The real deal or nah? My 600-Lb. Life has been a fan-favorite on TLC since it first premiered in February 2012. Still, many loyal viewers of the hit docuseries often wonder if the drama they see on the show is 100 percent authentic.
Show alum Steven Assanti answered that question in a since-deleted, live-streamed Facebook video in January 2018. According to the Rhode Island native, there’s no acting involved — but he did admit that producers asked him to reshoot scenes on more than one occasion.
“Is this show real? Yes. Is it acting? No. Is it exhausting? Yes. Very. So exhausting to the point that there are days that I don’t even want to film. And I try to avoid being filmed, but the camera crew — especially one of them in particular — is so persistent that he will continue to knock on the door, and knock on the door, and knock on the door until you can’t stand it anymore … It’s just a lot of work,” Steven said, per Starcasm. “A lot of filming, a lot of days put in.”
He added, “I don’t really — and I can’t really — tell you what the process is, because … I could get sued. There’s a lot of filming involved, a lot of retakes. And it’s a lot of work for someone who’s morbidly obese.”
Some former My 600-Lb. Life stars also revealed they were bullied online after their episodes aired. “I would rather seek out options before signing away the rights to my name, my life, etc. [sic],” Steven’s brother, Justin Assanti, wrote on Reddit in 2018. “I went from no one knowing I existed to being harassed all day on social media, my business and phone calls. I wouldn’t do it again.”
Despite the hard work that goes into filming a reality show, Steven revealed in his video chat that he hopes to capitalize on the notoriety he gained from his appearance on My 600-Lb. Life.
“I enjoy it. Because … I mean, it’s something that I would like to do for a living, I guess. In show business — I’d like to build on that,” he continued. “You know, build on my appearance on reality TV and make it something that’s worth it.”
Despite Steven’s claims that the show isn’t scripted, several fans have taken to social media to discuss their theories that My 600-Lb. Life isn’t authentic.
In 2020, one skeptic wrote that there was “absolutely no creativity in the film making.”
“Awkward scripts and VO. Obvious manipulation of the rather predictable storylines,” the viewer continued. “Creation of one dimensional characters that miss the richness of their personal stories. Technical disasters like the audio editing.”
Others agreed, with another social media user adding that the later seasons “have just been frustrating to watch.”