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There are all kinds of skills you need to thrive on a reality show. One skill that turns up again and again in competition shows, though? The ability to lie.
Yep, many shows throughout the years have rewarded the person who is best at manipulating others in the competition. They're not necessarily deceptive people in real life ... but in order to snag the top prize, they have to tell some fibs and put on a good face. It's a skill not everyone has, as made evident by these reality series.
These are the best shows to watch if you enjoy watching a game of wits — and maybe the best shows to go on yourself if you're confident in your ability to lie!
It's one of the reality TV classics for a reason. Running for a whopping 43 seasons and counting, "Survivor" takes people out to the wilderness where they must try to meet their basic needs without any help for 39 days. They're split into tribes, often competing against the other groups in physical and mental challenges for rewards like food. It gets intense, though, as there are regular "Tribal Councils" where people must vote off one of their tribemates.
That means you have to win over your fellow teammates and convince them you're an asset — especially because once it gets down to a few people, a jury panel of the rest who were voted off get to decide who is the "Sole Survivor," aka the winner. Naturally, there's plenty of backstabbing, ally-building, bonding, and manipulation as people try to curry favor and get other contestants voted off.
"Snake In The Grass"
If you've ever played Werewolf or Mafia, you have a good idea of how the new USA Network series "Snake In The Grass" works. In each episode, four people are deposited into the jungles of Costa Rica for 36 hours. The hitch? One of them is a "Snake," aka a saboteur. The team competes in various challenges such as ziplining, completing puzzles, and building boats, all in an attempt to earn clues to the Snake's identity, giving the Snake even more reason to want them to fail.
Some Snakes opt to tell the truth throughout the game but do poorly in the challenges to prevent the team from getting a clue, while others do their best but maintain a false cover story the whole time. Either way, at the end of the 36 hours, the team must vote on who the Snake is. If they're right, the three other players get to split a cash prize. If they're wrong, the Snake walks away with it all.
"The Mole," which is quite similar to "Snake In The Grass," aired from 2001 to 2008 before debuting a revival season on Netflix this year. In each season of the show, several people are gathered into a group and given a series of missions. If they win a mission, more money is added to the prize pot the winner gets at the end. The issue is one person is secretly the "Mole" and is attempting to sabotage them the whole time.
Players are voted off each episode after a multiple-choice quiz, where whoever knows the least about the Mole's identity at that point is sent packing. Ultimately, if they guess who the Mole really is, the winners get the prize pot. If they don't, well, all that money goes to the Mole. Clearly, a nose for deception is needed to succeed at this game!
Dating is hard, especially because it can be difficult to figure out someone else's intentions. That's taken to the extreme on the HBO Max reality show "FBOY Island." Hosted by Nikki Glaser, the show brings three women to a villa at a beachside paradise where they meet 24 different men. Twelve of the men are "nice guys" who sincerely want love, while the other 12 are "FBOYS" who actually just want to win $100,000.
The women eliminate men in each episode as they get to know each other — and hopefully fall in love with some of them. The men do have to reveal what their intentions were when they're cut, but they don't go home just yet. Nice guys get to hang out and party in the beautiful "Nice Guy Grotto," while the FBOYS have to suffer in "Limbro," a makeshift beach camp that's lacking in luxury. If you're one of the men who are lying, there is a real incentive not to get caught.
In the end, the three women pick their soulmates. If they accidentally select an FBOY, that man gets to walk away with $100,000 — and the woman has to go home alone and heartbroken, hoping next time she chooses a little wiser.
Netflix series "The Circle" takes the possibility of catfishing on a dating app to a whole new level. Eight people live in one building with 24/7 surveillance, but they can't meet each other or leave their area. Instead, they talk to the other players on a social media platform called "The Circle." They can choose their own name and profile picture, even if it's entirely fake. The whole goal is to make the other players like them the most, though, as they spend the day sending private DMs to people and playing group games.
In each episode, everyone ranks the players from least favorite to most favorite, and the top two most-liked people get to eliminate one player from the game. New people are regularly brought in until the three weeks are up, and the most-liked person at the end wins a big cash prize.
Of course, a major part of the game is convincing people to like you, but it's also convincing people you're being authentic if you're actually catfishing them as well as being strategic about who you vote off. It's definitely a game for the cunning.
Much like "Survivor," this is one of the most beloved reality TV classics. Also like "Survivor," it's about both popularity and scheming. On this game show, a group of contestants is living in a house cut off from the outside world, with cameras documenting their moves 24/7. They compete in tasks each week, and the winner gets "Head Of Household" status. That comes with material perks, but also means they get to nominate two people for eviction. The other members of the house then select who they want to evict.
Naturally, that means it's crucial in this game for others to like you, but it's also important to build alliances and create strategies if you want to win. But be careful if you're considering betraying someone or manipulating people into voting someone else out — again, like "Survivor," it's a jury panel of the house members who were evicted that decides who wins at the end and gets the cash prize.
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