Would you believe me if I told you that someone actually gave me a reality show?

September 5, 2012 | 60 comments

Wait. I’m already messing it up. It’s not a reality show: It’s a docu-reality special. And film crews arrive at my house from New York City on Monday.

Ahem. Let’s start from the beginning.

A few week ago a producer from the DeSales Media Group got in touch with me to ask if I would be interested in having my life filmed for a reality-style special. Maybe it’s because I had recently re-skimmed A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and was getting a little overzealous with the “Would it make a good story?” litmus test, or maybe I was that desperate for a change of pace that anything at all — even having cameras follow me everywhere for a week — seemed relaxing compared to our current routine, but I only asked about five questions before I said, “What the heck, let’s do it.”

Joe really never knows what he’s going to hear when he answers calls from me, and he didn’t even sound surprised when he answered the phone to hear me say, “I just signed us up to do a reality show. That’s okay, right?”

I believe it was about four days later that I was lying awake at night, and had a delayed reaction in which it finally hit me. And I jolted up and screamed, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!?!” (Screaming silently, of course, since even reality-show-related-crises are not worth taking any risks of waking up a sleeping baby.)

In the ensuing weeks I’ve developed a sort of tick where I’ll be walking along, going about my business, and then out of the blue I’ll think of a brand new way that this could be a disaster. I’ll be washing the dishes and imagine producers from New York filming this scene, overcome with the sheer inanity of it all, and exchanging “HUGE MISTAKE” glances with one another. I’ll be putting laundry in the dryer and suddenly imagine seeing an internet forum a couple months from now where someone writes, “I used to kind of like that Fulwiler woman until she did the docu-reality special, and then I saw what a horrible person she really is.”

So yes. I am welllllllll aware of everything that could go wrong, as well as the fact that it probably indicates some level of craziness or lack of impulse control on my part that I signed up for this so readily. But I have to say, now that filming week is drawing closer, I’m actually pretty excited about it. And now that a lot of the logistics are nailed down, I’m remembering what it was about that first conversation with the producer that made all this sound so compelling.

DeSales Media is part of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and they’re working hard to create programming that is Catholic but also genuinely entertaining. When I first spoke to the producer, it was like hearing all my laundry-folding soliloquies articulated in someone else’s voice to hear her talk about the importance of beauty and quality in Catholic media. It gave me chills to meet someone else who shared my dream of seeing Christians become leaders in the arts once again. And so when she told me about her vision for this new show, and asked if I wanted to be a part of it, I could not make my mouth say any word other than, YES.

The show will be called Minor Revisions (actually the official title is Minor Revisions with Jennifer Fulwiler, but I’ve just been saying Minor Revisions, since the only thing weirder than telling people you’re filming a reality show is doing so while talking about yourself in the third person). A main theme will be my work as a writer, specifically my quest to get my never-ending book published, but I’m also going to meet with a bunch of other folks. Through the lens of my perspective as a convert, we hope to show viewers the fascinating, diverse group of people who make up the Body of Christ. That’s what I’m most excited about: as riveting as it will be for people to see me sit in front of my computer and type, I love the idea of getting out and letting the cameras see our faithful, thriving parish and all the great stuff going on in our diocese.

Now for the details:

  • It will air on NET, a cable station local to the NYC area, but it will be available on-demand through their website for anyone to watch.
  • I’m not sure about the air date, but will post an update as soon as I know. It’ll be sometime this Fall.
  • I am, of course, going to ask to have it written into the contract that at least once in the episode I can turn to the camera and say, “I didn’t choose the thug life. The thug life chose me.”

Now is your cue to leave a comment saying something positive and convincing me that this is a great idea and nothing can go wrong.

60 Comments

  1. Heather's Hodgepodge

    PLEASE have an episode featuring YaYa vs. scorpions!

    • Catherine

      Yes, YaYa can be the wacky neighbor that gradually become the entire focus of the show. Like Steve Urkel

  2. Jamie

    Wowza! That’s HUGE! Congratulations!

    • Teresa Tomeo

      Jennifer, rock and roll. I think this is a great idea and what a beautiful pro family and pro life message. We need something like this.The world needs to see that we are real people who love God and embrace the every day ups and downs with joy. Would love to talk about it on my radio show.

      Teresa Tomeo

  3. Claire

    Jen, I’m so excited for you! I’ll have to watch on the internet, but I will watch. My husband saved your Journey Home show, because he was so impressed by your story. You’ll be great, and the good thing (hopefully) about this show is they probably are not looking for sensationalism, so if something should go wrong they won’t throw you under a bus or train.

    I can’t wait to watch. You’ll be GREAT!!!!!!!. Have fun and get that darn book rewritten. I want to read it one day. God Bless!

  4. Leanne Shawler

    I didn’t think the life of a writer would be that interesting to follow … and then I thought — wait a minute — not only are you writing a book with a house full of children but you have SCORPIONS!!!! I predict every episode will end with a scorpion perched terrifyingly close to somebody (even if terrifyingly close is all the way across the room, which (let’s be honest) is terrifyingly close)…

  5. Leanne

    That’s awesome! I think you will this will be a great show. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it and watching it! Congrats!

  6. priest's wife

    when I am feeling especially tired or lazy or grumpy, I pretend there’s a tv camera filming me so I’ll behave myself.

    😉

    Have fun!

  7. Jenny

    yessssssssss!!! I will sooo be watching this.

  8. Katie@NFP and Me

    That is crazy awesome! Congrats lady!! 🙂

  9. Jen G

    Jen! You are an awesome brave woman to do this. I’ll be praying for you! And I’m not saying that in a I-think-this-is-a-bad-idea way, but in a totally supportive and proud-of-you way 🙂

  10. Kallah

    And I will definitelyyyy be watching this one online!!! So exciting! Haha 🙂 I have no doubt this will be entertaining AND edifying 🙂
    Do you say “break a leg” when starring in reality shows?

  11. Laura

    This sounds great! I agree, there has to be at least one scorpion and some YaYa influence in here! Can’t wait to watch it. God Bless.

  12. PatJ

    I’m so excited! And hey, we’ll all get to say, “That’s OUR Jen. The one with the scorpion fixation!” OK, well maybe you don’t know me, but I’m still excited that one of our own get’s to do this. Kudos to you for your bravery and moment of insanity in signing up.

  13. Dineen

    Yay! I live in the greater NYC area and I think I have that channel! Please tell me Ya Ya will be sneaking in to the filming and appearing somewhere in one of the episodes!!!

  14. Ana Hahn

    This sounds amazing! I cannot wait to watch!

  15. michelle @ this little light

    This IS a great idea, and nothing will go wrong. I can’t wait for the premier! 🙂

  16. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    That’s wonderful! I’m sure it will be wonderful and I can’t wait to see it. I concur with the commenters above… can we please meet YaYa too?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      You will not be surprised to hear that one of the first questions they asked was, “Will Yaya participate?” I got the impression that it might have been a deal-killer if I’d said no. 🙂

  17. Tammy

    I’m an extrovert, so I would love to do an insane thing like this, but we would scare them away. I think this is cool…have fun with it and I hope to catch one of the episodes …please post about it.

  18. Becki

    FABULOUS NEWS!! SO exciting!

  19. Michigan_Pat

    All these creepy people wanting to pry into your life.
    Count me in!!! 🙂

    Oh, and congrats!

    Definitely have to have the opening act be the phone call to your husband, or a scorpion biting the dust, or both!

  20. Kelly M.

    That is AWESOME. If I didn’t want to have to go to confession I’d tell you how completely green with envy I am.
    I think knowing you’re working with people who hope to show you and the Church in the best light possible should win over any doubters.
    Can’t wait to watch it online, and of course good luck! I’ll pray you have nothing but fabulous skin and hair through out the filming.

  21. Mary

    Are you kidding? I cannot WAIT to watch you wash dishes!!

  22. Erin

    Sometimes I wish I could do that- just a show or two, not a whole season- just to feel like someone out there knows how dang hard this life can be.
    If anything goes wrong, they will edit it out or make it humorous.

  23. LPatter

    This sounds amazing, they will edit out the scorpions, and everyone will love you! Go Jen!!!!

    ps – you are a brave bold soul!

  24. Jennifer {StudioJRU}

    Christians becoming leaders in the arts once again… YES!! SO happy and excited for you. Looking forward to watching it!

  25. Mrs. K

    Will your husband be making a cameo in his banana costume? 🙂 That would be fun too! Hope I can watch it! My connection here is really slow…

  26. Jennifer Morgan

    This is awesome! I was just thinking, after hearing your interview with Al Kresta, that you should have your own radio show, but a TV show is even better!

  27. Deanna

    If it’s been a few weeks and the plans are still moving forward then clearly God is saying yes, so you can be confident it will all work out. Besides, they can edit the scorpions out, no?

  28. Amy@Diapeepees

    Wow, this is so fun…particularly because it comes from someone who thinks beauty, art, entertainment and Catholicism actually intersect. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see what happens…Just make sure there are no hot tub scenes…Hot tub scenes, contrary to reality show great minds, do not make good tv.

  29. Ashley

    I cannot wait to see it. You are going to be FAB!!

  30. Dreena Tischler

    Jennifer — that is super cool! I can’t wait to see it.

    That said, now we really DO have to meet up at church because once you are famous you will think I only want to meet you because you are a star.

    Oh wait, you’re already a star. Well nonetheless, we must meet up. I’m going to make this happen when I get back from Alaska! Okay well you have to cooperate but we’ll meet up — I see a daily mass in our future!

  31. Paula

    Can’t wait. I seriously hope there is both a scorpion incident and a visit from Yaya.

  32. Jennifer Fulwiler

    Wow, you guys are so great! Thanks for all the awesome comments. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them.

  33. David

    My son did a reality show where the cameras followed him for six months. At the end he said what he thought and was sacked from his post. Now I know you won’t get sacked but do not allow circumstances to change your message. Best of luck and may God be with you.

  34. Tara

    Congratulations and good luck! Yes, I’d like to see the scorpions too, and the water wall of doom. You always find humor in what life throws your way, perhaps you can teach others to smile too. 😀

    “Don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.” ~ Matt 10:19 (NLT)

    “Do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” ~ Mark 13:11 (NIV)

    “Whenever they bring you to assemblies before rulers and authorities, you shall not be concerned how you will give an answer or what you will say. For The Spirit of Holiness shall teach you in that hour what it is necessary for you to say.” ~ Luke 12:11-12 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

  35. Eva

    Now that’s exciting! I was pretty disappointed that Zsuzsu turned down the chance to appear on WifeSwap ( I’m sure someone will know who I’m referring to). But that would be like watching a train wreck.

    I would love to see a snap shot of you guys- you will be wonderful 🙂

  36. TheresaEH

    Please let us know when the show airs eh! Um, take your camera crew and all of your kids for a fun field trip to the grocery store and they can record all your witty but said with charity replies from the other customers when they ask “are all those kids yours”? 😉

  37. Jeanne G.

    🙂 It will be great!

  38. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    No WAY. You’ll do great! I just need to make sure I can watch it down here in the heartland 🙂

  39. JonMarc Grodi

    Haha this is great. Lights! Camera! Excited to see what happens, Jennifer! You will do splendidly.

  40. Smoochagator

    I am super excited about this! I can’t wait to watch it! Will your husband be making an appearance in his banana suit? Will you be interviewing your scorpion squatters roommates? (Something along the lines of “Whhyyyyy are you heeeeeere? Whhyyyy do you torture uuuuussss????”)

    You know, my father-in-law was offered a spot on a competition reality show that airs on cable TV, and he turned it down. When my husband told me about it, I FLIPPED OUT. Because, you see, my FIL is so incredibly odd that I am confident he’d have become a fan favorite and the show’s producers would be forced to sign him up for five seasons of his own spinoff show. I mean, people come to parties at my house JUST TO LISTEN TO MY FATHER-IN-LAW’S NONSENSICAL RANTS. He stole the show AT MY WEDDING. If the rest of the world just had the chance to experience his unique brand of crazy, I know the show would be a smash hit and before I could say, “Kardashian,” camera crews would be following me and my husband around as well and you’d be able to buy bobbleheads in my kid’s image. And of course none of us would ever have to work again. *ahem* It appears that my motivations for getting on television seem to be not nearly as lofty as yours, so today you’re ahead of me in the saint-race. You’re welcome.

    Honestly, though, I think that a television show about the Fulwilers would be comedic gold. And I would buy a Pamela Scholastica bobblehead in a heartbeat.

  41. Michelle

    So excited! You are going to be great. 🙂

  42. Kris

    This.is.awesome! I will totally watch this on the internet. And, please – some YaYa?? And a scorpion or two. And some running in terrible weather. And a convo with your gay friend. And all those other lovely things you write about so eloquently. Good luck!!!

  43. Annie

    I think this is amazing and both brave and generous of you. Give the fact that the production company is a part of your Archdiocese, I feel better about it (for you). I believe that you will be in good hands. I can’t wait to watch. I will be praying for all of you during this adventure. Thank you for sharing your lives with us.

  44. Robert

    This is great. Nothing could possibly go wrong! 😉

  45. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Wow. I was going to leave a comment about scorpions, but I think that everyone else covered that. Why are we all so fascinated with those creepy things in your life??

    In reality, I am so super excited to creep stalk your life!

  46. Tania @ Larger Family Life

    You’ll be great! I wonder if we’ll be able to watch it from over here?

  47. Lee

    Congrats! I’d love to watch your show but I live in L.A. 🙁

  48. Jennifer Fitz

    It’s gonna be awesome. It’ll be my first time wanting to watch a reality show. I can’t wait.

  49. Misty

    wow wow wow! May God bless your family and this amazing endeavor. I have often wished there was a Real Housewives of Christian Families. Maybe this is the pilot??? I will pray for you and cannot wait to get a glimpse into your daily life.

  50. Matt

    It’s important that upon arrival to your home that the producers, directors, and camera people both LIKE and RESPECT you, because you are giving them a lot of power over how the world will see you. Editing can make all the difference in whether you look like a comic genius, a great sage, or a bumbling fool (even though you aren’t).

    So… have a big plate of homemade cookies waiting for them when they get there… (LIKE)

    And offer them a chance to “play” with the scorpions. (RESPECT)

    Note: People from out East are deathly afraid of scorpions, tarantulas, rattle snakes, and even fire ants. Use this to your advantage.

  51. Judy Dudich

    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAASE invite Ya Ya over for tea in one of the episodes! Oh, please, please, PLEASE!

  52. Erica

    Congrats you’re going to be great! can’t wait to see the show 🙂

  53. Elisa | blissfulE

    Sooooo looking forward to watching on the internet if that’s possible!

  54. Anne McD

    Wow! This will be great! Hey– maybe it will be picked up as a “Real Housewives of the Catholic Church” series, but you’ll have pet your own hair obsessively and nit pick over something mundanely crazy, like the politics of the cry room. Can’t wait to see it online 🙂

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