5 Depressing Realities Behind Popular Reality TV Shows

At Cracked. The saddest one was that so many people on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition wind up losing their new homes:

One family, which had a new home specifically designed to help their developmentally challenged son, was forced to put the house on the market after just a little over a year because they simply couldn’t afford what it cost in both time and money to maintain a palatial four-bedroom estate while trying to raise three children, one of whom has special needs. That’s like Santa Claus bringing a lonely kid an awesome robot friend who, by the way, must be fueled by human blood.

Another couple fell behind on the $405,000 loan they had to take out just to keep their utilities connected in the million-dollar mansion built for them by the show (which inexplicably included a carousel and a movie theater, because those are things that a young husband and wife need to turn their luck around) and were forced to sell the house and auction off most of its contents.

I guess that’s why Habitat for Humanity doesn’t put carousels and movie theaters in the homes they build.

Another depressing reality: most of the restaurants on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares go out of business. I find that a little sad. I don’t like seeing small businesses fail. Then again, it’s hard to feel too sad about a cockroach-infested restaurant going under.

P.S. I always wondered about whether the publicity really helped the businesses. If I find out that a restaurant had cockroaches and dead rats in the kitchen I wouldn’t eat there even after they cleaned it up. If they let it get that bad once, they’ll do it again.

Dave Hester Alleges Fakery on a Reality TV Show, the Completely Naive Hardest Hit

The Storage Wars celeb Dave “Yuuup” Hester filed a civil suit against Storage Wars producers and A&E. What’s his beef against them?

Hester’s litigation papers not only set out his complaints and demands to be protected from lawsuits that could arise from what he called fraudulent behavior, his salary and other compensation perks are made public. .

Allegations against the defendants as listed in the filed papers include:

1) “A&E regularly plants valuable items or memorabilia” “…in one episode a pile of old newspapers announcing the death of Elvis Presley was discovered. In another episode a BMW mini car was found buried under a pile trash.”

When Hester went to the producers to say he thought what they were doing was possibly illegal he was fired.

2) “…nearly every aspect of the Series is faked, even down to the plastic surgery that one of the female cast members underwent in order to create more ‘sex appeal'”

The cost of the surgery was picked up for her. In the land of plastic surgery mills, So. Cal, does anyone find that a problem? Hester does.

3) “Original Productions (producers of the show) manipulate the outcome of auctions by paying for storage units on behalf of the weaker cast members who lack both the skill and financial wherewithal to place winning bids.”

Who’s weak? Perhaps Brandi and Jarrod before they got their feet wet? Darrell’s got money and we know that Barry does.

4) “…many viewers have questioned whether the valuable items are planted in the units for dramatic effect. In response AETN (A&E) issued the following press release. ‘There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show.’ That was a lie.”

Brandi definitely had a boob job and we thank her. Whether the show paid for it or not, Dave doesn’t have standing to sue for that. It’s just a cheap shot.

As far the producers planting valuable items in the lockers lots of people have wondered about that. It seems like they find good stuff pretty often, but with TV you never know what isn’t shown. They could be filming more auctions and not airing the ones without loot. We’ll see if Hester has any proof or if Dave’s just being Dave.

Speaking of Reality TV

I caught some reality TV shows over the holiday weekend.

Gold Rush – about a bunch of guys prospecting for gold in Alaska – was pretty good. Fairly low on the drama llama quotient and with a decent amount of natural drama, mostly from busted equipment and the problems that come with construction and big projects.

Moonshiners – about a bunch of North Carolina good old buys making shine – has lots of drama llama. Tickle’s a pain in the ass and his friend isn’t helping things by feeding him beer. I know some people are dumb enough to film themselves breaking the law, but I don’t believe a TV network is going along with it. The stills may be real, but I don’t think they’re producing shine on Federal land with Discovery channel cameras rolling.

My favorite was Alaska, the Final Frontier, about a family of second and third generation subsistence homesteaders in Alaska. They don’t have to import any drama, since the Alaskan landscape and the need to live off the land is dramatic enough. Unlike most reality shows I actually like and admire all of the people on the show.

Jesse James explains all reality TV celebrities, ever

“They’re just kinda retards that got put on TV.”
 — Jesse James in a promo for American Chopper

There’s a TV show called Jersey Shore. Have you heard of it?

Sunday between Simpsons episodes I watched 30 minutes of Jersey Shore, with Snooki and The Situation. It’s a reality TV show about a bunch of twenty-somethings in Jersey.

Somehow I thought it would be more contrived. Like there would be gladiatorial combat or spelling bees. All they do is follow them around with cameras and film their mating rituals – “Guidos in the Mist of Axe Body Spray.”

They also document the fact that they live in a pig sty. And that they think you can use regular furniture for patio furniture because the whole patio furniture thing is just a scam to get you to buy two sets of furniture.

On the plus side side, there are some slutty women and they wear slutty clothes, so there’s that. Not that Jersey Shore exactly has a monopoly on that sort of thing on TV. And then there’s the Internet, where whoa Nelly.

The episode ended with the gang going to a club, getting drunk, and ending up in a fist fight with a guy who got fresh with Jennifer. My wife tells me that’s how a lot of episodes end, because whoa Nelly.