So Oprah's network (OWN) has started a series called Married to the Army: Alaska. We found out about it when they were recruiting families--they asked Mark a few times because they wanted someone from his office, but he kept declining--and it was something we thought about the whole time they were filming. "How are they going to portray this life?" was our main question. Of course, we waffled a few times in our decision to say no, after all, they were offering a hunk of money for it, but in the end, I'm glad we didn't change our minds!!
We ran into them filming a few times, at the PX, at the zoo on Bear Aware Day (which is held annually on Mother's Day), and Mark had them quite a few times in the office or out on a jump. We don't think he'll ever be shown on TV, but that's ok with us. The production team was a little pushy and demanding at the PX, stopping people from going about their own business because they would ruin the shot or whatever, but I guess that's the life of TV people. Honestly, after we had run into them a few times and hadn't seen them for awhile, I'd forgotten about it. I could never remember what it was called...until right before it was going to start airing.
Our local cable company is giving everyone in the area a free month of OWN so that we could watch it. We recorded the first episode. I made it maybe 10 minutes in before I wanted to throw something at the TV. Every stereotype is exacerbated. There's the snooty officer's wife, the "trashy" (who I really don't think is all that trashy, but they're showing her to be that way) wife, the "Mother Hen" (as she's called on their promotional posters) wife who has 4 kids (she's the one that I don't mind, actually), and a handful of others. I forced myself to finish the episode and even subjected myself to it again after Mark got home and wanted to see part of it. Even if these women aren't as they are portrayed, they will be known for this forever. Sometimes a perk of PCSing can be to get a clean start somewhere, where nobody knows your name and you can reinvent yourself as you see fit. Not for these ladies anymore. Their names will proceed them. Whatever opinions that people have formed about them through seeing how the show portrays them will be hard to change. Their first impressions have been made.
So in the end, I'm glad we didn't get money signs in our eyes and agree to whatever craziness was the production and filming. Our family's life is not being broadcasted around the world, made to look however the producers want it to look. In reality, we're pretty boring, just a family trying to make the most of what we have. So please remember, next time you see any "Reality TV" show that is still just that. A TV show. Made for ratings and money. I try to avoid those shows--with the exception of HGtv's House Hunters, Property Brothers, Holmes Inspection, etc. However, I do keep in mind that those shows are still scripted and not necessarily real either!