How 'real' are reality shows?on December 13, 2012 @ 5:52 am (Updated: 8:21 am - 12/13/12 )
These shows are more of a guilty pleasure for me. I don't like "Survivor" or "The Bachelor" or "Big Brother," but for some reason I love shows like "Pawn Stars" and "Storage Wars." Maybe it's because I get to see cool items or I like to watch people search for hidden treasure.
But this week, one of "Storage Wars" biggest players, Dave Hester, sued A&E for wrongful termination and claimed the show is faked. Hester is know as being a jerk on the show and for his ubiquitous "yuuuuppp" when he bids on the abandoned storage lockers.
Hester claims the network hides cool items in the lockers for the auction hunters to find, and the producers routinely fake scenes.
So if producers of "Storage Wars" are faking their reality, is "Pawn Stars" planting people with cool stuff to pawn? Is the "Deadliest Catch" above board? We posed that question to Variety Magazine critic and columnist Brian Lowry.
"I would watch most of what I see that's billed as reality very skeptically," said Lowry.
He said these shows routinely create controversy, which I guess I can understand, but I had hoped they weren't faking the items. I hoped there was a little more reality in these shows than the shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashians" or "The Bachelor."
Not so, said local reality show producer Andrea Matzke. "The story lines are contrived," she said. "Whether or not the character is based on a lie it just depends on the show."
Both Matzke and Lowry said most people watch these shows knowing there is a certain bit of fudging on the reality and that some events are reenacted or staged, but they're popular because people enjoy the characters, and that is not going to change.
"If reality was going to be damaged by revelations that things in it were set up, it would have been damaged long before now," Lowry said.
Just look at professional wrestling. Everyone knows it's fake, and it's popularity hasn't waned.
I guess I just expected more from the shows I like, but yes I'm still watching.
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