If you haven't accepted the fact yet that reality TV isn't actually "reality," this Reddit thread might finally sway you. User u/JupiterWilkeMay asked former dating show contestants (or people with behind-the-scenes access) to share how much influence the producers had on the outcomes of the shows. Here are some of the most shocking replies:
1. "My mom had a brief conversation with someone on The Bachelor. She told her the producers would yell at her all the time and would do anything they could to aggravate her before an appearance with the bachelor. They would tell her about social events 10 minutes in advance."
2. "Usually contestants with the most internet influence make it to the final weeks because they promote the show. Think Facebook or Instagram or Twitter followers. Those with the most tend to win, or almost win."
3. "I had a friend who was on one of these shows. It was a typical dating show with three contestants trying to win a date with the prize girl. She was dating a guy at the time. The producers knowingly let her boyfriend go on the show as one of the three contestants trying to get with her. She and her boyfriend acted as if it was the first time they had met. She played along and flirted with the other contestants so they could get the footage they needed, then ultimately picked her boyfriend."
4. "I was on Parental Control. Long story short, everyone on that show is cast by the producers. I was 'the asshole boyfriend' and met my 'girlfriend' the day of the shoot. I had an earpiece in my ear, with the producers telling me jokes and weird shit to say to this poor girl's parents (they were actually real, but on some of the other episodes, they are actors too)."
5. "I was on Netflix’s Love Is Blind. What you don’t see on camera are the lengthy talks between candidates (sometimes hours) that are just cut short on TV. There may seem to be no staff around, but there are staff behind the scenes telling you what to do and which side you should stand/sit so the camera is not blocked."
6. "My friend was on one of those shows. He was essentially himself (a musician in LA), but they invented a backstory for him and even had a girl he had never met pretend to be his ex. No clue how they influenced the selection, but he said everyone was an amateur actor just trying to make a couple of bucks in a few weeks."
7. "My roommate was one of the dudes on The Bachelorette. He said that his exit interview (he got booted in the second or third week) lasted about 45 minutes, and most of it was a producer leading him with very pointed questions and trying to get a clip of him saying he was angry that the girl didn't pick him. They never got him to say it, and after all that, they only ended up using about 10 seconds of the footage."
8. "I did a blind-dating show called Third Wheel when I was an actor in LA. It was fun, and we did a lot of fun trivia games and such. After two hours, they took me aside and asked if I was in love with the girl. I said that I wasn't, but I'd be happy to be friends. For a long time, I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't use my episode, because I thought it was really funny. Turns out they only use the episodes where people actually fall in love with each other in two hours. That's a little fast for me."
9. "A girl I went to high school with was on Married at First Sight, and she said it was mostly scripted and edited to make her look super bad because people 'love the drama.'"
10. "I had a nonactor friend on MTV's Next in the early '00s as one of the three suitors on the bus. I watched the episode, and the banter didn’t sound like him at all. I asked and he said, 'Every single word out of my mouth was scripted.'"
11. "My coworker back in college was asked to be on a dating show. She said no because they asked her to sign a waiver stating that if she got an STD on the show, she would not sue them."
12. "One of my friends was on one of those shows where a bunch of people live together in the same house. I never even bothered to watch it after what he told me. The 'romances' were all fake, and so were the 'fights.' They had specific lines, told people where to stand, and even gave him props like fake bottles to throw."
13. "I knew a girl on The Bachelor, and she basically said they just constantly try to get them drunk, and the people behind the scenes really try to stir the pot and get them angry at each other."
14. And finally, "I auditioned for Naked Attraction. I took all of my clothes off, they took a few pictures, and I never heard from them again. I got some free candy in the waiting room, though. At least I'm pretty sure it was an audition for Naked Attraction."
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.