will resonate with many of you.
Her husband of 11 years (and partner of 17), actor Peter Facinelli, left her earlier this year, and she moved from LA to a ranch in Central California with her three daughters. Now she struggles to make a new life for herself, with all the same problems and fears and feelings that we’ve all had when a serious relationship ends.
Okay, okay, so what’s new, right? Another completely self-absorbed celebrity baring it all for the camera in order to make a buck, right?
Maybe so, but there’s an authenticity here that has me in its grasp. The show isn’t scintillating or sexy. It’s just sweet and funny and unpretentious.
In all the important ways, she’s a lot like me and/or many of my readers. She has her family and her friends, and they’re not all Beautiful People. She’s still in love with her soon-to-be ex, and can’t imagine being with anyone else. She’s struggling with feeling rejected and lonely and trying to be a strong role model for her kids. I have to admit that I’m surprised and impressed by her grace and her humor, and I think it’s fantastically brave of her to try to do all of this in front of a camera…. I mean, a computer screen is one thing, but a camera??? Yikes. I wish I had had her show when I was going through those feelings.
Instead, I watch it now and cheer her on. I can’t help it. I know it’s sentimental and I know it’s silly, but I do.
And, I suspect, if you drink the Jennie Garth Kool-Aid, you’ll be hooked, too. But if you’re not, that’s fine with me. Just don’t judge, because I know you’re secretly a huge Jersey Shore fan….
Blogger’s Note: You can catch the episodes on CMT, or watch them online, here.