Yo, dawg. We all know by now not to believe everything we see on TV – or even anything we see on TV – but you’d think that a series would at LEAST live up to its name, if not the all-encompassing “reality” of reality TV. But it looks like the MTV series Pimp My Ride didn’t always hold true to its claims that rides were being pimped, or that people were as happy as they seemed.
According to the Huffington Post, who reached out to several past contestants as well as co-executive producer Larry Hochberg, some of the more outlandish work done to the vehicles was removed after the cameras stopped rolling, and some of it was just plain shoddy work. As well, other parts of the series were staged specifically for on-camera effectiveness. This isn’t to say that everything the show did was baloney and/or bad mechanics, but all it takes are a few exceptions to destroy the rules.
Justin Dearinger, who was on the show in Season 6, did a Reddit AMA a few years ago about his experiences (as did the other two that Huffington Post contacted), and he claims that impressive additions to his 1997 Toyota RAV4 – such as a pop-up champagne dispenser and a “drive-in theater” – were entirely for TV audiences to ooh and ahh over, but were removed before Dearinger could take his car anywhere. (And it reportedly took them five months to do the vehicular makeover.) He explained that the champagne gadget was removed as not to condone drinking and driving (because showing it on TV to millions of people isn’t condoning?) and the theater, as well as other exaggerated additions, were removed for safety reasons. So why mess with any of it in the first place? Oh, yeah. Ratings and such.
Fellow Season 6 contestant Sal Martino took a bit of fat shaming when he was on the show, as producers dumped candy all over his car and played it like he kept it around in case he got hungry. They also put a cotton candy machine in his trunk, but made it to big so that the cover couldn’t be put on it when the trunk was closed. Here’s how he put it.
I know it is kind of mean, but I think they just wanted to put a cotton candy machine in a car and used the fat guy as the opportunity to do it.
It was also shared that the openings, when people were called on at their homes, were all faked as well, with MTV renting different houses and having the contestants wait in there for either host Xzibit or a producer to arrive. And the reaction shots where the contestants see the final product? They apparently have to do multiple takes if they aren’t energetic enough, with Dearinger specifically being told to “jump around and scream.” And if you think the background stories were more legitimate, that wasn’t the case either, and MTV producers often added embellishments.
Such as a Season 4 incident where producers reportedly told contestant Jake Glazier that he should break up with his girlfriend to help his story out. He claims he was told “basically either get rid of her or have her not be a part of the program.” Not very pimp behavior there, and Hochberg claims he had never heard of this happening, nor Martino’s candy story.
But after all that trouble and much more, the three guys still agreed that being on Pimp My Ride was a fun experience and that they’d do it again. That’s reality for you.