Mental Floss

How Real is Reality TV? The Dishy Revelations Behind "Real" Shows

Kara Kovalchik
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Reality TV isn't always real? The devil you say. Next thing you'll try to tell me is that Milli Vanilli didn't sing on their records, or that Martha Stewart doesn't really shop at K-Mart.

1. Shady Deals on The Apprentice

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2. Making up the Making Out  on Joe Millionaire

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Remember 2003's

Joe Millionaire

? The FOX Network passed off Evan Marriott as a $19,000-per-year construction worker. While it's true that Marriott worked for a construction company, he'd also earned some additional pocket change by modeling men's underwear for print ads and appearing in a small role on the soap

Days of Our Lives

. A year after his stint as

Joe

, Marriott revealed to the press that much of the series was staged, and that he had made it clear prior to signing on for the project that he had no intention of getting involved with any of the potential "brides" on the show.

He admitted that the famous "making out in the woods" scene was completely faked

, and that the heavy breathing and other smoochy sound effects were all added in post-production.

3. Finally, Some Honest Casting Auditions!

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such as

The Biggest Loser

or

Nanny 911

. Shows like

The Biggest Loser

send production assistants out to troll the parking lots of Curves and Jenny Craig and similar establishments, where they place promotional flyers on windshields. They also frequent Usenet newsgroups looking for women who confess that they don't feel attractive and are looking for a change. Representatives from Nanny 911 and similar shows will actually approach moms of out-of-control tots in LA-area toy and department stores to see if they'd be interested in appearing on TV.

4. A Reality Double-dipper Gets Carded

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5. Heavily-veiled Drama

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is a guilty pleasure for married women. It sort of makes personal tantrums seem less severe when you watch the brides berating their attendants on TV for having visible tattoos or rolls of flesh protruding over a boned bodice. Sadly,

it turns out that many of the hissy fits featured on the show are staged.

For example, there was the incident of Lisa and Andrew, where Lisa objected to the plain wedding band Andrew presented to her during a Valentine's Day dinner at a restaurant. Lisa declared it a "piece of crap," and tossed it in his wine glass. This scene was not as impromptu as it appeared, however. The production staff had approached other diners in the restaurant ahead of time and informed them that a TV show was going to be filmed there, with a loud and possibly violent argument involved, and would they like to move to a different table?

Also, the production staff informed the restaurant manager in advance that there would be a "cake-smashing" scene, and inquired as to where the best place to film said scene would be, since the restaurant had a carpeted floor and they were trying to minimize clean-up costs.

Now's your time to "˜fess up "“ what reality TV moments are your favorites, and which do you suspect were faked?

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