Have networks and producers skewed reality so much over time that it's no longer about real people and real life, or have we just mislabelled a genre that thrives on manufactured clichés, unreal situations, and good old fashioned voyeurism?
"The word people should be looking for is television, not reality," says contestant Sasha Perl-Raver, who was one of six people looking for love in the third episode of this year's new ABC reality romance series.
Perl-Raver believes reality television has an opportunity to illuminate some of the more truthful sides of life – details about real people, real feelings, and real situations.
I asked Perl-Raver what she thinks about ultimate question, is love blind? "The only love that's truly blind is between a parent and their child.
According to Perl-Raver, producers and editors created narratives and clichés based on exaggerated actions or parts of their personality.
During Chris' final date with Sasha Perl-Raver, producers captured and chose to air an aggressive kiss where she bites him on the lip.
"They didn't talk about any of the nuances in their personality.""I had to ask myself, is that the person I really am or is that just how they're portraying me? Chris eventually hoped Jennifer, who was portrayed as a fit, athletic girl, would ‘join him on the balcony' – the contestants' way to signal a mutual match – but all three women chose to leave the house without meeting Chris. Sasha says none of the women were attracted to him, but the episode made it look like they had tough decisions to make and plenty of confrontation to deal with."It really bothered me that they made it seem like the girls were against each other,' says Perl-Raver. We laughed so hard that the producers yelled at us for having too much fun."Perl-Raver also commented on how tried to manufacture emotional and physical conditions to heighten to the probability of dramatic moments and entertaining television."It's psychological warfare when you're doing a reality show," she adds.
Perl-Raver says it reveals the most real scenes from an otherwise manufactured reality environment."If only reality TV could be a little more honest with its audience and with itself, like a caution on a package of cigarettes.
Some of this is real, some of it's not." She acknowledges that most reality shows state in their closing credits that decisions are influenced by producers, but that might not be enough for mass audiences to see and understand.
In her blog, she writes "A large part of me feels like they edited out some of the best stuff to make the storylines clichéd enough to entertain without illumination" – a perfect metaphor for her dark dating experience.
In the episode, Sasha and contestants Jennifer and Megan all select the same man – athletic trainer Chris – to share a final date and reveal each other in the light.