A Vanderpump Rules editor, Bri Dellinger, has officially confirmed the dirty secret we already knew: reality TV is manipulated.
In a recent podcast interview, she dropped a bit of a bomb: Bri has been intentionally editing the show to humiliate Scheana. The episode has mysteriously gone missing from Apple podcasts — undoubtedly Bravo trying to cover up — but not before Page Six wrote down the juiciest details.
From the first episode, it was obvious that Scheana was in for a rough season. But it is a bit shocking to get a look at how it came together. According to Page Six, Bri said,
“If Scheana knows what’s good for her, she’d befriend me because my favorite game is finding all the embarrassing things that Scheana does and putting them all in.”
She later joked that if Scheana were to write a memoir, the title should be, “Death by a Million Embarrassments.” She also openly admitted that she spliced together footage of an unrelated confessional footage to make Scheana look as stupid as possible for a recent scene of Scheana chatting with Stassi’s little brother Nikolai at her surprise engagement party.
First of all, this editor’s vendetta is highly unprofessional and a little pathetic. The fact that she openly admitted to gleefully devoting time to embarrassing Scheana suggests that she is too petty to directly address any issues she may have with Scheana. Personally, I think she needs to find a new profession.
But her actions speak to a broader issue within reality TV production. It’s true that every cast member is well compensated in exchange for Bravo making a story out of their lives. And eight seasons in, I’m sure Schenea is comfortable with the fact that the reality TV version of herself is a caricature of the person she really is. However, she is trusting them to at least try to be accurate and no one deserves to be blatantly made fun of by production.
A perfect example would be the way Jax is portrayed. He routinely does horrible things but we still get hints at how endearing he is alongside his general asshole behavior. We see his jealous bitching about Tom Sandoval in the same episode where we see him laughing, drinking, and dancing with his friends and we’re clued in to why everyone finds him strangely loveable. Even in the episodes where he is plain wrong (*cough* the Brett beach incident *cough*), he benefits from Britney’s confessionals where she assures us that he can be a wonderful person. He gets to be a full, albeit flawed, person with layers.
And yet the Scheana we’ve seen this entire season is a one-dimensional sexist stereotype: boy crazy, conceited, and almost entirely unwatchable. The only thing about her storyline that had any depth was her desire to freeze her eggs and the show breezed past the importance of that discussion so we can get back to her asinine, manufactured feud with Dayna.
Scheana deserves as much respect as the other castmates that helped build the show and the disloyalty shown by production just for ratings is kind of disgusting. Why have we never seen her podcast on the show? Why do her confessionals do nothing to explain the behavior we do see on screen? Are we really supposed to believe that she hasn’t done a single positive thing in all those hours of filming? Scheana may be an absolute mess in relationships and at times vapid, but she has dignity too.
This situation is a lesson in perspective and excess. We all know in the back of our minds that reality TV is an unscripted version of life filtered through editors, producers, and network executives. But the assumption is that entertainment value is balanced by a genuine care for cast members and that they at least try to make a show that somewhat resembles the truth. Reality TV can be perfect fodder for discussing things we see in our own lives when they are heightened versions of reality that are basically true. Warping footage in a vindictive way crosses a line.
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Ayo is a writer and producer based in Brooklyn, but proudly from the Midwest. When she’s not agonizng over applying to grad school, she is working on her first podcast, I Think I Read This Somewhere