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A front row seat to the emotional carnage of relationships destroyed by betrayal and infidelity is this blogcritic's guilty pleasure.

DVD Review: The Best of Cheaters, Vol. 1

According to KRIS-TV website out of Corpus Christi, TX, four men employed by the reality show Cheaters, including host Joey Greco, director Hunter Carson and two security guards, have been indicted on charges of assault with bodily injury, unlawful restraint and hindering apprehension as a result of a confrontation between a woman and her estranged husband over her relationship with a Fort Worth police captain.

To see for yourself first-hand how the Cheaters’ crew operates in action, there is no better place to start than with The Best of Cheaters, Volume 1, a television series that provides a front row seat to the emotional carnage that results when a relationship, either gay and straight, ends due to betrayal and infidelity.

Cheaters, a successfully syndicated show since 2000, is the synthesis of two of the milestones of the reality show genre. It combines COPS and The Jerry Springer Show as philandering significant others are investigated and confronted by injured parties; all caught on camera for our sordid voyeuristic pleasure.

I can’t tell if the show’s opening is serious or an attempt by the producers to conceal their exploitation of people’s misery for fun and profit. The show refers to itself as “inspirational chronicles of humankind.” It then goes on to state that the show is “dedicated to the faithful and presented to the false-hearted to encourage their renewal of temperance and virtue.” A noble sentiment to be sure, but there would be no show without the false-hearted, so whom are they kidding?

Each episode of Cheaters has the same series of events, beginning with an introduction from the client about their relationship. Then, the investigation begins with detectives trailing the loved ones and recording their activities. And you can be certain that there are always activities of an adulterous nature because a show entitled Faithful wouldn’t make for compelling television. Hidden cameras that the client has installed in their home record some of these activities, which are usually pornographic.

Once the case is made that the loved one has been cheating, the client is presented the information, which leads to the confrontation because “resignation” and “acceptance” also don’t make for compelling television. The client, the program’s host and a number of camera crews swoop in on the unsuspecting adulterer in different stages of transgression, anywhere from holding hands to coitus. The emotions fly as the client expresses pain and outrage, both verbally and at times physically, while the host voices moral outrage to the loved one and the paramour. Most times, the camera crews baffle the loved one, but there are a few cool customers who try to deny their shenanigans with an “are you going to believe your eyes or me” attitude.

I used to wonder if Cheaters was real or fake. While admittedly the events are so unbelievable that no writer could make them up, I couldn’t understand how the camera was always in the right spot or how the cheaters would allow their faces to be shown, but after sitting through the entire set, I have no doubt they are authentic after the run-ins the crew had with the police and managers of the establishments where the confrontations occurred.

The oddest thing is that every episode suggests the viewer go to the show’s website and take part in their dating service, but I can’t imagine that relationships would be at the top of anyone’s list after watching the program.

Cheaters is available as a three-DVD set and an uncensored four-DVD set. The set selects episodes from the show’s entire run. It includes episodes with original host Tommy Grand and the most infamous episode when an adulterer stabs host Joey Greco in the stomach with a small fishing knife.

I prefer the uncensored version and I’m sure all fans of the show will as well, but the fourth disc is actually a 90-minute compilation called “Too Hot For Broadcast”, comprised of seven episodes from the three other discs that have been shortened to feature episode highlights. The client interviews are cut out and the investigations are shortened. It appears to have been used for something like a Pay-Per-View program.

Uncensoring these episodes is a brilliant move because those who enjoy watching this show, like myself, certainly want to gorge our depraved appetites on all the profanity, nudity and sexual activity that’s available. It is well worth the price difference.

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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