If you're old enough to remember when MTV was awesome, then you probably remember that one show where teens were abducted while a stranger went though their bedrooms looking for all their dirty little secrets. Yes, the one with the blacklight. Locked away somewhere in the mid-2000s — along with frosted lip gloss and halter tops — is one of MTV's earliest attention-grabbing original TV shows, Room Raiders. During the revolutionary days of reality television, MTV's Room Raiders aired five days a week, Monday through Friday. Being in constant production allowed for a new adventure every day. After checking out the tunes on TRL, teens could take part in a voyeuristic journey where bedrooms were invaded and salacious secrets were uncovered.
Like every massive production on cable TV, secrets from the making of Room Raiders abound. Between 2003 and 2009, the crew successfully stashed away tons of behind-the-scenes stories, not unlike the ones the contestants tried to keep hidden. Digging up the dirt of Room Raiders exposes the realism of MTV's phenomenal reality TV show — how the producers worked their tricks behind the scenes, and how gross teenagers can really be.
One Contestant’s Father Grabbed A Gun After Her Abduction Scene
In order to maintain the scandalous integrity of the contestant's room, the Room Raiders production crew set up a fake "abduction" to surprise the teen and take them away so their room could be raided. This made sure the participant didn't have any spare time to stash away any embarrassing stuff — which made for better content, after all.
When the crew went in to break down one girl's door and film her being taken away to the van, her father wasn't very impressed. After the teen's fake abduction was filmed, her dad came out with a gun strapped to his hip. The crew insisted his daughter was fine and there was no need for alarm — she was actually out getting breakfast.
The Blacklight Was Banned Because Of The Infamous Jackson/Timberlake Halftime Performance
The first season of Room Raiders was accompanied by the infamous blacklight — the tool used to swipe over people's floors, pillows, and sheets to expose sexual activities. After the first season, the blacklight totally disappeared, but what happened to it?
When Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson showed a bit too much skin during their superbowl half-time show, MTV got in big trouble. The half-time show was produced by MTV, and the FCC wasn't too happy with the fact that Janet's pasty ripped off. This started a wave of FCC crackdowns on suggestive TV shows, including Room Raiders. While they were able to get away with censoring sex toys, they had to completely scrap the blacklight.
The Production Team Found A Live Bobcat While Scouting One Teen's Bedroom
In the days before heavy background checks and pre-screenings for reality TV shows, it was easy for innocent-seeming nut jobs to coerce their way onto the contestant list. To avoid any mishaps or dangers, the crew went through the entire house for a pre-raiding process.
During their own raids, the production crew found tons of illicit objects — from drug stashes to weapons. It wasn't uncommon to find a gun underneath someone's pillow or in their sock drawer. In one incident, one family even kept a wild bobcat as a pet, and the crew had to request it to be kept in another room during filming.
Originally, MTV Planned A Much More Scandalous Ending To Each Episode
When Room Raiders was originally pitched, the production team had a totally different ending in mind. Instead of having the contestants exchange contact info at the end of the episode, the two of them would have a full-on sleepover as a part of their date.
MTV decided to pass on the idea of filming full-on reality TV hookups. Although the concept itself sounds entertaining enough, scrapping the idea to avoid a disastrous situation was probably for the best. Who knows? The two of them might have ended up coming back for their debut on 16 & Pregnant, keeping all their shows tightly bundled up in the MTV "family."