Ooh, I was hoping for a discussion of this.
I don’t know if it was this show or the other one that did Atheist/Christian, but I did watch that one and looked into what the people said afterward, due to my (non)religious affiliation.
From that, I learned that the producers don’t just encourage eccentricity and show the most extreme clips, they sift through tons of footage, splicing together disparate moments, and even combining audio with unrelated video, to create a fantasy level of weirdness, in accordance with the labels they’ve chosen for each family/member.
They even make participants sign a contract agreeing that the show can flat out lie about them and totally misrepresent everything, and they have no action for defamation.
Knowing that, it was obvious to me that they asked the (obviously already theatrical) pirate family to ham it up a bit, and they used the results of one posed shoot (“AAARRRRR!”) over and over again. I told my husband, I bet the dog just happened to get fleas before the shoot (i.e., it wasn’t an accepted condition in the house), and the producers probably wet their pants with excitement when they heard of it.
I’m sure most of the conflict is accentuated, if not actually contrived. For instance, I seriously doubt two utilities workers came for payment coincidentally while Organizer Woman was there, and she just happened to have enough cash on her ($400+) to pay them.
The most egregious instance was during a discussion of the fleas, when Pirate Dad obviously must have said, “*Not one * of our children has come down with some strange dread disease due to dirty conditions in the house,” (paraphrasing somewhat). The show featured him saying, “One of our children has come down with some strange dread disease due to dirty conditions in the house!” I thought that was pretty damned low. In fact, I didn’t believe it and rewound to assure myself I was wrong - I wasn’t.
Clearly they also want to depict the organizer as completely demented (“measuring cups” and “large measuring cups” was kind of amusing, not to mention “thongs.”) Mostly they went after the daughter, making it look like she was minutes away from an ulcer and/or eating disorder due to her mother’s immense anal-retentiveness.
Basically I think the people who make this show are scum. I watched it because I knew of the pirates from this board and I was curious. No more!
(That said, I thought some of Tori’s actions were hilarious, such as licking the floor and sending the repayment in a treasure box.)