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Mystery Diners


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#1

ButterflyRei

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 12:35 AM

From the Food Network website:

When a restaurant owner suspects employees of not doing their jobs whether it be stealing, lying, mistreating customers or generally doing lousy work they call in the Mystery Diners. These Mystery Diners are undercover operatives who go into restaurants, bars and food service establishments with hidden cameras to perform surveillance to find out what's really going on when the boss isn't around.
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#2

backformore

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 12:58 AM

I've seen two episodes. I don't know - is this real? Because the two doofuses who managed the restaurants were like carbon copies of each other. Lazy, poor managers, trying to rip off their boss. Almost TOO bad to be real.
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#3

maggiethebeagle

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 9:20 AM

I agree backformore. I saw the German restaurant one last night and it seemed very staged & acted to me.
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#4

lu1wml

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 9:28 AM

The chef Dave really seemed like he thought it was no big deal, "it's only food."
I was afraid the owner was going to have heart attack.
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#5

AFDiva

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 10:33 AM

It was interesting, but I too wondered if it was re-enacted.
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#6

kingb

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 10:49 AM

This is like a low-key version of Restaurant Stakeout -- without the bluster...
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#7

jade76

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 11:24 AM

This is the German place's website. Apparently they were also on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.


http://hausmurphys.com/


This is like a low-key version of Restaurant Stakeout -- without the bluster...


I thought the same thing.
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#8

Tyrone Biggums

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Posted May 26, 2012 @ 1:59 PM

Fake, fake, fake. There was not an ounce of realism in this show. Even the "aunt's" face as she said "we're gonna have to let you go" made me want to vomit. If you're gonna put on a staged show like this, at least get people who know how to act.

I agree with a poster upthread that the only thing this was missing was the fat New York dude in the pink tie showing up and yelling at people.

What, FN, you don't have another competitive cooking show to run? I guess I should be thankful that the dreadful Penny isn't given that timeslot, but I'd rather see Guy Feeeee-etti farting for 30 minutes than watch this dreck.
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#9

AladdinSane

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Posted May 27, 2012 @ 7:37 PM

A real 'mystery diner' TV show is a great idea that probably couldn't <legally> be pulled off in the litigious USA, without it quickly becoming the 'Bad Girls Club cooking show' or somesuch <shudder>
BBC/America had a terrific (read:not staged..) show 'Ramsays Best Restaurant' where GR used 'mystery diners' as part of the criteria searching for the UK's "best" restaurant.
It was the nurturing GR, not the braying jackass marketed to the USA audience and the mystery diner segments alone made the program worth watching.
Episodes available HERE on the BBC America website.

Edited by AladdinSane, May 27, 2012 @ 7:42 PM.

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#10

Northwester

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Posted May 28, 2012 @ 3:20 AM

I only saw the German restaurant episode, but I was thinking that the manager, who was made out to be a crook and a bufoon, would've had to agree to let the footage of him be aired. Which means that either it was all faked, or that they paid him enough money to compensate for the public humiliation.

The fact that this restaurant was already on Guy Fieri's 3D greatly adds to suspicion that this show was fiction.

I always felt that on Restaurant Stakeout some of the worst employees were being instructed to act that way. (But then, I'm convinced much of what happens on GR's Kitchen Nightmare, at least the American version, is also scripted. For one thing, I've eaten in countless restaurants over the years, and it's very rare to see someone send a dish back, no matter how dissatisfied they are. But on every episode on KN, during the dinner service half the dishes are sent back)

It cracks me up in the intro to Mystery Diners when they say that they have done this in thousands of restaurants. Thousands? Really? And we've never heard of this before?
And how could you set up cameras all over a restaurant and turn a back room into a TV control center without any of the employees knowing it?

Edited by Northwester, May 28, 2012 @ 3:22 AM.

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#11

Nightlark

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Posted May 28, 2012 @ 10:21 AM

Episodes available HERE on the BBC America website.

Boo, it would not let me watch. This show did seem fake. I think there could be an interesting show but unfortunately, at least for me,this isn't it.
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#12

BooksRule

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Posted May 28, 2012 @ 10:55 AM

I realized that most 'candid' shows have scripted moments, some segments are filmed out of order and there is much editing, but this is the first show where I felt that every single moment of it was staged. I did think that they were the real owners (because the acting was so, so bad), but not once did I think that what they were saying was genuine. I only saw the German restaurant one, but one was enough. I have no desire to see any more of them. I would love to see comments from someone who works there and can maybe shed a little light on the 'background'.

Also, I don't really know the law, but can you put cameras all over a place of business (even in the 'staff only' areas) without patrons/employees knowing about them? I work at a university, and we are required to put signs on the front door of the building where I work that state that the premises are being videotaped at all times.
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#13

AladdinSane

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Posted May 28, 2012 @ 11:14 AM

fellow Northwester: its funny isn't it?
The common denominator of these alleged hidden camera shows is that (implausibly?) the thieving boobs will sign-off and allow their faces to be shown, yet some of the inconsequential, background faces are pixellated, as if they were unwilling to sign a release.
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#14

lu1wml

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Posted May 28, 2012 @ 1:23 PM

The common denominator of these alleged hidden camera shows is that (implausibly?) the thieving boobs will sign-off and allow their faces to be shown, yet some of the inconsequential, background faces are pixellated, as if they were unwilling to sign a release.

I figured in some cases, like Dave the caterer, the choice was sign or face prosecution.
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#15

Albanyguy

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Posted May 28, 2012 @ 8:31 PM

I figured in some cases, like Dave the caterer, the choice was sign or face prosecution.


I thought the same thing. Assuming that this was at all real and not completely staged, I couldn't imagine any other reason why the owner wouldn't have called the cops and had the creep arrested for theft. Especially snce Dave didn't show any sign of humility or contrition, but instead started in with the "How can you do this to me?!?!" bullshit.

Restaurants take a chef stealing food and using the equipment to run a little side business of his own very, very seriously. It's especially serious when the chef, like Dave, is ignoring the customers because he's busy doing his own thing. At one restaurant where I worked, the chef was fired and prosecuted for theft on less evidence than they had against Dave. The guy pled guilty to a lesser charge and received probation, but was washed up in the business (word spread fast).

Dave might very well have chosen to sign off on appearing on the show to avoid prosecution, especially since he seemed to think he was in the right anyway. He seemed just arrogant and stupid enough to think that any appearance on the Food Network would be a good career move.

Edited by Albanyguy, May 28, 2012 @ 8:33 PM.

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#16

Auruor

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Posted May 29, 2012 @ 11:18 AM

Agreed that this show was disappointing and felt completely scripted. As soon as I watched the episode featuring the German restaurant, I immediately came to TWOP to see if others were as flabbergasted by its obvious fake-ness as I was.

If Dave did sign off on appearing on the show to avoid prosecution, I find that equally mystifying. Wouldn't you rather quietly and anonymously face prosecution than be outed as a thief on national TV? I think I would.

And Gunnar had to have signed a release beforehand. Everything about that episode felt fake. The conversations with the waitstaff, Gunnar's self-consciously over-the-top behavior... everything.
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#17

ScrubMonkey

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Posted May 29, 2012 @ 11:35 AM

I don't know if the German restaurant episode was entirely faked. I think some of the staff definitely knew. They were mostly on too good behavior, and some were going out of their way to engage Gunner. He seemed like the type you'd try to avoid if you worked there.

I don't think he was in on it, though. He had a bead of sweat at the end; he turned around to look at the chart of faces like he was amazed; things like that. And I've known people just like him, sadly. Comic Book Guy types with enormous egos. I think he would've signed off on it afterward for some money or just to be on Tv, even if he did look bad. Look how many people go on those talk shows and tell all their dirty laundry and seem proud to be on television.
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#18

jennamfeo

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Posted May 30, 2012 @ 9:44 AM

Nevermind.

Edited by jennamfeo, Jun 19, 2012 @ 5:20 AM.

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#19

ElectricBoogalo

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Posted May 30, 2012 @ 5:09 PM

Heh, so Gunnar wasn't your husband?

Thanks for confirming how fake this show is. I hate when they try to convince us that this kind of staged crap is real.
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#20

Tucson

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Posted May 30, 2012 @ 7:18 PM

This does make more sense now; I couldn't understand how they could use that footage of the doofus-of-the-week committing theft and then not turning him into the police. I also thought it was funny/odd that both places so far were in the Phoenix area. Did they put out a local cattle call for this show? The other restaurant in Gilbert is just a few miles from where I live. I can see where this super staged format isn't going to last long although I do appreciate that the mystery diners don't rant and rave like on Restaurant Stakeout.
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#21

ScrubMonkey

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Posted May 31, 2012 @ 12:17 PM

Gunnar was an actor along with the other waitresses.


What the heck.

The actors were all very 'real' looking. Maybe they weren't L.A. actors. Or maybe they were non union. Maybe they worked for Mystery Diner too.

Didn't the uncle and aunt have to sign an NDA?
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#22

lu1wml

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Posted Jun 1, 2012 @ 10:36 PM

Why didn't they stop this earlier? They let the owner go in by herself and send all those drunks off, knowing that they'd had too much to drink in her bar, and she knew it.
I'd think she'd have been responsible, even though she wasn't there, and it was done without her permission.
Last time, the show people went in with the owner.
Was this again in Arizona? I saw a cactus.
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#23

Spyral

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Posted Jun 1, 2012 @ 10:46 PM

Why didn't they stop this earlier?

'Cause they were likely all actors who hadn't really been drinking...

Yep, it was in Cave Creek, AZ - just north of Phoenix.
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#24

lu1wml

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Posted Jun 1, 2012 @ 11:15 PM

Even though they were actors, supposedly this should be a reenactment of what happened, and in a real case, drunks shouldn't have been allowed to drive away.
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#25

runningoutofnam

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Posted Jun 2, 2012 @ 5:33 AM

Also, I don't really know the law, but can you put cameras all over a place of business (even in the 'staff only' areas) without patrons/employees knowing about them?


Only as part of a criminal investigation and to not have the footage aired without trying to get consent out of everybody or blurring people.

Also yes people would have their faces put out national tv to avoid being sent to jail for years since the jail sentence would mean zero job prospects whereas face on national tv likely you will run into people who wouldn't recognize you.
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#26

Spyral

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Posted Jun 2, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

Even though they were actors, supposedly this should be a reenactment of what happened, and in a real case, drunks shouldn't have been allowed to drive away.


I'm not sure in that case if the restaurant would be liable. Probably to some extent, since "Claire" was still in the role as a representative for the restaurant. Probably given the situation, the owner's liquor license would be suspended and the situation investigated, and she'd be excused of any responsibility. Just a guess.
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#27

davout1806

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Posted Jun 2, 2012 @ 11:06 AM

I wonder how long the woman owner supposedly waited before calling in "Mystery Diners"? If I had lost $4000 in a month, I certainly wouldn't have waited long. I have no problem with it being a re-enactment, but they need to get better actors.

Also, if anyone had seen the episode with the woman bartender stealing, why would they hire her (as they admitted she had been hired in the "4 months later segment")?
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#28

ScrubMonkey

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Posted Jun 2, 2012 @ 7:11 PM

I wish they'd just say it's a re-enactment at the beginning of each episode. I don't mind that in true crime shows, why would I mind it in petty pilfering shows.

This show does make me glad I don't own a dining or drinking establishment. I like to think I'd have better judgment hiring people, but never know. Some people are really good at getting over. I couldn't believe whoever this really was, was out there working again. Probably pulling the same scams.

The acting wasn't as good this time.
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#29

smind

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Posted Jun 3, 2012 @ 4:56 PM

Did I miss the part where the waitress/thief turned in the stolen fake money?
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#30

Auruor

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Posted Jun 4, 2012 @ 7:50 AM

Well, I don't know about the other episodes but I know for a fact that the episode at the German restaurant was fake because that is my aunt and uncle's restaurant. The owners were real, but Gunnar was an actor along with the other waitresses. I believe it was loosely based on a situation that they actually had with a previous manager who was fired.


I KNEW the whole thing felt scripted...

Eh. Maybe if they really repackaged the show, and make it CLEAR that these are re-enactments, then maybe I'd have some interest in watching. As it is, I lost interest after the first two painfully fake shows.

Having worked in the restaurant industry (waitress/bartender) for eight years through college and immediately after, I came into this show (and Restaurant Stakeout) with a lot of incredulity -- there is simply no way this stuff would fly if it were really happening live. Restaurants CAN be and HAVE been held legally liable (at least in Minnesota, where I live) for allowing an obviously inebriated person to leave to drive themselves home. One of the first things you learn as a bartender, if you receive proper training, is when/how to cut people off. I've called cabs for people a number of times and all but forced them to take the cab rather than drive. I was not interested in getting sued if that person got in a car and killed someone.

Also yes people would have their faces put out national tv to avoid being sent to jail for years since the jail sentence would mean zero job prospects whereas face on national tv likely you will run into people who wouldn't recognize you.


I'm sure this is highly subjective and depends on the person, but for me it would depend on the severity of the punishment. If we're talking fairly low-level fraud or theft without a major prison sentence (fines or community service) I'd rather go to court than be outed as a thief on TV. But it sounds like all these peoples are actors anyway, so the point is moot.
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