Get real! Few surprised reality TV shows more scripted than spontaneous
By Dean Johnson
Tuesday, December 7, 2004
Make that the Phony Five.
Reality TV may be fake television - but it isn't fooling local viewers.
The revelation that such shows as Bravo's ``Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,'' NBC's ``The Restaurant'' and Fox's ``The Simple Life'' are at least partially if not completely scripted, right down to the pratfalls and reaction shots, doesn't surprise fans.
``I never believed those shows were happening as such, anyway,'' said Susan Bocchino of Saugus. ``I suspected all along they were scripted and not ad-libbed like they led us to believe.
``But it is sort of deflating, because you can't believe what is real on those shows anymore,'' she said.
``For me, none of that matters,'' said Amanda Greene. ``The shows are still entertaining.''
The Haverhill resident described herself as a diehard reality TV fan. ``If those shows are scripted, then they're doing a pretty good job.
``It's still good television, and it gets me away from my reality for a while,'' she said.
The Los Angeles Times yesterday uncovered parts of a 19-page outline for an upcoming episode of ``Queer Eye'' that even covered how the climax should be taped.
Most reality series seem to take liberties with where ``reality'' ends and fiction kicks in.
Fox's ``The Simple Life'' starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie keyed in on the trailer parks where they bedded down each night. But the two stayed in hotels for all but two nights.
When television audiences saw a waiter trip and hurt himself in NBC's ``The Restaurant,'' it was a re-enactment, not the actual fall.
Staff writers regularly whip up the voice-overs that are supposedly the work of the teens in MTV's ``Made'' reality show.
Maybe worst of all, even Ozzie is a fraud. When heavy metal's dark prince chucked a block of wood over a fence and shattered his neighbor's window during the debut season of ``The Osbournes'' on MTV, it was really a combination of sound effects and phony reaction shots.
Hollywood producers have even come up with new ways to describe their not-quite-reality programs: ``hybrid sitcoms'' or ``soft-scripted shows.'' http://theedge.bostonherald.com/tvNe...rticleid=57601