Despite its name, reality TV is anything but real. But we don’t watch shows like The Real Housewives because they’re so truthful, we watch them because we love to be shocked. Here are 11 things all reality TV lovers understand and just accept in order to spend time with their favorite reality stars.
1. Alcohol is the elixir of the reality TV Gods
There wouldn’t be a reality TV dynasty if it wasn’t for alcohol. Too much Ron-Ron juice can make even the nicest Guidette do the craziest things. Some reality stars, like Mattie Breaux from Party Down South, have a name for their own drunk persona. After too many shots, Mattie turns into Martha and has been known to start fights, get kicked out of clubs and destroy property.
2. We know many plotlines are created by writers, but we don’t care
A lot of shows, like The Real Housewives, have a team of writers inventing situations and activities that will have visual appeal and create drama. During an episode of Snooki and JWoww this season, JWoww inadvertently gave away this fact when Roger made her a special breakfast to celebrate their anniversary. Jenni looked at him and said, “Yeah, but was that really your idea?” — implying the producers may have prompted Roger to cook for her.
3. We’re not fooled when an audio clip gets turned into a “Frankenbite”
There’s often a lot of narration that plays over reality TV in an effort to explain what’s going on. Sometimes, editors will splice together two separate pieces of dialogue to create the perfect statement. Frankenbites are just one of the many ways producers manipulate the story line.
4. Not all the “bleeps” are real
Many reality stars, like those on Duck Dynasty, have said the show adds “bleeps” over the dialogue, even if it isn’t profane, just to make the show feel edgier.
Image: ABC Television
5. Just being on a reality show doesn’t make a person rich
Most reality TV shows provide a very small stipend, if any money at all, and the stars usually aren’t paid until the show actually airs. Of course, the exception to that rule is Jersey Shore, where the cast mates ended up reportedly making $100,000 per episode during the final season.
6. Product placement is the name of the game
Cars, movies and, of course, soda brands, have all made their way onto Survivor, often turning the show into a 44-minute commercial. Somehow, though, if it’s a product we’re very familiar with, it somehow makes the show more relatable.
7. Relationship drama is often manufactured
Fights between friends and lovers are often played up to add drama to the show. MTV’s Real World: Skeletons is famous for this technique.
Image: Discovery Channel
8. Those weird-looking necklaces are actually microphones
Someone got smart and decided to turn those pesky little microphones into a fashion accessory. These are super important for shows like Naked and Afraid, where there is no clothing to attach a mic to.
9. Reality shows play fast and loose with time
Many shows, like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, mix up footage from different days, editing stuff out of order. If you pay careful attention to clothing worn and even engagment rings, you’ll be able to tell when the actual time line was altered.
10. We don’t have to like you to watch your show
The Celebrity Apprentice is a perfect example of such a show — where the despicable Donald Trump only makes us love to loathe him. His ridiculous hair inspires a world of hate, but we tune in anyway.
11. Sometimes people really do fall in love
Not that we think Speidi is a couple to emulate, but sometimes real love happens despite all the fake drama and TV cameras. The Challenge‘s Diem and CT seemed to have developed deep feelings for each other over the years. We miss you, Diem!