Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Interview With Melissa Mangold, Participant on MTV's Made

If you've seen MTV's Made, you probably realized that it's not exactly true to life. I mean, come on, all of the coincidences? The storylines that were strangely similar from episode to episode? The drama that bordered on unbelievable? Yeah, all of that. We sat down with Melissa Mangold, who appeared on Made, to hear what it's really like to be on this MTV series.

You appeared on MTV's Made to be made into a comedian. Did you enjoy the experience?

I enjoyed some of the experience! I enjoyed the opportunities I was given and the people I met. But I was happy for it to be over and I did not enjoy the final product.

What was the best part of appearing on the show? What was the worst?

Made's Melissa Mangold
The best part was being able to work with College Humor and learning from people in the comedy industry. The worst part was being manipulated by the producers and having the final episode reflect none of the highlights of the experience.

Would you say you were misrepresented at all on the show? What happened in real life versus what was shown on TV?

Yes I was misrepresented. The episode was edited in a way that made me appear as though I quit the show when in reality we were offered an audition after the filming was scheduled to end. I had a final that day and was unable to attend, but they cut from the most dramatic scene of the experience (aka me in tears) into me saying I would not attend the audition. It was embarrassing to say the least. The "final show" that we had been working towards was not even mentioned in the final product of the episode.

Do you feel that the producers manipulated any situations to create drama?

Yes. In my experience I was being "made" as a team with two other girls. The producers did everything they could to try to make us talk badly about each other. They also purposely scheduled events during our classes at school so we would have to choose school or comedy.

How did you get cast for the show?

My college sent out an email asking to student submissions. After an email submission, a Skype submission, a phone interview, an in person interview, and an in person interview with my then boyfriend, I was chosen.

Would you do another reality show if given the opportunity?

Absolutely not.

What advice would you give to future reality show participants?

Know why it is you want to do it (it better be worth it), know that the truth will be stretched, know that you'll be manipulated, know that you will not be treated as a person and your experience is nothing but a grasp for entertainment and good ratings. There will be fun moments but the best moments of filming will never make it to the final product, all they care about is drama.

Thank you, Melissa, for talking to us at Less Than Reality! We're sorry to hear that you were misrepresented on Made, but are glad you got a chance to tell the truth about it. Hopefully, your advice can help future reality show contestants.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Interview With Crystal Nelan, A Participant on Make Room for Multiples

Crystal Nelan appeared on TLC's Make Room For Multiples as she welcomed her triplet girls into the world. That's pretty amazing, if you ask me - not only was she preparing for a major life change, she was doing it in front of the camera. In our interview with Crystal, she tells us what she went through, and admits that while she did her best to appear positive, she could have been more honest - having triplets is tough!

You appeared on Make Room For Multiples. How did you get cast for the show?

Because I was having triplets, I saw a high risk doctor. He had worked with the show before and asked me if i would be willing to submit an application. Our application was chosen.


How was your experience being on the show? Did you enjoy it? Would you do a reality show again in the future?


I loved being on the show, it really was a lot of fun.  I don't think I would ever do it again though.  I wouldn't want to live my life publicly.

Do you feel that you were represented fairly on the show? Are you happy with what aired?

Yeah, the show did  great job. But it was amazing that they managed to whittle down about 50 hours of footage into 25 minutes.
 
What advice would you give to future reality show participants?

It's a lot of work. Constantly remembering where the camera was and trying to be real while trying not to embarrass yourself.  And although it's reality, they would kind of set things up sometimes, or you would say something & they would say "say that again, but like this".

If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?


I think if I were to do it again, I would be a little more honest.  Not that I wasn't honest exactly, but I definitely tried to put my best foot forward, and I really just shouldn't have cared.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

NBC's First Dates: I Loved It!

I caught NBC's new show First Dates, which showcases people set up on blind dates. While my expectations were low, and I wondered how they got Drew Barrymore to be the narrator, I was pleasantly surprised.

Produced by Ellen DeGeneres and based on the UK version, this show features couples as they meet and go through the awkward steps of a blind date. Some couples appear to be set up because they're great for each other (like episode 4's Sam and Rachael or Molly and Rena) while others are total trainwrecks (like Ommid's match with Candice).

I liked the diversity of the series: younger couples, an older couple, gay and straight couples, couples with different backgrounds and more.

On episode four, many of the participants came out looking great - they had the raw honesty and awkwardness of a true first date - but two contestants were not my favorites. Both Colleen and Candice looked like total ice queens. I mean, Candice freaked out because her date asked her age and left before the meal even began. But they were on a DATE. You have a right to know the age of the person you're dating, in my opinion. Her date, Ommid, tried to have a good time, but Candice was simply not having it. She's a big shot at her job, and her ice queen personality translated right into her date. Colleen, on the other hand, chose a key issue (gun control) and refused to see past it. Colleen came off really ditzy on the show, but I think that may be due in part to nerves - blind dates and reality shows can both make be nerve wracking!

Would I watch this show again? Absolutely. I've set my DVR to record it going forward. It was a fun, enjoyable watch, although some of the dates are rather infuriating!

Want to be on First Dates? They're casting!

Friday, April 28, 2017

It's a Good Time To Be a Teenager and Get Famous For the Wrong Reasons

With the resurrection of My Super Sweet 16 and 16 and Pregnant, it's a great time to achieve some fame, if you want to do it for the wrong reasons.

First of all, with 16 and Pregnant, it's different now than the first time around. The original participants, especially in season one, didn't realize that doing one episode on MTV would skyrocket them into fame. Even former 16 and Pregnant star Mackenzie McKee agrees with this, although her motives in speaking out are potentially to attract more fame. (She seems to be mad that former Teen Mom 3 co-star Briana DeJesus was chosen to join the Teen Mom 2 cast while she wasn't.) Here's some info on what Mackenzie had to say, according to Hollywood Gossip:

“The ladies whom are on Teen Mom did not get pregnant for fame,” she said, though it certainly did result in that through the years.
“They had no clue at the time how far with TV they would come. But they do boldly shared their stories to show others what a struggle it is.”
At face value, McKee does not make terrible points; Teen Mom is a TV juggernaut now, hence the current rebooting of 16 and Pregnant.
How much that inspires the motives of teenagers, no one can say, but there's no denying that it's a cultural force that it once wasn't.
I think Mackenzie has a point. Will a lot of girls get pregnant on purpose to be on the show? I'd certainly hope not. But people do crazy things for fame, and I doubt this will be an exception.

Interestingly, I wrote this back in 2011 in response to an interview conducted by Dr. Oz with the show's creator, Lauren Dolgen:

Dr. Oz asked Lauren Dolgen if she thinks that Teen Mom glamorizes teen pregnancy, and Lauren said no. She said that anyone that watches the show will realize that it shows the harsh reality of teen pregnancy and does not promote pregnancy.
I disagreed somewhat then, and even more now, that the show has led to massive fame and fortune for some of its participants.

Secondly, My Super Sweet 16 coming back sends the wrong message about, well, everything. Be a spoiled brat? Sure. Treat your parents badly and rant about getting a blue Ferrari instead of a red one? Yeah, go for it. While a more recent show about Quinceaneras on a different network showed a positive side of teen parties (grateful kids, involved parents, etc.), My Super Sweet 16 did nothing positive except showcase entitlement and bad behavior. I know that this kind of thing attracts viewers, but aren't we better than that? And should we be using kids for this kind of thing?



What do you think of these kinds of shows? Great for entertainment, or bad for society?

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Interview With Dating Naked's Shealyn Brand

Shealyn Brand took a chance when she auditioned for a spot on the first season of VH1's Dating Naked. After all, it was the first season, so she didn't know what to expect. Fortunately, her carefree, fun spirit got her through the episode and allowed her to show how awesome she is. Recently, Shealyn took the time to talk to Less Than Reality to share her experience, her thoughts on the episode, and her love of pizza.


You appeared on season one of VH1's Dating Naked. How did you end up on the show? Did you audition? Did you know what the show was, or was it a surprise?

I found the show on a casting website, and being fresh out of a relationship decided, what the hell, I'm gonna audition! The show was new at the time but I figured it had something to do with being naked - which I am totally okay with, for better or for worse.
Of course, you had to be naked on your date - how was that? Did you hang out naked in advance to prepare yourself or anything?
I'm one of those people who gets home and immediately takes off all clothing - which is okay because I either live alone or with a significant other. The thought of it grosses my Ma out though and she tells no one to sit on my couch because my bare ass may or may not have sat on it!
Dating Naked makes it look like everything happens really quickly. How long were you on location to film?
I was on location for a week. The audition/interview process took about a month prior to my trip to Panama (where it was filmed). 
We all know that reality TV isn't exactly reality. Did you have to film anything multiple times? Was what was aired relatively true to what happened, or do you feel that a lot was missed?
It's all in the editing. What happened and what ends up in the episode is always up to the editors. I chose to behave well (relative to the others on my episode). I already knew my parents would flip at me even doing the show - I wasn't about to bang or cry on camera - I figured my parents would see it eventually and I'm their little angel.
What was the best part about being on Dating Naked? What was the worst part?
 
Best part was a free trip to Bocas Del Toro and meeting someone very special in my life (he was part of the crew). Worst part was pissing off my folks, oh, and the fact that they didn't blur my butt! I was told they would blur my butt! Perhaps I would have done some squats had I known, but probably not.
On the show, we could see you had several tattoos. Tell me about them.
Mostly pizza related, which explains why I have joined the Brooklyn Pizza Crew. I have my version of a Mom tattoo and the city emblem of my hometown of El Centro, CA.
Did you get any feedback from friends, family or TV viewers after you appeared on the show? What did they say?
 
Obviously my parents and family were less than thrilled with my choice to appear on the show. However once they watched it and saw how great I came off, very down-to-earth etc., they learned to deal with it. Now, whenever it's on, my Nana records it or my Ma shows my nieces.
If you could be on the show again, would you do it?
Some days I think yes. Most days I would say no. However it did prove to me that I don't care what anyone thinks about me and I can do anything!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hollywood Darlings: Episode 2, My So Called Prom

On Hollywood Darlings (which is an improvised comedy, not reality), the girls drank a charcoal drink, which Jodie hated. Someone came up to Jodie Sweetin and Beverley Mitchell to ask for a picture, but she didn't recognize Christine Lakin, which made her mad.

The ladies reminisced about what they missed being kids in the spotlight. Although Jodie was opposed to a slumber party, Christine and Beverley were all about it. Beverley made a vision board for it.

Christine searched online to see if any teen boys would want her to take them to prom, but no luck. So she posted her own video offering to take a boy to prom. Christine's video kept being taken down because it said "looking for teenage boys" because it cut off the words "to take to prom".

Beverley and went to a VHS store for 90s movies, but ended up in a store that sold adult videos based on 90s movies (I Know Who You Did Last Summer, as an example).

Christine picked out a dress for the prom she hadn't yet been invited to. And she said, "If I wear this, they will come". Beverley asked her to rephrase that. Some girls who were prom shopping told Christine she's old. As luck would have it (as this is a scripted show), a mom at the store recognized Christine, and her son didn't have a date for prom that night. He wasn't interested in taking Christine, but she and the boy's mom ignored that. The boy, Caleb, was not happy, and ditched Chrstine at the photo booth. The mean girls spotted Christine, and she told them that statistically, one would get an STD that night.

Meanwhile, Jodie started getting her old stuff, including Mr. Bear, in an attempt to move forward with her life. The guy at the eBay sales store was like, are you sure you want to sell Mr. Bear? It's your childhood! Jodie replied that it's Stephanie's childhood and insisted he take it. Outside, Jodie talked about how she's glad she got Mr. Bear, but then she saw a stuffed bear hanging from a telephone wire, and ran back to recover Mr. Bear.

Even though Christine ditched Beverley's slumber party for prom, Beverley went ahead with it, prank calling Joey Fatone and trying to send pizzas to Jonathan Taylor Thomas' house. Christine came later, saying that prom was awful, and Beverley said that's how prom is for most people, which made Christine realize she had a real prom. Jodie tried to stop the eBay auction for Mr. Bear but when she saw he was up to $5,000, she realized that was way better than the bear.

The group toilet papered Caleb's house as revenge for prom. His mom came out and was thrilled to see the three of them, but asked Christine to take the picture of her and "two incredible celebrities". And so the show ended exactly where it started - with Christine being left out of photo ops that the other girls were offered.


Catfish: Kailani and Sam (Season 6, Episode 8)

Last night, MTV showed an episode of Catfish starring a person named Melvin, his friend Kailani and their catfish, Sam.

First, Sam, hiding behind the profile of a masculine guy, talked to Melvin, who called him out as a catfish. Then he moved onto Melvin's friend Kailani, who was badly hurt by a recent failed marriage.

Image from EmptyLighthouse.com
Most episodes of Catfish end with the catfish showing signs of remorse, but this episode had a bit more. Sam, who is transgender and transitioning from male to female, used it as a way to come out to the world. He wasn't catfishing Kailani and others to be cruel; he was doing it so he could make sure he was making the right decision with his transition.

While catfishing is never okay (and is obviously very hurtful to its targets), I feel for Sam. Sam clearly did love Kailani and never meant to hurt her. And he needed to do what he did to find himself and make sure he was making the right decision. I give Kailani so much credit for accepting Sam after what he did (they didn't end up staying in touch, but Kailani was very forgiving) and understanding why he did what he did.

I would guess that it's Sam who actually contacted Catfish to come clean. I read a while back that it's often the catfishes who contact MTV to reveal themselves, and the producers back into the story from that. I mean, come on, you don't really think every unwilling catfish is down to reveal themselves without being ready, do you? Anyway, my guess is Sam was ready to let the world know about his transition and did it using this. And I truly hope his family was accepting and kind following his news.

Here's a quick recap of the episode, if you missed it:

Melvin contacted the show (theoretically) on behalf of Kailani. Keilani, off the bat, told Sam the show had been contacted.

Melvin was chatting with a guy named Sam. He called Sam's bluff on his pictures and things, so Sam moved onto Melvin's friend Kailani. Kailani, at 23, had just gotten divorced from a 6 month marriage because her husband was cheating on her - he was actually engaged to someone else! Kailani leaned on Sam, and came to love him, as she recovered from her trauma. Sam claimed to love her too.

Nev and Max discovered that Sam's pictures belonged to a guy named Dom. They also found out that Sam had been catfishing someone else.

Sam agrees to meet Kailani and is genuinely apologetic, but it isn't until he meets with Nev and Max alone that he reveals that he's transgender in and in the process of transitioning. He talked about what he went through as a kid, knowing he was a boy stuck in a girl's body, and how his family wasn't exactly kind about it.

When this was revealed to Kailani, she was genuinely nice and understanding. She's a great person who's dealt with a lot in her life.

During the after the show segment at the end, we learned that Kailani has a boyfriend and Sam came out to some people, and appears to be doing much better.