Since rising to popularity in the 1990s, reality TV shows have evolved and adapted to meet the changing tastes of culture. For every Bachelor there is a Boy Meets Boy or a Dating Naked to up the ante.
For every American Idol there is an Are You Hot?
Observing sleazy behavior has become an international guilty pleasure, so it comes as no surprise that reality television programming is reaching its next logical step: surviving Nazis.
Non-sequiturs aside, imagine a Survivor where the bare elements have been replaced with authoritarian Gestapo guards, and a search for food is instead a struggle to scrape by on rations in German occupied Czechoslovakia.
That’s what Dovolená v Protektorátu (Holiday in the Protectorate) creator Zora Cejnková did, and the results of her TV experiment will begin to play out on Czech Television this coming weekend.
Set in 1939, a real-life contemporary family has been placed in a re-creation of the conditions in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, shortly after Hitler’s annexation of the since-divided Central European country, according to the English-language Czech news and community site Expats.
Filmed in the summer of 2014, the family was selected through a “rigorous” audition process to live on a rural farm-turned WWII-era homestead, and if they’re able to survive the two-month ordeal, will be awarded an undisclosed cash prize.
According to Expats, the family will subjected to the stress of life under Nazi rule, with rationing of food and basic necessities, while costumed actors play German soldiers and Gestapo guards.
Not everyone in the Czech Republic is happy about the new series.
TV owners must pay mandatory license fees to fund government operated Television in the country, and some of them have taken to online message boards to complain.
One poster described the show’s premise as a “perversion,” and said Dovolená v Protektorátu is “an insult to those who really suffered through it.” Another simply wrote, “What’s next? Big Brother Auschwitz?”
Cejnková defended the decision to go forward with the program, and said, “The entire production team is aware of the controversy about returning to such a precarious period… However, we think that while maintaining specific ethical rules and historical accuracy, this is an appropriate way of presenting the period.”
Dovolená v Protektorátu will premiere May 23 on Czech TV.