The Reality of Being on a Reality TV Show


In a reality TV-obsessed world, is it any wonder that teen girls would be willing to do just about anything to get on television, including have a baby?

After all, what's a baby when your future career is on the line? Think of Amber Portwood, the teen mom who beat her way (literally) onto the cover of dozens of tabloids just by starring in MTV's Teen Mom. It's no stretch to imagine that dozens of young girls would be frantically having unprotected sex just to have their own shot at stardom.

According to PopEater:

This is yet another example of the desperation of fame, Matt Titus, a relationship expert from, [says] ... The sad state of reality television has created a lowbrow vehicle for untainted train wreck personalities to display their private lives. Getting pregnant to be famous is like eating as many cockroaches as possible in a one minute period.

And indeed many have done just that. But as anyone who has ever been on a reality show can tell you, there is a whole lot less "reality" than it seems. I should know. I did one.

It was eight years ago now and isn't something I like to bring up during the conversation, but my husband and I did an ABC Family reality show with Ali Landry and Mario Lopez (back when they were together) called Will You Marry Me?

My husband and I have known each other since we were 10 and reconnected through They loved our story and promoted it, and that caught the eye of the producers of the show who called us. Once they heard about my then fiance's unique proposal, they asked us to be on another show that was already in the works about unique proposals.

Earlier that year, I had returned home from work to find a cryptic note on the door:

Roses are red, violets are blue, go to where we sweat for clue #2

There, there was a subway token and another note. The scavenger hunt went on and on to all the various places we had gone on great dates all over our city and finally ended on a bridge where I found my man on one knee, ring in hand.

Very cute proposal and we reenacted the whole thing for the cameras. It was cute, but insincere. By the time we were filming it, we had been engaged for six months!

Nothing was organic. They pulled emotions from us, asked leading questions, and had us walk down streets 15 times to get it right. And being followed by cameras is its own version of hell. For two days, everyone and their mother were craning their necks to figure out if we were "someone."

We were not. Obviously. But for that brief 48 hours of filming, we sure felt like we were. Now multiply that by 100 and we get some sense of what those 16 and Pregnant girls must be feeling. And forget about the editing.

But the riches aren't there. Other than Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Survivor, how many reality "stars" can we even name? OK, so Sean Duffy from the Real World: Boston was just elected to Congress and his wife Rachel who was on the Real World: San Francisco was rejected from the same job Hasselbeck now holds, but the red carpet is littered with the ashes of thousands of "reality stars" who never were.

Reality "fame" barely exists. You're a blip, a nothing. And if you're making a permanent life decision in order to be a star, well then you're also an idiot.

What do you think of reality TV?


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poshkat poshkat

i dont feel bad for these people, they put their lives out there to have their 15 minutes and than when its finished they break down because they are not famous anymore. what do we remember about them most? irene from the real world seattle: the girl who left in the middle stephan from the same season: the guy who slapped irene, or otherwise known as the slap heard around the world. puck from san francisco: douche who ate peanut butter with his his finger out of the jar and got thrown out of the house becuase he was a dick, the original cast of NYC? we all remember they were fighting over politics and rasicem all the time. now who are they? nobodies, could you tell me their last names? no. why? becuase they dont have star power or a lasting impression other than the big things we remember them for. a slap, a dick who loved peanut butter, jerks who fought on a NYC street and people passing by looking at the crazies screaming (not that uncommon in NYC).

DebaLa DebaLa

Worse.Genre.Ever. With a never-ending supply of low-budget "talent." A real blight in this age of information and entertainment. I send my message by just clicking them off.

Freela Freela

Calling it 'reality tv' is a misnomer.  It's not 'real.'  As you pointed out, that asked you leading questions, had you re-enact things that had already taken place... and think of what you can do with hours and hours of footage, selectively edited.  I can pretty much guarantee that if you shot my family for a week you could edit that footage to either make me look like a saint or a psycho, depending on what makes a 'good story.'  This is why it irks the heck out of me when people say they can tell that 'the Duggars are a happy family' or 'Kate is an evil bitch' based on the shows... the editors are crafting a story to tell you.  They are using footage to craft that story.  They can orchestrate the footage and then selectively edit it.   What exactly about that is reality?  

lkm091 lkm091

     Back when I was in my younger 20's, I was going to try out for The Real World.  I was a wild partier in college and I wasn't afraid to tell anyone what I was thinking, when I was thinking.  I was the epitome of the kind of bad girl they were looking for in the early 2000's on that show.  Boy am I happy I didn't do it.  A)  I truly believe there is such thing as too much drama, and I definitely would've lived it, and B)  I look back at how different I am now as a person and how much I've grown and matured in these few, short years.  I am so happy I didn't say or do anything that will live on "forever".  

     I couldn't agree with you more.  These people may think that what they're doing is right (right now) but I'm sure will change their minds in no time at all - whether they went through with a show or not.  As entertaining as it may seem, these really are people's lives, and people need to take that fact a bit more seriously.  (BTW, I don't watch any reality TV anymore.)

nonmember avatar Karim

I just wanted to say as a Flight Attendant I met 2 of these reality TV Moms.
Mrs Duggar,and the mom Amy Roloff from Little world big people,they were the nicest ladies,I asked them a bit about being on a show and they both said it really means alot to like your film crew as they had become part of there family.
I myself live a pretty quiet life for which I am greatful,but have to admit I like to watch the shows.

madja... madjanssen

For every 2 people who wouldn't want to get involved in reality TV, there are 20 more who would. The emphasis on instant fame & fortune have sunk really low so much so it erodes all common sense in everyone involved. Whilst you could blame the people themselves, the media has a lot of blame to shoulder too for they encourage otherwise normal behaviour for the pure sake of entertaintment.  It has become so humongous that it has overtaken all facets of life. The only way to get rid of it to stop watching them & as long as there are people so still do, they will still keep on making them.

'The Real Housewives Of' series is a big joke. I'm a real housewife & it's nothing like those women there who are not the real thing. Has anyone ever seen them pick up a broom?!

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