The question “is Wicked Tuna real” has been a query fans of the show have had almost since it first aired. Every week, there tends to be a discussion online about whether or not all the action takes place spontaneously. The flipside is that there are plenty of people who think all the action is staged.
The bottom line is that people are always going to have some doubts about whether or not a reality television show is “real.”
There are plenty of tales of MTV reality dramas about pretty teens who come from quite a bit of money driving up the drama for the camera. These same youths are attempting to trick folks at home into thinking that the drama they’re experiencing in their inner circle is real. More often than not, those very dramatic segments are entirely scripted.
The fact of the matter is that different reality tv shows have different levels of “realness.” When it comes to the questioning “is Wicked Tuna real” the answer is “kind of.”
Wicked Tuna, Real Fishermen
When talking about shows like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, or The Real World, you’re talking about people paid to sit around and argue. However, Wicked Tuna features people who are fishermen.
These are people who do go to work on their boats. They do go after bluefin tuna. They’re very good at their jobs. That’s why the show started in the first place.
In this instance, producers didn’t decide to go find pretty people to do a job they didn’t understand. That’s one reason the stars of the show look like people likely expect them to. They are real people doing a real job.
Cast Members Confirm
Members of the show have gone on record to state that while every aspect of the job isn’t perfectly represented in the span of 42 minutes, the general vibe is accurate. Captain TJ Ott once said the show depicts what his job is like pretty well.
“They’ve done a good job showing the hardship.” Ott said in one interview. “What people maybe don’t see is the hours. You see some seasons are great, some are a struggle. It’s not an easy racket.”
Editing Rather Than Scripting
Where the claims of scripted moments come in, is when there’s a dramatic argument or fight on a ship. None of the cast members have ever admitted those moments were fake.
It’s also important to remember the situation surrounding those moments. These are men that are far from shore. They work long hours and don’t get a ton of off time. Sometimes an argument that looks like it started from nothing, is simply people having short fuses.
That’s not to say there isn’t also some creative editing. The showrunners might not show everything that led up to an event. They might also avoid showing the deescalation. However, when talking about “is Wicked Tuna real,” it seems like it mostly is authentic.