It was about 8:30am sometime in March of 2009, and my husband and I were screaming at each other as we ran on foot, chasing a tow truck down the road. I threw my hands up in the air as the truck disappeared from sight… then took off my shoes and hurled them at my husband with a look of anger and desperation. As I ran across the street towards him, there was no way that I could have anticipated how he was going to respond. You see, I had only met him an hour ago.
15 seconds later, someone yelled: “Cut!”
Our stances relaxed, and we joined our best friends inside a van which had been following us through the whole escapade. The four of us began to laugh, and we complimented each other on the slurs, digs, and insults that we had hurled at the men that had repossessed their car. As the van circled back around to take us to our starting point in the marina, my friend smiled at me and asked politely:
“What was your name again?”
Twenty minutes later, we were all in the parking lot, our bags of belongings packed up, and we said our good-byes as we all drove away in separate vehicles. To my knowledge, none of us ever saw each other again.
As I made the trek back to my home in StudioCity, I recalled the day that I had auditioned for the show that we had just filmed. It was done with 100% improvisation, and I had no time to prepare at all. They instructed me that “my car was being repossessed”, for me to act psychotic, and said: “Go!”
After I finished my audition, the casting directors didn’t say one word to me…other than to thank me for coming down. I suppose that I must have been “psychotic” enough for them, because a week or two later, they cast me in an episode of their “Reality Show”, which airs on a network that broadcasts all “true television programs.”
Now…what was “True” or “Real” about the show on which I appeared? Well, if you strained your eyes and looked closely, there was some fine print broadcast at the end of the episode…which stated that all of the programs in their series were “re-enactments of true events.” So, I suppose that, in this instance, they were technically in the clear…though I can’t imagine that many of their viewers have ever seen that disclaimer.
That’s a lot more honest than many reality shows.
Reality television seems to take every shape and form nowadays…from famous family’s lives being chronicled, to showcases about patients going through rehab…to unfaithful significant others being busted right there in front of the camera.
Or are they?
One such show which adamantly claims that their episodes are all real, true stories…filmed live…is a well-known program called Cheaters. As a matter of fact, the encounters with those being caught are sometimes so violent, the host was once actually stabbed…leaving him lying helpless in a Texas hospital.
Except that he wasn’t.
That’s right…an investigation conducted by theTV show Inside Edition revealed that “ The ambulance was rented, the blood was fake, and everything was scripted”…additionally, according to the police in Rowlett, Texas, it never happened. “There were no arrests at all during that time period for that type of crime,” said John Ellison of the Rowlett Police Department.*
Hmm…it looks like Cheaters does a lot of cheating!
Because of my “insider’s” perspective, I admit that I’ve become somewhat jaded…because I honestly become surprised when I meet someone who still thinks that reality television is actually real. I have to remember that most people have no idea about the contrived ways of television, and the majority of the world probably does think that it’s all real, at least to a certain extent. The next time that you’re watching a reality show, look closely. You might start to recognize when things seem out of place, or it may appear more obvious when a situation has been manipulated for the cameras.
Even though I don’t actually watch their shows, I’m no stranger to who the Kardashians are…especially Kim, the reigning queen of reality TV. According to recent media reports, Kim’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Kris Humphries, is threatening to “Blow the lid off reality television.”
Well, I don’t doubt that he might…but hey, it’s entertainment, people! If you enjoy what you’re watching, and the people behind the camera can provide that entertainment for you…does it matter if it’s real or not? I suppose that the viewers can be the only ones to judge. So, do you feel betrayed now? Disappointed? Or are you merely shrugging your shoulders?
Waiting in line at the grocery store last week, I couldn’t help but notice the cover of the latest Us magazine. It featured a smiling photo of a very handsome man, the star of one of the most popular reality shows of all. And the caption?
“The Virgin Bachelor”.
Umm…I’m not so sure about that!
*For a link to the Inside Edition investigation into the show Cheaters, click here: