The Trickiest Tricks To Craft Reality For “Reality” TV

Last Thursday, Lauren Conrad appeared on “The View” and single-handedly ruined what might be the best reality TV show ever. Just kidding! But she did admit that Spencer Pratt’s apology phone call to her was entirely faked—she wasn’t on the other end of that phone call at all and her reactions were spliced together from a different conversation. It’s probably not news to anyone that “The Hills” is scripted, but basing an entire plot line on something that never happened? That’s a bit more intense. This got us wondering—how do people make riveting “reality” TV moments when reality is being so boringly uncooperative? All the secrets, after the jump.

  • Scripted Reactions. In the awesome, now-defunct show “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy,” it seemed the men always knew exactly what to find when they entered the straight man’s house. This is because each got a script giving “suggestions” as to how they “could” describe the situation. The LA Times found one such script that read, “THOM wonders what exactly was Patrick going for with regard to his living room design. Bad ’70s at best.” [RealityBlurred] — All this time, I thought those guys were just really perceptive.
  • Frankenbiting. Sometimes reality doesn’t make the most interesting story. That’s when producers have to splice together video sound bites to amp up the stars’ reactions and comments. For example, in the show “The Dating Experiment,” a woman wasn’t interested in her suitor but kinda needed to be for the storyline. So she was interviewed and asked about her favorite celebrity. She said she loved Adam Sandler. Then, magically, in the editing room, they spliced the suitor’s name into the sentence instead. [Time]
  • Wrong Place, Wrong Time. Sometimes while filming a show, the characters are busy living their super important lives when something major happens in the world. This was the case when the cast of “The Real World: Chicago” happened to be having a photo shoot in Wrigley Field the morning of September 11th. Their reactions to the tragic event were staged later. [Reality TV World] — How inconsiderate of them to be doing Glamour Shots when the country was in turmoil!
  • Faked Interactions. You know in makeover shows when the main character finally asks out the girl of his dream and you’re so happy because he’s come so far? Yeah, not always real—even the most precious interactions are discussed, staged, casted, scripted, planned, and re-shot. Once, I was walking home through a park in Brooklyn and some people from MTV’s “Made” came up to me and my roommate and asked if we wanted to be on the show. Duh. So we had to accept an invitation to a pool party from a boy (ten years younger than us) who wanted to become a lady’s man. In fact, they had to film our reactions twice because the lighting was bad. Let’s just say this boy was not cured from his awkwardness.
  • Reality Love. Isn’t it weird that Bret Michaels still hasn’t fallen in love even though hours (and seasons) of television have been dedicated to helping him? Why do we bother watching Bret, Bachelors, Bachelorettes, Tila Tequila, Cougars, um Flavor Flav, and every other spin-off star ever, when we know they’re never going to end up with any of their bad-gened contestants? Even Evan Marriott from “Joe Millionaire” said he “never had any intention of becoming seriously involved with one of the 20 gold-diggers” in his TV harem. Plus, the producers evidently staged the blow job in the woods scene, adding in kissing noises and moving the phrase, “Let’s go somewhere quiet,” from another contestant, spoken at a different moment. [RealityBlurred] — Now we’re to believe neither love nor BJs exist?

So basically everything you know is a lie. Take it with a grain of salt and, if you so please, a salt-rimmed margarita.

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