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Ken Tarr's Reality TV Racket 

What happens when a hoax is launched on an industry immune to shame?

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He talked about his "caravan's" rules concerning infidelity: Men can cheat; women can't. Worse, Cynthia wasn't accepting of gypsy culture. "I don't see her dancing around bonfires," Cunningham conceded.

In the second segment, a young, naive couple from Chicago emerged from the wings. The woman suspected that her fiancé was cheating on her and somehow convinced him to fly to New York and take a lie-detector test. He failed.

Devastated, she jumped to her feet and sprinted out of the studio, screaming, then collapsed in a wrecked heap in a back hallway. As the young woman sobbed convulsively, Cunningham left the stage and knelt reverently beside her, trailed by cameramen. A producer admonished the crowd in hushed tones. "Be respectful. She's having a hard time."

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During the third act, designed as the therapeutic segment, an in-house psychologist attempted to advise both couples on their relationships. Tarr promptly hit on her. "You look good," he cooed. "You look good."

"I am a happily married woman, sir," she responded tartly. "I have a wonderful husband who meets all of my needs."

Finally, it was over. The audience gnawed at wan-looking pizza in the waiting room, then crawled outside as if they were leaving a Rust Belt strip club. The episode aired May 13.

Tarr, Rudd, and J.C. each were given $200 in cash and ushered to separate cars, which immediately took them to the airport.

"The producers typically want to get rid of guests as fast as they can," Tarr says. "They are your best friends, then they treat you like a whore when you are done."

But on this day, it was clear, the roles were reversed.

See also: Doron Ofir: The King of Reality TV Casting

Reach the writer at grayman@villagevoice.com.

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