Brewton perfect setting for 'Simple Life'

Published 7:38 am Wednesday, January 22, 2003

By By BILL CRIST - Publisher
It was recently announced that in the very near future, producers are planning to introduce new variety shows that will be aired without commercials. Instead, sponsors will be a featured part of the show, much like was the norm back in television's earlier days.
Many people look back on the middle of the 20th century fondly as a simpler time when families sat down for meals together and could also gather around the television and watch up-and-coming entertainers on the Ed Sullivan Show. Since then, our lifestyles and our television viewing habits have changed a great deal. In many parts of the country, family meals consist of fast food on the fly and some of the most popular shows fall under the realm of reality television.
When it comes to reality television shows, reactions can vary. Some of us watch for the impending "train wreck" while others enjoy the hard edge and competition between cast members. The premise behind the shows is to give us a candid look at people's behavior in situations they probably never expected to find themselves in. From deserted islands to hanging from skyscrapers, the situations seem to get more outrageous with each show.
When word got out that Brewton was being considered as one of several cities to host such a show, many of us chuckled inwardly, maybe rolled our eyes and wondered what the real story was going to be. According to the promotional information provided to the city, the show, called The Simple Life, will feature two 'celebrity daughters' whom temporarily move to a southern town to live with a family and work at different jobs. Cities under consideration were asked to arrange for families to be interviewed as potential host families and to line up six businesses where the young ladies would be able to work. Given that the show was being produced by the Fox Network, many people were skeptical.
One of the show's field producers has been in town the past couple of days, and after spending several hours with him on Friday, showing off our town, it hit me how appropriate it would be for Brewton to be chosen as the host city.
Rather than pitting show participants against each other in some sort of competition, or putting them in embarrassing situations, The Simple Life is based on the idea of how a typical family lives. While the two stars of the show most likely come from very good families, the implication is there that they probably don't live what the majority of us would call 'ordinary' lives. The Simple Life will show the pair working at various jobs in the community as well as sitting down for meals with their host family, doing chores around the house and experiencing the type of day nearly all of us face.
There's something very positive about that concept and one that a town like Brewton would be perfect for. Look at most church parking lots on Wednesday night and you realize that this is a town of high character, where sitting down for a meal is still a special event. Look in the classrooms and you'll see students answering their teachers with a 'ma'am' or 'sir.' The seats at Little League parks, high school football games and band concerts are filled. As a community we turn out for parades and the visiting circus. In a sense, Brewton is a town that could be featured as part as any Norman Rockwell painting. To some, it would seem almost like traveling back in time 50 years.
At the same time, we're a progressive town that's growing. Our economy is vibrant, our schools are filled with the latest technology and a variety of industries now call Brewton home.
Brewton is a proud town, and I've reflected on the positives in this column before. National recognition is nothing new for us, and the fact that we are one of just a few towns being considered for this show is an honor. Time will tell whether or not we are ultimately selected as the setting for The Simple Life, but the fact that we are being considered should reinforce that our families and our businesses are doing the right thing.
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