By now, most people know that certain parts of Hollywood are an illusion. Most of the special effects and animals used in movies are a product of CGI technology. Stars literally look like a million bucks on the red carpet, but aren’t always that glammed up in real life. Celebrities pretend to be happy with their jobs, financial status and personal relationships in public, but their private lives often tell a different story.
Of course, Hollywood also has the public thoroughly entertained with reality shows. This concept is still fairly new when it comes to television, but it has taken the entertainment world by storm. Some people only watch these shows to have a laugh and get a dose of weekly drama. However, there are some people who truly believe everything they see on reality shows. Yes, the label “reality” can be misleading, and some members of the public volunteer to be misled in the name of “good” TV. Then again, you’ve got to admit that some reality show plots do seem pretty believable, at least initially. Here are 12 ways Hollywood has us all fooled.
12. Good Shows Get Cancelled Too Soon
Hollywood has convinced the public that all of the “good” shows on TV are cancelled before their time, while mediocre shows are allowed to continue. Actually, there are several good shows out there that stay on the air past their prime. It’s clear that the writers and producers have run out of good ideas, yet the show stays in its weekly time slot. Yes, some shows are taken off the air too soon, but that’s not as sad as a show that could have left their air on a good note, but lingers on like a bad relationship. In some cases, good relationships with the network and viewer ratings are what keep shows “alive.”
11. Cable Channels Have Better Shows
It’s generally believed that the shows that air on cable channels are more exciting than the shows on “regular” networks. Shows like The Walking Dead, Girls and Game of Thrones are examples of some of the racy programming that you won’t get on your local stations. However, there are just as many boring shows on cable as there are on standard network television. This myth is one of the ways that Hollywood works with cable companies to make you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t have all the premium channels. After all, shows like Chloe King aired on cable, while Lost was on a “regular” network.
10. “Goal-Oriented” Reality Shows Often Backfire
Reality shows that require the participants to accomplish a goal may be entertaining to viewers, but they often backfire. Hollywood has people believing that if they just “work hard”, they can lose weight like the contestants on The Biggest Loser. However, it’s important to remember that these people spent day in and day out exercising and eating healthy foods. Once they got home and had to return to their jobs and regular lives, the weight came back. Take Ryan Benson for instance, who was the first season winner of the show and lost 130. He then gained all the weight back, plus 30 pounds. Erik Chopin, the winner of season 3, had a similar experience. He dropped 200 pounds, then picked up the weight again and was 370 pounds again. Clearly, it takes more than a reality show to have a real lifestyle change. Don’t be fooled by what you see on the screen.
9. Business-Centered Reality Shows Aren’t Successful
You know those shows where a grumpy chef comes into a restaurant, tells the owners how terrible the restaurant is, and then gives the business an overhaul? These episodes may seem inspiring, but many of the restaurants featured in these shows don’t succeed. Kitchen Nightmares is one of those entertaining chef shows starring everyone’s favorite mean chef, Gordon Ramsay. Many restaurant owners believe that appearing on the show will save their business, but that’s just not the case. Hollywood has truly fooled the public with this tactic. To put this in perspective, Ramsay was able to rescue 21 restaurants during the show’s first two seasons. Only two of those restaurants are still opened.
8. British Cast Members Make For Better Shows
American TV viewers tend to think that if a British cast member is on a show, the show somehow becomes more exciting and interesting. There’s this underlying feeling that the British somehow act better than Americans. Also, British television seasons are shorter, which means it’s easier for them to write quality scripts. However, British producers are just as shrewd when it comes to cancelling shows as their American counterparts. For instance, even though No Heroics was a good show and got the creator a script writing gig for Iron Man, the show still got axed. So, contrary to subliminal Hollywood myth, British is not always better.
7. “Home” Reality Shows Leave Families In Debt
The reality shows that offer families new homes are definitely tear-jerkers. But, it’s often the families that are in tears once they realize how much their new homes will cost. Shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featured elaborate remodels and inspiring stories of families who are making a difference in the world. But, it’s important to remember that people who were working with minimal salaries can’t pay for a five-bedroom renovated home. After all, these families were struggling to pay the rent on their much smaller homes! Many families have gone into debt trying to pay their electricity bills or property taxes. Once again, all that glitters on reality shows is not gold.
6. Oprah’s “Free” Cars Were Never Free
We know. It’s sad. But the cars that Oprah “gave away” weren’t really free. Even though her talk show has been off the air for years now, Oprah is still known for giving away “free” stuff. Particularly, that time she gave away 276 brand new cars to people in her audience. As a TV viewer, you should know that when you get a luxurious prize on television, you still have to pay the taxes associated with that property. Oprah classified the cars as “prizes” instead of “gifts” on her own tax benefits, which means that the cars were taxable. Yet another Hollywood illusion.
5. Watching a “Live” Show Boosts The Ratings
It’s pretty much a myth that watching the live broadcast of a show will boost the ratings and convince the network not to cancel the show. There isn’t exactly a device in your home to accurately calculate your television watching habits, and the advertisers don’t have a way to know whether you watched the show live or on-demand. Unless you live in a Nielsen household, and your TV watching habits are documented, it really doesn’t matter when you catch your favorite show on television. Don’t be fooled by this Hollywood myth and rearrange your schedule for your favorite sitcom. It’s not worth it.
4. Some Reality Shows Are Completely Staged
Surprise. Some reality shows are staged for your entertainment. Shows like Storage Wars, for instance, documents people who buy storage units at an auction to sell the contents of the units and make money. The show resulted in two spin-off shows, and there were other shows with the same theme. There were some valuable items in these storage units, and it seems like the show participants had to use the valuable items to appear on the show, when they were defaulting on their mortgages or rent. Some people do some strange things for just a few minutes of fame. Can you remember any of these “actors’” names? Of course not.
3. Reality Shows are “Unscripted”
Reality shows don’t have standard scripts. However, there is a shooting script that provides an outline for the episodes. Shows like The Real World and Big Brother had shooting scripts, and it was pretty easy to tell if you were paying attention. After producers get a reality show cast to say the “right” things, they do something called “frankenbiting.” This is editing together a bunch of clips to make the conversation look and sound a certain way. So, when you think reality show cast members are feuding, or suspect that someone on the show is falling in love, it could just be creative editing.
2. Reality Show Actors are Contractually Obligated To Appear
If you want to be in a reality show, you’ll have to sign a contract to appear in a certain amount of episodes. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick that day or are having personal problems. If you don’t want to be fined and face legal action, you’d better show up. Make sure that you hire an entertainment attorney who will go over documents with you before you sign any contracts. You know, in case you want to be a reality star. Some stars are also asked to be on reality shows for publicity purposes, which requires more scripting. You know, like how Kris Jenner writes Kanye West into the show, and was negotiating for Lamar Odom to appear back on the show.
1. Fan Campaigns Keep Shows On the Air
We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but writing lots of fan letters and emails isn’t going to keep your favorite show on the air. You may make an impression if you and your friends make enough noise on social media. However, the bottom line is that Hollywood execs are going to do whatever they want. After all, Hollywood is a business. Those in charge have to do what is going to be best for the business, which means execs aren’t always going to listen to your concerns. Part of clever Hollywood marketing is making you feel that you matter more than you do. Sorry.