May 28, 2018

Life in Williston

Reality TV drama doesn’t compare

Sept. 29, 2011

By Karen Wyman


Every now and then, I enjoy the luxury of watching a television show of my own choosing. That means no NFL Network, no Golf Channel, no Nickelodeon and no Disney Channel!

When this opportunity presents itself, I find it increasingly difficult to come across something to watch other than “reality” shows. These “real life” depictions are usually high on glamour and low on morals. I can’t help but wonder if this is what life is truly like these days, and if so, is this outrageous drama actually happening right here in Williston?

I would like to know where my invitations to lavish Sweet 16 parties rivaling the Royal wedding and to toddler birthday parties featuring live performances by The Wiggles are? I also am never at a restaurant when glasses are thrown across tables and women are pulling out each other’s hair extensions.

Maybe I am just naïve, but I believe Williston’s drama is much more refined and subtle. Would our relatively laid-back lifestyles fascinate people in Beverly Hills, the way their high-profile and fast paced lives mesmerize some of us? Perhaps we should develop a “Real Housewives of Williston” to see how many people tune in!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a spin-off of “The Jersey Shore” to be filmed at Lake Iroquois. I just want to show the rest of the country what we already know: Williston residents are real and genuine. For those of you who watch reality shows, you know these qualities aren’t high on producers’ minds. We could be the only show in the series where cows outnumber plastic surgeons, our dogs only wear clothes because it’s freezing, and moms don’t wear sequin dresses to playdates. Our weather may be more conducive to UGGs than Jimmy Choos, and there’s no Nordstrom’s for miles, but we still have plenty of style. If desired, we could purchase online designer fashions and accessories portrayed on these shows.

However, others could never buy what our version would showcase: family values and a strong sense of community. Maybe we don’t host $10,000 a plate charity events, but we know other ways to unite and help our neighbors in need. If you think bake sales and bottle drives aren’t riveting enough for TV, just think of the gossip and drama that could ensue when someone brings store-bought cookies to a bake sale! Imagine the cameras rolling during the annual pancake breakfast at the Williston Fire Department. The food is delicious, and the number of people young and old that comes together to support those who risk everything for us is truly inspiring. We could also film some explosive footage after the event, when I yet again have to explain to my indignant girls that the fire station is not a restaurant.

I have been told by some of my non-Williston friends that Williston is stereotyped as a bunch of SUV-driving soccer moms who have cookie-cutter houses and lives. I am guilty of the first two, however, make no mistake — my house and life is more cookie-clutter. Speaking of drivers, though, let’s have a camera capture some of our beloved citizens trying to navigate the rotary in town. My goodness people, it’s just a yield.

But I digress. In today’s reality shows, it is apparently considered the norm to look 20 years younger than you actually are and to be 20 pounds underweight. Home Botox parties may be all the rage on the West Coast, but my friends and I still prefer a good old Pampered Chef party (please allow me to reassess this opinion in a few years when I turn 40).

It also seems these shows revere people for having the largest home, the most exclusive interior designer and the hottest exotic cars. Too many of these shows only focus on one end of the spectrum and, in turn, leave out a large part of reality. As adults, we can easily recognize that most of these shows are scripted, but to the impressionable younger crowd, this is a conflicting dose of reality. I don’t want my girls to grow up thinking this is what should be valued. I am so glad they are being raised in this community, where we value education, hard work and volunteerism. Williston is a little bit country, a little bit city and it represents many aspects of the spectrum in regards to finances, religion, education and experiences. It is this balanced demographic that helps paint an authentic picture of life.

I don’t want to be so enthralled with the petty competition and self-indulgent behavior so abundant on TV today. How refreshing it would be to watch motivating reality, like our tight-knit community supporting and encouraging its members to succeed. I am going to make a conscious effort to stop getting drawn into these ridiculous dramas during my precious, fleeting control of the remote.

No more reality television will enter my home…unless, of course, Super Nanny would like to pay my household a visit!


Karen Wyman has been a Williston resident for six years, and lives with her husband and twin 4-year-old daughters.

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