Let me first start off by disclosing that I’m a skeptic first and foremost. I’m a skeptic about everything. No joke! You could tell me the sky was blue and the sun was shining outside, but until I could actually verify that for myself I would be wary of the facts presented. My skepticism has waxed ever greater thanks to America’s fascination with “reality television”.
I really hate to make generalized assumptions but it has been my personal experience that the average American television viewer typically assumes most facts presented to be true. Whether it be the evening news or a reality television program, the viewer believes what they’re watching. Now I could be 100% wrong, but people tend to be susceptible to easily accessible information such as what’s on the television.
With all of this being said, my girlfriend recently got me into a few cooking competition shows such as Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef. Having watched dozens of episodes and numerous seasons of these shows in the past few weeks on Hulu, I can’t help but wonder if they are staged for the most part. It seems like the only “reality” part of the shows is the contestants doing the motions of cooking.
It’s hard to tell if the contestants are even the ones that prepared the final products due to the heavy editing these shows require to fit them into the allotted time. There’s also the matter of the contestants occasionally being filmed alone in a separate room to comment on something that hasn’t occurred yet. Do they know ahead of time what they’re going to be facing or do they do faux interviews after that event has already happened so it appears as if it happens in real time? Perhaps they have a transdimensional teleportation device that allows the producers to interview the contestants on an astral plane of existence while their bodies continue to cook! (That last bit was sarcasm by the way. T.V. producers wouldn’t be able to afford that kind of technology!)
In all seriousness, it all just seems a bit too convenient for me. If you need further convincing, see for yourself:
MasterChef episodes: http://www.fox.com/masterchef/full-episodes/40527384/
Hell’s Kitchen episodes (no free episodes available): http://www.tv.com/shows/hells-kitchen/episodes/
In my humble opinion, television executives need to rebrand “reality television” as something more along the lines of “entertaining television with a predetermined script or outcome” or ETWAPSO for short. Give it time; ETWAPSO will catch on, just watch!
*Image taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/gallery/2009/apr/07/hells-kitchen-itv-marco-pierre-white.