Kayfabe Never Dies

Reality shows a work? As the first paragraph suggests, that’s not really surprising:

“Granted, in the pantheon of shocking headlines, REALITY SHOWS MANIPULATED ranks with PORK RINDS FATTENING, RESEARCHERS SUSPECT. But even savvy viewers who realize that their favorite reality shows are cast, contrived and edited to be dramatic may have no idea how brazen the fudging can be. Quotes are manufactured, crushes and feuds constructed out of whole cloth, episodes planned in multiact ‘storyboards’ before taping, scenes stitched together out of footage shot days apart.

And while we may have long suspected that a cast of camera-smitten future trivia answers can’t really be that interesting without professional help, details of how these shows manipulate reality have begun leaking out–because of a dispute with the employees hired to do the jiggering. Those staff members–who create story lines, coach interview answers and cobble together video–say their work amounts to writing, and they are suing their networks and production companies, arguing that they deserve to be covered by the Writers Guild of America.”

Wrestling fans (and the professional wrestling industry) could teach these so-called reality television producers a solid lesson. Why?

Kayfabe.

Been there; done that. And you know what? The real death of kayfabe came right around the Attitude era – the era when professional wrestling was hot, and everyone was watching (you know who Stone Cold and the Rock are). Perhaps reality television is due for a resurgence? The first concept that admits it isn’t entirely factual and still maintains that improv feel will sky-rocket. It doesn’t even have to be a particularly good concept.

TIME.com: How Reality TV Fakes It — Feb. 06, 2006 — Page 1

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