Are these really documentaries?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by newfoundland, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. newfoundland

    newfoundland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    I have been watching a lot of documentaries recently, but am not sure they are for real. I watch 'Mountain Men' and I ask 'wHY?' Why do these aging fellows put themselves through this struggle to survive in such unforgiving and inhospitable terrain. I grant that scenically, it is stunning, but it seems to me that you need to grow your own furry coat to be at home in this climate. Then there is 'Ice Road Truckers'. I admire the courage of these drivers, but what a way to make a living, with possible disaster at every turn. The Ice Roads seem to me to be hazardous beyond belief! At least one can respect these people, but 'Dance Moms' is another matter. Tell me these aren't real people and are only acting the part of obnoxious, vile mouthed, out of control morons!
    I am left speechless at every episode. These can't be real people........can they?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Not documentaries, they're reality shows. Some get paid well so that's why they do it.
    In the case of Ice Road Truckers, trucks really do go there.
    In the case of the screaming obnoxious women - they're not reality shows, their real idiot shows.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  3. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2010
    People like to watch drama so I think each TV show is always trying to one up the other to get more ratings and profits. So, I imagine they find the most dramatic, life threatening (like Deadliest Catch) and the most obnoxious bad mannered people they can find. There is always debate about reality shows being scripted, but I would think that most of it is real and perhaps the shows edit to make things more dramatic and enticing to watch.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are differences in those shows. For example, Bear and his crew would sometimes spend the night in hotels and eat pretty well while Les did spend a lot more time on his own in the field, though he did have a “safety net” set up. Bear’s shows were more professionally done but were less “real”. Bear got better ratings.

    Think about it when you are watching those shows. There is a film crew (director, cameraman, audio, and all that) right there filming those shows. They are shown on TV so anything that is said will be seen by everyone. Do you really think those people could say and do that type of stuff to each other in private without a film crew watching them and not physically hurt each other?

    I’m sure different shows use different mixes of editing and scripting to get the drama needed to keep you watching, but I don’t personally consider them documentaries. I consider them an attempt at entertainment to draw advertising dollars.

    I’ll occasionally watch one to see if it is something I can stand to watch, but the only ones I normally watch a second time are the survivor-type shows. Even then, I’ve spent enough time outdoors to know you would not do a lot of what they do if you were really in a survivor-type situation.
  5. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    Editing, Editing, Editing....

    Something like Amazing Race wants you to at least sympathize with the winners and have at least a couple of teams to hate. Everyone says things in private that can be edited together to look better or worse than they really are. If you have a camera in your face for 24/7, they are going to catch both the flattering and the unflattering. Who hasn't snapped at a spouse while traveling, bitched about bungled plans or stepped up when things get bad. The crews make their shows interesting by picking people they think others will watch, then editing to make the drama. Calm, cool, rational people don't get selected for these kinds of shows.

    I started watching Storage Wars because my kids watched it. It is very forthcoming about what to expect from their "characters", labeling each at the beginning to give you a heads up on who they are. They then edit and film to make those characters look the way they describe them. They have even developed the characters over time; with roles changing and adding new people. The "young guns" are now more experienced and mentoring newbies.

    They call this "Reality TV", but very little is real. They are cheap for production companies because they don't have to pay for screen writers, actors and a host of other production types. They do pay for staging, travel, set up and editing; but this is much, much cheaper than a regular, scripted TV show. Most "actors" or participants on these shows have very little say in content. The exceptions would be shows like 19 Kids and Counting, Survivor Man, and Man vs. Wild where the "actors" are actually also the producers and control content.
  6. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    What they are is a major reason I haven't had cable in years. They are also the reason why on a quiet night, if you listen well to the wind between the leaves, you can hear the wail, "whhhhhyyyy MTV?"

    But yes, what Mom'sfolly said on being scripted/edited and cheap to produce.
  7. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I dont even have the TV hooked to a antenna... I hear good things about Duck Dynasty though.

    I did like Survivor and Big Brother for the first season or two when they were giant chess games.

    The idea is old. Go back an watch the movies Ed TV and The Truman Show. Todays reality TV is a mix of both with all the slow boring stuff edited out.

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