Many of you may already know how many terrible shows there are on channels like History or Discovery. It's incredible how such once-important and educational channels turned into a stinking pit of garbage "reality" tv. I mean, "reality" tv is everywhere, but these channels shouldn't be the ones airing it.
That being said, at least there are channels like A&E out there. They don't pretend to have a mandate to put out only very real tv shows. They have "reality" tv all the time and they are called the Arts and Entertainment channel for a reason. There's not a lot of art in "reality" tv, but there is a lot of entertainment for a lot of stupid people out there. A&E just knows how to capitalize.
Either way, that doesn't mean that A&E doesn't have its share of both real and fake shows. It might be entertainment, but that doesn't mean it can't be true. And while almost all "reality" tv is complete bullsh*t, scripted and stupid, that doesn't change the fact that there are definitely shows out there that are far more real than you'd expect and shows that are far faker than they let on.
16 Fake - Paranormal State
Alright, do you want to know how I know that this show is complete BS and totally fake? Because the show is about ghosts. Did you want to know something about ghosts? Well, I'll tell you anyway...they don't exist! How the hell anyone managed to put together so many stupid "reality" tv shows about how ghosts are haunting this place or that, or this person or that, I will never understand. And some of these people really do believe that they've been haunted or have experienced a spirit of some sort. Then there are the people running the show who just make the sh*t up and try to "communicate" with the dead. It's amazing how so many people buy into this stuff. They may as well call the show "Alien State". I bet they'd get just as many if not more viewers. People are so gullible, it's unbelievable.
15 Real - Born This Way
According to David M. Perry from Al Jazeera, "the show is … basically fine. The seven adults with Down Syndrome are interesting people living complex lives; their parents generally address the issues related to being a caregiver of a disabled adult clearly, and the show presents many honest and important moments. At its best, “Born This Way” shows its characters addressing work, housing, romance, friendship and other aspects of adult life that, perhaps, most viewers don’t associate with developmental disability." Apparently, like most "reality" tv shows, there is some forced drama, but otherwise what you see is what you get with the cast of Born This Way. And that's pretty remarkable. I'm almost shocked that these people haven't really been taken advantage of in some nasty way.
14 Fake - 60 Days In
This is just hilarious. For some reason, people thought it would be a really good idea to take a tv presenter and set him up like he was some sort of criminal heading to prison. Basically, he would spend two months in prison and the show would revolve around his experiences. Well, first of all, with all the cameras around, some people might notice that there is some sort of show going on. Secondly, according to the host, the prisoners knew that he was a fake in almost no time at all. And they treated him like a king apparently. In spite of all the tricky editing that made it look like he was in danger, he was actually protected and loved by the prisoners. Thankfully the host came out and said that A&E was taking advantage of the prisoners by making them seem far worse than they were.
13 Real - Billy The Exterminator
I'm actually shocked that this show is as real as it is. I mean...just look at this guy. He looks like he has "totally fake" written all over him. But this very strange guy (Billy) is actually an exterminator on this show. And more than that, he's actually an entomologist. Meaning he has got an education all about creepy crawlies and how they work. He really does know his stuff. Which is kind of funny since he's willing to hold out things like wasps for the camera, without gloves, and point out different parts of it just before it stings him. He's like the nerdy-metal-cowboy version of Bear Grylls, except that Billy doesn't fake his way through his show each night. He actually goes out there, takes hits from the bugs he exterminates and helps people out.
12 Fake - Storage Wars
Cards on the table here, I used to watch storage wars with a girlfriend of mine in Halifax. She was sort of addicted to it. Whenever it was on (so long as we weren't playing video games) we were watching it. I pretty quickly got a little skeptical about just how often these people found such amazing items that were worth so bloody much in these sh*t storage containers that were up for auction because people either died or couldn't afford them anymore. I mean, if they couldn't afford the container, how could you expect that they'd have anything valuable in them? And true enough, a lot of the really nice items that are found in the containers are actually placed there by the production crew for the cast to find them.
11 Real - Hoarders
This is a terrifying show. There are elements that are set up to some extent here. For example, the producers will only take on a case where someone is in crisis and about to lose their place or their loved ones because of how disgusting and packed their place is. That's just good business strategy for ratings. But the people themselves and the mess in which they live...that's all real. When you see someone living in complete sh*t, they actually living there. The sad part about this show is that even after the cleaning crews come through and gut the hoard, many of the hoarders just go right back to collecting trash and leaving their place in a nasty state. I can't imagine having to film that sort of show for a full season...or even for one episode.
10 Fake - Duck Dynasty
These crazy, racist, bearded men are pretty full of fakery. Take even just their beards, for example. The beards aren't fake, but none of these men had beards until it became clear that it would help sell their stupid show. So they're actually not the wild-looking guys you think you know. Apparently even in America, prayers have to be edited. So, when you see these guys praying at the dinner table, just know that certain parts are cut out. And I bet some of those prayers are for some sort of naughty action for Si. He claims that he's had hundreds of marriage proposals over the course of the show...but not many people believe him. Like many "reality" tv shows, these guys just like to try and add drama where there is none to try and boost ratings. The people you see aren't the people they are.
9 Real - Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force
Ok, I know that the guy on the left looks a little batsh*t crazy. He kind of scares me as I write this, but you just have to remember that at least he's on your side...so long as you're not a criminal I guess. Anyway, this show is surprisingly realistic. It's realistic almost to the point of being completely dull. Sure, they usually have some sort of action in the show but that has a lot to do with the music and the cutting of the footage. Otherwise though, when they do film stakeouts and certain other procedural steps in law-enforcement, it is pretty clear that things are often boring. And they even say as much in the aired version of the show. It takes some real bravery to film just how boring law-enforcement can be and actually air it in its true form.
8 Fake - American Hoggers
First of all...American Hoggers is a dumb show. It's just definitely a waste of your time. Watching people get ready for a hunt and then go out to a giant ranch and "hunt feral hogs" is just silly. Apparently, there is a real feral hog problem out there. But when these guys go out onto a 5000-acre ranch, spend three days and catch only three hogs before they say they've fixed the problem...well that's just a lie. Only three hogs in 5000 acres? Give me a break. And besides that, you just have to look at the cast of characters to know it's fake. Yes, pretty women can definitely love hunting and love shooting hogs. I know a few lovely ladies who hunt. But when they're all dolled up to go out for a hunt? That is just for tv. Real women don't get dressed to the nines to go hunting. At least not ones who know that they're doing.
7 Real - Cold Case Files
This is perhaps one of the most chilling tv shows on A&E. And I'm not making a joke (cold cases and being chilling...). This show digs up the past and reopens old criminal cases. Or at least re-examines them so that people can see how really interesting cases were dealt with decades ago and how they can be done better today. It really is a very interesting and very scary tv show. And it is totally real. I mean, it's just all about actual cases from the real past. They're not made up in any way. The show follows experts who open up these unsolved cases, and they simply attempt to use modern day technology to close the cases once and for all. I'm not going to say that that happens often at all, but it does happen. Or they at least can see how something was more likely than the originally suspected outcomes.
6 Fake - Gene Simmons Family Jewels
No one can be at all surprised that this show is complete BS. Gene Simmons was really only ever good for one thing and that was playing bass for KISS while he stuck his tongue out at people. Yeah, he could sing too. He's not a bad musician, but he's definitely a sad, sorry excuse for a rock star now. It's like when Ozzy did his stupid "reality" tv show. At least there you know that Sharon is the one calling the shots, but this show was definitely Gene's idea. Why? Because he had to make himself relevant again. But of course, everything is staged. The drama isn't real. He might live his life like he's a total diva, but everyone around him doesn't do the same thing. It's funny that the A&E tagline says "Real Life. Drama". I think you just have to realize that only one of those applies to this stupid show.
5 Real - The First 48
This is a terrifying show. I have to be totally honest that I think it's crazy to make a show out of this. I think that law enforcement should be left off the tv when it comes to real-life stuff like this anyway. It leads to real cops making real mistakes in order to help the show move along. "What we have is a circumstantial case, but the circumstantial evidence that we have tells a strong story," Detective Fabio Sanchez said during an episode when arresting a man charged with murder. The man who was charged spent a lot of time in prison. But guess what...he was actually innocent. That's what happens when you rush to get a case cleaned up. You make mistakes. And with cameras all over the place too, I bet cops make way more mistakes than they'd like. It's a real show...but I think it's dangerous.
4 Fake - Flip This House
This is just a stupid show. I know several people who do actually flip houses, and I can tell you that the time frame is longer than what this crew does. And the costs are very different. Why is that? Well, first off, the houses that they flip in this show are actually already sold and owned by someone close to the presenters and/or producers of the show. So that's already fakery right there. Secondly, the renovations that are done in the show are almost never actually true renos. They are just cosmetic touch-ups that make it looks like they've changed a lot about the house to make it look better and sell for more. But realistically, it's just a facade to sell the tv show. If you followed people who actually flipped houses, there would be a lot more hard work and a lot more drinking on the show. It would actually be pretty interesting.
3 Real - Country Bucks
What's sad about Country Bucks is that some of the cast are actually good friends with the fakes from Duck Dynasty. It's just too bad that this family, that doesn't hide its business and doesn't hide behind silly drama, happens to be close with a family who does hide a lot about their business dealings and uses fake drama to boost their ratings. Country Bucks doesn't hide the fact that they're all about turning a profit from their very interesting and sometimes strange outdoors products. They celebrate that fact. That's the whole point of the damn show! To push their products and make a name for themselves. They may dress for the part and talk the part but they don't hide that that's what they're doing and that they're doing it to make money.
2 Fake - Intervention
For the most part, the addicts on Intervention are definitely addicts. It's technically illegal to show these guys doing their drugs while A&E makes a profit, but since there is no proof that what they're doing on the show is real, no one can actually land a valid lawsuit. Which is good news for A&E since Intervention has been a pretty hit show. However, the show tends to make all of these people out to be more horrible than they are. According to a cameraman on the show "I have grown close to many subjects while working with them. They are human, some are great people that are a pleasure to hang out with, addiction and all, and some are not. I have played Wii with drug dealers and had a great time. I just hope they are able to find their way."
1 Real - Escaping The KKK
This is very interesting because Escaping The KKK actually never made it on air at all with A&E or any other network. Which is too bad because it sounds like a very interesting documentary series. And given that it was a documentary series, it was pretty damn truthful. Unfortunately, the network discovered something fishy. “We had previously provided assurances to the public and to our core partners — including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change — that no payment was made to hate group members, and we believed that to be the case at the time."But it turns out that some third-party producers paid some of the clan members to appear in the documentary. I'm kind of glad that A&E had the integrity to shut it down for having lied to the public.