The quintessential question about reality TV is always how real it is. When it comes to the show OutDaughtered, there are some things we know are real. The Busby’s adorable quintuplet daughters are on camera for much of the time at home. You can’t precisely script what small children do all day. That said, a TV show does have to be interesting, so it seems pretty likely that the editors cut together the parts they like. That’s what editing is after all. What about the adults? Does the couple spend their time reading off carefully scripted lines when they’re not chasing their six kids around the house? Is the Show OutDaughtered Fake?
Editing Whoopsie Woes
Fans of the show recently took to the internet over a scene where the parents Danielle and Adam were shown in slightly different outfits, and background scenery changed. The video on In Touch Weekly shows Danielle in slippers with painted nails during some parts of the scene that aired, and later in socks without the nail polish. Viewers were also quick to point out that items on a table in the background also changed during the scene. Since supposedly the whole scene was a single conversation, folks were flipping out a bit over the inconsistencies. Does this mean the entire show is faked? Definitely not. However, when it comes to reality TV, there is always the ‘TV’ aspect to consider. Sometimes what happens in real life doesn’t go quite the way producers might hope. Asking reality stars for a second or third take is a common practice when something doesn’t look quite right for the audience. Does that make it scripted? Again, not necessarily. People repeat themselves all the time. When it comes to creating an exciting, engaging, and palatable viewing experience, sometimes things need to be revisited.
Editors Make Choices
With dozens of hours of footage every week, there’s no way it’s all going into the show. The people who take the footage and cut it down into a bite-sized slice of life need to keep audiences entertained. Sometimes that means favoring a particular aspect of a story within the bigger picture. Things can get a little twisted around to maintain a consistent narrative over time.
One of the things Adam has complained about is the way his wife is portrayed as a bit overbearing. Sure, it makes for more amusing viewing, but he swears that’s not how things are in their daily life. Indeed, the couple seems happy enough in their life. Cutting out just the pieces that fit with the character a network has established for their show is part of the job. Adam isn’t the first Reality TV star to complain about it.
At the same time, stars sign agreements. They get paid for being the people the network is creating a narrative for. Audiences fall in love with what they think they know. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to be part of a family like the Busbys all the time. Reality TV is only a cut together thirty to sixty minutes that’s meant to give the audience a consistent, mostly non-story driven glance into another person (or eight’s) view of the world and how they live.
Not the First Scandal
Both the Network and the Busby’s have been accused of scandalous behavior before. Fans of the show have had meltdowns over rumors that Adam cheated on his wife. After that, they latched on to the idea that he might be gay. While it appears that neither of those things is true, what’s certain is that reality TV may not be scripted, but it is a bit skewed.
We’re sure it isn’t easy to be a parent of six and on camera all the time. Some of the things sensationalist media calls a scandal, like Adam experiencing postpartum depression, are just facts of life. Some men go through the same thing emotionally as some women do after children are born. We have to admire Adam for sharing his story and bringing attention to it.
As for the network, well, we’d love to give you a line of righteous indignation, but at the end of the day, they’re a business. While the Busby’s salaries are kept under wraps. However, it’s rumored that they make around a million a year from the show. That’s a lot of money to exist and have cameras follow you around. As far as we can see, a few second-takes to make sure the show that pays you so well will get enough interest to keep paying isn’t much to ask for.
What if it was mostly fake? It’s not, at least as far as we know, but what if it was? Would you be less interested in a show simply because the people on it have private lives they don’t share with you? We’re pretty sure the whole point of entertainment is to be entertained. If the show you’re watching accomplishes that goal, then it’s done what it set out to do, and you’ve got what it’s meant to provide.
Professional wrestling is largely staged. The incredibly fit athletes are more often than not merely going through a semi-choreographed dance to entertain a crowd. Doing so doesn’t mean they work any less hard. In the case of wrestlers, they work out regularly and learn their routines. On reality TV, the stars don’t get to have that level of practice. They have to do it on the fly. In a way, that’s very impressive.
It’s not as though the information is hidden about how reality tv (or pro wrestling for that matter) is tailored to the audience. Sensationalist stories aside, watching formatted reality is a bit like reading a tabloid. Some of it comes from facts, and some of it is there to make the audience keep buying papers, or tuning in next week.
At the end of the day, the Busby’s are charming. They share their struggles and triumphs as a family, and it takes a lot of guts to let people see inside your lives so completely. From social media mom-shamers to fans being a bit cruel because they don’t understand that men get postpartum, plus raising six daughters, they always manage to pull through. If some scenes take two because things weren’t camera-worthy the first time, it doesn’t mean the events never happened, but rather that they have to work for their fame.