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I miss the good old days of "reality" tv. Don't you? Do you remember The Real World & MTV's Road Rules? Those were the days, long before everything got convoluted. Then Jerry Springer came along with Survivor and the Kardashians and now it's all just scripted chaos. The fact they use the word "reality" proves they don't know the meaning of it. It's all a show darlings.

Redditor u/flyingbeetlekites was dying to hear from behind the scenes peeps who work on tv that sell "realness" by asking... People who work on reality TV: What happens behind the scenes that you don't want the public knowing?


busting in season 1 GIF by Ash vs Evil Dead Giphy

I love when they show up "unannounced" at someone's house and there's a film crew IN THE HOUSE!


Repeat after Me....

I worked with someone who had been on one and he said they tell you what to say and how to answer. They also mix and match the answers. They basically film you completing a set of sentences in a controlled way and then thread the narrative they're going for. It's utter nonsense end to end.



Was on a kind of "documentary" years ago for British TV. The kind where the person has a problem, the TV people offer therapy, activities and fun things to solve the problem (think supersize vs superskinny) when they did the wrap up interview, the edited the hell out of the segment to get the result they wanted. To the point where they spliced audio together and made it a voice over etc.


Original audio: This didn't solve the problem, but it's a start and I'm really optimistic.



fail seth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers Giphy

I've got an old friend who writes for a reality TV show. That's right... scripts the spontaneous stuff for actors to say.


Counting Cars

On Counting Cars. Two scruffy dudes in torn clothes and biker tattoos entering someone's garage unannounced and the homeowner is like, "Hi, how are you guys?"


I've noticed this too. Not to mention, scruffy guys driving alongside you, asking you too pull over so they can get a better look at your car; then asking if they can drive your car. The number of antique cars with completely trusting owners is not realistic. Not to mention they buy many of these cars on the spot. I like the show enough to overlook the obvious staging.


Let's Date?

A German satirist once managed to sneak an actor he hired into one of those reality TV dating shows and while the character he created already was very weird; the TV channel that produced the dating show made him completely over the top.

The whole thing is on youtube with english subtitles even. It's brilliant.



I acted as a lawyer for a reality TV show many years ago. They fired me when I started advising them that they needed informed consent from participants to appear. They said that was impossible, and in any event, half the participants are mentally unwell anyway. I said that just makes me even more certain you need informed consent, and in that case, make sure you have a fully qualified mental health professional sign off of the capability of the prospective participant to give informed consent.

I have not worked for any reality TV shows since.


So much to splice...

f for fake film GIF Giphy

I have a friend who worked as an editor for reality shows a few years back. The thing I remember him telling me is that because they shoot so much footage, he can make any storyline the producers want with it.


For 5 Minutes....

I saw something about those shows where young people live in a house together, go out and get drunk and pick up randoms to take back to the house and have sex with.

Well the production companies have a duty of care to the drunk randoms, so they are taken away from the "celebs" made to sober up enough to provide consent, provide full ID and sign a waiver.

They then meet back up with their match and go have sex on camera and then get put in a cab home.

When I thought they were just drunk it was bad enough, but when you realize they have been sitting around sobering up and still go do this it's just sickening what people will do for 5 minutes of "fame".


Again & Again

basketball wives smh GIF by VH1 Giphy

The retakes. Endless retakes. It's tiresome. You think filming has wrapped up but then have to do pickups. The stuff someone messed up on and there can be many.


Not Their Issue

This is a really interesting piece by someone who was in Masterchef but never signed the required NDA, allowing them to be really open about the whole process.

"In the "MasterChef" contract, which a casting director later told me was essentially identical to those of most reality competition shows, they asked me to agree to be subjected to physical and mental distress, to agree to have my medical history used in any way that they wanted and to use it in perpetuity, to agree that my family would likely not be contacted in the case of an emergency.

They asked me to release the show and its employees from liability for any injury to myself from risks both known and unknown. They asked that I release them from liability from the social and economic losses that could result and to please note that the consequences could be substantial and could permanently change the future for me, my family, friends and significant others."



bear grylls yes GIF by NBC Giphy

A friend of my family worked uncredited with Bear Grylls for man vs wild. Because Grylls is at the end of the day an actor (although pretty knowledgeable about what he's talking about) he's required to be insured by his studio. In comes family friend.

Before an episode, family friend (a former british army paratrooper) attends a meeting with Grylls, and his team, who tell him where Grylls wants to go, and what he wants to do while there (EG: The congo, build a raft, survive via fishing, and set up a tree shelter). Family friend is then jetted off to the place in question with his own team, and the group of them mess around in the wilderness, seeing how viable Grylls's plan is.

After a few weeks they jet back, and inform the company about the hazards, validity, and expected cost. This allows the production company to correctly determine any insurance, gear, safety issues, and plan out Grylls's survival trip.

Family friend has some really good stories about being in survival situations, and is always really blasé about things like "oh yeah we picked out a cave to camp in, and a bear tried to eat us lol'.


The Top 100

I was offered top 100 in an early season of a singing show in Australia. I rejected it because the contract they wanted me to sign had a non-compete clause that stated that even if they didn't use me, I wouldn't have been able to release music independently for 2 years and not have been able to release music with a competing label for 5 years. In retaliation they used my footage but heavily edited my voice and used footage of the judges saying "no" instead of "yes". I also wasn't allowed to discuss it publicly for a number of years and am never allowed to use that show's name in conjunction with my career.

I also had a family friend who won a cooking show here in Australia as well. The final was filmed about a month before it aired, after filming the winning contestant, they re-set everything up and then filmed the other person winning. This was so if it got leaked that the intended winner had indeed won, they would switch the footage and air the loser winning instead (giving them the prizes instead). Luckily for me one of their family members told me in secret and I won a couple hundred betting on them to win whilst they were weren't considered a favourite.


We All Know

I live where a show is filmed and have had friends on it twice. The entire premise of each episode was completely fake. Not a single bit of what was happening was real at all. And they told one of my friends--who is an expert on the item he was talking about--what to say because the real description he gave of the item wasn't dramatic enough for the show. So, the description that made it to tv is not even accurate--it's fantasy made up by the producers.

Another friend was on a different reality tv show. In it, he gets caught doing something he isn't supposed to do and is thrown out by security. It's portrayed in the show as if this is all actually happening. Nope. He was hired as an actor to come in and break the rules to get kicked out. Everyone was in on it.



Classic not be, but... A friend of mine has a sister who made it to the X-Factor semifinal 10+ years ago. From around their second or third audition, she signed a contract that specifically said how far she would make it before she got sent home. Everything was planned from her first televised act (there is a pre-audition or two that isn't shown on TV where they select the contestants). The bands and singers that made it to the final also knew beforehand, but my friend's sister told us that she wasn't sure if they were told exactly who was going to win.

Also, if you don't have a tragic nor specifically interesting story to tell when you're interviewed, they'll make up a sob-story themselves. Of course it's been so many years since she was on the show that a lot of things can have changed, but this is how it was back then.


They Own You

i had a friend who was going to go on one of those tv talent shows but wanted me to look at the contract first because i knew quite a bit about the music industry. the contract was horrible. like i've seen some crappy contracts in my time but never any this bad. basically you had to scrub your online history, they own any song ideas/covers you ever posted online, any original songs you come up with now belongs to the record company, the contract you're signed to a 6 album deal if you come in top 5.

And if you try to get out the contract then you'll have to pay them back any money they put into you along with any money they claim your music "lost" which was really just you not meeting projections. you'll also have little control over your artistic voice but will still be blamed if they don't think the songs are good enough, even if you were working with the song writers they force on you.


The Shill


Probably already pretty well known, but on House Hunters, the people looking to buy a house have already bought and signed a contract on their chosen house.

The two other homes they are shown are "shill" properties that might or might not even be for sale. If the house is shown fully furnished, it's a shill. I have friends who were on the show years ago and still laugh about their great acting jobs pretending to be interested in houses that weren't even on the market.


Not so Great

I work in reality and docuseries. Can answer specific questions if you have them. The turnaround time in renovation shows means that the quality is atrocious. Never let your house be used in a renovation/rehab show. You'll end up paying almost full price for crap quality. I would say the only exemption is something like Grand Designs where they document the building process but don't interfere with it at all.


The Bigger they Get

Anyone ever work with "Impractical Jokers"? I love their show, but I don't understand how the people they prank don't recognize them.


I have for some years. As the years have gone on, the boys have gotten bigger and it's gotten to be more of an issue. But they also put a big premium on real interactions.

It may take longer now, but it's all a numbers game of approaching enough people. If they are recognized, they may swap out who is "on the floor" or take a short break until the crowd has changed enough to go back out. I have nothing but nice things to say about how hard they work to make it real.



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Image by HISdesign from Pixabay

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Sometimes the things that come out of peoples' mouths are truly astounding. It makes you wonder, where did things go wrong? Why are they like this? As Forrest Gump once said, “stupid is as stupid does".

Here are a few of the most jaw-dropping lay stupid things that have been said by actual human beings. Not aliens trying to figure out how humans communicate--ACTUAL human beings. Thanks, Reddit.

U/cperr310 asked: What's the dumbest thing you or someone you know has said?

First up, what better people to hear ridiculous claims from than children? Here are some people that even teachers couldn’t help.

Well, that’s awkward.

I was in 5th grade like 20 years ago, and I am a male which is important later. My school changed an extra girls locker room into a computer lab. When my class got to go check it out, I say "wow, it looks so different!".

Everyone looks at me like I'm a creep. What I meant to say was "wow it looks so different that the boys locker room!" I still think about this when trying to fall asleep more often than I'm comfortable with.

Xeeke No it’s not.

War Guy GIF Giphy

In my Spanish class where they were talking about Spanish countries

"What about Syria...isn't Syria Spanish?"

Worst part... NOBODY called her out on it to the point I was questioning myself. The professor had good English but it wasn't her first language and she dodged her question saying she's only going over countries in south america. I had to literally write myself a note that she literally asked that question. Then I got paired up with her like 10 minutes later for a group activity and I still wasn't over this question lol


Fake but also real but also demonic?

A kid in high school tried to convince me that men had an extra rib and that the earth is only a few thousand years old. Same kid said that ouija boards were full of magnets and gears which made them fake, yet they were simultaneously completely real and needed to be burned on sight to prevent demonic possession.


But sometimes it’s the parents of children who say the dumb stuff.

Back in 2014 I still vividly remember we were eating dinner, and my brother is chewing with his mouth open while my sister is talking. My dad, still thinking about her talking but talking to my brother said "Talk with your mouth closed." and my sister just went silent immediately.


Stupid can turn into ignorant really quickly. Here are a few examples of the not-so-harmless kind of dumb statements.​

Fun fact: they don’t use the US Constitution in New Zealand. Who knew?

angela rye guns GIF by Third Rail with OZY Giphy

After the church shooting in New Zealand, they banned guns. My coworker said that they can't do that since it violates the second amendment. We live in California.


Everyone knows New Zealand is the state below New Canada.


Uhhhhh that’s racist af.

Not to me but my husband.

He had to take an uber home from the Naval Base in San Diego (car was getting fixed) and the guy who picked my husband up was from Pakistan and they had small talk, telling him how he moved over here etc, dude was pretty cool.

My dumbass half sister whom we were staying with for a bit told him straight to his face, "Oh since you're military he probably wanted to like... murder you."

...What a f*cking ignorant, racist thing to say.


Just gonna leave this one here....

"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, because you see it gets in the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that out."


Well that’s a new one.

A trans friend got "You're registered as a man here, so I need to hear a male voice to complete the verification of your acount."

Not the first time the cable company pulled this 'female' account 'female' voice / 'male' account 'male' voice crap. But that one time was on a whole other level.


But most of the time, dumb statements are harmless, and make for a good story down the line.​

I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face either.

alvin and the chipmunks GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Giphy

A few questions I've heard come to mind, I'm not sure which is the best/worst.

A few years ago my mom, in her 60s at the time, asked me if chipmunks grow up to be squirrels. Have you ever tried to keep a straight face while explaining to the grown-ass woman who was responsible for keeping you alive for ~18 years that chipmunks and squirrels are different animals?

In high school during a Spanish class as student asked "Do Spanish-speaking people think in Spanish?" After being told yes, her follow-up question was "Are they born speaking Spanish?" The teacher kept a straight face explaining that foreign language speakers learn their language the same as the student learned English, but there were a lot of other students laughing and brutally mocking her.


Ah yes, the two types of guitars.

Dumbest thing I ever asked was, "do you prefer playing electric or air guitar?" I really meant to say acoustic, like my dad's.


Air guitar. I don't know how to play the acoustic or electric guitars, but I never get a wrong note on the air guitar.


Did you change your birthday?

At the bank.

Teller: Is your phone number still 123-4567?

Me: Yes

T: Is your address still 123 Easy st?

M: Yes

T: Is your birthday still 01/01/2000?

M: laughing I sure as hell hope so


I can't even make fun of these. One time I asked my husband where the Newport Ferry sailed to.

Newport, obviously.

I think we all have slip-ups in our brains sometimes. It's part of being human, and hey, they stay alive as inside jokes for generations to come