Is 'Swamp People' Fake or Is the Show Legitimate Reality TV?

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Apr. 8 2021, Published 5:13 p.m. ET

Swamp People
Source: History

It's always difficult to discern whether or not a reality TV show is legit. We're always left wondering how much production actually goes into the dramatic moments that end up becoming memes or incessantly replayed video clips. Sometimes, they're so good, you don't even want to know if they're faked, like when New York on Flavor of Love gave her amazing response.

Or in the case of the show Swamp People: Is the series as real as it looks?

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Is 'Swamp People' real?

Most reality shows do have a certain level of fakery to them. Whether it's the lighting set-ups that they post, or the "guided scenarios" that producers ask on-camera talent to follow, these programs aren't as "veritas" as some would lead you to believe. But there's varying degrees of fakeness and staging. The question is, how much of that fakeness is going on with Swamp People?

Are the gators and other critters in the show staged? Is production really capturing all of the intense action in the moment? Is footage getting "picked up" after the fact? Are the gator wrestling matches really as back-and-forth and crazy as depicted in the show?

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is swamp people real
Source: History

The program has received some criticism from those who've actually been to Southern Louisiana. No, not everyone's a swamp-dwelling alligator hunter, and there are plenty of middle-class folks who work regular jobs and aren't just trolling the bayou for water-dwelling reptile pelts.

Longtime viewers have also noticed that the quick edits and cuts are probably done for disingenuous reasons.

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Here's the thing: filming someone shooting a gator is pretty anti-climactic. Someone points a gun, they pull the trigger, and down goes gator. There's a good chance that the water monsters they're fighting with are just alligator corpses.

Then there's the fact that some of the more unsavory parts of the stars' personalities aren't really discussed much in the show.

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Like the fact that the Molineres once reportedly beat someone up with a beer bottle because they didn't like the way they were looking at them as they were driving on the freeway. Trapper Joe also allegedly beat up his girlfriend in public, and then there was Nicholas Payne, who has a history of hitting police officers, on top of resisting arrest.

Chase Landry also was arrested for reportedly shooting at a shrimp boat while he was hunting for gators. If the show was really interested in veritas, maybe they'd address some of those issues in the program.

The alligators that they catch probably all aren't that big, or footage of larger gators is used in order to make what they're filming to be more exciting than it really is. At least, that's what this commenter argues fairly well.

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Then there's the fact that there almost always seem to be multiple camera angles setting up the moment when they actually track, hunt, and kill an alligator. Oftentimes, it happens very quickly, and for the production team to get the coverage they need, an ample amount of set-up must take place.

As a result, most of the footage of them shooting gators is probably just the cast emptying rounds into water.

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Then there's the idea that they're constantly moving to different hunting grounds and locations, but viewers have noticed that the swamps they hunt in more or less look the same. This means that there's probably only a handful of different shooting spots folks at home are watching.

But knowing all of this, do you care? Will this do anything to inhibit your enjoyment of Swamp People

New episodes of the show air on Thursday nights on History at 9 p.m. EST.

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