Reality shows are extremely popular because it is an ultimate form of voyeurism.
Whether it's on a competition or a home makeover show, pleasure is derived from watching real-life people respond dramatically to inconsequential situations.
But how much of what we see are authentic reactions?
Curious about the experiences of those who were on camera, Redditor S3xySouthernB asked:
"People who were on reality family shows as kids (think super nanny, wife swap etc) how much of it was real and how much was fiction/set up for drama? Did anything change?"
Reddit Users Share Their Best 'It's A Small World After All' Experience
The following Redditors frowned upon the concept of being portrayed differently on camera.
"I was on Wife Swap when I was 10 years old. My family had to switch with a farming family and we were supposed to be the 'city family' even though my family and I lived in the suburbs. There were plenty of quotes taken out of context as you'd expect. They also incited plenty of drama. I was framed as addicted to video games so they took my xbox and gameboy color for the week. A few days in one of the crew members came in with my gameboy and said 'look I found this' and handed it to me. It shouldn't be surprising that they sent the woman staying in our house into my room to 'catch me in the act'."
"To be honest not much has really changed in my life except getting snapchats of my 10 year old face when my friends catch the reruns. I'm open to any questions if anyone is curious."
It was Season 3 Episode 13 of Wife Swap"
Update for anyone who was curious about how much money the show gave us. The initial amount was $20k but after taxes it came to around $15k like others had expected."
Crazy On Cue
"My parents were 'dinner guests' in an episode of Nanny 911 and they said literally everything was staged. I don't remember all of the details, but they said the directors had a 'code word' that they would say to the kids when they were supposed to start acting all 'crazy'. And then once the scene was done, the kids would be perfectly normal."
"My friends parents were on worlds strictest parents. They came to my house on 4th of July and when they showed our house on tv it was a huge mansion rather than our actual house. The camera crew also told the visiting 'bad kids' to steal alcohol from our house."
The Master Woodworker
"My family and our home were on that show 'This Old House' in the late '90s. Norm Abrahms was the host, and they picked our house because of my dad's collection of Shaker furniture. The idea was that we gave him a tour of the house (while being filmed) and then he demonstrated to the camera how to make furniture like our."
"Everything was 100% genuine. Norm and the crew were kind and super respectful to all of us. No second takes. When he explained to the camera how to build replicas of the Shaker furniture, it became apparent that he was a master woodworker. Before he left we all took photos together and he signed some stuff. It was a really special day."
"That was right when reality TV was starting to pick up steam. MTV's The Real World was big at the time. I don't think Survivor had come out yet. That was the show that opened the floodgates."
"Canadian Idol—-Producers tell you which songs to sing. First they make you sing in line, if you're really bad or really good you're put through to the producers."
"My friend made it through (honestly an incredible singer.) she had been singing one song the whole time and made it to the judges. She sang her song that got her that far, which was My Hero by Foo Fighters. Then, before she goes the judges the producers say she's going to sing 'Creep' by Radiohead as Foo Fighters aren't on the list of approved songs."
"So she sings Creep, doesn't impress the judges and doesn't make it through. We then watch the show when it's aired, these motherf'kers edited her into the opening and said: 'the good, the bad and the just plain creepy!!' And showed her singing Creep—-she was this gothic girl who didn't fit in with the usual pop star image, she was so humiliated she never sang again."
"Also, Ben Mulroney is one of the worst human beings I've ever met."
A glimpse into the lives of those who are unable to part with their possessions is not always scripted TV.
Hoarding For Real
"I worked with a junk removal company for an episode of hoarders and it was actually 99% REAL. The only thing that they would set up a couple times was if they opened a box and found something interesting off camera they would re-open it on camera and act like they just found it."
Like A Nightmare
"After just having to clear out my best friend's (deceased) mom's house who was a hoarder...I know that show is real. I really feel like I have PTSD from it. I have nightmares where I'm back there."
"My mother was (probably still is, we aren't in contact) a hoarder and you don't HAVE to make sh*t up. They're seriously, seriously mentally ill but they refuse help because they don't think they're mentally ill, or 'it's not that bad' or they're 'going to get to it next month' or whatever. Total denial and self delusion, which is, yanno, common with severe mental illness."
"Example: for who knows what reason, my mother started putting dirty laundry in the bathtub. Eventually there was just a mountain of it. She wouldn't wash it despite our washer working fine. She wouldn't move it. She wouldn't let ME wash it. I was showering at school for weeks already when I told her 'Mom the laundry in the tub has to go. This is ridiculous. I'll help with it.'"
"She said 'There's no laundry in the tub.'"
"She actually tried to DENY REALITY. I went in there and was like 'These are clothes. In the tub. This is laundry.'"
"She replied 'Oh I think those are clean.'"
"I said, 'So then put them away?' I knew they weren't clean. I just wanted to shower."
"She said 'I'll do it this weekend when I have off.'"
"I hate to spoil the ending but..... she didn't do it."
"She hired a dumpster once and was going to 'throw out everything'. It got there. Normal sized dumpster. She didn't throw out anything because 'they sent too big of a one'. Paid hundreds of dollars to hire this dumpster and didn't use it."
"Oh. Then. She was going to sell the house. Someone actually wanted to buy it to gut and flip. It was really a cool old house, speaking design-wise. She decided at the last possible second not to sell. Had to reimburse the buyer's closing costs plus a bunch of other fees."
"Then cried to anyone who'd listen how the realtor was a scammer who 'tried to sell her house out from under her'. Like they're just rouge realtors going around, listing people's houses without their consent and selling them."
Are the emotional outbursts exhibited on reality shows genuine? Not always.
"A class mate of mine was on my country's Next Top Model. Before getting into the show she was asked what kind of hair she would never want to get, so that the producers know about it and not make her have it during the makeover episode. My classmate had long blonde hair which she really loved, so she said she doesn't want them to cut her hair off and that she also hated strange unnatural colors like blue, pink etc."
"Fast forward to the makeover episode. The hairstyling team comes in and finds her hair unfitting for a model, so she needs to get a makeover and guess what? Her makeover obviously consists of a pixie cut and green hair to make her look like a 'punk fairy.'"
"My class mate cried throughout the entire process, so I guess the producers got the drama they wanted out of this."
"There was a family in our neighborhood who was on a show here in Germany. One day, when accompanied by the camera crew, one of the daughters suddenly threw a screaming fit in public, which was totally unusual for her. When the mom was asked later what the f*k had happened, she said, for a tantrum you get 200 bucks extra."
Birthday Party Meltdown
"A girl I went to school with was on 'My Super Sweet Sixteen'. She was always quiet but well-liked and the kids on that show were usually monsters so we were curious about how the episode would paint her."
"There was one scene where she was checking in on a vendor and they said something might not be finished in time for the party and she didn't have a meltdown or anything but she said something dramatic like, 'Oh no! That's going to ruin my whole birthday party!'"
"After the episode aired her friends who were with her said they did a couple of 'takes' because her first reaction was like, 'Oh, that sucks. Thanks for letting me know.'"
Kids, Act Up!
"My wife was hired as a home school teacher on wife swap. Since the Mom home schooled they want another home schooling Mom to step in and teach. It is all manufactured. They tell the kids to act up. My wife kept getting in trouble cause she kept turning her mic off and wouldn't play their game. She got like 3 seconds of screen time because she taught and did not play into the reality show bullsh*t."
"A wedding that I was a bridesmaid in was aired on Say Yes to the Dress."
"They filmed our initial reaction to the bride walking out several times. They, like, wanted us to scream and cry."
"I'll be honest, the whole thing was incredibly fake and rubbed me the wrong way. Pretty on par for the type of person the bride is, though. I don't talk to her anymore."
It appeared the majority of Redditors who vouched for a show's realistic portrayal of people on TV was Hoarders.
For Redditor azulweber, the circumstance was relatable.
"yeah my grandmother and her sister are both hoarders and i have no problem believing that it's real. i can't imagine someone who isn't a hoarder being willing to allow a show to do that to their home and belongings just for tv."
Sadly, the exploitation of a person's mental illness seems to make for must-see television.
Show me the money, if you've got it! Growing up wealthy is something most people only dream about. And children who grow up with money don't immediately realize the meaning of rich or the differences between their lives and the lives of their friends. And that moment can be quite the culture shock.
Imagine being six and you attend your first party. And much to your surprise one of the people from the household answers the door and you're thinking... "Where is your butler?"
Talk about a sharp look into how the other half lives.
Redditor u/itsohsodemi wanted to hear all about the times people accepted that they had financial privilege, by asking:
People that had rich parents growing up. When did you realize you were rich?
I grew up poor so I can only remember being shocked by friends having all the toys I had been asking for in duplicate. That was fun to witness. That was when I learned rich people were real and not just characters on "Dynasty."
LUCKYY!!mickey mouse 80s GIFGiphy
"When I started talking in school about the pros and cons of Disney World vs Disney Land, and people were like "YOU'VE BEEN ON VACATION?! LUCKYY!!"
"Apparently it wasn't normal to go on holiday once a month."
"It's doable if you lower your standards and you're a family of 1. I made 45k and went on mini vacations every 3 weeks. Motel 6, spirit airlines, and public transit. $200-250 was all it cost me to fly away for the weekend. Not everything needs to be $800 flights to Cancun with $400/night luxury hotels!"
"I had a knee injury and was limping around everywhere ~14 years old. My parents told me they did not have the money to see the doctor. When I repeated this to my soccer coach he was in shock and pissed. Told me, "Do you know how much money your parents make?" I think he had a strong word with them and my parents took me to the doctors. Found out they were Multi Millionaires and my Dad was a CEO. My meniscus was torn."
Paycheck to Paycheck
"My parents were wealthy, but since they were good ol' Midwestern folks, they also wanted my siblings and me to work early and work hard. I got a job at 14 at a local sandwich shop and had a co-worker who was around the same age. I just assumed that she didn't need to work and was only doing it for the "character building" aspect like I was. I asked her what she was going to do with her first paycheck."
"Assuming it would be something fun, and she told me she was going to give it to her parents because they were really struggling and needed help with the bills. I was shocked. I had never met someone who needed to help their parents with bills at only 14-15. She was a really sweet girl. I hope she and her family are OK."
Free!Student Loans Corona GIF by INTO ACT!ONGiphy
"My friends talk about their student debt. I graduated debt free with my Masters Degree."
Ah to be debt-free, to have health insurance, and to be able to visit Disney World anytime you wish... the luxury of it all. How can I get adopted by some of these people?
We're FineI Am Rich Nene Leakes GIFGiphy
"When the 2008 recession had absolutely no effect on us and we still had tons of music lessons and other expensive hobbies and still went on vacations. Also when my parents bought me a horse. Not a pony, a full sized American Saddlebred (though I was a horseback rider and still was up until I was in college). We still have him too. :)"
"When my dad's friend lost his job and lost his house in a divorce, my did casually went out and bought him a new house, replaced his car and gave him a monthly "salary" for his friend to go and live his life on so he can remember that life can also be amazing. It was also the time I realised my dad (and mum) are freaking incredible. Miss that man. He was one of the good ones to get lucky with money. The man wore the same jeans every day but bought his friend a house."
"When a kid in my class (who as it happened didn't live that far away from us) bragged the day after Halloween that he and his friends had gone trick-or-treating on our street "where all the rich people live." I had always known we were well-off, but would not have described us as rich because a) we didn't have live-in staff b) our property was not fenced off and c) my parents always drove themselves. I.e., we didn't live like Richie Rich."
I am the boss.
"Dad came home late from work and I had been eagerly waiting for him for a reason I don't remember now. I do remember clearly him coming up the stairs and me asking him why did he take so long, didn't his boss allow him to leave on time? His answer was: What are you talking about? I am the boss. It suddenly hit me that the hundreds of people he had around him all day weren' t exactly his pals."
The DeedHome Luxury GIF by The Pozek GroupGiphy
"Dad owned a financial advisory company. never knew I was rich because since he was so financially literate, he just invested a lot and didn't splurge. When we moved into a new house I accidentally found the paper for the house listing and saw that the house we were moving into was a million dollars."
The house, the opulence of a home is the first dead giveaway. The limo is the other. Be rich, have fun with it. I just wish everyone was more humble though and knew how to use their financial freedom for the greater good.
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Don't shy away from the truth.
This oft ignored lesson could be why there are individuals who think the worldwide pandemic is "over," but it's one that gets ignored more often than you might think. Things can be hard to stomach or accept, so often people will not listen to these truths, choosing to believe something else.
Can't escape facts when they're staring right at you in the mirror.
What is a hard pill to swallow for most people?
Life can feel like it's working against you sometimes.
It's not. It's just the way things go sometimes.
Starting Out With A Tough One...
"That doing your best does not mean you will succeed"
"Also sadly, not everyone's "best" is good enough for what they're trying to accomplish. We are not all physically, mentally and intellectually equal, and we all have different strengths."
What Are You Going To Do?
"How you react to situations shapes your reality more than the situation itself"
"This is one that I have become consciously aware of the older I have gotten. Oftentimes it is my reaction that defines the way in which the happening of an event will be categorized. So, I have been trying to train my brain not to react and instead process first as to allow me to have a rational reaction whatever that might be."
Just. Not. Into. You.
"If someone isn't into you as much as you are into them, there really isn't much you can do about it. Even just waiting is often bad for you in the long run."
Turns out the hardest lessons are the ones you need to apply to yourself.
They Come, Stay For A While, Then Move On
"not all friendships were made to last. that doesn't make you a bad person, or a bad friend, it just means it's time for you to find someone better, even if it doesn't seem like there is. (currently trying to swallow this one)"
Work For You And You Alone
"looking for others to validate your sense of worth will always end in ruin."
"Yes, stop trying to impress others or always do them favors to gain respect. Respect yourself. It gets you nothing. If the person like you before (s)he will respect you. If the person before didnt, then you're being taken advantage of."
Sometimes the harshest facts we can face are connected to ourselves, how we view ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves. If you want to face the harshest facts then you need to look inward.
I'm Sadder Than You Are
"Your suffering is only unique unto you. The fact that you suffer is universal to all life it shouldn't be a race to bottom. Which for most people it absolutely is."
"and suffering competitions are insufferable"
"Sometimes you're the toxic one in the relationship."
"This one is true, and most of the time you don't even know you are the toxic one."
"I was aware of this from the start. I'm in therapy for it now. I'm at least catching the smaller sh*t I've been doing. Like don't get me wrong I'm always sweet and try to make sure they are looked after but there are toxic things I do."
It'll Happen. Be Ready.
"That life isn't fair, you will face heart-breakingly tragic things that are beyond your control. Some more than others, but everyone has something, be kind."
Deal With Yourself
"Sometimes you are the one holding yourself back."
The world can feel like it's out to get you, to ruin everything going on for you personally.
With a little insight, a gaze into your own self-worth, you'll see that's not the case, and usually the one stopping you from succeeding is you.
Talk to someone, if you can.
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Most of us have had at least one bad roommate. I had several at one point... and those were enough for me. Think about it: Large house, a bunch of different people... there was bound to be friction. I don't miss those days. The food lying around, the roommates who didn't bathe regularly and left dirty towels lying around in the single bathroom that house had or the one roommate who didn't know how to wash dishes properly. The frustration was unreal. Let's just say I escaped and years later, after a couple of other roommate situations, I thankfully live alone and stress-free!
People told us all about their worst roommates after Redditor Out-of-Simpacks asked the online community,
"What's your roommate horror story?"
"It felt weird wearing them..."
"My first college roommate hated doing laundry.
When he ran out of clean underwear for a date, he'd "borrow" mine (even though I told him to leave my stuff alone).
As I once described, he'd return my underwear unwashed after his dates with all his "smells" (and hers) trapped in the material.
It felt weird wearing them afterward, knowing his junk had been in them."
You should have put some habanero sauce in them. That would have taught him a lesson.
"Luckily another roommate..."
"College roommate put eggs on to boil for lunch, packed for spring break, and then she left. With the eggs still boiling on the stove.
Luckily another roommate came back in between classes and saw it with maybe half an inch of water left in the pan. He didn't normally come home at that time too, so we were really lucky she didn't burn the place down."
I will never understand people who don't mind the stove while cooking something. To not do so is really asking for trouble.
"I had a guy who was a grad student..."
"I had a guy who was a grad student as a roomie for a while. He would come home at 2 am and was just incapable of being quiet. Aside from slamming every door he touched, he would loudly pace up and down in the kitchen while waiting for his whistling kettle to boil. Every. Single. Night. I was so glad when he finished and left.
In contrast, the guy before him was also a grad student, kept similar hours, and was as quiet as a mouse."
Noise would drive me crazy. Thankfully, he's gone!
"She then decided..."
"My first college roommate had pictures of herself taped all over her mirror. That was my first sign. She then decided to wage war on me because she decided, for some random reason, that she didn't like me. I had friends next door and down the hall and we never really hung out with her because she had her own circle of friends. Anyway, this b*tch short-sheeted my bed, spread peanut butter on my sheets, and stole a pair of my shoes. Thank God she left after the first semester."
Sounds like narcissim to a T. You're free now!
"Then she accused me..."
"I had a roommate who liked to have sex with her boyfriend on the kitchen table. There would be condoms draped on top of the full trash can all the time.
Then she accused me of stealing her mushrooms because she forgot that she had taken them the week before.
I kicked her out, and she left the apartment key in a pile of cigarette ashes."
That's just nasty. I will never understand people who live like that.
"One of my old housemates had a bad habit of being drunk and hungry, but not having any snacks around.
His solution would be to cook while wasted. One time he was blacked out while cooking sausage on the stove at 4 am. He got distracted and left the sausage to take a SHOWER. Thankfully one of us was woken up by the smoke before the house burned down. Safe to say that he was not allowed to cook with the stove after a certain hour."
"A roommate who was an aspiring record producer..."
"A roommate who was an aspiring record producer and spent hours every day tweaking the same two songs."
This definitely got old... fast.
"I had a roommate who was frequently drunk..."
"I had a roommate who was frequently drunk and one day I came home to find him burning my clothes in the backyard. I also had to start locking my bedroom door because there were a few occasions where he came in and passed out in my bed even when I told him he wasn't in his room."
"I immediately walked out..."
"I traveled a lot as a college student and I got home after a weekend and my roommates had thrown a party, which was somewhat normal.
I went to my bed and they'd let some chick sleep in it and she peed herself.
I immediately walked out the front door and found an apartment for myself."
Good for you! Living alone was the best decision I ever made. So much relief.
"Time to dust this one off..."
"Time to dust this one off again and dive straight into the PTSD. I had a housemate who, over the span of six months managed the following:
- Encouraged a rodent infestation by leaving food out.
- Dialled the heating to full because she was cold. Whenever anyone turned it back down, she'd just dial it back up. After a week of near constant 40*C heat, I turned the heating off and smashed the thermostat. Our gas bill for that month was £500.
- Left the door unlocked while she went to work, allowing the house to get burgled. Twice.
- Flooded the house with gas by turning on the stove but failing to light it.
- Refused to pay bills because "her husband already paid them for his house". She could not grasp that each property has its own utility bills.
- Started trawling bars and bringing home random weirdos.
- Moved her smack head boyfriend in, who she'd picked up at a bar three days earlier. He started stalking other residents and lurking around the house while carrying a kitchen knife and apologising profusely."
It's a shame that living alone is so expensive and beyond reach for many people out there. (I definitely lucked out, and am thankful each and every day.)
But maybe some of you enjoy communal living! Good for you. That's all I have to say about that.
Have some horror stories of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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Some of the most common forms of misinformation stem from false beliefs that have been passed down. One huge bit of terrible information taught as fact was the traditional food pyramid millennials grew up having drilled into us in school. It's almost like there might be a reason so many 90s kids have struggled with relationships with food.
GabeGecko wanted to thrash through some major misinformation they asked fellow Redditors:
“What is the most largely believed piece of misinformation?"
Teaching incorrect color theory in schools…animation color GIF by Motion AddictsGiphy
“That red yellow and blue are the primary colors for painting. It's actually magenta, yellow, and cyan - those are the real primary colors. Also, the only thing special about primary colors is that they map to the inverse of the colors our eyes see (our eyes actually see red green and blue unless you have another type of color vision).” ebray99
The biggest contributors to the climate crisis isn't you, it's industrial waste and meat production….
“Recycling. Corporations are wasting millions of tons of resources, and severely damaging the environment. Kurzgesact has a really good video on this. But to summarize: corporations have successfully shoved the climate change problem onto consumers.”
“So to elaborate: This problem isn't quite that black-and-white. The amount of waste varies a lot between countries, as well as the providences/states within countries.” Dot957
Zeus just really sucks at apologies.
“Hercules is his Greek name. It actually isn't and I think more and more people are finding out about this now but its actually Heracles/Herakles. He was named as a 'tribute' for Hera because she was upset that Zeus cheated (again).” Akane_Hyuga_2359
Much to the heartache of the horror genre…
“Inverted crosses are satanic. It is actually the St. Peter's Cross. When he was crucified, he requested to be crucified upside down because he didn't feel worth to be crucified the same way as Jesus.” EngineerMinded
You are entitled to your wrong opinion however…
“That all opinions are valid. Everyone may have opinions. Everyone may speak their mind. Everyone should pursue truths and understanding.”
“However, when debating a topic, there's a big difference between somebody who has spent their entire professional career and education on the debate's subject matter versus someone who saw a post on Facebook.” sMc-cMs
Lack of humidity means less insulation so temperatures easily rise and drop dramatically.
“Deserts are hot. Many are, but not necessarily so. The requirement is that they get less than ten inches of precipitation a year. Antarctica is a desert too.” 8dogsinatrechcoat
"She was an elderly woman who suffered from third degree burns…”
“The other day someone corrected me about the McDonalds coffee incident. I firmly believed the lady did it on purpose, but it was clear that it was accidental and McDonalds had spun a story with the media to make it look like it wasnt their fault. Kind of insane how me and most people around me were fooled by that.” Dead-HC-Taco
“She was an elderly woman who suffered from third degree burns on her thighs and vagina and had to be hospitalized. The McDonald's had been warned that their coffee was kept too hot as well, just under boiling. She initially sued them just for medical expenses because when she asked politely they refused.”
“The judge was so incensed by their behavior that he awarded her the big settlement which was so widely mocked. And anti-government regulation/pro-business groups spun it into this testimony to frivolous lawsuits. Really a shocking piece of misinformation.” ofBlufftonTown
Please call emergency services immediately and follow their guidance, not googles…
“EMT here! Boy are there a lot, but the one that comes to mind is that of someone is having a seizure you need to put something in their mouth so they don't swallow their tongue. This is false for a few reasons:
1) It is physically impossible to swallow your tongue. Go ahead and try, it's attached on pretty well.
2) Putting something in a seizure patients mouth will only introduce a choking hazard. Now the patient has two problems.
3) Seizure patients bite and they bite HARD! So if your fingers are in the patient's mouth when that bite happens, your patient will again have two problems and medical staff will have two patients.” puizunman206
The other 90% is just random facts and Tim Gunn quotes…Mrw GIFGiphy
“The whole "we only use 10% of our brains" thing. Nonsense.” JToTheGlock
Although best practice is to leave nature alone your mama was wrong on this one.
“If you touch a baby bird, their mothers will reject them.” SinisterBootySister
Many of these were considered just plain facts back in our day. Brings us back to some of the best advice one can give: “Question everything, then question the answer."