Catch up on our Come Dine with Me experience here.
Part II: Why are people so rude on reality TV?
Truthfully, we got along with the other couples on the show. While we were getting acquainted, the producer interrupted.
“Hey guys. Let’s have a conversation.”
That’s what we were doing . . . so we all look at each other confused.
He pulls out a clipboard of all the material he has gathered from applications, casting videos and interviews-
“Okay Laura, I want you to ask contestant #4 about his love for dogs.”
This is an entirely made up scenario-no spoilers! (It’s just to give you the idea).
Contestant #4 tells everyone how much he hates dogs, having no idea that Contestant #6 is a dog breeder who says dogs are superior to people. Because the man with the clipboard needs clean sound bites, Contestant #4 will have to repeat that he hates dogs 7 times, each time becoming less politically correct and more blunt.
Contestant #3 will be irritated that #4 keeps looking into the camera or talking out of turn- meaning more takes. Everyone is nervous, tired, cold and hungry. Our feet hurt and our drinks are almost empty, plus the tension is mounting as we realise we are more-or-less set up to fail.
I’m wondering what material I have given them to use against me. I have a knot in my stomach. This is why people said the show was a bad idea. The alcohol isn’t helping. We were told the crew would make sure no one got “too drunk,” but I’m not sure that happened.
The show dishes up conflict. Alcohol + stress + nerves + exhaustion + “clipboard questions” is the perfect recipe!
In our episode, the drama between couples was more intense than amongst the strangers. This made me very uncomfortable. At one point, in the middle of dinner, I burst out crying!
The channel is making money out of digging for drama in marriages, applauding when tempers boil. I didn’t find this funny, ethical, or entertaining. I found it gross. There was plenty of material in our very different personalities and life experiences that it was completely unnecessary for low blows.
I think the actual edited show will be lovely, but I didn’t enjoy watching the producer hand spouses knives to put in each other’s backs- then asking them to repeat it to get it perfect. But consider the source. I’m the girl who thought the movie Bad Moms was more horrific than hysterical.
The man with the clipboard told me I needed to chill out. That might be true, but I’m trying to be my husband’s girlfriend, not tear him down on international television. When I told the camera guy I was upset because “people matter.” He advised me to be more like him. “Don’t give a f**k.”
*This is made up material (again), but a sample interview:
Producer: “Wow! #6 was so unbelievable about hating dogs. He should eat dog poo, don’t you think? Could you give that to me in a sentence?”
Me: “#6 Getting bit by a dog totally explains his hate for them. “
Husband: “That’s clearly not what he asked you to say.”
Me: “That doesn’t even sound like me. You will have to get that soundbite from someone else.”
*This clip shows the power of suggestion. I took it hook, line, and sinker- but at least in this case, I agreed with the direction of the statement.
I won’t say the producer puts words in your mouth, but that’s exactly what one of the girls said when she walked out of interview, “He put words in my mouth!”
Warning: This might ruin reality TV for you.
Relief! It’s time for the camera guy to take his 10th cigarette break this hour, so we finally get to move on–
But before we move anywhere, we need to do “look shots.”
There is only one camera guy and the show thrives on drama. It’s impossible to catch the reaction of #6 when #4 said he hates dogs, and they don’t even really try. Instead, they film “look shots.”
Look shots are filmed at the end of every scene. Contestant #1 will smile at contestants #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6 then nod politely, then disagree, then look upset or [insert emotion here] faking each reaction for about 5 seconds. Rinse and repeat with each person looking at everyone else until the man with the clipboard is happy.
“Look Shots” allow any reaction to be cut and pasted.
This shocked me most of all. I will probably have my fake “shock” face cut and pasted all over that episode! I wish I would have known this happened. I would have practiced my faces like a 15 year old girl taking selfies.
Check back Sunday for Reality TV Part III: FAQ from Come Dine with Me.
How to watch the show in the US? Details are coming!
Are you surprised by any of this? Leave your reaction, or post a question.
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