The sad reality of "Pimp My Ride"


I spent several years volunteering at my college video production group. I produced a creative tv show, and I worked on all types of no budget campus productions. I thought it was so much more fun and creative than what I watched on tv.

I am always surprised by how people buy into what is on tv; I think working behind the scenes has changed my perspective so much that I forget most people never know how easy it is to fake things to look functional on video.

Recently I was talking with a co-worker about the show Property Bros and he was talking about how they people on the show can never see past the dirt and outdated cabinets. I had to stop him to explain that the people on the show already own the house that they end up rehabbing when they get selected for the show, and how they shoot the whole thing in six days, and how the Property Bros do not do the work but have a crew out there and they just show up for the shoot days. And he was so disappointed. I was upset by how deflated he was; I thought everyone knew Reality shows were pretend.


Hmmm. That’s odd. I usually associate products and services branded with the term ‘Pimp’, ‘Pimpin’, or ‘Pimp my ______’ with the highest level of quality and integrity.


Pimy My Keyboard is legit, though. Easiest way to get custom keycaps at a reasonable price. I guess there’s always an exception to the rule.

edit: link for the curious

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My God. Something on TV was misleading?


Pimpin’ ain’t easy.


Previous commentary I’d read on the subject suggested that those appearing on the show promptly sold their cars, as if they ultimately valued having cash on hand more than having a sweet-looking ride. A novel perspective, this.

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So…it was Reality TV? Oooh! I’ve got an idea for a new show: “Gimp my Ride”!


How about a reality game show called BTL, “Better Than Life” (after Red Dwarf) where people can be seen scheming ways to make ordinary life appear pale in comparison to sensational nonsense?


I wonder if the UK Pimp My Ride was just as fake. We already know that the presenter Tim Westwood is.

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“Reality TV” is an oxymoron.

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Ohhhh, niiiiiice!

Thought. Use those omnipresent blue-box CO2 laser engravers. This will make grooves on the keycaps (or just char the material, depends on what they are made from). The grooves then can be filled with a pigment/binder. Alternative is spray-painting the keycaps, then laser-engrave through to the base material. Maybe it would also work to coat the keycap top with some powdered meltable plastic (or maybe powdered metal?) in a water-soluble binder, then locally laser-melt it into the surface of the keycap, then wash off the unprocessed rest?

Some keyboards are silkscreened, some are laser-inscribed. The latter have keypads made from a plastic that is sensitized to absorb in near-IR and changes color permanently under laser beam exposure. The lasers used are usually Nd:YAG ones, with a galvo for sweeping of the beam; one keyboard takes a few seconds, I saw such thing in operation a couple times. There is some setup cost per batch, but then an arbitrary number of keyboards, and even individual keycaps (if you bother with setting up the machine for them and make yourself the jigs) down to one, can be made.

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Well, I’d assume that some of the shows, like the Orange County Choppers one, actually do the work that they document, simply because the whole premise of the show is that they’re really good at what they do, and it would be too easy for someone who got a custom chopper to post pictures of the work falling apart not too long afterward. But that’s because the premise rides on quality, whereas with something like this, it’s more on the sheer novelty. Nobody cares if the on-board aquarium springs a leak six months from now because it was already old and tired before then.


Yes, from the research I’ve read on the Property Brothers, it sounds like people actually like their work and that they do much more than is shown on the show. So, the work itself is genuine and the acting is fake.

Nice link. They are refreshingly honest about their supply chain.

Once the group is large enough, we send production orders to the Industrial Colony on the slave planet, Earth.


Look, there are two things you don’t do:

  1. tell my kids Santa isn’t real
  2. tell my wife Property Brothers isn’t real

If you have to pick one, go with the first, there’ll be less crying and screaming.

As far as “Reality TV” goes, the PB shows are somewhat entertaining. Love It or List It (the original, not 2), Rehab Addict and FixerUpper are also good. I miss “Design Star” - that was interesting.

Oddly enough, the only SyFy show watched in the house is my wife when she tunes in to “Face Off”.

Anybody who wishes to challenge my geek-creds will get beaten with a stack of Murray Leinster paperbacks.

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Complex mods to a less than stellar car to begin with under a low budget and a rushed schedule? What could go wrong?

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You may have missed the part where they often had the cars for six months.

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Yeah I posted that before I read the whole thing.

That’s assuming there isn’t some sort of non-disparagement clause buried in the contracts that participants have to sign. Even if they aren’t necessarily valid from a legal point of view, you’d still have to prove that in court.

I’ve always had the opinion that “reality TV isn’t,” and nothing I’ve seen has convinced me otherwise.