Share this Story

The Jacksons: 5 Red flags that make viewers wonder if the show is staged

A freelance journalist covering the latest in celeb news & gossip, Shayla's forte (read: obsession) is examining the sheer genius of reality TV. And yes, she's fully aware of the oxymoron.

Sketchy timing. Shady characters. How much of this docudrama's drama is real?

Lifetime's The Jacksons: Next Generation was billed as a docudrama when it was rolled out as part of the network's fall lineup. But as the show goes on, it's looking more and more like the stage has been set.

When The Jacksons: Next Generation premiered on Lifetime, viewers touted the show's authenticity, loving the fact that the Jackson family was so open, so raw. And the way the Jacksons broke the fourth wall and talked to the cameras, that was icing on the ever-so-perfectly decorated cake. So it was almost refreshing tuning in to watch what seemed to be a relatable family living their daily lives, putting their glittered gloves on one hand at a — well, on one hand — just like everyone else.

But as the show goes on, fans are starting to see that The Jacksons: Next Generation is looking less and less like their own families and more like any other reality TV show, where "reality" is whatever they make it. Here are just a few of the red flags that leave us wondering.

A season of firsts

Not only was it the first time TJ Jackson took time to do something special for Frances, his wife and the mother of his four children, but it was during filming that the men decided to start doing an annual camping trip in order to bond — sitting around the campfire and talking about all of the ways the Jackson family is wonderful and why the world should be forever grateful to them all. (Did they really try to take credit for twerking?)

More: The Jacksons: Next Generation debuts a grown-up Prince Michael Jackson

Sketchy timing. Shady characters. How much of this docudrama's drama is real?
Image: Lifetime

Keeping Up with the Kardashians... over and over again

In case you didn't hear that hefty name-drop in the first episode, TJ Jackson made sure that everyone knew he dated Kim Kardashian in high school by the second episode of the series. By the third episode, not only were fans ready to sanctify Kim for helping the Jackson family, but two more Kardashians — Kourtney and Kris Jenner — were making appearances, and audiences were again reminded that the families have close ties, that Kris Jenner has no filter (when it pays not to) and, oh, that TJ and Kim dated in high school.

More: The Jacksons: What did Kim Kardashian know about the missing Jackson memorabilia?

Sketchy timing. Shady characters. How much of this docudrama's drama is real?
Image: Lifetime

Now we remember the memorabilia

In the second episode — or the second time TJ mentioned that he dated Kim Kardashian, however you're keeping track of the show — the men were introduced to a fan who had an amazing (read: creepy) collection of Jackson memorabilia that he acquired years ago when it was auctioned off. It was Kim who connected TJ with the gentleman, letting TJ know there was a possibility that the family could get the lost heirlooms back. While everyone thanked Kim for helping out her friends (and ex-boyfriend — because they dated once), it wasn't made clear when Kim actually committed this random act of kindness, which left people scratching their heads. How long was TJ holding on to that information before surprising his brothers? Was he waiting for the right time, meaning the time when the cameras would be around?

About that chick who's been claiming she's a Jackson...

Another question of timing and authenticity was during episode "third mention of the Kardashian family," when TJ, Taj and Taryll made the decision to track down the woman who has, for years, claimed to be their sister; saying that her mother had an affair with Tito Jackson. Noting that their aunts and uncles never bothered with such rumors, but saying that they did so to protect the family name, the men sought out Ms.Tanay Jackson, cameras in tow, to confront her and find out why she continues to tell people that they're siblings.

A funny thing happened on the way to the DNA test...

When they finally meet up with Tanay and she gives them seemingly legit info that supports her claims, it appears that the guys only planned to speak with her to get to the bottom of things. It's Tanay who suggested a DNA test. And who doesn't love a televised DNA test, right? (Right, Khloé Kardashian?)

More: Klhoé Kardashian and Lamar Odom timeline: 12 times she stood by his side

Well, as it turns out, Tanay Jackson doesn't love a televised DNA test. Because, after a random (wink, wink) run-in with Uncle Jermaine Jackson as they were walking into the testing facility, Tanay started feeling ill. Rightfully so, because... really? Jermaine Jackson was just wandering by when they landed in L.A. from New York City?

Once she rebounded, Tanay went to Taj, whispering in his ear, asking if it would be OK if they kept the test results private, just between the four of them.

Tagged in
Follow Us

SheKnows Media ‐ Entertainment

New in Entertainment

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!

b h e a r d !

Welcome to the new SheKnows Community,

where you can share your stories, ideas

and CONNECT with millions of women.

Get Started