How close to reality is reality TV? I got to experience that this week as our episode of Below Deck aired on the Bravo TV network.
The title of this blog post says recap, but it’ll be more of a “what they showed vs. what really happened” post. There are recaps all over the net if you want to read them.
For those who don’t know, Below Deck is an American reality television series. The show chronicles the lives of the crew members who work and reside aboard a mega-yacht during charter season. It shows the crew as they deal with their personal issues in order to make their professional careers work. Each episode features a different group of guests.
How Did You Get On The Show?
I was sent an email from the producer about being a charter guest on the show. At first, I thought it was a scam because she used a Gmail address and not a BravoTV.com email. The original invite was to be on Below Deck Mediterranean but the timing didn’t work.
Once you agree to do the show, you and all your guests go through an interview process. The interview is recorded and shown to Bravo brash for final approval.
Who’s Idea Was It To Request A 12 Course Tasting Menu?
Twitter lite up about us doing a 12 course tasting menu and then complaining that it was taking too long. The show said it was me who requested the formal dinner. The real answer is yes and no.
Every guests is given a 100+ questions questionnaire to fill out. It asked questions like favorite drinks, foods, activities, etc. One question ask me for my most amazing dining experience. My answer was the 12 course tasting menu at Lumière restaurant. When we got on the boat, the producer told us Chef Ben has a 12 course tasting menu planned for us. I never formally requested it. The producers no doubt added it to create drama for Ben. The drama was set higher because of Carolina’s diet restrictions.
I felt that Carolina was portrayed unfairly by the show. Diet restrictions are nothing new, and Ben’s way of accommodating for it wasn’t what I would expect from a top level chef. Instead of creating a separate menu for Carolina, he opted to pass the buck to Sierra to create the mother of all salads.
Fine dining is as much about timing as it is food, and having Carolina sitting there for three courses with nothing in front of her would be inexcusable in a restaurant setting. However, since we were on a boat with a small galley, I let it go.
How Do You Deal with The Negative #BelowDeck Comments?
I decided to do a Driving with John Chow episode to address all the negative #BelowDeck social media comments about my group.
Did You Witness Any of The Drama Between The Crew?
No. Whenever the crew was among the guests, they were 100% professional.
How Close To Reality Is The Show?
The show is about as close to reality as any other reality TV show, which is to say, not very close. For example, the episode showed us having the 12 course dinner on the first night when it was actually done on the second night. Everything is overblown and words are taken out of context to create the drama. We all knew this going in so it was fine.
Did The Producer Tell You To Play It Up For The Cameras?
The producer told us to just be ourselves and enjoy the boat. Yes, there were moments where we played the snobby rich charter guests with some very choice quotes like, “$3,000 is sewer money.” and calling a nearby smaller yacht “five percenters.” However, that was done by us and not from any requests by the producer of the show.
People watch a reality show for drama. There’s not much drama in charter guests laying around doing nothing. Odds are, if that’s what you want to do, you’ll never get on the show. Lucky for Bravo, our group loves to fool around and have fun. It also helps that most of us don’t have any filters and will say and do the strangest things.
How Can I Watch The Episode?
Below Deck airs every Tuesday night at 9/8c in the US and Canada market. Check your local Bravo listings for showtimes. You can also watch the full episode at Bravo TV. All you need is your cable provider login.
If you are outside the US or Canada, the show’s episodes are available for purchase at Amazon.com.
Preview of Episode Five
Normally, the charter guests are featured on a single episode. However, we are so much fun that Bravo is spreading our stay across two episodes. Here is a preview of episode five, which will be airing on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 9/8c. Make sure you watch it!