LA Times posts 19-page Queer Eye script, reports on Simple Life scripting.

LA Times posts 19-page Queer Eye script, reports on Simple Life scripting.
In yesterday’s LA Times, columnist Joel Stein breaks news that some reality shows “are secretly crafted in advance by writers.” His big scoop is a 19-page Queer Eye “second draft” script [PDF] for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It shows that “[e]very moment is planned in advance, including a few specific lines for the straight guy to deliver, which Bravo says is not unusual for any reality show,” he writes. It’s for an apparently uncoming episode featuring Hofstra senior Patrick Mullare, and is credited to “Stanzler/Sorenson,” the latter name possibly referring to segment producer Vivian Sorenson. It’s pretty damning, including “talking points” and detailing every moment, even spontaneous ones. One part says of Patrick: “He showers, he shaves, a funny moment when he resists slicking his hair back with goo.”

Stein also reports on The Simple Life 3, which he says “is so unreal that people who produce the show refer to it as a ‘hybrid sitcom’ or a ‘soft-scripted show,’ a fact Fox does not deny.” For the third season, the “gimmick was that Hilton and Ritchie slept in trailer parks, [but] they checked into hotels all but two nights,” he says. Additionally, Stein reports on one scripted scene that went awry:

The producers had pre-interviewed a guy in a baseball cap who would agree to take them to his apartment to give them some rubbers. But the ever-confused Hilton and Ritchie went up to the wrong guy, who, not surprisingly, happily agreed to take them to his place. The producers, however, yelled, “Cut,” confusing everyone in the bar, who thought they were at a reality show taping. Then Hilton and Ritchie started the scene again and approached the baseball-cap guy, because the producers had already lighted his apartment.

While we know that reality TV is not real, we also don’t expect reality TV producers to be unethical slimeballs who create fiction and pretend it is nonfiction.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.