Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reality TV: True or Fake?

Years ago, when COPS first came out on TV, I remember being amazed that they were actually filming something “real” - something candid and almost in a roundabout way, sneaky. It was fascinating to see all of these criminals caught on film, whether it be robbing bodegas, selling drugs on the street or for domestic violence - all of our “inner busybodies” stirred within us like some nosey neighbor who would peek out of their window with each passing siren. For the most part, we all want to know what’s going on if there’s a crime outside of our home, or if we’re somewhere that happens to have a crime taking place. We want to be ‘in the know’, and this show gives us some of that fulfillment. I was hooked on it for years, until new reality shows started to surface. I remember being addicted to the “realness” of it all. But as time went on, and the more I started to know people in the business, the more I started to learn that “reality” TV isn’t so much reality any longer.

If you think about it, to have cameras follow you around on a 24/7 basis, you’d see the lamest crap ever. Even if they were to film cops every second of the day, 90% of the time would be filmed in a Dunkin' Donuts. Just sayin’... If you think about the “set up” - or as they call it, power points to each “exciting” time of the day, you’d wish you had a camera there to catch it all. So, with with any “Housewife” type of reality show, they set up “power points” - a subject matter, place the “actors” in the scene and just say, “Go with the flow and deal with the subject matter at hand.” Usually there are no scripts, however there is a subject of ‘realness’, which enables a ‘spontaneous script’. So in all fairness, it is “real” in many ways.

What about shows on Tru TV, like Hardcore Pawn, Ma’s Roadhouse, All Worked Up & Operation Repo? Fake fake fake in my opinion. First of all, you have to have permission by the people who are going into your establishment or in public to be on TV. With that being said, most of these companies or businesses are not that exciting to begin with - just like real life - if you had a camera everywhere you went, how much of it would be “interesting” for other people to watch? I had Lyndah Pizarro from Operation Repo admit to me through a video on Youtube that her show was fake and only for entertainment. She was giving me some advice about “haters” and how to deal with people who send hate mail to those in the public eye and especially in my case, my book and blog that helps the LGBT community come to terms with their lifestyle & religion. She gave me sound advice, however in the process, she was also thanking me for telling her that I didn’t care if the show was real or fake, and then indicated that the show was merely for entertainment purposes only. She deleted that Youtube account for some reason, perhaps it was advised since she was being very open about it all. In any event, I really appreciated her honesty. I loved the show, (still do) but some of the scenes were a bit over the top. Take a look at this one segment below. They went to go repossess a car that some Michael Jackson wannabe fought so hard to keep. Fake or not fake? Decide for yourself. There are more over the top shows like this one too.


If you cannot view the video above, please click here.

My question is: should the network Tru TV be called that since it’s mostly fake? Are they misrepresenting themselves? Is there a law against fooling the public for what’s real and what’s not real? What if our news source becomes that way? What then? Or, has it already become that?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

8 comments:

autumnraven said...

Actually, on a lot of those shows somewhere it is mentioned that it is a re-enactment of true events. I saw it on some repo show. And things like "real housewives" and "bad girls"...I can only hope they are not real. But in the end, even "news" isn't real...it's what sells so there is no point in making TruTV change their name.

As far as Cops, if they filmed every second of the day, 90% of the time they would be dealing with stupid thoughtless people. My husband once got a call from a woman that was "stuck" in her driveway during the rain. He went to help her out and it turned out all she wanted was for him to get out of his car, get soaked and open her gate so she wouldn't have to...but it would be in bad taste to note that criminals aren't the only brainless jerks in the world.

the walking man said...

All reality TV to me is like infotainment. All calories no nutrition. Even the news channels now are just mouthpieces for the corporate policy of the moment. I get my information from many different conflicting sources then suss out my own opinions.

I remember well the first reality TV I saw and it was nothing like cops, it was when Ruby shot Oswald live and in living black and white.

Deb said...

My favorite is "The World's Dumbest" - and it shows footage from either a security camera or things caught on film by bystanders. I've seen that disclaimer and questioned the "reenactment" in regards to *if* the story they are acting out is in fact, true. I guess everything you see on TV should be taken as entertainment only anyway.
Your husband should have suggested a remote control for that woman's gate. That's funny...

TWM, remember Candid Camera? Now that was a funny 'reality' show...

Jess said...

I freakin LOVE Cops AND World's Dumbest! And also any police chases.

As for those repo shows...me and Larkin were in her bed (while our significant others were killing aliens on the XBox in the other room) watching those shows and realized that the small writing at the bottom said that these were actors showing scenarios that happened and they were recreating the scenarios, with some exaggerations, for entertainment purposes.

I can't think of any other reality shows I watch other than Cops. I am a sucker for America's Funniest Home Videos!

Anonymous said...

By the way, I have never been arrested in my life unlike your family members. I will tell the internet cops to compare wrap sheets and we will see who the bad guys are. They even dug up your yard looking for dead bodies and you try to label me as bad for leaving a few comments on blogs, not one xomment was ever threatening.
You are quite a christan Deb. You should be ashamed of yourself trying to smear me like that when your family are the bad guys.

Deb said...

Anonymous is the stalker I wrote about on this post: http://www.debrapasquella.com/2011/02/my-stalker-markgw-mush.html

What a sick man...

Dawn said...

TruTV will change it's name right after MTV changes it's name. Never!
Things may have started out that way (truTV had alot of crime investigation shows when they started)- but the scheduling changes to bring in the money.

I think the "reality" tv will go away when people being interested in them - never! Sigh!!

Anonymous said...

Slowly but surely I’ve become a big fan of truTV’s ‘reality’ programming. It’s just good entertainment that’s not meant to be taken too seriously. And Ma’s Roadhouse is a great example of it. Nowadays (now that I’m a subscriber/employee of DISH Network) I get truTV in HD too. Which for me is great because I got pretty sick of being stuck with the SD only version back when I had DirecTV. And with DISH being so much less expensive, I’m not sure why I didn’t switch sooner!