Church is a welcoming place of worship and community, but in the South, it’s also a place where gossip runs rampant and “I’ll pray for you” can be sincere, condescending, or both. The Real Church Ladies of Burndale is a lighthearted Southern parody of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” unscripted shows with the intent to comically overdramatize trivial and petty issues that Southerners face. While we often use relatable humor in our comedy sketches on It’s a Southern Thing, this show gave us an additional opportunity turn a satirical eye on Southern life and culture as well as create a world with characters that could easily be developed into a full-fledged web series.
In order to produce this video, we first had to study the source material that we were attempting to emulate, namely Bravo’s “The Real Housewives” series, both in style and in substance. At the time of preproduction, Easter was approaching so our writer, Liz Dial, came up with the idea of an episode centered around the production of the annual Easter play based on real-life anecdotes about the time a local church cast a “hot Jesus” to star in their play and the potential drama that might surface as a result. The challenge with doing this type of show is striking a balance between satire and relatability while not being offensive. We wanted to poke fun but make sure the audience we’ve built on It’s a Southern Thing would stick around and be able to laugh along with the characters. We also wanted to make sure that the “Jesus drama” stayed within the church ladies, and ultimately render their drama pointless because the choice of who should play Jesus was incredibly clear. To that end, we hired a talented singer to perform the role of Daniel, the “new Jesus” so that when he finally auditioned at the end, the viewer (along with the characters) would be blown away by his talent, regardless of which characters they sided with previously. Also, it’s worth noting that this entire episode was created with a total crew of five people (including pre-production and post-production).
We’re incredibly pleased with the performance of this episode. Released only on YouTube, the episode has over 150,000 views, over 7,000 likes, and just under 500 comments, which are overwhelmingly positive. We achieved our goal of connecting with our audience as well as whetting their appetite for a full series starring the Real Church Ladies. A large percentage of the comments expressed a desire to see this continue as a show, either on YouTube or on other mainstream streaming platforms. Some select examples are:
“I want at least 5 seasons - DO Y’ALL HEAR ME?” -@MilaOh
“I can’t wait. These ladies can do better than half of Netflix’s shows!” -@brandisaine1907
“I...can't.....wait. this needs to be a show. Ladies y'all can be the new office.” -@Lionhearted128
“CMT needs to give y'all a series on their network. Does anyone else agree?!” -@MrsAlmaTrumble
“Lifetime get them a show. E! Somebody! Please. We need this!” -@MrYungfras
“…would anyone else totally watch this as a aeries? I was entertained for a solid 15 minuets with this” -@cheftubbs4692
“We need more of this! I would watch a whole full length series of the Real Church Ladies.” -@songindarkness