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The Reality of Reality TV and 10 Reasons to Stop Watching Bravo

February 5, 2013 471 comments

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“I do have a job and yes, I spend money on Vicki! @vgunvalson #editedrealitytvisnotreal” – Brooks Ayers (‏@BrooksAyers), April 25, 2013, Twitter

“Hard to prove anything to fans that don’t realize that this is for entertainment only! #editedrealitytvnotreal” – Brooks Ayers (‏@BrooksAyers), April 27, 2013, Twitter

In her book, Reality Bites Back, Jennifer Prozner delves into the world of reality TV and gives insight into producer manipulation.

A former Bachelor producer on the condition of anonymity told Prozner:

In the private one-on-one interviews with a producer (like me) it is the producer’s job to get the sh*t talking started, like “tell me honestly what you think of Sally” – if the interviewee does not respond in a catty way then the producer will usually go to the next level, like “well I personally think she is a self absorbed, attention starved skank,” and then see if the person will take the bait… it is easy to start seeding conversations and gossip. Also, if the conversations linger too long on favorite movies and stuff, the producers will step in and say, “ok, we all know we signed up for a TV show – so if you don’t start talking about something more topical, then you can’t have the sushi you requested tonight.” The smart cast members start to realize that you can be bartered. Like, “I will give you a good one-on-one interview about Sally, IF you let me listen to my iPod for the rest of the day.”

Prozner says that Bravo’s The Real Housewives series teaches us that women are catty, bitchy, manipulative, and not to be trusted, especially by other women.

The cast are frenemies: enemies vying for the same prize. Producers get cast members to turn on each other based on off-camera misinformation, manipulation, and a false economy where trash talk is a participant’s only way… children are selectively edited to appear bratty with their parents and catty with competitors.

Producers ensure that women dutifully perform their bitch-tastic roles by egging them on with techniques that would make psyops intelligence officers proud. They conspire together like high school Mean Girls. They mouth off in hateful, bleep-filled ‘confessionals’. Lifestyle series (like The Real Housewives) manipulate us in the opposite direction.

Some of Prozner’s best points about reality TV and Bravo’s The Real Housewives series, in particular, include the following:

1. Catfights are among the main viewership draws and the primary promotional tactic of The Real Housewives series

Thrown together as cameras trail their semi-scripted – yet supposedly authentic – lives, they are rude and unkind. They betray their so-called friends’ trust… The Housewives make fun of one another (Orange County), flirt with each other’s men (Atlanta), and reveal embarrassing scandalous secrets about members of their social circle (New Jersey).

According to Tamra Barney in one her Bravo blogs:

“Anytime you put a bunch of ladies together who are not necessarily friends, there is going to be some drama.”

In Atlanta, one cast mate (DeShawn Snow) who wouldn’t perform diva antics on cue was canned … she was the only original cast member not asked to return to Atlanta’s second season because Bravo considered her too dignified. A producer “said I was ‘too human for a circus show’ and that because the show did so well, they are about to pump up the drama and they didn’t think that I would fit in.” During RHOA’s entire first season, viewers never learned about original cast member DeShawn Snow’s postgraduate divinity studies. Why? Because filming a competent, intelligent African America woman pursuing a master’s degree would have broken producers’ preferred narrative: that Black women (and their wealthy white lady friends) are gossipy idiots.

NeNe Leakes told Jet magazine:

“None of us are friends. Friends don’t do what we have done to each other on the show. You have not seen one of us get the other one’s back. If you did see somebody get somebody’s back, the next week they were talking about them… We are all clearly associates.”

2. Women who truly dislike one another are portrayed as ‘real life’ friends [except in the case of RHONJ, who are real family and were real friends]

In NJ [where we have real friends and family pitted against each other by Bravo], we get “low-class” tantrums, in which Italian American women accuse each other of prostitution, kidnapping and drug dealing while flipping over banquet tables.

[The trips that the cast mates take together on RHs are designed to] isolate them and encourage alcohol consumption and wild behavior; and angry outbursts are stoked and edited.

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3. Reality TV producers are puppeteers

Producers craft dialogue they can feed to cast in a pinch or pop into scenes after the series has stopped filming. They coach cast to deliver monologues on specific topics… And if there aren’t enough sparks, editors “take something black and make it white,” as reality editor Jeff Bartsch told Time. Bait-and-switch is par for the course. “Footage has to be manipulated cleverly and often, so it’s really in my job description to know where all the bodies are buried,” a Top Model producer says. “If the show is done well, you wouldn’t even know my job exists because it would just feel like watching people do stuff.”

What reality fan doesn’t assume that the Real Housewives show up where and when producers instruct? When eight women in bikinis in an Australian hot spring simultaneously shave their legs with Skintimate Gel on Outback Jac, we realize that’s staged. Yet most of us remain unaware of practices like Frankenbiting. Even fewer understand that pretty much every part of a reality show is manipulated to support producers’ chosen narrative.

4. Quotes are manufactured, crushes and feuds constructed out of whole cloth, episodes planned in multi-act storyboards before taping, scenes stitched together from footage shot days [or months] apart

“We shoot 100% of the time and air 1% of what we shot,” then edit “the really good stuff” to suit their purposes, an anonymous Bachelor producer told NPR. “We have even gone as far as to ‘frankenbite,’ where you take somebody saying, ‘of course I’d like to say that I love him’ and cutting the bite together to say ‘of course I love him’… [It’s] misleading to the viewer and unfair to the cast member, but they sign up for this.” [Time]

5. Cast members are molded into predetermined stock characters such as the weeper, the bitch, etc.

Casting is the single most important ingredient in the success of any reality show – truth is, producers seeks out people they believe will behave in hypersensitive, bizarre or stereotypical ways (those proven to verbal outbursts, physical aggression or addiction are desired). People who are overly emotional and mentally unstable offer more potential for conflict.

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6. Standards for reality casting are very low

Standards for entry into reality casts are so low because background checks aren’t intended to ensure contestants’ safety. Instead, they’re conducted primarily to absolve producers and networks of legal liability. In fact, casting directors often seek out participants who are prone to violence—including alcoholics, drug addicts, and emotionally unstable people—the better to ensure fights, tears, and that oh-so-important ‘drama’. One anonymous producer admitted as much to Entertainment Weekly:

“The fact is, those shows work only because of the irresponsible casting. If you force people to cast upstanding citizens without criminal records, you’re not going to get the same show.”

In the world of reality TV, women are not concerned with politics, law, athletics, activism or even careers in general (unless their competing for the supermodel/starlet/rock star jobs that populate 10-year-old’s daydreams). Instead, reality TV producers have collaborated to paint America women as romantically desperate, matrimonially obsessed, and hyper-traditionalist in their views about the proper role of wives and mothers, husbands and fathers.

7. Violence is used as promotional devices and as a ploy for ratings

When acts of physical abuse make it to the screen, they’re not treated as seriously inappropriate—they’re simply a promotional device. Reality shows trivialize abuse of women as a ploy for ratings… as a cheap ploy to induce those all-important tears they promise to deliver each episode.

8. Companies hawk products through embedded advertising and product shilling

The primary purpose of contemporary television is not to entertain, engage, or inform us. Today, the driving factor for all corporate media production is to turn tidy profits for the tiny handful of mega-merged corporations that own the vast majority of media outlets and control the bulk of what we are given to watch, see, and hear on TV and radio, in movies, video games, and more. The suits in charge of deciding what shows, songs, films, and news programs we get to choose from care only about their companies’ bottom lines—and see their media products as virtually indistinguishable from sneakers, Snuggies, or any other doodad to be bought or sold.

In this climate, what viewers want will always take a back seat to what multinationals such as the Big Six media owners (Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, General Electric, Viacom, and CBS) can convince us to watch. TV shows live or die in today’s media market based not on pure-and-simple ratings, but on demographics (which viewers are watching, in relation to age, race, gender and income bracket, not just how many overall) and broader economic factors, including the cost to produce a program versus the amount of profit it generates.

The key to media profits is advertising, a $200 billion annual industry. In the last decade, TV companies’ ad revenue has come not only from traditional commercials between, but increasingly form product placements within, the content of our favorite shows. Embedded sponsorship has been a particular windfall for cable, which operates under a subscription model and is therefore seen as an ‘ad-free’ medium.

Media scholars Robert W. McChesney and John Bellamy Foster have noted that by 2003, 80 percent of U.S. ad spending was funneled through the eight largest advertising corporations, giving companies the ability to name their tune with corporate media firms more than willing to play ball. For example, during a series of top-level meetings held in 2000 by USA Network, major advertisers were invited to “tell the network what type of programming content they wanted.”

Reality TV’s racial typecasting, infantilizing fairytales, and hyperconsumerism—indeed, all the issues explored in Reality Bites Back—are a testament to what happens when advertisers expand the stories they tell from static print ads and thirty-second commercial breaks to feature-length programming. Using real people as their props, marketers have worked with producers to cultivate entire faux worlds based on sexist, racist ideologies. Worse, they have pretended the results are just reflecting—rather than attempting to shape—American life.

9. It’s not just advertisers who influence unscripted programming

In today’s multimerged media environment, TV networks, film studios, newspapers, and magazines are just a small sample of parent companies’ cross-holdings. Big Media corporations are also invested in industries such as travel and theme parks, insurance and financial services, sports teams and stadiums, medical technology, and aircraft, weapons, and nuclear manufacturing, to name just a few. In practical terms, this means that some reality TV content is crafted to serve the financial and ideological agendas of the owners of the networks airing the shows.

10. Marketing plays a mammoth role in generating the illusion of populist demand, an illusion of popularity bestowed upon them by corporate synergy

  • TV/radio/billboard conglomerate—PR blitzkrieg
  • Multiplatform media attention, public relations, and product integration
  • The truth is, unscripted programming carries so little financial risk that networks now often prefer likely ratings flops over nurturing more-expensive scripted fare, regardless of viewers’ inclinations
  • Embedded marketers prefer unscripted programming because its practices are allowed by networks to bypass FCC regulations for advertising

The truth is that reality TV music and modeling franchises function much like the sex industry. Like most sex workers, they get a tiny fraction of the cash their bodies generate, while their pimps—the media conglomerates and embedded sponsors—control the profits generated by their hydrations. The workers are undervalued and treated as interchangeable.

Few other issues pose as serious a threat to our notion of entertainment—and to our understanding of ourselves and of our society—as the increased commercialization of contemporary corporate media. Why should we care about product-hawking, stereotype-heavy reality TV, we wonder, when television in general has become so risk-free and hackneyed… network TV content has degenerated as quality has increasingly taken a back seat to media companies’ and sponsors’ quest for astronomical profits. Advertisers have already too much control over what we watch, hear and read. We should identify brand integration—and the reality genre that brought it back to TV—as a threatening progression of that structural problem… Through sheer repetition, reality shows are training us to shrug all this off as inevitable. Advertisers are banking on our apathy… Even writers of successful, widely respected series have been ordered to change story arcs to accommodate integrated sponsors, as NBC forced The Office to do for Staples, Sandals Resorts, HP, Apple, Cisco Systems, Gateway, and Hooters, among others. This is a major thorn in the side of the Writers Guild of America, which has filed comments with the FCC protesting the impediment product placement imposes on their jobs.

If such trends continue unabated, entertainment crafted around commercial messages could largely replace traditional narrative.

Media insiders say the future of scripted television is an immediate, interactive model in which viewers will be able to instantly purchase products they see on their favorite shows… a scrolling ticker a the bottom of every show.

One-look-fits all casting will worsen, as will the homogeneity and vapidity of storylines… Advertisers are seeking more direct control over media content than they had even in 1930s radio and 1950s TV… Advertiser-controlled content is more threatening today than at any prior point because of the sheer breadth and inescapable power of modern mediated landscape… Today it’s nearly impossible to tune out the commercials woven into not just reality TV shows, but also blockbuster films, music and talk-radio programs, magazine and newspaper ‘advertorials’.

Related:

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Why Should We Defend Teresa Giudice Against Attacks from Her Castmates?

October 6, 2012 67 comments

Season 3 Episode 8

Jacqueline: “Teresa, she’s just starting to talk to her brother again and her sister-in-law and stuff. I’m gonna make sure they make up.”

Ashlee: “Is that your place though?”

Jacqueline: “They want that.”

Ashlee: “Why would you put yourself in the middle of a potentially bad situation?”

Jacqueline: “She asked me for help. She came to me and said, ‘Help me with this’.”

Ashlee: “You tend to care about people that could potentially backfire onto you. OK, you know what? Danielle. Danielle Staub, that’s all I’m saying.

Jacqueline: “So when my friend tries to talk to me about her brother, I’m supposed to say, ‘Don’t talk to me about your brother; you go deal with him’?”

Ashlee (exasperated): “OK, mom.”

Jacqueline: “I feel like they made a lot of progress with each other.”

Jacqueline’s father interjects:  “It’s up to them.”

Jacqueline: “If they want this to work, they’ll make it work.”

Jacqueline’s father: “You have to be careful what you say and how you say it.”

Jacqueline: “That’s what I’m saying.”

Jacqueline in her TTC:  “Ashlee’s trying to tell me to stay out of drama?! That’s a little hypocritical, compared to the drama she’s put Chris and I through in the past few years.”

Ashlee in her TTC:  “This is the thing about my mom: anywhere there’s drama she tries to put herself in it, no matter what it is. It’s like, come on — she was friends with Danielle for a reason.”

- Season 3 Episode 8, ‘Holidazed and Confused’ (Premiered July 10, 2011)

By HairLikeCher, Guest Blogger
October 6, 2012

There is so much evidence that Melissa Gorga IS the destruction of RHONJ — and the Gorga family — and it has been that way since before season one even aired. Shall we look at it?

  • There was a blog (On Common Ground) that was discussing RHONJ prior to season one and it had an “anonymous” poster who claimed to be a close family member of Teresa’s and who was bashing her up and down. Another “anonymous” poster was talking about Teresa’s brother and more specifically about his wife and how beautiful she is, how young and successful they are, how big their house is, etc…and how if Teresa is anything like her brother then the show should be interesting. The comments were clearly Melissa. They were also posted minutes apart from each other.
  • She wrote the song “On Display” before anyone even knew who she was. It is a narcissist’s anthem about how she is constantly plagued by paparazzi and jealous haters who are trying to take her down. That might have made sense if she wrote it AFTER she were already successful. However, her music career STILL hasn’t taken off enough to be considered successful. And I repeat, she wrote it while she was filming season three…nobody knew who the hell she was. So the lyrics are basically her fantasizing about what she wants. Drama.

“Melissa co-wrote the song ‘On Display’ before her first season on RHONJ aired, when only those within her tiny circle knew her name. It’s reasonable to imagine that Melissa was stalking Teresa’s whole life since 2008, the year season 1 was filmed, and wrote the lyrics as if she were Teresa. She had all the poses, smiles and red carpet interviews practiced for years in front of the mirror. She could ‘feel the weight of the world pushing down on her’ before she was on air! Imagine that.” – Obvious Lee, April 20, 2012, Reality Tea

  • Her introduction to the show was the Christening episode. Her, her husband, her sisters and her brothers-in-law attacking Teresa. Verbally and physically.
  • There was the speculation that she had contacted Danielle behind Teresa’s back during season two to both feed her information about Teresa and to try and film with her. UNTIL she admitted it on camera and then it was no longer speculation, it was fact.
  • For two seasons, Melissa has claimed that prior to getting on the show, she and Teresa were not speaking or getting along. Teresa has maintained that they absolutely WERE speaking. A lot of fans have questioned why Melissa would go on the show if she and Teresa were in a bad place to begin with, why would she bring their problems onto national TV? There was a very interesting comment on Teresa’s Facebook page from July 2009. It was from Lisa Marco-Simpson (Melissa’s sister) and it said something about them all having hung out together at the Jersey shore that weekend at the Giudice’s shore house and on their boat having a great time. She also mentioned that people were approaching Teresa for autographs and photos. This was prior to Melissa being cast on RHONJ and also during the time that she would have been pregnant with baby Joey. We already know that she contacted Danielle while she was pregnant with Joey because she admitted it on the show (she blamed it on her pregnancy hormones).

Back on July 23, 2009, during the airing of RHONJ season 1, Lysa Simpson, Melissa’s sister, was gushing on Facebook about spending the weekend with Teresa and her kids at her shore house:

“Lysa Marco-Simpson spent the weekend with Teresa and the kids at her shore house! was so much fun with all the starstruck people asking for pictures at the beach. then we went to her house for spaghetti!” – Lysa Marco-Simpson, July 23, 2009 at 6:22 am, Facebook

Lisa’s Facebook comment on July 23, 2009 proves that the Gorgas and the Giudices were, in fact, getting along and definitely speaking prior to Melissa being cast. How could they have all been hanging out at the shore if they weren’t even speaking? Yet Melissa told Teresa (when she admitted to contacting Danielle) that at the time she hated her. She gave no reason for it though. If you look at what Melissa’s sister said (about fans approaching Teresa) and consider that Melissa was envious of Teresa’s fame and fortune from the show, it provides the perfect motivation for her to go behind Teresa’s back and contact Danielle. Everything makes perfect sense based on that one comment from Lisa. Melissa was insane with envy so she contacted Danielle (the timeline even makes sense), gave her information to use against Teresa (which we saw at the season two reunion), schemed to get herself cast on the show behind Teresa’s back, lied about it by saying that they weren’t speaking (which is why Teresa has always said that they were speaking, because they were) and the rest is what we have seen since Melissa’s introduction at the Christening.

Reunion 4

I honestly don’t understand how people believe a word that comes out of Melissa Gorga’s mouth. I never trusted her from the day she came on the show. She is a lying, manipulative snake, a textbook narcissist, and has no conscience. She loves herself so much that she believes everyone else loves her too and, therefore, will just fall under her spell. This is why she thinks none of her many skeletons will come out or that she can just lie about them. Because she thinks she can just charm people into falling in love with her the way she is in love with herself. And because she is so jealous of the success and attention that she witnessed Teresa getting, she is motivated by her need to prove everyone that SHE is the one who truly deserves the attention. That’s why she copies everything Teresa does – to show that SHE can do it better. The way she dresses, wears her hair, does her makeup (just look at old pictures of her for evidence of this), the way she dresses her kids, the people she uses (photographers, stylists, hairdressers, etc), the comments about whose house is bigger, who throws better parties, whose husband works harder… Everything is a competition to her because she has to show everyone that SHE is better than Teresa therefore SHE deserves the attention. She is so consumed by this that she lies about anything in order to convey the illusion that she is the better woman.

Why would anyone believe a damn word that comes out of her mouth?

RHONJ is the only reality TV show I watch faithfully since season one episode one so I am unfamiliar with how other reality TV shows and other networks operate. While I do think that all cast members should be held accountable for their actions, what I see with this show is both actions and words being edited beyond any semblance of recognition and skewed to manipulate storylines and viewer’s attitudes. Bravo does this to create a villain and justify a gang up situation. They did it in seasons one and two with Danielle Staub and in seasons three and four with Teresa Giudice. It’s to the point where the word “reality” goes out the window.

The level of production interference in Bravo’s programming makes these shows unreal – producers not just suggesting certain scenarios but digging people up out of the woodwork to create drama, befriending cast members, setting cast members up to take the fall for things they have not done, using “Frankenbiting” to put words in peoples mouths (Google it), showing scenes and whole episodes out of sequence in order to make things seems different than how they actually happened, etc.

These are things that cast members cannot possibly be aware of when they sign their contracts. They might know about it now but probably not when they signed the dotted line.

The problem with what they did with Teresa is that the contrived “Teresa as the villain” scenario was too obvious. They brought in two of her family members as main cast members, introduced them by showing an all-out brawl at what should have been a sacrosanct event, then slowly showed her two friends on the show turning against her and standing in solidarity with her family members. All while showing good editing for the other four cast members and bad editing for Teresa.

We see nothing but Teresa’s flaws – her kids misbehaving while Melissa’s kids are shown being perfect angels, Teresa’s husband saying less than admirable things while we see Rich Wakile doting on Kathy or Melissa and Joe being sexy and fun, Teresa flubbing her speech, etc. Bravo makes a point of highlighting every one of Teresa’s missteps while concealing those of the other four.

There are many MANY times where a lot of this makes no sense at all. Especially for viewers who read blogs or are on Twitter because we see how these women behave off camera, and it is not congruent to what Bravo wants us to think (meaning that Teresa is the bad guy and the others are victims).

There is a double standard being used by Bravo (and the Manzos, Lauritas, Gorgas and Wakiles) against the Giudices where Teresa’s behavior is under intense, constant scrutiny and is subject to harsh criticism by anyone who wants to be her judge and her juror while the rest of them are given a free pass every time. Much of the time, the cast can’t even produce a reason why they are attacking Teresa – they allude to things, they say they have heard things but they can’t say where, they claim to have “proof” but they never reveal it. In most instances, whatever it is that Teresa has done or is being accused of doing, is minor in comparison to the actions and behaviors of the other four. That’s why I agree that they ALL should be accountable for what they do. Yet they aren’t.

It is Bravo’s editing that allows them to get away with a lot of this bad behavior, Andy’s clear bias against Teresa that allows the gang mentality and the behaviors to be swept under the rug, and manipulation of viewers’ mindsets that has poisoned so many people against the Giudices unfairly.

It is the unfairness that makes me so “invested”, I suppose. I would never say that I care about these cast members lives more than they do or that I care about them more than my own life. But having watched since the beginning and seeing what has happened to Teresa both on and off camera, I am witnessing a fellow human being treated very unfairly from every direction, including her own friends and family. That does not sit well with me. I’d feel the same way if it were happening to someone I know.

And when a person is being treated that way, they deserve to have support from those who can see what is happening clearly. Lying, manipulation, hypocrisy, dishonesty, envy and greed do not deserve to prevail ever, especially when the truth is out there and someone works so hard to uphold it. Teresa has never changed since season one, her stories have never deviated, her values have remained unchanged, the details about who she is have remained constant. And there are viewers who can see this.

I don’t think that everything that comes out of Melissa/Jacqueline/Caroline’s mouths is automatically a lie simply because I do not like them. But if you look to the past and compare what they are saying now to things that they have said before, much of what they say ARE lies. Provable lies. Either they are lying now or they were lying before because of the amount of times they contradict themselves. All of them.

So taking that all into account, I think there is no way that these cast members can be fully prepared for everything that Bravo is going to subject them to when they sign on to be on TV. And surely, Bravo is protected completely by its contracts, which is why they get away with it. However, these people are not under contract to lie in interviews, on Twitter, on Facebook, or in the media.

RHONJ Former Producer Says Outsiders Were Involved in Setting Up Strippergate

September 25, 2012 225 comments

The producers invited Angelo, to the Posche Fashion Show because they needed a big drama to lead into the reunion, a hook. The people who connected Angelo with the producers of the show were not part of the cast. The cast are angry with each other because of what they were being fed by the producers, who were only trying to up the drama.

Angelo actually went and approached the table before his interaction with Melissa and was stopped by security at the table and turned away. Melissa saw him at this point. She didn’t want to let on she knew in front of the cameras, but she texted her husband under the table to come to the fashion show and let him know what was going on, and she texted one of the producers who let her in on what was going to happen and who was coming over to say hello.

A producer texted all the wives, except Teresa, and told them why Angelo was there and that Angelo had told Teresa at an earlier time that Melissa was a stripper and he was there to embarrass her. To avoid getting their conversation on camera, the woman all texted each other under the table. The other cast were angry with Teresa for not letting Melissa know what was going to happen, but she was told not to by producers because they wanted a ‘reaction shot’ from Melissa — so either way, Teresa lost out.

Teresa was told by the producer to discuss with Melissa who Angelo said he is, but she refused to do it until pushed by Melissa. Melissa then made a call in the bathroom to her husband to tell him about the situation, and he told her he was on his way. That phone call was faked: he was already aware of the situation from her texts earlier and was actually just next door. Melissa knew who Angelo was, and he is who he says he is.

- Former RHONJ Post Production Supervisor, September 17, 2012

Fame-Whorgas received more from its source who is related to a former post production supervisor for the RHONJ. The source is still editing the transcript, but here is the section related to the Posche Fashion Show.

A: “(edited*****************************) at the Posche fashion show.”

Q: “I actually haven’t seen the episode. I know the basics of what happened, but it hasn’t leaked.”

A: “Well, it hasn’t screened yet but (this interview was conducted on 17/09/2012).

Q: “Sorry, can you just clear up who invited the man who outs Melissa as a stripper?”

A: “Angelo, he was invited by the producers. He doesn’t say she was a stripper, just that she worked for him at a gentlemen’s club. Cat and Caroline (producers Cat Rodriguez and Caroline Self) needed the season to go out with a dramatic ending because they knew without the drama the audience wouldn’t have a hook to go into the reunion, and they were getting pressure from the network. I mean, the reunions are always the highest rated shows of the season anyway. It was after Andy started to have more input in the series once again, after seeing disappointing and confusing early footage, that Cat started getting worried about her job, so she knew she needed to bring the drama.”

Q: “Wait, so the producers invited him because they needed…”

A: “A big drama to lead into the reunion, a hook.”

Q: “But you said earlier that the season is planned, that there is a basic structure and plan; so if there was a plan, wouldn’t they already have a big finale planned? And did everyone know what was going to happen?”

A: “No, the only cast member to know about Angelo before the evening was Teresa and that is because she meets him at the salon. Melissa knew that someone from her past wanted to say hello to her and that was all. The original plan for the finale was that they (the producers) were hoping on Danielle or Kim G to be there: they pretty much begged them to attend the fashion show. The dramatic end for the season was supposed to be Danielle confronting Melissa about getting in contact with her behind Teresa’s back, but Danielle refused to attend. So the next plan was to have Kim G make an appearance and attack Teresa about comments made in the media about her, but she refused as well. Then Jacqueline was asked by the producers to attack Teresa over comments she had made on Twitter about her daughter, but Jacqueline refused. All scenarios had Teresa as the sympathetic character.

Q: “So who connected Angelo with the producers of the show?”

A: “That was organised by people who are not part of the cast. You have to remember, there are so many more players in these shows than you see on screen.”

Q: “Did Melissa know she was going to be outed as a dancer?”

A: “No, but she was made aware that someone from her past wanted to say hello and we were to film her reaction to that. Angelo was kept away from the ladies on purpose so that Melissa wouldn’t see him until the right moment, but Angelo actually went and approached the table before his interaction with Melissa and was stopped by security at the table and turned away. Melissa saw him at this point.

Q: “And she didn’t do anything?”

A: (abridged due to privacy of source) “Well, I don’t think she wanted to let on she knew in front of the cameras, but she texted her husband under the table to come to the fashion show and let him know what was going on, and she texted one of the producers who let her in on what was going to happen and who was coming over to say hello. Shortly after that Angelo enters, says hello to Melissa, then says hello to Teresa: that was intentional (his hello to Teresa) to show the other ladies that he had met her before, but that backfires because she plays it off as a friendly hello and he then leaves the scene. It was at this point Teresa realises she is being set up to take the fall for bringing Angelo to the fashion show, so she confronts one of the producers.

Q: “So why didn’t Melissa just deny recognising who Angelo was after he left the table?”

A: “She couldn’t because she suspected Teresa was involved in the storyline somehow, so she knew she couldn’t lie.”

(edited – in regards to the bathroom scene)

A: “Teresa is told by the producer to discuss with Melissa who Angelo says he is, but she refuses to do it until pushed by Melissa. Melissa then makes a call in the bathroom to her husband to tell him about the situation, and he tells her he is on his way. That phone call was faked: he was already aware of the situation from her texts earlier and was actually just next door.”

Q: “Did Melissa know who Angelo was, did she recognise him? And is he who he says he is?”

A: “Yes she did know who he was; and yes, he is. He went through checks before appearing on the show. We don’t just put microphones on anyone and say ‘go nuts’. We checked with the owner of the establishment if Angelo was who he said he was, and if Melissa worked there, as well as numerous other checks.

(edited) ON THE FASHION SHOW

“The Posche show was advertised as having the cast of RHONJ there, so in that situation you get everyone who wants to be cast on the show up and try and get noticed by the cameras. It’s a nightmare because the reality of the situation becomes too fake and dramatic as every woman wants to get in on the drama to have her 15 minutes, or even better, get noticed by a producer. We had a lot of that happening this night: suddenly everyone who had ever worked with Melissa happened to be there and so did past friends, old roommates, the list went on and on. Everyone knew she was a dancer and it was no big deal — all of this was edited out.”

Q: “Why did Angelo leave?”

A: “The producers told him to leave because Joe Gorga was texting (name removed crew), asking him what the hell was going on and that he was on his way to the fashion show.”

Q: “If the Angelo part was producer influenced, then why does the cast hate each other so much; why was everyone so angry?”

A: “Because of what they were being fed by the producers, who were only trying to up the drama. (name removed – producer) texted all the wives, except Teresa, and told them why Angelo was there and that Angelo had told Teresa at an earlier time that Melissa was a stripper and he was there to embarrass her. To avoid getting their conversation on camera, the woman all texted each other under the table. [Section removed by source to protect privacy.] The other cast were angry with Teresa for not letting Melissa know what was going to happen, but she was told not to by producers because they wanted a ‘reaction shot’ from Melissa — so either way, Teresa lost out.

Q: “It doesn’t seem normal to not talk to your sister for a year because of such a trivial thing; there must be more to it?”

A: “Of course, I mean you won’t see it (the media blitz, because I am overseas) but there’s been interviews and leaked stories to the press where they go after each other, attacks on twitter, on each others fans — they have sold each other out for stories — so, yes, there is more too it but the fact that Joe thought his sister would rather listen to producers and shut her mouth than make Melissa aware that she was about to be outed as a dancer on television. Also, Season 3 was screening and you have to remember they lived one experience, then 8 months down the track they have to relive that moment again, but with everyone’s opinion added to the mix — it’s hard for anyone, let alone a family that already had problems.

Q: “So what are we going to see in the final edit of the finale of RHONJ then.”

A: “Teresa and Kim D will get the blame for Angelo being at the fashion show. Angelo has several conversations with female guests and a conversation with producers that gets edited into one conversation that implicates Teresa and Kim D in setting up Melissa.The truth is, Angelo was just trying to impress these other guests (by saying) that he was part of the show and had filmed with Teresa earlier in the day. They (the producers) got lucky: he outright lies to impress a woman and says to her that he is a vital part of the finale and was asked to be there by the producers; and that audio track is what is heavily edited and used to incriminate Teresa.”

(edited out)

The Napa Trip

Q: “But they all seemed to be getting along in Napa?”

A: “For the cameras, yes.”

Q: “Oh, so the whole Napa trip was a put on?”

A: “They all decided to put the past behind them for the sake of making the trip bearable because they all had to be there, but no one was happy about going on the trip — they all just grinned and bear it.

Q: “So, do you think Teresa and Melissa were wanting to put the past behind them and be a family at any point in season 3 or 4, or was it all a put on?”

A: “No, I think, at times, they were both wanting to put the past behind them, but when one was ready to, the other wasn’t, so they butted heads a lot.”

BLOGGERS, TABLOIDS, ETC: Please clearly credit Fame-Whorgas and link back to this article if you copy or reference any part of the interview above as this is an exclusive story.

“Andy Cohen does play a role in the editing process. He has said so directly in interviews. With that said, overall Cat Rodriguez [@yourfriendkitty] and Caroline Self [@carolineself] have the most editing power. They are the executive producers of Season 3 and Season 4 of #RHONJ. They work on location and off location. They send the editors what footage to use as well as tell them what to keep in and what to cut out. Caroline Self is tight with the Manzos while Cat Rodriguez is tight with the Gorgas and Wakiles. Cat edited @PDKhair as well as multiple ex-coworkers of Melissa’s, who were present at the salon and fashion show, completely out of the two-part finale. Their interactions made the Angelo incident look g-rated. Obviously that move was deliberate. Furthermore, Cat held Penny back from defending Kim when Joe Gorga called Kim a drug addict, a cunt and went to punch her. Even worse, as you will see in the finale, Cat completely butchered the conversation Angelo had with a friend at the bar to make it appear as though Teresa masterminded everything. The unprofessionalism of Cat Rodriguez and Caroline Self is disgusting. In this economy, why are these the type of people who have employment? Only a network like @BravoTV would believe that their viewers are so incompetent that they wouldn’t see past the blatant bias.” – Will Love, September 18, 2012, Twitter

Here is the real timeline:

  • Washington, DC Fancy Food Show – July 8, 2011
  • Melissa takes Gabriella, Milania and Antonia to Sweet & Sassy for manicures and pedicures – July 11, 2011
  • Jamie Laurita’s wedding – July 23, 2011
  • Beatstock 2011 in Farmingville, NY – August 20, 2011
  • Caroline’s Birthday – August 23rd or 24th
  • Cast Arrives in California – August 28, 2011 (cast spends 2 nights at Half Moon Bay RV Resort and 1 or 2 nights at Cassini Ranch)
  • Caroline’s Birthday Dinner in the Vineyard – September 1, 2011
  • Final Dinner at the House with the Big Blow Up Between Caroline and Teresa – September 2 or 3, 2011
  • Posche Fashion Show (Season 4 Finale) – September 27, 2011
  • Taping of the Reunion Special for Season 3 – September 28, 2011
  • Fashion & Beauty Week 2011 at the Pleasantdale Chateau – October 3, 2011 (Caroline, Jacqueline, Melissa & Kathy attend and blacklist Teresa and Kim D)
  • Teresa’s Fabellini Launch Party (Taped for Season 4) – October 7, 2011
  • Sirius XM Radio to Launch ‘Real Housewives Radio’ (Taped for Season 4) – October 8, 2011
  • Jacqueline tweets that Teresa is scum, etc. during premiere of reunion 3 – October 16 & 23, 2011

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