Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A look back at the 2014 dating show "I Wanna Marry Harry," in which 24 women were falsely told the man they were wooing was Prince Harry

Refinery29 has along article about the series, which is available at Youtube. Contestants says entire scenes were constructed by the producers by splicing unrelated moments together:

It wasn’t easy for producers to convince the contestants they were dating Prince Harry. Throughout much of filming, many of the women didn’t know what to believe. Three contestants who spoke to Refinery29 painted a picture of vulnerability and confusion that was achieved through isolation techniques, heavy-handed clues, and just plain gaslighting from the producers, resulting in one of the most ludicrous, elaborate — but ultimately forgotten — reality shows of the past decade.

“[The] logical part of my brain was telling me this does not look like Prince Harry. This is an absolute ridiculous premise. This would never happen in real life,” Birch said in her heavy Long Island accent during a phone call. Now an actress, she doesn’t sound much different than the tanned, dark-haired, optimistic Meadow Soprano-esque contestant first seen on screen. “But the other part of your brain is being completely brainwashed. You're secluded from your friends and family, you have no access to any sort of media outlet, and you are in this castle [being told that] if you're questioning if this is Prince Harry or not, you're crazy.”

It wasn’t like Birch could turn to her fellow contestants for reassurance: The women weren’t allowed to talk to each other between filming, according to contestant Meghan Jones.

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“When people first started saying they thought it was Prince Harry, I right away was like, Oh my God, no, you can't be that dumb,” she explained, saying she attempted to steal moments with fellow contestants in the bathroom to help them see reason.