The unbelievable reality of House Hunters and “reality” TV shows

Just How Fake Is HGTV’s House Hunters?

Long-running basic cable staple House Hunters (and its various iterations) are the lifeblood of HGTV, which sometimes seems to air nothing but half-hour after half-hour of incredibly picky people looking at three possible places to purchase, one of which seems to always fit the incredibly finicky buyers’ check list. Most of us have known the show is at least partially staged, but now a woman featured on the show pulls back the curtain even more.

Here is a personal story from one participant where she admits the ways the scenes were contrived and suites to make a show, not show a real event as it happens.


Source: Consumerist

I don’t think ANY “reality” TV show is close to reality at all. They are staged, scripted and manipulated: whether it be House Hunters or Ghost Hunters. It’s TV and they are edited to be entertainment. Not everyone thinks that way, though. I’ve had several people mention that they believe these stories portrayed on TV shows are mostly true and not faked or not manipulated (much). If they hold that view, it DOES color the way they see the world. So, it’s good to continually remind people, especially young people, that these kinds of shows are designed to tell a “reality-like” story and NOT a story that accurately shows typical people or reflects the real problems and real decisions people must make in life. Huge amounts of details are left out and small dilemmas or loose ends are blown out of proportion.

Cue dramatic closeup of surprised faces.

Incidentally, I’m a bit surprised she didn’t have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

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  10 comments for “The unbelievable reality of House Hunters and “reality” TV shows

  1. Sam
    June 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I know actress who did a small bit on a reality show and everything she did there was ad-lib and made up, Only thing which was real was the shop and the merchandise lol

  2. June 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I am of the opinion that the more dysfunctional a person, the better chances they have of being on a reality tv show.

    • Sam
      June 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      Brendan,
      My friend is far from dysfunctional,
      She’s an actress and got paid to do a job on a reality show
      It just show’s you, you can’t believe anything on TV these days

      • Bill
        June 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        In his defense, I live in LA, and most actors I know are dysfunctional! :)

  3. Nigel
    June 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Next thing you know it’ll turn out that the do it yourselfers on “Renovation Realilies” are actually all master carpenters.

  4. June 12, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Reality TV translates to “how can we make tv shows without unions and high salaries of talented professionals?”

  5. Massachusetts
    June 12, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    I definitely lost faith in that show when they described a certain city I live near, which is rather utilitarian to say the least, as “a quaint New England Village.”

    • John
      June 13, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      We Yankees are nothing if not utilitarian. Some might well find it quaint.

  6. Massachusetts
    June 12, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    I also studied for a TEFL certificate with a guy who edited a reality show. He said they did 50 takes for someone closing the refrigerator door, i.e., casual, angry, clumsy, etc. Then they picked the one that fit best with the story line they were trying to craft.

  7. Bill
    June 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    House Hunters doesn’t scandalize me, least of all the international version. It has long been an open secret that usually, the people are already living in their final choice. Logistically, the show would be almost impossible to make otherwise. Skepticism need not spoil all entertainment. In this case, the situation remains realistic, even if the narrative is more reenactment than documentary.

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