Although reality TV only got included at the Emmys within the last decade, it has been around for quite some time. The first reality show, PBS’ An American Family, aired in 1973. MTV’s landmark The Real World aired its first season in 1992. And almost as old as reality shows are reality cliches. The one I hate the most? Blaming the editing. Every time someone humiliates themselves on a reality show – or just does something normal without realizing what a horrible human being they are – the invariable next step is to blame the editing and claim that their words/actions were taken out of context. Don’t get me wrong – reality shows are notorious for haphazard editing. But, in the words of The Real World: New York breakout star Heather B, “they can’t show stuff you didn’t do.”
The most recent editing-blamer is The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills‘ Camille Grammer, who took to her Twitter to complain about the way she feels she’s portrayed on the show. Here are two reasons I don’t feel sorry for her:
1. This is not the first reality show ever, nor is it the first Real Housewives ever. With all her money she could have hired someone to tell her that.
2. The show can’t invent you having four nannies for two kids, your husband cheating on you, or you not knowing how to turn on a hot tub.
This is basically my problem with people who blame editing. Yes, reality shows are known for changing the order of scenes, arranging contrived situations, or creating misleading promo spots. But they can’t make words come out of your mouth if you didn’t say them. People who blame editing are people who are too self-obsessed to take responsibility for their actions. And, not coincidentally, those are often the same kinds of people who want to be on reality shows.
Or maybe I have the wrong approach. As life continues to imitate art, we’re all basically characters in our own personal reality shows. So the next time you have an argument with your roommate, claim that the editing is just making it look like you didn’t take out the trash. Or insist to your boyfriend that you didn’t really cheat on him, that was all just editing! The future is here, and it is heavily edited.