Tuesday night, the much-anticipated docu-series Pretty. Strong. debuted. The Oxygen network series focused on the Chicago Bliss, my Chicago Bliss.
As I wrote in my last story for Tru School Sports (The Chicago Bliss are “Pretty. Strong”), I talked about how much potential the show had. The Chicago Bliss are gold. You have 20 beautiful, intelligent, humorous, articulate, athletic women, who play football in revealing uniforms. At the helm is Coach Keith Hac, a football genius, whose honesty and openness is so refreshing.
This is what drew me to the Bliss. This is what would draw others to the Bliss. This is what I hoped would be featured on the show.
Unfortunately, I have to admit I thought the first episode was not (pardon my pun) “pretty strong.” Maybe I wanted too much. Maybe I wanted the nation to see what I have seen over the last three seasons as somewhat of an insider.
Pretty. Strong. started with no real background info on the team or the league. It briefly introduced the eight Bliss players who would be featured. Those women include MVP quarterback Heather “Rockstar” Furr, All Alberts, ChrisDell “Ferrari” Harris, Yashi Rice, Chantell Taylor, Jamie Barwick, Deena Fagiano and Nani Nwani.
The two main stories of the night were Heather moving in with her boyfriend Matt and dissension on the team in regards to Nani. Their first game of the season was the ending and the backdrop for the (for now?) ending of the Nani disturbances.
Maybe my problem is with reality shows. Reality shows (or docu-series, unscripted shows, reality-based ones or whatever) are not really reality. I’ve seen this first hand from being involved in a couple other reality series.
Reality shows have goals and those in charge can manipulate situations and editing to accomplish whatever goals they have. That’s the shame, because the “reality” of the Bliss is so entertaining and gripping on its own.
I am pretty sure I am not the target audience for Pretty. Strong. Demographically, I am a male interested in women and sports, but I am just a bit old. I also think they are hoping for a large female audience.
I cannot judge how females enjoyed the show, but my male friends and I wanted to see more of the football and less of the personal lives. Even when they showed the football stuff, it fell flat.
When Coach Hac informed Nani that she was not starting, he did so very calmly. Coach Hac isn’t a raving lunatic, but he is a passionate coach. He yells. I have seen it. Maybe he toned it down and showed some extra heart because he was benching a player?
The content of the first show was good. It just wasn’t great. These women are capable of greatness. I had hoped Pretty. Strong. would showcase their greatness.
Over the last three seasons, I have individual conversations and interactions with each of these women. I respect them totally. I am one of their biggest fans and supporters. It is because of my dedication that I want them to shine brightly for the national audience.
This is just the beginning of the Pretty. Strong. series. I will keep watching and keep reporting. I’d love to hear what others think and I am sure the Bliss would love your opinions.
ChrisDell Harris and me in Bridgeview, IL-May 2015.