If you still think reality shows have elements that aren't fake, congratulations! The time machine worked and you've escaped the 1990s. But even if you are aware of the copious amounts of tomfoolery these types of programs gleefully partake in, chances are you haven't realized just how far some of them are willing to go to fend off viewer boredom. There's a difference between carefully editing dozens of hours of footage into making it seem like everyone's just talking about Steve's dong all the time ... and the stuff these fucking shows got up to.
5The Cheaters Stabbing Incident
Bobby Goldstein Productions
Ah, Cheaters. If you haven't channel-surfed past its syndicated ass enough times to have an idea of what it's about, let me enlighten you: A fucker suspects that their significant otherfucker is cheating on them, and contacts a smarmy host and his "cheating investigators." After a couple of half-assed research scenes, there's inevitably a huge confrontation/screaming match during whatever the hell compromising situation the show bothers to whip up that particular week. Show business as usual, right?
And then, one fateful night, a particularly irate cheating boyfriend just up and stabs the host, Joey Greco.
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In all fairness, this is Joey Greco.
I'm not going to embed the actual video, because, although it is relatively tame, its casual, flailing "Holy shit, what even happened just now?" treatment of the incident actually makes it surprisingly convincing. (It's here if you want to take a look and aren't currently at risk of having a really uncomfortable stabbing-related discussion with a boss/teacher.) It certainly convinced me when I first saw it over a decade ago. I never really bothered to research it, because come on, but for years, it was a constant blind spot in my "reality shows are fuckery" spider sense. This was a time before a thousand other reality franchises started jumping their particular sharks, so it was fairly easy to believe something like that could actually happen. "Well, sure, most reality shows are bullshit, but remember that one guy who stabbed a host when the host and a camera crew caught him cheating? It's only logical something like that would happen eventually."
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Also, again, this is Joey Greco.
But of course a show that's exclusively about terrible people shouting at maybe slightly less terrible people isn't what you'd call a paragon of honesty. According to the good people of Inside Edition, who in 2010 saw fit to devote a frankly unhealthy amount of effort to researching Cheaters, the whole stabbing incident was a big fat pile of dog shit. Not only did the area's police department go all, "Huh? What stabbing?" when questioned about it, their interviews with various cheaters/cheatees associated with the show revealed that several of them were merely paid a few hundred bucks to scream at each other on TV. I'd be tempted to say all of them were paid actors, but let's face it: We all know at least a few proto-Kardashians saw their chance and threw their relationships to the wolves to score some sweet, sweet airtime.
4Amish Mafia And The World's Most Clearly Fake Criminal Organization
Amish Mafia. Amish mafia.
Fucking. Amish. Mafia.
If you didn't watch that video, either out of laziness or because you feel literally anything is a more productive use of your time, you're a better person than I. Not that it will save you. We're in this together, whether you like it or not. Eat GIF, motherfucker:
Don't act like you didn't see this coming.
Look at those unassuming "Amish" men wielding their nasty-ass weapons. Really, really look at them, and realize that these guys apparently broke the rules of their people only once, when they listened to Weird Al's "Amish Paradise" and took the ass-kicking message of it way too seriously.
Because that's basically the premise Amish Mafia expects us to swallow. The producers and the stars of the show are completely adamant about their authenticity, even when every single news story about them is centered around the dubious nature of the show's premise, and even Snopes.com has been annoyed enough by the show to thoroughly debunk it. "These people are a fringe group of outlaws," the showmakers explain to the tune of describing a girlfriend you wouldn't know because she totally lives in Canada. "They keep the peace in their community by getting their hands dirty and acting as enforcers, and their leader is called Lebanon Levi, and ... what, why are you all laughing? We're totally serious, you guys!"
"It'd be too bad if something happened to that nice buggy of yours."
Man, I know that's supposed to be super threatening and all. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that if the actual mafia would operate by tipping over carts that look like they weigh 40 pounds max, we would never even have heard of them because they'd still be stuck in Italy, attempting to extort protection money from chickens.
But at least Amish Mafia benefits from the fact that very few people are familiar with the Amish, which is why it's easy for the kind of person who takes things at face value to believe all sorts of bullshit about them. Surely this kind of thing wouldn't fly in a more familiar, urban setting ...