In the 21st century, there is a plethora of great shows on History Channel. But this wasn't always the case. For people who grew up in the '90s, The History Channel is associated with WWII docs and other somber programs. Over the years, it has shifted from reputable documentaries about US and world history to original treasures like the faked Pawn Stars, UFO Hunters, and the equally fake Swamp People. This has all presumably been in an effort to make more money, but as the Countess Luann of Real Housewives of New York City would say, "Money can't buy you class."
When Swamp People premiered in 2010, it seemed like the exploitative reality drama about Cajuns that the world needed. Unfortunately, over the first eight seasons, it has evolved into a parody of itself as more viewers have become savvy to its manipulative editing techniques. Plus, it's not as much about the Cajun lifestyle as it is about ultra-dramatic confrontations with alligators, since the show mostly follows backwoods folk as they hunt gators for a living.
This list is not about the questionable morality of hunting gators. That's shaky ground, as the state of Louisiana actually encourages gator hunting as a way to curb the reptile's alarming population growth. This list is about fake reality TV and how Swamp People lies to you. As it turns out, those gator wrestling matches aren't as dramatic as they look. Read on below to find out more about how Swamp People is stretching the truth.
They Aren't Such A Tight 'Family' After All
Swamp People portrays Cajun folk as having a strong moral code and work ethic, but their camaraderie and loyalty don't hold up when the cameras aren't rolling. When a chunk of the cast was fired going into Season 7, one fired cast member had this to say:
"It’s funny how all of us cast members have always said there’s nothing more important than family and a true family sticks together through thick and thin. So, some cast members (and I won’t say who) should practice what we preach and preach what we practice to keep family together!"
Not All The Gators Are As Big As The Ones Seen On TV
Why does every alligator on this show turn out to be ginormous? Some fans have posed that question, and they may be onto something. While the state of Louisiana declares that many of its gators can grow over 500 pounds, it's unlikely that every gator these folks catch is a monster.
It's more likely that producers waste film reel on a lot of scenes with smaller gators that don't make final cut.
It Hyper-Spiritualizes The Molineres To Play Up Native American Stereotypes
RJ Molinere and his son, Jay Paul, were brought onto Swamp People when producers decided the show needed a Native American presence. According to a relative of the duo, the Molineres aren't actually as "spiritual" in real life as they are on screen.
This suggests that while the Molineres are real members of the Houma Nation, their on-screen rituals, such as keeping malicious spirits at bay by lighting candles, are most likely not representative of their real day-to-day lives.
Catching A Gator Leaves No Room For Artsy Fartsy Camera Shots
The gator wrestling scenes are impressively shot, but that comes at a cost: realism. There's no way to get multiple shooting angles in the heat of a wrestling bout without staging some of it. While gator wrestling is inherently dramatic, it's very likely that producers have to pre-film the swamp people pretending to shoot at things. They're probably just shooting at the water in most of these shots.
They've probably also been floating around on that boat for three hours waiting on producers to get just the right lighting for their climactic gator battle.