It seems like there’s always someone either screaming or crying within five minutes of every scene in Bravo‘s Real Housewives series. And with so much drama and emotion at all times, it’s hard to imagine the cameras are rolling documentary style without any kind of outside influence.
But are the shows scripted? Well, that’s a whole other story — and one that might be a little more complicated to answer than you’d expected. We looked into the reality shows to see whether or not there’s actually any “reality” in them, and the evidence is pretty compelling.
Check out our video and see what you think.
Need more proof? A reality TV producer held an anonymous AMA — also known as an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A — in the Bravo Real Housewives subreddit on reddit. And they answered everything fans wanted to know about story lines, legal issues on set (like drug use and alcohol abuse), and working with difficult talent on all kinds of reality shows.
When it came to the Housewives, they explained, “Each housewife is assigned to their own story producer, whose only job is to develop her storyline. So they conspire to create plot points, image, etc… Each story producer’s housewife is their responsibility. If the housewife has a breakdown at 2am and wants to quit the show, or is pissed about her edit, she calls her story producer. The story producer has to pretend to be their bestie and gain their trust, but they are also in charge of creating exciting TV, and will influence their housewife to walk into set ups.”
Plus, all those casual lunches out where the housewives just conveniently forget to invite one of their friends have to be meticulously planned in advance for filming schedules. “To shoot anywhere that is not their privately owned home, you have to get permission from the owner and get a film permit [weeks before]… So anything at a restaurant or public space needs to be set up way in advance.” Guess that invitation didn’t get lost in the mail after all.
But at the end of the day Real Housewives producer Rahel Tennione said it best to Business Insider: “As a reality producer, you’re dealing with real people with their own minds that have their own images that they want to control or they want to be seen. We don’t always know what we’re going to get.”
As much as you plan ahead, and for all of the drama you create, the housewives are ultimately their own people with their own agendas for being on the show. And while you can write a scene, reshoot certain moments, and carefully edit everything, at the end of the day, only the housewives themselves can control what crazy words come out of their mouths.