Created By: SomeSortOfTroper on October 4, 2011 Last Edited By: SomeSortOfTroper on September 22, 2012

Structured Reality

Reality TV but with direct executive interference in creating scenes.

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Now far be it for anyone to try to convince the savvy readers of TV Tropes that there is no producer interference in normal Reality TV but there are expected limits. They may use Manipulative Editing, change the rules of the game, suggest ideas to the participants and just plain old lie but overall the point is to set things up at the beginning, and let the ordinary people loose to generate low cost content.

Not so with Structured Reality. As the name suggests, the structure of the show- the scenarios, the camera angles, the plots- are imposed but they have plucked up some people to be in those scenarios and "do the reacting rather than the acting". The typical hallmark of these shows is that they will be shot just like any other program-they will have "shot, reaction shot" during dialogue, have three camera set ups, even portray people waking up together in the morning and other things that are physically impossible unless you agree what was going to happen before hand to set up the shots and can get them to come back to shoot it again.

There are normally three things that confirm that this is meant to be "reality" tv- the producer's presentation method, the pushing of gossip about the participants in celebrity magazines and the terrible acting and diction.

In some localities, this puts the shows in the unique position of having to declare the element of fakeness in the show whereas things which are pure Mockumentary don't.

For some reason, this format of show is most popular with those who want to make a show about people who live in a particular region famed for being looked down on.

I just have a bunch of name:

So basically if you've ever flipped on the TV and seen a person brazenly declaring that there is nothing fake about them/they tell it like it is in a highly distinctive accent while wearing about 5 pounds of making and being filmed from highly intricate camera shots, it's this.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • October 4, 2011
    Alright, let's see what we have here.

    From what I can tell, the base trope is about reality shows that are completely Fabricated. Good concept, however there are only three things to say.

    1. You need to clarify the trope, because it took me about a few minutes to get the gist of it.

    2. Reformat it so that there isn't any description below the examples.

    3. You Might consider making this Ymmv. Unless Word Of God confirms it, it's based only on opinion. Tell me if I'm mistaken.

  • October 4, 2011
    Nature shows and movies such as "Wild Kingdom" and several Disney films were later found to have heavily relied on staged footage.

    "Reality TV" is a contradition of terms.

  • October 5, 2011
    ^^ 3: It's factual statements about how the show was made. It's as YMMV as Reality TV.
  • October 6, 2011
    Works for me. : )

  • October 6, 2011
    "My God! The human drama unfolding before me that some producer set up!" - Christopher Titus
  • September 10, 2012
    How about Scripted Reality TV?

    Also, you need to mention Jersey Shore.
  • September 10, 2012
    Parodied in an episode of Law And Order LA where we see a reality show being filmed, and after the camera turns off, one of the participants immediately asks the director if he can try it again, because he's sure he can "do it better".
  • September 13, 2012
    ^^ Structured Reality is the official/technical/already used in the English language name.
  • September 14, 2012
    Some mention of Professional Wrestling somewhere would be good.
  • September 17, 2012
    ^ No. Not really. It is not like these shows, it doesn't have the same "idea geneaology" as this trope. It is a very unique case, wrestling, it should be treated as such.

    ^^,^^^^ Actually in all fairness, I have discovered that numerous others call this Scripted reality tv though this may be a case of a term applied to an earlier format bleeding over to a newer style. I may set Scripted Reality TV up as a redirect, I may not. I have thought about a "Sliding Scale of Reality TV Reality" trope and a small, tightly defined idea that we can easily identify at a glance can form a good reference point on a scale. A broader encompassing "well, I couldn't find a proper page for it but I want to put it on the wiki somewhere" page would not.
  • September 18, 2012
    Trailer Park Boys might be considered an example of this: the closest thing to a script that they use are more like story notes, and most of the dialog, antics and a good deal of the interview-style documentary/fly on the wall scenes are improvised.
  • September 22, 2012
    No because Trailer Park Boys is a comedy. The sections that are improvised are done so because people like improvisation in comedy, it's a mockumentary "curb your enthusiasm" in structure. It's a sitcom with a different writing method. We're talking about things actually presented as "reality tv".