Greg Plitt was cast for Work Out by producers, reveals how contrived and set-up it is

Work Out‘s workplace drama looks increasingly contrived this season, and there’s good reason for that: At least one of the show’s trainers was cast by producers, not hired by Jackie “I’m fond of emotionally manipulating people and then blaming them because I have no self-awareness” Warner.

One of SkySport’s newest trainers, Greg Plitt, did a cover photo shoot for a magazine during this season, and now Muscle & Body magazine’s interview with him is online. In it, he reveals that producers “picked me for a couple of reasons. One, because of my name and credibility in the fitness world. Two, because of the drama I’ll bring to the table. There’s one guy on the show named Brian Peeler. He’s the alpha male and I think they’d thought we’d clash. They figured that (casting me) would stir up emotion and drama amongst the female trainers and make for a good show. We’ll see about that.”

Brian, of course, was fired by Jackie on a recent episode after confronting her about comments she made about one of his clients, comments she refuses to acknowledge she made.

Interestingly, the trainers listed on the gym’s web site include many people beyond those who appear on the show, so it’s almost as if the producers have created a gym within the gym for the show’s sake. Despite that, Greg also says that what transpires is real, although he does so while revealing that the show is heavily orchestrated by producers. It’s not unlike, say, Survivor, where producers create an artificial context and tape the results–except here, they’re allegedly just filming a workplace.

“The producers didn’t want me talking to Jackie until the cameras were rolling. Everything about the show is spontaneous; they never tell you anything. They tell you where you need to be, what time and how long you need to be there,” Greg said. “They don’t tell you what you’re doing. They constantly throw a lot of curve balls at you to get you to react. You can never be a step ahead of them. It makes for a good show.”

If it’s surprising that he was cast, Greg’s web site lists five agents–five!–plus a PR representative, which explains how he now lands roles from fictional portrayals on Days of our Lives to playing a carpenter version of himself on HGTV’s Design to Sell. Still, he is a real personal trainer, and also got his first film role, in The Good Shepherd, without having an agent.

However contrived the show may be, and however increasingly annoying Jackie Warner may be, she has her fans, and she says those are straight, married women even though she’s gay. “I think my top demographic are not the gay and lesbian community, but housewives,” she recently told The New York Times. “I have hard-core women that get major crushes. I have women that send me — this is the weird thing — I have women that send me photos of themselves with their husbands and three teenage boys or whatever — I’m just giving you an example — with a love letter attached.” Blogging Bravo VP and wunderkind Andy Cohen confirms that. “Straight women across the country are not only obsessed with the show, they are obsessed with Jackie.” he said.

Why do they like her? Jackie says, “Women are attracted to someone who can walk into a room and who’s self-possessed and confident, and that makes them feel safe. I understand what women want. Completely. It’s not looks. It’s not all of that. They want a feeling of safety. They are highly attracted to personality and confidence and a very self-possessed person. And I do think I do have those qualities.” Oh, Jackie, you’re so modest!

Many have criticized Jackie for her tendency to flirt with and even date her allegedly straight female trainers, and she said, “A lot of people think well I just am predatory toward straight women. Like my trainers in the first and second episode. I watched it and I’m like, ‘God, they think I am a woman whore or something,’ that I look predatory. And I’m not predatory. I never hit on anybody. I actually don’t hit on anyone.’”

As usual, any criticism of her behavior gets blamed on the person doing the criticizing, and Jackie says her male trainers “were so deeply insecure” about her relationship with Rebecca last season. “And they were offended — the fact that I would go into their waters. And that I got prettier women than they did.”

Reality Showdown [Muscle & Body]
For Housewives, She’s the Hot Ticket [New York Times]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.