The cast and crew of The Real Housewives of New York City were filming in Southampton over the weekend, where onlookers got a chance to see how their reality TV sausage is made, as Heather Thomson and Carole Radziwell took instructions from producers, took breaks in dialogue to wait for camera setups, and shot multiple takes.
According to eyewitnesses on Meeting House Lane in Southampton, "It was like something you would see on the set of a movie or scripted television show." The crew had even set up large reflectors to create the most flattering lighting during their scene.
Carole and Heather stood on Meeting House Lane and waited for the crew to call ‘rolling,’ before walking toward the camera and sitting on a park bench. They even shot the scene twice!
RadarOnline has pictures of the "set."
It's not the first time that the Real Housewives franchise has been caught "creating" reality. Two years ago, an Atlanta-area blogger happened to sit next to some cast members of The Real Housewives of Atlanta as they were filming a scene and was floored by how contrived it all was.
1. The conversation was repeatedly interrupted and guided by a crew member. The women would talk for a few minutes, then a crew member would approach the table and tell the women what to talk about. At one point, the crew member told the women they needed to switch to a light topic because they’d already spent a lot of time on serious topics.
2. When one of the crew members was leaving, one of the ‘Housewives’ said she would see him tomorrow at the ‘funeral home scene.’ If she’s calling it a ‘scene,” how ‘real’ can it be?
3. For some reason, the first taping of the women exiting the restaurant didn’t work. At the crew’s direction, the women returned to their seats, then taped a second exit scene.
More recently Walter Jackson, who was featured last season on RHOA as Kenya Moore's boyfriend, gave a radio interview in which he admitted that the relationship was fake and that they were acting in order to give Kenya a storyline, and he suggested that Bravo knew all about it.
But comparatively, the Real Housewives might be more real than most reality TV, particularly the shows on the E! channel. Kim Kardashian and her mother Kris Jenner were infamously busted filming a scene for their reality show that was supposed to take place in Dubai, but actually was shot on a soundstage in L.A. And during the deposition for Kim's divorce from Kris Humphries, Russell Jay, a producer on Keeping Up With the Kardashians testified that at least two scenes were "scripted, reshot or edited" in order to vilify Humphries.
In her book The Bling Ring, based on her Vanity Fair story about the group of teens who burglarized celebrities' homes, Nancy Jo Sales recounts in great detail her time spent with Bling Ring convict Alexis Neiers as she filmed her reality show Pretty Wild, which aired on E!. (Sales would be a prominent figure in the show's most notorious scene.)
The reality crew was ready to film the scene. “Tell her, ‘Everything’s go to be okay, Gabby,’” said Gennifer Gardiner, the supervising producer. She was standing to the side of the action, holding a large loose-leaf binder—the script.
“Everything’s going to be okay, Gabby,” Andrea [Alexis' mother] repeated. She was still dressed in her brown suit from court.
Mikel Neiers [Alexis' father] looked a bit lost.
Gardiner told him what to say.
Later, watching a scene being filmed of a conversation between Andrea and her daughter Gabby:
The Pretty Wild producers didn’t seem to mind me watching these performances, I guess because they were so used to the show being scripted
Gabby: “And what happened when we did that?”
Andrea: “A lot . . .”
According to multiple sources, the last time Andrea gave Tess and Alexis a “time out,” the Orlando Bloom burglary occurred. But the Pretty Wild producers were not aware of this.
Gabby: “A lot of bad things.”
Andrea: “A lot of bad things . . .”
They stared at each other a moment.
Gabby: “So, obviously—”
Andrea: “That did not work, so what are you suggesting?”
Gardiner, the supervising producer, cut in, feeding them lines: “So Gabby, this is great! ‘You need to be a stronger parent, Mom! I shouldn’t be the one telling you what to do with them—these girls are out of control, Mom, do something!’ ”
Gabby, returning to the scene: “Mom, I don’t know what you want me to do. Why should I be the one making the rules? I’m the one who is having to explain to you that the girls are totally wrong in this situation. You’re letting them do whatever they want to do, even though every day they mess up like this. Parenting is parenting!”