Preachers’ Daughters debuts tonight on Lifetime at 10 p.m. Eastern.
The greatest sin perpetrated by Preachers’ Daughters? It’s boring.
Lifetime’s goal here to capitalize on the trope of the reckless scion of the godly, a favorite topic of pulp products and softcore-pornography purveyors. It’s a tantalizing idea: The most pure among us are the most prone to the most batshit insane rebellions. (See: Jessica Lovejoy in “Bart’s Girlfriend” as one of my favorite pop culture examples.) It’s good girls—it’s always more fun when it’s girls—gone bad. The subjects are not only competing against a legitimate members of Bad Girls Club already in the pantheon, but other reality shows offering up examples of goodness spoiled, especially the recent slate of shows focusing on the dark underbelly of the Amish, like Breaking Amish and Amish Mafia.
At least those kids really let loose. The problem with Preachers’ Daughters is that the subjects aren’t particularly bad. They’re teenagers, plain and simple. Their parents just happen to have higher profile jobs than their friends’ parents do. Each girl knows about the trope that they are (supposed) to be a part of; they repeat it throughout their segments just in case we forget why we are watching them on TV in the first place. Their parents’ strict behavior is supposed to show why their daughters rebel. It’s a shame we don’t actually get to hear the daughters explain it themselves.
The three camera-ready teen girls hail from all around the country. Kolby Koloff, the product of not one, but two preachers, is the most camera-friendly. The daughter of former professional wrestler Nikita Koloff (The Russian Nightmare!), Kolby has an angelic exterior—asking her older sister if blow jobs actually involving literal blowing—broken only by her perfect 16-year-old eyeroll. She employs that eyeroll while bristling against the insane rules of her mother Victoria, who makes her living giving teen-sex workshops, telling her students not to engage in “oral sex, finger sex, or backdoor sex” before marriage. All Kolby wants to do is date. That’s it. She’s not drinking, she’s not doing drugs, she’s not partying all night. She’s adorable, but she’s hardly noteworthy. Victoria, on the other hand, is a genuine piece of work, who gives Kolby’s potential paramour an application to fill out before he is allowed to even ask her daughter out on a date. Victoria is certainly the show’s most compelling character at the outset, if only because I want to see her say “penetration” as much as she can.
Taylor Coleman, on the other hand, has desires beyond just dating, even though her father expressly forbids it. She spends most of the first episode talking about how she wants to be a porn star because of all of the attention they get, or a stripper because of their freedom. Producers posit these revelations as scandalous, but they come across as simple naïveté. This is a girl who admonishes an ex-boyfriend about not wanting to have sex before marriage. She may be wearing a bathing suit that’s more skin than fabric while doing so, but she’s still sticking the moral high ground, at least for now.
Ostensibly, Olivia Perry should be the perfect subject for Preachers’ Daughters. Last summer, Olivia got in a car accident while on acid and then found herself knocked up. Her main plotline during the first episode involves questioning the paternity of her daughter Eden. But for entertainment purposes, the show missed the boat on catching anything truly television-worthy. All we get is the aftermath. Sure, that’s better for Olivia, but reality television is never as good when it serves the subject. Olivia could still be a compelling subject, a sort of warning to Taylor and Kolby of the dangers of breaking bad. But she’s ultimately flat and charisma-less. No matter what her past is, she’s not fun to watch.
Considering these girls’ parents had to sign off on their participation in the show, hoping for more scandal from its subjects is a lost cause. If the ultimately snooze-worthy première truly sets the tone for the show, later episodes will only serve to promote the faith instilled in each of the families, rather than give its viewer entertaining antics.The reality television faithful watch people have sex under the cover of a night vision filter on shows like The Real World and Jersey Shore, countless characters get blindingly intoxicated and Housewives beat the collective shit out of each other, and we barely bat an eye. These preachers’ daughters are going to need to step it up if they want to compete against girls who have been doing bad all by themselves.