Reality Television

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toobfreak

Preferred Member
Dec 19, 2016
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Used to be that you watched TV to get as far away from reality as possible, but these days I wonder how real many of the reality TV shows are?
Does anyone ever watch Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet) or Mountain Monsters (Destination America)? I really enjoy both programs but it makes me wonder. For one thing, many shows these days are seasonal, only on for a few months out of the year, I guess that is so they can show each episode 22 times despite our having DVRs that can catch and record any show 24/7 and hold it for us.
Finding Bigfoot has been on for years and is about three guys and one girl skeptic who go around investigating Bigfoot stories except for one thing--- they never actually /find/ any Bigfoot. Despite the sightings mostly happening by day by accident, they always go out to investigate late at night, and they walk around the woods making noises, yelling, flashing lights, and they wonder why they come up empty.
Mountain Monsters is about a troupe of Appalachian Good Ol' Boys who traverse up and down the Appalachian corridor hunting down local monster stories. The Wampus Beast, The Devil Dog, The Mothman--- I have not investigated any of these legends, but what makes the show worth watching is the characters who make up the team.
After going to an area and meeting with witnesses of daylight sightings, they go out to collect evidence, then, you guessed it--- they head out on late night expeditions by flashlight looking for these things in the deep woods.
They construct expensive and elaborate traps to catch these monsters--- pits, cages, tubes--- huge contraptions, and occasionally they succeed during their many hair-raising encounters that have you on the edge of your chair, but in the end, the monster always gets away.
Still, I find these shows largely very entertaining.
Does anyone else watch these shows or anything like them? There is another good show called River Monsters and on the History channel a show called Mountain Men which is great.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,546
156
Monterey Peninsula
Anyone watch them? Yes, enough at least to keep on filming such. But "reality TV" isn't, and it isn't my cuppa. But like tobaccos, diff strokes!

 

davet

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May 9, 2015
3,780
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I only watch a few as I find most of them predictable and contrived. River Monsters with Jeremy Wade is well done and entertaining. Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates is another I'll watch, it's got an unpolished, genuine feel to it.

 

philobeddoe

Preferred Member
Oct 31, 2011
4,510
16
East Indiana
I don't care for reality television shows in general as I don't find them very entertaining as a whole and I find that most of them are either scripted or at least coaxed into doing what the shows' producers want to see happen.

 

cranseiron

Preferred Member
May 17, 2013
576
1
Biloxi, MS
I cut the cord completely about six years ago. To me, TV became a total waste of money. There is some wonderful programing on the premium channels, but the amount you have to spend isn't worth it to me. There are on line alternatives, but I've gotten used to not having it and I don't want to go back.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,944
131
These are not reality. They are ALL scripted. My buddy who owns a car museum up in Huntsville had American Pickers at his place, and they fitted him with costumes and scripts and used camera angles to make it look like they were at someone's house. When Bear Grylls came to Alabama to film, there was one scene when he was starving to death and had to eat a snake, if the camera had of moved slightly, you'd have seen the convenience store just behind him with a ton of people looking on as an audience.

My wife has a hobby of doing stand up comedy and does some stuff as extras, and we get audition notices all the time for Appalachian Outlaws, Mountain Men, Gold Rush, all of them hire actors. There is not one lick of truth to these shows.
I do like River Monsters, because it's just an extreme version of the fishing shows that I grew up watching.
But, we used to watch families set around a cardboard set and we'd all pretend it was real, now this new crap is just a step further towards making it "look" real. But, honestly I think it just makes us more stupid and suckers. It is better to just know that the sitcom is cardboard and canned laughter. All of this reality TV with people thinking that this stuff is "real" is taking the illusion beyond the awareness of the illusion, and being fake, IMO.
And, come on, out of a dozen reality treasure hunter shows, not one damned treasure has ever been found, ha ha. Why, because they piggy back off of the research done by real treasure hunters... that never find anything also.
And, Bigfoot... come on. I remember the first time Bigfoot was ever mentioned. It was a movie based on a book called the Legend of Boggy Creek. It was fiction, written in first person, John Boy style. Early, mid 70's. There was absolutely no mention of any legends before this; however lots have been fabricated since... The guy who made the first prints has admitted they were fake. The guy who made the first sighting admitted they were fake. However, people are just... human, ha ha.
Anyways, whenever I hear "reality" TV, it just pisses me off, especially if they start talking like it's real. How dumb will we let ourselves become as a nation?

It makes us much more sense to just allow ourselves to deny the illusion with fake sets and canned laughter. Give me sit-coms, I love Lucy, Sanford and Son, Three's Company, Cheers, Seinfeld. No one ever mixed up reality with TV when we had real TV shows.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,944
131
Oh, and house hunter shows... My wife was addicted to those for a while, and I'd watch and have to ask her... the guy works as a damned part-time graphic designer and the wife collects hair-bows... for a living... and they claim to make $1.2 million. bah ha ha ha!!! And, they are looking at a two bedroom, one bath, 1,000 sf condo over a gas station in Nashville for only $750,000, with an additional bathroom to be built for only $30,000, bah ha ha... reality my ass.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,353
35
Reality is a misnomer. Suspension of reality is more correct in my opinion. Especially on the shows dedicated to debunked theories and myths. Just not a fan. I do understand their draw and that limited as the audiences are, they draw advertising revenue.
For me baseball, football, golf, and other live sporting events are reality TV. I'd even add a couple of the veterinarian shows are reality based. Even the news shows are becoming less reality and more directed at drawing audience.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,413
3
"Cops" still seems to have a pretty realistic feel to it, but that could all be staged, too, for all I know.

 

ashdigger

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Jul 30, 2016
5,265
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I'm not much for reality shows. I get enough reality doing my job. I do love watching Cops though (guilty pleasure). In case you've never seen Cops, you can turn it into a drinking game with the following comments earning a shot of whisky: Its not my car, I don't have identification, I haven't been drinking (ironic) and you get a double shot when this is uttered, "those aren't my pants, I borrowed them".

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,353
35
Said a drunk driver to me: "These aren't my shoes." He failed the "straight line" test. Can't script that! Got a million of 'em. Every street copper does.

 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
25,940
114
It's unfortunate that this genre was ever called reality TV. It's a bit like professional wrestling. There's nothing wrong with scripted melodrama, but it is of concern that masses of people "enjoy" watching these productions in complete suspension of disbelief. (And yes, professional wrestlers are often remarkable athletes, that's not the point.) I think part of adulthood is accepting the hard truth and probabilities of what one is seeing, and sorting out illusion from actual life. You can't always discern this in every case, as con men and other schemers know well. But we're supposed to be sorting it out as a part of being citizens and grown-ups. Going back decades, and probably with live theater before that, actors on sitcoms and adventure shows are often addressed by the public as if they are the characters they play on the shows. That is delusional. Incidentally, college wrestling is still a fascinating, real competitive sport done at a high level and makes great watching. The lighter weights compete all over the mat; the heavy weights tend to be almost sumo, generally staying on their feet until someone gains advantage. When a big man is down much, he's losing, often.

 

grouchydog

Senior Member
Oct 16, 2013
413
0
These are not reality. They are ALL scripted.
Concur. "Reality TV" is an oxymoron. I'm tempted to add "emphasize the MORON" but I won't because I like Deadliest Catch (although we've cut the cable and I haven't seen it in 2 years), and my wife and I watch DWTS together :^S

 

akfilm

Senior Member
Mar 2, 2016
310
0
So, my full time job is a producer, I make my bread and butter in Reality, mainly as Development Producer and Casting now, I did do a lot of work as a field producer and segment producer for a variety of shows.
There are some "real" reality shows, they are now generally classified as follow doc shows, Coast Guard Alaska on Weather Channel is a prime example of this type of show. There is another version that's just a written doc, a lot of new media shows are this format.

The next level is the "Occupational Soap", this is a good chunk of shows and where many that become scripted start, and where I make my living, the shows follow an established business or personality. We generally sit down with the subject and see what they would do on a typical day, a rough outline is established based off the event, and the crew is fielded for about 2 week stints where the story is shot. The events would be real, and there is a mix of real stuff in their, but it's semi controlled. Shows like "Life Below Zero" among many others are done in this format.

The last and worse are the scripted "reality shows", shows such as "Pawn Stars", "Wild West Alaska", pretty much anything on Bravo, follow this format, completely controlled situations, with cast supporting characters, these are out modern day Soap Operas, a continuous story line with familiar characters, done for a cheap production and high turn.
I can tell you pretty much per show what type of show it is, and how much reality there is, some you'd be surprised by on both ends of the spectrum. It's a fun job, but it's a hard one. We are here to provide entertainment and escape. I hope that sometimes it can provide education and information which is why I stepped back from a lot of the shows now, there comes a point where you start to feel almost dirty, telling people something is real, while you wait for script rewrites or cast the walk ins.
That being said, my favorite shows right now I think are competition style shows, those are fun.

 

mayfair70

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Sep 14, 2015
1,968
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If they caught Bigfoot, the show would be over. Bigfoot stories go back centuries in America. Natives had stories of their interaction. They are here in the Midwest (all over the country really) if you know how to recognize their signs. Gigantopithecus is an endangered species in my opinion and need to be preserved. They stink to high heaven and throw rocks. Screw reality TV. Just walk outside (or not) and there is reality. Film it if you like. :rofl:

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,944
131
Wait Mayfair... ugg... I can't believe I was about to debate the records of Native Americans and the science of a species that WAS populated and declined without ANY evidence of a mythical beast, ha ha. I'll just leave it be.

Hey Akfilm, thanks for posting. Mrs Cosmic and I debated whether we wanted to audition to be ginseng hunters or not. I wouldn't mind doing one of the Naked and Afraid shows, but as I understand it, they make you leave the trailer to film those late night in a pile of sticks scenerios, and I get grumpy if I get awakened between 9Pm and 5. :puffy: