Is "Dog the Bounty Hunter" scripted?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Baba Oh Really, Mar 2, 2012.

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  1. Baba Oh Really

    Baba Oh Really Certified "Forum Favorite" Thread Starter

    mid west, USA
    Usually the show is pretty believable, but sometimes it seems scripted. What do you think?
  2. All "reality" shows are scripted to some extent. Producers behind the scenes will strongly suggest to participants on what they need to do for the camera, or put the participants in situations that will lead to predictable outcomes.
  3. Baba Oh Really

    Baba Oh Really Certified "Forum Favorite" Thread Starter

    mid west, USA
    Thanks for confirming my suspicions!
  4. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    The shows aren't "scripted" per se, but they do generally have extensive meetings prior to the shoot, and they go over with the talent what's essentially going to happen, and coach them on potential lines. In the case of Bounty Hunter, they can't exactly tell the guy they're arresting what to say.

    I can tell you for a fact that quite a few of these cop-type reality shows are heavily, heavily edited, and sometimes they even go back and reshoot certain things just to give them more coverage and more editing options. Reality shows and documentaries are essentially "written" during the editing process, since that completely shapes the point of view and the narrative structure. Which is a fancy way of saying: they have to figure out a beginning, a middle, and an end based on the material they have to work with.

    This is why in shows like Survivor, sometimes the contestants later say, "wow, I had no idea they were going to make me the 'villain.' I thought I was a nice guy!" You cut out all the guy's nice scenes, and he looks like a jerk; you cut out another person's positive scenes, and just concentrate on all his mistakes, and he looks like a klutz. Everything is very contrived, very manipulated.

    Reality shows are not real. But this goes back to all documentaries ever made, most of which have hidden agendas and deliberate points of view designed specifically to manipulate the audience. Triumph of the Will isn't exactly a truthful documentary, either.

    In fairness, some reality shows are extraordinarily well-done and true-to-life. I'd cite Deadliest Catch as a good example. Who would ever think a show about a bunch of fishermen at sea could be interesting, let alone scary and entertaining? That might be one of the most difficult shows to shoot in all of television, just because of the very real risks of everybody involved.
  5. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Portland, Oregon
    "Cops" would be an exception. I hardly think the crooks are on board with getting busted.
  6. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I excepted the guys getting arrested in my example of unscripted material.
  7. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Staged, absolutely.

    One might argue what constitutes "scripted." The particulars vary from show to show.
  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Yes, I agree. I shouldn't be so quick to say that all reality shows are scripted. But they are heavily, heavily edited. I know of a major post house in LA that routinely does about 20 different reality shows every week, and each show routinely takes about 150 hours to edit. This is far more complicated and difficult than a scripted dramatic show.

    The difference is: the dramas cost 20 times as much to shoot. You have a couple of guys sitting in a room, editing a show for 4 weeks... that's not terribly expensive. But shooting a 1-hour drama costs a certain amount, typically $2M an hour, while shooting reality shows is incredibly cheap, like $100K an episode. Big difference.
  9. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Possibly as vidiot say, they are pre-planned to a degree and highly edited. They must be though, as who would truly watch dog and his clan drive for an hour to the other side of the island, stop to eat and use the facilities, and then finally sit for 3 hours waiting to see the bail jumper?

    They have to strip a whole day or 2 or 3 down to literally 40 some minutes of actual content. Its not fake per se, but its not "reality" either, its just a slice of reality, chopped into the most interesting bits.
  10. Bender Rodriguez

    Bender Rodriguez RIP Exene, best dog ever. 2005-2016

    Reality isn't real.
  11. jlc76

    jlc76 Forum Resident

    Austin, TX, U.S.A.
    Reality for the most part makes for a boring TV show. The one theme all these reality work or competition shows have is they love to show people at each other's throats about something. I just can't stand that type of negativity. I am truly interested in some of these shows like Gold Rush because as a geologist I find the process fascinating, but the process is likely to bore people to tears so they manufacture all these conflicts.

    My wife and I also like to watch Flying Wild Alaska but it too has way too many scripted scenes but at least it's relatively free of the negativity found in shows like Ax Men, Deadliest Catch, Gold Rush, and IRT.
  12. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    We like Dirty Jobs, which doesn't really try to hide the scripted angle of it.
    Mike Rowe can be a real hoot.
  13. stumpy

    stumpy Forum Resident

    South of Nashville
    "Dog" doesn't bother me for some reason, though I can usually tell what's real and what's not. I absolutely believe these scripted or staged reality shoes are lowering our standards. "Operation Repo" with the lady with the barbed wire in her lip and terrible acting from the muscleman. Can't watch that one anymore.
  14. jason100x

    jason100x Forum Resident

    I never watched Dog but I agree with you on Operation Repo. I watched a bunch of episodes and it was somewhat entertaining, if just to see the excuses people had for the circumstances leading to their cars being repossessed. But the Repo crew got on my nerves, especially the Stone Cold Steve Austin wannabe, to the point where I always rooted for the people who were getting respossessed.
  15. noname74

    noname74 Allegedly Canadian

    she is the stuff nightmares are made of.

  16. tomhayes

    tomhayes Senior Member

    San Diego, Ca
    Dog isn't scripted, but the people (Dog and the hunted) on it are so predictable you don't really need to keep watching.

    They'll be some sort of small family conflict, an alcoholic Polynesian will skip a $400 bail, Dog and crew will have a pow-wow about the best approach to finding the person, they'd try to get someone to snitch out the person, they'll talk to some homeless men and/or people hanging around a liquor store if they've seen the person lately, they'll catch the bail jumper (sometimes having a group of preteen boys on bicycles point at the bail-jumper) , and then on the way to jail they'll try to seem nice and fatherly and talk to them about Jesus.

    Rinse. Repeat.
  17. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    I think all reality shows have some basic outline they want them to follow....
  18. It's called finding a successful formula and repeating it until the audience stops watching. The average viewer wants formulaic television more than they let on. Most new shows are pitched as mixtures of prior successful shows (formulas) before the pilot stage.
  19. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Yep, exactly. Many, many shows will say, "it's like [Show Y], only we'll make it about a girl in Australia, only she doesn't know her boss is also her father!" That kind of thing.

    Literally, the TV show Lost was pitched by ABC chief Lloyd Braun as "a dramatic show like Survivor, plus elements of Castaway, Lord of the Flies, and Gilligan's Island, where you have a whole bunch of vastly different characters from a plane crash on a desert island." According to some reports, it was J.J. Abrams who suggested, "hey, what if the plane crash was deliberate and not just an accident, and there are evil forces on the island", adding a supernatural element... and things took off from there.

    I really, really hate reality shows just because a) they're cheaply done, b) they're not as satisfying to me as structured comedies or dramas, and c) they put a lot of hard-working Hollywood writers, actors, and craftspeople out of work. Dog is no different.

    There are exceptions, and I have no problem with a real documentary that tackles an important issue and does it exceptionally well. There's a big difference between, say, the upcoming Weinstein film The Bully Project and Girls Gone Wild.
  20. kw21925

    kw21925 Lieutenant-Corporal; Gazpacho Police

    All I can say is the bail-jumpers must be stupid indeed if that crew can apprehend them.
  21. Lord Summerisle

    Lord Summerisle Forum Resident

    I watched an episode a while back and he got his **** kicked by some bloke. :laugh:
  22. kevintomb

    kevintomb Forum Resident

    Ya but in all honesty, do you really think they have a chance to get away? Most are on an island in Hawaii, and leaving would not be the easiest thing. I think most of them really arent "Truly" trying to get away from dog and his group forever, but are simply hiding out or staying with friends or relatives, knowing eventually they will be caught either by dog or law enforcement. Most dont seem to be truly super hardcore criminals, as dog tries to make them out to be.

    What gets me, is how there have been almost NONE that have guns or really try to get away or fight. If these are such hardcore criminals, why are they so easily apprehended? Why are there almost never guns involved, when they all know dog doesnt even carry a gun??

    Most seem to be just lost young people that did stupid stuff, or older people that got really into drugs and dont have much common sense.

    So in the end, id say most are fairly stupid, as doing the crimes and THEN jumping bond would attest......:cheers:
  23. Kitlope

    Kitlope Forum Resident

    I gave up on reality TV back around 2001. It was still a fresh concept and I got sucked into Survivor and Big Brother. Then I started realizing this "unscripted tv" was just as scripted as my favorite episodes of Cheers. Then I started to feel like they were insulting my intelligence when I realized it was as edited and phoney as the day is long.

    The only show that I watch is Survivorman. Les Stroud cracks me up and watching him fast for a week because there's nothing ever to eat puts a smile on my face. He seems like a genuine guy and I wouldn't say his show is even that real... but it does entertain me.

    I'm a bigger newsjunkie the last 5 or 6 years than I ever have been and I'm guessing these cheezy shows has had a big part of it. Want reality? Watch the news.
  24. rockclassics

    rockclassics Senior Member

    Mainline Florida
    And of course Dog could always go to McGarrett (the original one - Jack Lord) and have him "seal up this island tighter than a coconut". :laugh:
  25. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    It's amazing how few people understand this.

    I don't mind a show being as carefully constructed as Cheers. My problem is when it's badly done, as most of them are. (Take Jersey Shore, please.)

    If anybody wants to know the history of how and why reality shows were created, read Bill Carter's excellent 2006 book Desperate Networks. It's an eye-opening look at how Mike Darnell (head of Fox's reality department) made his entire career, and how this dramatically changed television -- and not for the better, in my opinion. Really, this stuff was just done to fill up the space inbetween commercials, pander to the lowest possible tastes, all produced for 1/10th of the cost of scripted dramas.
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