Reality TV is as real as Kim K’s booty.
It’s about as far away from actual reality as you can get (just look at how many writers are listed in the credits). Writers for “reality”? Really?
The scripted mess that passes for reality TV is even more annoying when you realize that 95% of them are ripoffs of shows that existed before. Take the home improvement genre; one of the first shows, Trading Spaces aired on TLC from 2000 – 2008?
Pretty old, right? Has to be be unique, right?
Wrong. It’s a rip-off of an even older BBC show called Changing Rooms, from 1994.
Fast forward a few years and even more spin-offs have emerged: Trading Spaces: Family, Home Free, TS: 100 Grand, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Monster House, The Renovators etc.#SSDD
In the 20 years since reality TV has become a ‘thing,’ it’s gone from slightly funny to exploitative to just plain wrong. A recent example is the CBS ‘reality’ show, The Briefcase.
The show features two American families experiencing financial difficulties, and ‘pits’ them against each other. It starts by giving each family $101, 000 and telling them to make a choice; whether to keep all the money for themselves, give some of it or all of it to the other family.
Like all these shows, there are ridiculous clauses attached; the families aren’t told that the other family also has a similar briefcase and instructions. After a decision has been made, both families meet and confront each other about the choices made.
It really sucks that this is what passes for TV these days. What happened to simply giving away the money? Instead, we’re supposed to watch struggling families try to decide whether to save or starve themselves.
Like Maximus said, “Are you not entertained?”
The show has received many poor reviews, with TV critics comparing it to the Hunger Games. A petition was made on Change.org to cancel the show.
If you think The Briefcase is the worst, here are ten more reality TV shows that just need to stop with the lies. Like, right now!
10. Renovate My Family
The premise of Renovate My Family was simple: take one ‘lucky’ family and revamp everything about them. It involved building a new house and also aimed to fix any personal ‘problems’ the family might have.
For the Biggins family, they got a luxurious 3,398 sq ft house spread over two floors. The family also got nutritional and health advice as they were considered ‘obese.’ Everything seemed to be going well till the Biggins were hit with a tax bill of over $410,000. The move to a larger property had shifted them into an entirely different tax bracket. The struggle to pay the tax man culminated in the couple separating in 2008, and they eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2011.
So much for renovating their lives, right?
9. Alaskan Bush People
When you hear the name of the show, you’d expect to watch the discovery of an authentic Inuit culture or at least something close. This Discovery Channel show portrays the Brown family as “a recently discovered family that was born and raised wild.”
The Brown family, Billy, Ami and seven kids are supposed to have lived on a patch of land in the Alaskan bush for 30 years, until their home was destroyed by the government. This led them to hightail it further into the Alaska bush to live. That’s the back story the show wants us to believe. But digging deeper into the characters revealed the real story of the Brown family, along with a ton of inconsistencies:
-How have they lived in the harsh Alaskan bush for three decades wearing nothing but denim and leather?
-The many stories told on the show about their real experiences with animals have been debunked by real wildlife experts.
-They lived half a mile away from Alaska’s busiest state highway when they were filming season 1 of the show. Their ‘bush’ home even had a pizza place down the road.
The list goes on; there are multiple Facebook pages calling out the family and the show on the many inconsistencies.
8. Call of the Wildman
The Animal Planet show follows Kentucky ‘woodsman,’ Ernie Brown, Jr., as he removes nuisance animal pests from homes in Lebanon, Kentucky. Brown shot to fame when videos of him catching snapping turtles with his bare hands went viral, but there’s also a lot of showmanship involved (that annoying yell.)
Despite this, TV executives decided that his antics were still too tame and they decided to up the ante. To liven things up, animals were drugged before filming (making them easier to catch), other animals are planted to create entire scenes, trappers were used to get wild animals, which were then released and re-caught. Talk about scripting!
The ruse was unearthed in January 2014, after a seven-month investigation by Mother Jones. Evidence was gathered using internal documents and interviews with people on the show’s production team.
When confronted, Animal Planet denied allegations, despite this, the show now carries a disclaimer – “the preceding program contains some dramatizations.”
After filmmaker Nev Schulman discovered he had been tricked into developing feelings for someone who hadn’t been honest in describing herself, he quickly found it was a frequent phenomenon online. Teaming up with MTV, Schulman decided to help more people find out the truth about their partners in, mostly, online relationships. Airing on MTV from 2010, the show sought to resolve cases of online identity fraud with their brand of investigative reporting.
While the show actually helped a few people discover the truth about their partners, it also twisted scenarios to create ‘good TV.’ When people contact the show, it’s up to the producer to either cast them as the catfish or the victim; whichever makes the best story line. They even invent storylines, like when a ‘fake’ mom wrote into the show to find out if Sam Chochano was catfishing her son. In reality, it was Sam who wrote in to find out if Luke was catfishing her.
6. Storage Wars
Rummaging through abandoned storage lockers may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this show assures you that it’s an easy way to make quick cash. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. In reality, Storage Wars is a bunch of actors posing as professional buyers who bid on the contents of a storage locker.
Former employees have called out the show on the use of extras, you know, the standbys who never seem to win any bids. They also claim that the items in the lockers are planted by the producers. The items are supplied by local stores in the area, who get free publicity when the goods are appraised by buyers.
These claims were made by one of the ‘stars’ of the show, auction hunter Dave Hester. Soon after accusing A&E producers of this, he was fired. But only temporarily, as by August 2014, he was back on the show.
5. Judge Judy
“The cases are real. The people are real. The rulings are final”. Or maybe not.
If like many, you thought the show was a broadcast from a small claims court, don’t feel too bad about being duped. Judge Judy is just another ‘reality’ show.
While Judith Sheindlin used to be a real New York Judge, these days, her role is that of an arbitrator. And in her court, everybody wins. Really.
All parties that appear on the show receive an appearance fee and if the defendant loses, the production team foots the bill. This was hilariously exploited by four room mates with a ‘room mate dispute.’ Jonathan Coward and his room mates wanted to make some extra money, so they came up with an entertaining story involving a smashed TV and a dead cat.
They emailed the show and were flown out to L.A for taping. Even when most of the production team sussed that they were lying, they still taped the show as it was considered ‘good TV.’ For their efforts, the quartet earned between $250 and $1250.
4. Man vs Wild
Watch the British adventurer ‘escape a tiger shark attack’ or ‘build a raft out of bamboo and leaves,’ on Man vs. Wild for long enough and you may start to question your own manliness. At first glance, the dude just seems to be able to tough every situation out. Or does he?
In 2006, a crew member on one of the show admitted that scenes were staged for dramatic effect. Turns out Grylls never built a raft (the crew did), wasn’t attacked by a bear (it was a crew member in a bear suit) and never slept rough under the stars (he was in a warm hotel bed).
When he announced another show, The Island with Bear Grylls in 2014, viewers expected reality; the show pitted regular Joes against the elements on an abandoned island. All we got was more scripting; his ‘regular contestants’ included ex-SAS men, the ‘island’ was populated with animals for contestants to catch, water was pumped into shallow pools to recreate streams.
3. The Biggest Loser
Getting crowned as The Biggest Loser, losing a ton of weight and winning $250,000 cash; a triple win. What could go possibly wrong?
Turns out, a lot.
The NBC reality show has been labeled one big fat-shaming disaster. Harsh? This description was from someone who had appeared on the show and emerged as the runner-up during the third season of the show. Others have dubbed it “both physical and mental torture.”
Now, to be fair, all contestants lost weight, but the way ‘trainers’ made them lose it ranged from mean to extremely dangerous. Kai Hibbard and other TBL alumni recall merciless taunting by trainers, eight-hour long workouts (for people over 300 pounds!), severe caloric restriction etc. In the first series, the eventual winner became so malnourished that he was urinating blood, a sign of kidney damage.
And for those who dared to complain, the show edits footage to make them look like they are whiners.
2. The Bachelorette
Following the success of The Bachelor, ABC created a female spin-off where a single lady has to pick from a pool of up to 30 eligible guys, and potentially marry one. I guess if this kind of show ran without a storyline, it would be like watching Big Brother, so producers decide to give it one. Cue the huge ‘twists’ and cliffhangers.
Former contestants have spoken out about how the storyline created by producers gets in the way of any real feelings developing on the show. They are made to follow producers’ orders and stick to a script. Even the show creator Mike Fleiss has admitted that the show is more about good TV than actual relationships.
The Australian version came under fire last week, when the bachelorette Sam Frost and one of her suitors were papped in a hotel, well before the finale was even aired.
1. Pimp My Ride
Shall we bow our heads in a brief prayer for the dreams crushed by the realization that Pimp My Ride wasn’t real? I mean, who didn’t fantasize about Xzibit turning up and tricking out their crappy car? I know I did.
Recently, past winners of the MTV show spoke about the real reality of appearing on the show. Most of the tricked out accessories installed were removed immediately after scenes were filmed. While MTV claimed they made the cars unsafe, we ask “Why tease us in the first place?” Remember the robot arm in Seth’s Nissan Maxima? Totally bogus; it was controlled by a guy on a computer off-screen.
Other real mods just stopped working after taping was concluded. TV screens, LED lights, even the gull-wing doors had to be removed because they didn’t allow for the use of seat-belts. The cars got bad-ass paint jobs, lights and rims,but more often than not, the engine was left untouched. PMR was all about looks, not performance.
You know that blistering pace that WCS/GAS worked? Totally bogus; while it looked like the whips are pimped in one week, it can take months!