Spontaneous or staged? Do we care?

Did you see the video going around of the young couple who were singing at the gas pump on Jay Leno? If not, check it out:

When I first watched the video I loved it. I thought, wow, that guy has a great voice! He has great presence! I mean, how many of us, if caught at a gas station humming would have the guts to belt out Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer?” His wife was sitting in the car busting up laughing. When she got out of the car to sing the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” and stopped to do a “dance break,” I was astounded because she could also sing and had great stage presence. What a lovely couple! They knew the songs, had good singing voices, could dance, and were totally in sync. The whole video made me smile.

Not long after it went viral, I started to hear the talk that it was all staged. The couple are actors, it was said, who moved to L.A. to become famous. They went to that gas station regularly, hoping to be picked so they could sing.


I started having those nagging doubts about what I’d seen. They were both so good. They both knew every word to the songs they sang, every inflection, every break, even the back-up singing spots. They never faltered in their songs. It was all quite perfect and perhaps quite…rehearsed. The couple, of course, deny that it was rigged.

I felt so disappointed at the thought that it was possibly staged.

I’ve been wondering why I felt disappointed by the thought the whole scene might have been staged or planned by the couple. What difference does it make if some young couple regularly goes to that gas station in the hopes of becoming famous? Really, what could it possibly matter to my life.

I think what is disappointing is that I feel as if NOTHING is spontaneous anymore. Nothing seems REAL anymore. It is so hard to tell what is real and what is fake.

Every day I’m on Facebook and it seems that as I go through my newsfeed, I’m constantly questioning if what I see is real. I see a beautiful picture of a cathedral at sunset and wonder if the colors were electronically enhanced or if the sunset really was that stunning. I read an inspirational quote and wonder if the person attributed to that quote actually said it or not (I used to look them up to check, but don’t do that anymore). I see news stories about politics or religion and feel like I have to check them on Snopes to discover if they are true or not. I see a funny picture and wonder if the “hysterical photo bomb” is real or Photoshopped.

I’m at a store and see a magazine with a beautiful woman on the cover with the words, “find out how [name your celebrity] stays so thin at 40!” and I cynically say to myself, “photoshop”. I don’t believe any person on any magazine cover looks at all in real life like they look on those magazines.

I see young people posting youtube videos of funny things that supposedly happened spontaneously, and I don’t believe them. It all looks fake and contrived to make us laugh. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making something up to make people laugh, but when you act as if it is spontaneous and it’s not…it feels to me like I’ve been cheated.

Every single day I feel bombarded with information that is faulty or is really just a big lie. I grow weary of having to wade through it to find out whether the information is true or not. I feel disappointed when I find out that something I thought was funny for its spontaneity was planned and staged.

So, that is why I hope the viral video of that couple is real. That is why I hope they didn’t stage it and plan it. I don’t want to feel, yet again, that I was duped.

I think I just really want to believe that fun, spontaneous, and funny things can still happen. I want to believe that there is a couple out there who are so comfortable with singing and dancing that they’ll do it at a gas station in front of a surprising hidden camera.

What about you? Do you think the whole interaction was real or staged? Do you care? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by having to wade through so much information and having to decipher it’s truth? Do you feel let down when something you thought was spontaneous turns out to have been staged?

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