The reality television landscape has undergone some tremendous changes in the past 20 years, but through it all, MTV has managed to keep at least one heavily buzzed-about unscripted series in its lineup at all times.
We suppose it’s fitting, as many credit the network with launching the genre with The Real World way back in 1992.
These days, of course, the network has two tent-pole series in with Teen Mom: OG and Teen Mom 2 both delivering massive ratings.
The shows have remained massively popular over the years, and its stars have become full-blown social media celebrities as a result.
But despite the fact that the cast members are insanely well-compensated (Some reports have the ladies of Teen Mom making over $1 million per season.), producers have had a difficult time keeping their on-air talent happy.
According to Farrah Abraham, the primary cause of unrest is the way narratives are crafted in post-production.
At this point, Teen Mom stars lashing out at the show’s editors is an almost weekly occurrence.
It seems that with each new episode, at least one member of the cast takes to Twitter to gripe that the scenes were cut and reshuffled to make them look like bad moms, or unstable hot-heads.
Leah Messer has been the most vocal about the show’s dubious relationship with the truth, but at one point or another, just about every single one of her co-stars has echoed her complaint.
The whole thing has left us wondering – just how fake is Teen Mom?
Here’s what some of the ladies have said about it in their own words:
Leah Messer: “It’s so sad how the person behind the editing can even live a happy life by editing to manipulate the audience watching,” Leah recently tweeted. “It makes me feel like my life story isn’t enough.”
She specifically griped that a scene in which she went on a boozy date with ex-husband Jeremy Calvert was edited to make it appear as though her affections were unrequited.
Kailyn Lowry: “Yet another episode where none of my accomplishments are shown,” Kailyn tweeted last year.
“Hard work in school, deans list, etc. I want to motivate other young moms to stay in or finish school. Not be asked to talk about Jo drama.”
She later griped that producers frequently rearrange the order of events and go out of their way to create drama where there is none, citing as an example the time she “lost [her] mind” when a producer allegedly “provoked” her son into crying.
Chelsea Houska: Chelsea’s complaints have been mild. but specific.
In a recent episode, she’s seen complaining that her daughter’s jealousy of her son is negatively impacting husband Cole De Boer.
Chelsea says it never happened:
“Just a little something that irked me about the show tonight. Theres a part where I say, ‘I feel like it’s taking away from Cole’s experience,'” she wrote.
“And that was taken out of context from a different convo and added in that scene for some reason.”
A recent piece by In Touch concluded that the show is most certainly “not scripted,” citing as evidence comments from cast member Javi Marroquin:
“This is our story. I don’t know how editing is so bad when no one is forcing us to say the things we do,” says the father of Kailyn Lowry’s baby.
“We control our story, so I never understand that. Yes, they may cut some things out, but we should be cognizant about what we say knowing they may cut some things out.”
Re-ordering events in order to craft a cohesive narrative is a major part is a major part of any reality producer’s job, and while we’re sure it’s very frustrating to see yourself misrepresented on TV, the stars of TM:OG and TM2 would do well to remember that it’s the editing that brings in the ratings … and the ratings that bring in the seven-figure salaries.
Watch Teen Mom: OG online to see how the show’s original cast has changed over the years – and to decide for yourself how real it all is.