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Friday, October 28, 2005

The Chicago Sun-Times writes about a Radar Magazine article exposing just how much of reality shows is fictionalized. They talk about Frankenbyting -- editing what people say so they appear to be saying something they never said or meant -- and adding sounds to imply o.s. characters (oops, participants) were having oral sex when they weren't. They even hire actors to dub in things they didn't say.

What I found remarkable about America's Next Top Model was what wasn't faked. On Season One, when Adrian won, there was nothing faked about her reaction. I've never seen anyone so happy. It was the reaction of a girl who had never won anything before in her life, who just got handed the keys to the castle. It was Cinderella when the Prince shows up looking for the girl who fits the glass slipper. If you want to see what thunderstruck looks like, that's it.


Her joy and appreciation didn't last very long, I hear. Word is she's ticked off that later winners of ANTM have received better contracts with top-notch fashion/beauty companies and heaps more cash than she did. But that's just rumour, I think. I've been searching the Net to try and find exact quotes from Adriene where she states that she's miffed, but all I'm finding are hear-say snippets from people who know people who know her or work for the show.

By Blogger Kelly J. Compeau, at 12:25 PM  

I think it's telling that the shows cited in the article are short-lived reality dating series. There's something that longer-running shows have, I think, that can't be faked, and viewers know it can't be faked. In longer-running shows, it seems that the producers know what really keeps us coming back for more. Even if we (the viewers) think we know what it is, sometimes we're wrong.

In dime-a-dozen short-lived reality shows, we're sold one gimmick the producers come up with, and we watch in anticipation of that gimmick, and then it's done. In the better reality shows, the producers' planned events are mostly just shoe leather to get us from one human moment to another. We viewers may say, "I want to see Eric get voted off," but we're more likely to say, "I want to see the look on Maggie's face when Eric gets voted off."

Perhaps the reality dating shows require this kind of manipulation because the producers have to force a plot line in case nothing happens. I mean, if you put fourteen strangers together in an isolated house, maybe romance will happen, maybe it won't, but you can guess that some kind of social drama is going to play out. If you introduce a group of fifteen women to one eligible bachelor, it's possible that none of them will feel a romantic connection to him, and then you don't have a show. That's kind of why reality dating shows never really captured my interest.

By Blogger Andrew, at 12:55 PM  

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