celebrity wife swap [featuring ted haggard and gary busey]

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

September 23, 2011

Wife Swap, ABC

What good can come out of this one?

ABC announced yesterday that disgraced pastor Ted Haggard and “Celebrity Rehab” alum Gary Busey will appear on a future episode of Celebrity Wife Swap. The episode doesn’t have an air date yet, but it will likely be one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season for the series.

Granted, while I’m not a huge fan of the show in the first place, I have caught a couple of episodes. The idea is to send one spouse from each family to the other’s family for a week. And the more opposite the families, the better. The extreme differences in lifestyles creates a level of conflict that’s deemed ‘good entertainment’.

Usually, in the end, the families have grown personally in some way through their exposure to the different lifestyle. Sometimes it actually leaves you with a bit of a warm-fuzzy feeling that we all can get along, and make the world a better place.

But, looking at this lineup of Haggard and Busey, it seems that ABC is resorting more to shock value than quality content. As a story-teller I know that every good story has conflict. And television producers have leveraged that concept, especially in these reality-type TV shows. They create situations where there will be a great deal of conflict, turn the cameras on, and wait for the magic to happen.

In that sense, the Haggard/Busey episode will certainly live up to those expectations.

The problem comes when each episode has to escalate the level of conflict from the previous one to keep viewers interested. Where does it stop? My bigger concern is… What will ABC do to try to top this one? Where will the shock-value end? Even on shows like NBC’s The Biggest Loser, each season seems to find bigger contestants in order to try to top the last one.

I pray that there’s a nice, warm-fuzzy experience that comes out of this. And I hope that Christians don’t end up looking like the fool in this episode like they’re often made out to be. I also pray for Gary Busey that this exposure to a Godly family has long-term, positive impact on his life.

What do you think about shows like this? Will you watch this episode? Why or why not?

What do you think about the escalating levels of conflict to create the shock-value that keeps viewers watching? 

11 Comments

  1. kristabelieves

    I’m not too sure if I like the idea of this. I don’t see any good that come from this, but that may be a pretty shallow opinion. I would like to see if others have a different perspective that could sway my opinion. I know conflict can bring new enlightenment, but I hate to see it done this way.

    Reply
    • @bibledude

      I don’t think it’s a shallow opinion at all! I try to look for the good in everything, but I don’t think that the producers of this show are sitting around thinking, “hmm, how can we take an extreme situation and bring glory to God?” Most of the time I think they are thinking, “whoa, dude, you know what would be awesome? What if we took dynamite and gasoline……”

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Gary Busey’s a Christian… he has a pretty powerful testimony. Unless he’s had some huge fall from grace recently that I’m not aware of…

    Reply
    • @bibledude

      Maybe… but his ‘wife’ in this episode is not actually a wife, but a girlfriend that he lives with and has a new child with. I really hope that something like this strengthens any relationship that he has with the Lord. And I’m not knocking Busey as much as I am the escalating shock value that the networks are always looking for.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Hmm. I wasn’t aware of his relationship status… Evidently I fell behind on my TMZ… lol 😉 I understand where you’re coming from. You KNOW that no matter what takes place, they’ll edit it to make it look the worst possible. There’s no way it comes off as anything but smarmy. And they can’t do a “celebrity” wife swap and have it fall flat, so they will play up each person’s worst characteristics. I know God can use anything for His glory… Guess we’ll see. Well, I won’t; I don’t watch television generally… Let us know how it goes, if you watch it. 😀

        Reply
        • @bibledude

          Yeah… I’m really hoping that there’s a redemptive theme that rises up in this, but I don’t really expect ‘hollywood’ to emphasize that as much as they will the conflict. I’m sure it’ll end up with a ‘happy ending’, but probably nothing with good, lasting value.

          I’m not sure I’ll watch it yet. Part of me want to not give it any more attention, but another part wants to see how it’s presented because I care about how the Gospel message finds it’s way onto TV. I’ll share more if I do watch it…

          Reply
  3. Sandy

    I saw one episode while sitting in a hospital waiting room.  I can’t wait people treat each other that way and strangers, no less!  I won’t be watching this episode either.  I think that sending one’s wife off to strangers doesn’t show how a husband values, respects, nor loves his wife.  I think that Ted shipping his wife off isn’t a very good witness either.  These shows are always a train wreck and I can’t imagine this one will be any better.  Just pathetic!

    Reply
    • @bibledude

      I totally understand where you’re coming from, and agree about it being a train-wreck. I just doubt that there will be any long-lasting good that comes from this…

      It’s sad, really.

      Reply
  4. dneese

    My take on the Wife Swap show is that the families really dont learn that much and what changes they do make after the show only serve to further enable what disfunctions they had from the beginning.  This is a train wreck waiting to happen and unfortunately many people cant help to look.  I think I will look to Netflix for entertainment and leave the conflict resolution to the Holy Spirit.

    Reply
    • @bibledude

      Totally agree… and I wonder what they’ll try to do to top this next time… once people have seen one train wreck, then they only seem to pay attention next time if the wreckage is worse than others before it. The same train wreck over and over again gets boring, which is why I think the producers look to escalate like this…

      Reply
  5. Sam Van Eman

    I’d be interested to seeing how the public responds to Ted Haggard’s role and behavior through the week, and how viewers measure his genuineness.

    Reply

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celebrity wife swap [featuring ted haggard and gary busey]

by Dan King time to read: 2 min
11