What if the stars of a reality show didn’t know it?
Scott Anderson as Dennis and Evanston native Joey Christopolous as Craig in the Showtime miniseries, "Reality Show."
airs at 10:30 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 20 on Showtime.
Updated: November 7, 2012 2:36PM
Reality shows aren’t real.
That’s because people behave differently when they know that they are being filmed. But what if a family didn’t know they were the subject of a reality show?
That’s the premise behind Oak Park native Adam Rifkin’s new TV miniseries, “Reality Show.” Rifkin is the writer, director, executive producer and star of the show which began airing on Showtime Nov. 1.
“I thought it’s time that somebody satirized the reality television show world,” said Rifkin, a 45-year-old who has been writing and directing films since he was 19. “I wanted to do it in a really biting, really dark, funny kind of way. I thought what better way than to have an evil reality show producer and the lengths he’ll go to to get the best show possible.” Rifkin plays that producer, Mickey Wagner.
In the series, it turns out that the Warwicks, the family Wagner chose for his new show, are b-o-r-i-n-g. So he decides to spice up the program by making things happen to them, from stealing the family’s dog to sabotaging the couple’s marriage and the husband’s career.
Kelley Menighan Hensley, who once again calls Glenview home, plays Katherine Warwick. Her face will be familiar to fans of the soap opera, “As the World Turns,” because Hensley played Emily Stewart on that show for 18 years up until the soap opera was cancelled in 2010.
“The biggest project that I’ve done outside of ‘As the World Turns’ is this crazy Showtime project,” Hensley said. She thought the script was hysterical and especially wanted to do the project when she learned that writer Rifkin was from the Chicago area.
“Katherine Warwick is your quintessential happy, happy housewife,” Hensley said. “She doesn’t wear a pinch of makeup. She is unaware of herself in every way — sexually, physically, mentally. She has this great husband who’s this sweet man. She crafts with her friends. She’s blissfully happy in that self-unawareness.”
Then, because of the manipulations of the producer of the show in which she doesn’t realize she’s a character, Katherine changes. Creator Rifkin admitted he had a blast figuring out ways to mess with those unaware Warwicks. “I was tapping into my sinister side,” he joked. “There are so many ideas that we didn’t get a chance to get to. I want to explore them further in future seasons.”
Of course, that will depend on whether audience response is good enough for Showtime to pick up another season of “Reality Show.” Rifkin is hopeful that people will be ready for “Reality.”