Dating shows occupy such a strange space in the broad array of television. On one hand, everyone lampoons them as fake, drama-obsessed monstrosities that are a waste of time.
And yet, so many of us keep tuning in year after year.
So it goes without saying that plenty of us are rather curious about what exactly is real, what is fake, and what else is going on behind the scenes.
Thankfully, at least a few Reddit users are also former dating show contestents. And they were happy to oblige and share their experiences.
Redditor Fartfartfart69 asked:
"People who have appeared on dating shows (naked attraction, first dates), what's it like behind the cameras?"
Many people, of course, talked about how fake and scripted they were. But it was still interesting to learn how they went about the faking.
"I was an actor in the 90s/00s."
"Our agency supplied actors to dating shows. We had three people pretending to be in a love triangle, being sad and emotional and angry and whatever, and we watched a recording of it in our classes, including the three in question, laughing at the sheer... well, falsehood of it all. It was basically improv. I actually didn't know until then that the contestants were faked."
"I guess real people do apply, so perhaps they use a mixture of real applicants and stooges to pad out other episodes."
"I don't speak Spanish fluently, but one time I appeared on 'Doce Corazones' (12 Hearts), which is a Spanish language romance show where a woman has to choose from 12 men to date. (Living in Southern California, where it's filmed, and a Spanish speaking friend of mine dragged me to the set when they had a last minute cancellation and needed someone to stand in lol.)"
"Anyway, the gimmick of the show is that each of the 12 guys has a different zodiac sign, and I guess that's part of the host / matchmaker's recommendation to the woman. I didn't really understand what was going on, but they didn't care what my actual birthday was. They just told me to pretend to be a Sagittarius for the show. I made it to the second round (the woman didn't kick me off immediately, much to my surprise lol)."
"When she asked me to describe myself, I just kind of said "you know, I'm a nice guy who likes having fun" or something ridiculous in my high school level Spanish. It was a silly but memorable experience. Wish I could find it on YouTube. It would have been 2005 or 2006."
Perhaps Not Always Scripted?
"A girl I went to high school with was on Married At First Sight, and she said it was mostly scripted and edited to make her look super bad because people 'love the drama.' "
"Except, I couldn't tell it was edited. That's just how she was. Anyway, she's engaged again. So it obviously didn't make her look too bad."
A New Man
"Had a non-actor friend on MTVs 'Next' in the early 00's as one of the three suitors on the bus. I watched the episode and the banter didn't sound like him at all."
"I asked and he said 'every single word out of my mouth was scripted.' "
Others discussed the less sexy aspect of life on the set of a dating show: the long, drawn out logistical requirements of putting together a network television show.
Long and Expensive
"A friend was on the Irish First Dates. She said everything took ages. They had to get there early and wait for hours to be called, they were told to take a toilet break during the date so they could be filmed phoning someone, this took a long time as they had to change microphones, afterwards they had to wait around to be filmed talking about the date. "
"They were given €20 towards the meal and had to pay the rest themselves. The taxi afterwards is just for filming purposes and drops them off round the corner, they have to make their own way home."
"Not me, but my best friend was on First Dates (Dutch one). There was a lot of waiting, I think he was there for 4 hours in total. Had to eat a 3 course meal at 12 in the afternoon."
"What I thought was also funny was that the shot of them walking towards the restaurant is shot way before the actual date. So they are not walking towards their date, they just approach the restaurant and then go back to the waiting room."
"I was at first dates (in the Netherlands) as a date for in background. You arrive at a large empty room with the rest of the background date people and then you have to sign some stuff. I couldn't wear color or a print, that was too much of a distraction, and the attention should be on the real participants."
"We saw the participants in the same empty room but we couldn't talk to them. Then we went to the restaurant, which was a small tv studio. It looks big on tv, but is was really small. There was no music at all, because they had to edit the footage later. They told us to speak loudly. The food was good and the waiters were really nice. (Sorry for any mistakes, English is not my first language)"
And some shared a few unexpected gems. After all, a reality television set is a workplace like any other: full of flaws, bad people, good people, and boredom.
"Good buddy of mine was on a Bachelorette style show. He was drunk most of time. They used the lavalier mics to have PAs restock whiskey and replace kegs more than they used it to record actual audio for the show."
"It was interesting to see parts of his 'story' being told as sweet and kind man, but as a good friend I could just see the drunk on his face on a lot of his dates/interactions. He ended up winning. They also NDA'd him to hell and he refused to talk about the show in any capacity until a year or so after it aired."
Gotta Pass the Time Somehow
"Crews bet on everything. If it's a competition in any way crews have money flying all around it. Only producers keep out of the betting rings."
"This goes for basically every reality show."
"I got married in one of the first episodes of Don't Tell the Bride (I was the groom). The producers were f**king awful. Because it was the first season, they hadn't quite figured out the rules, what I could / couldn't do. They also lied to me on numerous occasions, manipulated things, tried to provoke me into angry outbursts on camera. I refused to play ball."
"I stayed calm but in truth it was the most stressful four weeks of my life. I lost a stone in weight over that period. The final edit was also full of lies and manipulation through editing. As it was a BBC production I had higher hopes, but it was a private production company who had zero ethics or duty of care. Would definitely not recommend it to anyone else."
At least now if you ever want to become a contestant, you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.
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Not all television and movies are loved by all.
A story and its characters have to appeal to you in order for you to be engaged.
It can take next to nothing for us to lose interest and let the screen go black.
Redditor BarooTangClan wanted to compare notes on all the entertainment we've said "that's enough" to.
"What will make you instantly stop watching a movie or show and why?"
I hate bad acting, writing, storytelling... I hate bad anything.
Stop JumpingFight Scene GIF by Operation FortuneGiphy
"Fight scenes with a million visual cuts. Gives me motion sickness. Contrast the absolutely masterful work in John Wick. long cuts, realistic use of weapons (mostly), 100% skill."
"When the actors whisper the whole movie and you have to crank the volume to hear what's being said - but the soundtrack or some other misc noise starts blaring at a higher volume directly after."
"I basically had to watch Stranger Things up in my attic with the windows and doors closed. I was worried the neighbors would think something was wrong or be annoyed if I watched it downstairs in my single family home. It was ridiculous."
"spice things up"
"Love triangles out of no where in a second or third season to 'spice things up' because studio writers are hacks and their idea of relationship drama is 'potential infidelity' at all times. It's the most tired trope on the go**amn planet and the second I see it rear its head I dip right the hell out."
"The whole concept of a love triangle to begin with an incredibly juvenile. Any healthy functioning adult who found themselves in a love triangle would soon choose to find themselves single."
Save your lips...
"When couples in a movie/show have a fight and one of them instantly goes to a friend and end up kissing her/him after talking for 5 minutes. I cringe so hard i turn it off and never watch it again."
"This pissed me off so much in Manifest. Girl is desperate to get back her ex-fiancé, he finally breaks up with his wife to get back with her and she's like 'nah, it's not fair to your wife, let me do this other dude I just met through a calling and be pissed at you for being jealous.' Michaela was the worst and everyone acted as if she were a saint the entire time."
Talk to MeIn Love Flirt GIF by OriginalsGiphy
"Shows where a single polite conversation could fix everything."
We are going overboard with the witty repartee. Talk normal...
Shut UpScared Home Alone GIF by FreeformGiphy
"Annoying main character, especially if it's a kid."
"Kids who have a quippy, sassy retort to everything, and everyone just kind of crumbles before their wit."
"Shows where kids in high school talk like they are 30 years olds who have done everything, been everywhere, know it all and use a ridiculously flowery and extensive vocabulary in every conversation. Like, have any of these writers ever been to high school? Literally no one talks like that. Even worse is when, in addition to this, all the adults talk normal or are just plain stupid, like so weird parallel universe."
"If the movie is too dark. Not graphic, just literally dark. I lose all sense of intensity in dark scenes and I'm not straining my damn eyes trying to figure out what the hell is going on."
"I've seen about 10 percent of all DC movies recently. I've seen all of the individual films in full, just actually saw 10% of each of them."
"Movies in the late 80s had a lot of dark but you could see the depth because of different shooting techniques. Now you cant see crap because its a CGI fest drowned in black color so you can't see crap because you have no depth in a scene. Compare night scenes in dark alleys in 80's movies and movies now. Utter crap show in the new ones."
Pay Attention Storytellers
"Bad editing would be a big one. A lot of modern horror movies can't help but edit the movies like they're trailers, with added noises to scare the audience because they are afraid the script alone isn't enough to keep people watching."
"I remember this is where the first transformers movie lost me. When the transformers are fighting at the end, it's all a big, jumbled mess of metal and I can barely tell what's going on or who is who."
Dramawill devry soap opera GIF by General HospitalGiphy
"When they go straight to relationship drama right away when it wasn't the selling point of the show."
Do better, Hollywood. It's not that hard.
I fear death.
I wake up in cold sweats dreaming about it.
I think about it in my waking hours.
It's an obsession and clearly, I'm not alone.
But there are more preferred ways to exit.
All we can do is hope to be lucky enough to skip the mercilessly awful.
Please just let me go quick and in my sleep.
RedditorCallMehRiverwanted to hear about all the ways none of us what to leave this life.
"What Do You Think Would Be The Worst Death Imaginable?"
My list of the worst deaths is long. My imagination runs amok.
Trappedseason 6 friends GIFGiphy
"For me? Being trapped in a small tube or cave (like the ones you have to wiggle through) and getting stuck to where you can’t move your arms. And all you can do is wait to die. I’m getting chills just thinking about it."
"The more I hear about cavers that get stuck, the more I think that's a crap way to go."
"There’s a great YouTube channel called Ask a Mortician and this was her #1 worse way to die. I can’t remember the exact details or their names, but two well-known divers went into an underwater cave."
"One of them became entangled and died. Years later, his friend dives back down there to try and retrieve his body, the body itself is rotten and his head comes off and the other guy also becomes tangled and dies. Really sad."
A Long Process
"Believed to be in a coma but coherent through the whole 20 year process until they pull the plug."
"Oh man this just reminded me of a story I read on here about a guy who lost the ability to move and speak but was completely conscious. Had to just lay there and be awake but trapped in a useless body. His family thought he was brain dead or something and he couldn’t communicate to them that he was 'all there.' Crazy"
Slow & Steady
"Being slowly impaled by a growing bamboo. It was a form of torture probably used by the japanese during WW2 against Allied prisoners."
"The scariest part is that once you have symptoms, you 100% will die. A 100% mortality rate has to be a psychological torture in itself."
"Not only that, you feel irrational fear. Your brain is literally being eaten apart by the virus and it fu*ks up everything on it. You can't drink water because it hurts you. You feel dizzy, present a fever, excessively salivate, everything hurts and it only gets worse. I'd rather take a bullet and die when the symptoms are still tolerable."
Why can't we all just go engulfed in calm and quiet?
"Some pulpy sci-fi book I read a while back had one of the best deaths of this real piece of crap bad guy. Left to die in a drowning sea lab under the Antarctic ice, he freezes himself in a state of the art suspended animation pod with some kind cold fusion power source that would keep it running for millions of years."
"But he forgot to inject himself with the drug that would put him to sleep. So basically he is in suspended animation at the bottom of the Antarctic ocean while his mind is perfectly awake and conscious in a near unbreakable machine that won't run out of power for millions of years and nobody knows about it."
"As an RN I have always thought that the worst way to die (natural process) is ALS. Lou Gehrig's Disease."
"My mom and grandmother have Huntington's disease, which is essentially ALS, Alzheimer's, and Dementia combined into one really messed up genetic disease. I have a 50% chance of inheriting it and if I hit 40 and there's still no cure I can't promise I'll feel like continuing on with my life because that disease is absolutely freaking miserable."
"The fact your chromosomes can be so destroyed your body basically lost it's genetic code and with it the ability to make any new cells. It's literally a 'dead man walking' and you slowly rot away in agony. Stuff is so unimaginably f**ked up."
"What's also bad about radiation is that it affects your nerves and brain cells last, so you have everything in place to feel all the pain of the rest of your cells being destroyed."
GooNot Listening Season 2 GIF by The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirGiphy
"I want to believe anything that slowly kills you painfully to be the worst. Such as slowly being crushed or something where the pain is beyond compare and yet not enough to throw you into shock or unconsciousness."
"Alternatively, being rapidly crushed into goo would probably be the least painful. I'm talking one of those massive industrial hammers they use for large steel work. Basically smooshed before the nerve signals make it to the brain."
Now I'll never sleep again without nightmares of death.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Most Americans think nothing of their humdrum daily activities or amenities available to them.
However, others with a different perspective might romanticize the things that are otherwise commonplace ideas and concepts for US citizens, like going to a diner or riding the school bus.
One Redditor looked to foreigners to hear of their American desires to respond to the following:
"Non-Americans of Reddit: what is an American thing you have always wanted to try?"
The things depicted in film really captivated foreign audiences.
"To visit a diner like in the movies. In the middle of the night, it’s raining and just a few people there with great music from a jukebox."
Iconic Student Transport
"Ride a yellow school bus even if I'm too old. Growing up I always loved seeing them on TV."
Just Like The Ones We Used To Know
"A white Christmas."
"Living in an Australian state where I've never even seen snow in our winter, let alone experiencing that classic Hallmark movie moment of waking up to a street full of it and sitting around a fireplace while opening gifts/preparing a feast."
"Guess it's not strictly American, but the imagery and trope is something I've only really seen from American Films."
They may be ubiquitous for us, but they sure seem to be novel ideas to foreigners.
Let's Be Frank
"One of the hotdogs from those little street cart things."
"A friend of mine from Indonesia said, 'the food chewer in the sink.'"
"Apple Pie made by white-haired grandma, placed near window, who says 'oh dear...' as I levitate towards it."
"Proper tailgating before a ball game, the kind where there's ribs and stuff."
"Deep fried foods at a state fair. I'm from Scotland and we love to deep fry everything and I wanna know if it's just as good or better."
There are places to see!
Places To See
"America’s greatest invention!"
Backpacking In Nature
"I always wanted to hike The Appalachian Trail if that counts. Or see Yellowstone."
"Being able to start a whole new life 'elsewhere' without having to leave my country and going through an arduous immigration process."
My cousin told me she looks forward to visiting a Trader Joe's someday when she visits America for the first time.
Her bucket list option was hardly surprising. My parents used to bring treats from TJs as a novelty souvenir gift item, and my relatives ate it up. Literally.
Let's face it. The snacks at TJs rocks.
Even store locations in New York City would have ridiculously long lines during busy hours because the West-coast-based grocer was a novelty on the East Coast.
Many people work hard from the moment they are on the clock until their respective shifts are over at the end of a long day.
For many of those in the workforce, the wages barely sustain a comfortable living, especially for those who are raising a family.
Yet, there are jobs that are known to pay a higher salary without requiring extreme physical labor, or the requirement of higher education.
Curious to hear what those jobs might be, Redditor ImAMasterBayter asked:
"People Break Down Which Professions Are Completely Overpaid"
Extensive training requirements are not a thing, apparently, with these professions.
Daily Dairy Duty
"I watch milk powder go into a bag and out on a conveyor and get paid $37 an hour."
Eyeing Dirt In Motion
"Mine? I get paid $20.50 a hr to watch dirt go by on a belt all day."
The Handy Man Is Happy To Help
"I am a handy man that charges $50/hr with a 3hr minimum, a couple months ago I got a call for service that consisted of changing 9 smoke detector batteries, 2 light bulbs, and rehanging a picture. I felt bad taking the money but the guy couldn’t have been happier to have that stuff finally done. He asked for my card and is now a very good client."
Words From An Appraiser
"I make about 40 an hour after tax in the US as a real estate appraiser. You just need a college degree and a year of training and there is a huge shortage of appraisers right now."
"Edit because this post blew up: I only perceive this job as being overpaid because I used spent most of my 20's making pizza for minimum wage and imposter syndrome is a thing. Also, OP said he was looking for a possible career, and I felt like my job post was better than a troll post."
"Appraisers are not real estate agents or brokers. I do not buy or sell property."
"I do not, 'look at zillow and copy the number' and I don't just, 'make the number' in valuation. While I agree there are some appraisers who may lie or exaggerate, the same could be said of nearly any job. However, if I were to intentionally try hit some goal and got caught fudging the numbers, I'm looking at permanently losing my license and possible jail time depending on the severity. It's actually pretty common for me to, 'tank a deal' if someone is paying too much. This isn't the wild west of valuation anymore; FIRREA is a thing now. Appraisal reports aren't just 3 pages of photos with a cover page anymore; my typical appraisal is 30-50 pages with long boring typed pages of market data that I type and research myself."
"Let's talk about the appraisal gap. In most of the US, we are experiencing a, 'sellers market' meaning houses are selling for higher than what they normally sell for. A lot of people at this thread are blaming appraisers for driving housing prices up. Let me be perfectly clear about this: appraiser's valuations are based off of past data. That is it; we look at closed sales from the past. Realtors and brokers speculate on future markets, because they are motivated by profit. If anyone is driving this current market trend, it is the people buying properties over listing price, local government/laws willingness to allow foreign investors, the people who are raising rents, and the people who are making big risky developments. The appraisers have little to nothing to do with market perception of value; in my area at least many market participants are paying over 30% of listing price. Trust me when I say these people are not satisfied when my appraised value comes in less than that."
"The hardest part of the job is definitely the occasional angry phone call. Let's look at an example. Say someone lists their house at 100k, and they accept an offer for 150k, or 50% over listing. Well the appraisal is based off of past closed sales. The bank will only finance up to the appraised value. So if the appraisal comes in at 110k, meaning the subject in relation to comparable sales from the past year in the subject neighborhood equate to roughly 110k, they will either need to renegotiate the price, or be willing to put up 40k of their own money."
"In a sellers market, it's often better to accept a deal with better financing than a higher price. Let's say in this situation instead of taking the 150k offer with a mortgage, you take a smaller offer for 140k that is all cash, no financing. Well if there is no financing involved, meaning no bank, than no appraisal is needed."
Landing work in software seems to be like hitting the jackpot of success.
"I’m in software sales, software sales. Coworker got 100k commission on a deal."
"There are an incredible amount of 'analysts' who just 'own' automated excel sheets they received from developer teams."
"Low to mid six figures is common in HCOL areas."
The Successful Client
"I do the tax returns for a guy who paid 20k for demographic research software and made something like 40M over the last 3 years. His costs are almost nothing and admitted he does like 5 hours of work a week on it."
"I got more likes and comments than I thought I would, and wanted to add some more detail. The guy himself is super nice and easy to work with. It's hard not to feel jealous even though I make good money myself. His business and personal returns are super simple so we don't even charge him that much for them."
"The software is something proprietary he paid a third party for, and I don't know the name of that developer. The data output is sold to political campaigns and he's compensated more if the campaign wins. He did have some clients on both sides but now exclusively works on one side of the aisle."
Salaries in the world of academics got a closer inspection.
"University administrators and board members."
A Stark Contrast
"I'm a professor. I love it. But the 'president's office' contains a staff of 5 people with a total payroll of just under $500k/year. Meanwhile, all the PhDs, MFAs, and DMAs who teach all the classes, advise all the students, and serve on all the committees bring home a whopping $50k-$65k/year, dependent on rank, tenure, etc. It's real fun...
"The president of my institution makes a approximately $500k/year and is provided a house on campus alongside reserved parking if he so chooses to use it. He also gets a country club membership. Meanwhile I have to pay $200 to park at the school where I TA and do research, and I get paid maybe 1/20th of what he does. I genuinely do not understand why the f'k the dude who makes six figures doesn't pay for parking, but I do."
"Edit: that should be half a million."
Some of the cushiest jobs that require less time actively toiling away seem to be paying significantly more than the average livable wage offered in the US.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of what that might be was summed up best by Redditor iadasr, who said:
"Whatever you guys are all doing that lets you browse Reddit all day..."