All reality shows are, to a certain extent, produced — from the melodramatic Vanderpump Rules, to the more personal My Big Fat Fabulous Life. Whether they’re focusing on young Hollywood wannabes or drag queens competing to be crowned best in the U.S., no reality show is 100 percent real, even when certain moments appear too painful or embarrassing to be anything but.
Hoarders, A&E’s highly addictive show about people who fill their homes with stuff until they can no longer see the floors, walls, or the person who might still be sitting in their favourite armchair provided they can breathe under the pile now occupying that space, may be the exception here. The people featured in this show are in desperate need of help and are, arguably, exploited by the production of the show, but not even big-budget studios could possibly make their homes look that bad, right? It appears tragically authentic because it is.
Hoarders feels too real because it genuinely is
The brilliance of Hoarders is it hooks you in with the gross-out element before making you genuinely empathize with its subjects. They may live in filth, but more often than not they’re dealing with debilitating conditions including mental health problems, grief, and even OCD. The show frequently features subjects who hoard as a coping mechanism in an uncaring world.
Naturally, though, the series isn’t a documentary. However, on Reddit, a commenter who claimed his father worked on the show confirmed it’s pretty true to life, writing, “Surprisingly it’s all very real. I mean, of course editors work their magic, but all in all, those people really do have hoarding problems.” Another commenter chimed in noting reports point to the show being one of the most legit of its kind. One user even argued that the set design couldn’t possibly be good enough to recreate a hoarder’s home.
It seems the show is a mostly accurate representation of hoarding, as two out of three experts who spoke to Everyday Health confirmed the extreme living situations depicted on the show help outsiders understand the seriousness of hoarding as a medical condition.
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