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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mystery Diners is fake (and then things get really weird...)

I was watching the new episode of Mystery Diners on mute while listening to the latest episode of Harmontown and playing Two Dots on my iPhone Monday night, when I thought, “Well, this is super fake.”  This wasn't the first time I'd had this identical thought while watching Mystery Diners in the identical way.  As a rule, I always mute my television when Mystery Diners comes on.  The host of the show could have a voice akin to that of a primordial dwarf child, as far as I know.  (If he does, let me know, because that might be worth un-muting my TV for.)

For those who don’t know, Mystery Diners is a reality show on the Food Network in which a mustachioed man and his team of secret agents (the titular diners), spy on the employees of a flailing restaurant at the behest of said eatery’s frustrated owners.  These owners know something fishy is going on when they’re not around, but instead of, you know, talking to their employees, they hire some dude to install hidden cameras everywhere and infiltrate the restaurant with his cadre of community theater actors playing customers and, sometimes, new employees.  The hijinks these cameras pick up and these mystery diners observe are often (i.e. always) utterly ridiculous and deeply suspect.  It doesn’t take a college education to figure out roughly five minutes into a Mystery Diners episode that what you’re watching is pure, unequivocal bullshit.

Monday night’s episode was set in an Italian restaurant in Las Vegas that offered live piano music and tableside magic. I don’t know what the owners’ issues were—because as I’ve mentioned, the TV was muted—but I do know when I looked up at the screen the first time, the piano player was giving away the secret behind the magician’s floating cigarette trick (via subtitles: “You know he does it with magnets, right?), and the second time, the magician was doing the old “yank-the-table-cloth-off-the-fully-set-table” thing (You remember that classic magic trick!) just as the piano player was walking by, sending the patrons’ dinners—including a bottle of wine—flying everywhere, and the piano player herself crashing to the floor in a flurry of red sauce and f-bombs.  One of the owners stormed in from the mustachioed gentleman’s command center (an abandoned building across the street, which I assume is purposefully kept abandoned for the purpose of secretly watching restaurant employees) at that point, and I turned off the TV because I was tired.

But before I closed my eyes and floated away to Dreamland, I typed the following three words into Google: Mystery. Diners. Fake.

First, I perused an article on Radar Online about how, WHAAAAA?!?, Mystery Diners is totally fake.  This information came from former employees of the restaurants that have been featured and what-have-you.  More importantly, there was a link to a Web site cleverly named MysteryDinersFraud.com.  I, obviously, clicked the link, and, well, oh boy.
First thing you’re gonna notice about Justin Tribble’s Mystery Diners Web site is all the wonderful advertising.  Then it will slowly dawn on you that, wait a minute, this is the ugliest Web site I’ve ever been to.  But that doesn’t matter, because Tribble is here to expose fakes, frauds and phonies, not win some kind of Best Web Site on the Internet: Fraud Exposing award.

But who is this Justin Tribble?  Well, why don’t I let him tell you:

Justin Tribble is a Christian man of faith dedicated to exposing frauds, fakes and liars who pervert the truth and prey on the weak and vulnerable. He has investigated numerous cases of fraud, exposed hoaxers and liars and has appeared on national television and numerous radio programs.”

While I “admire” Mr. Tribble’s dedication to exposing lying liars and schemers of all kinds, I’m not exactly sure how Mystery Diners “preys on the weak and vulnerable.”  I mean, if you want to watch it, muted while you play games on your phone or otherwise, go ahead.  Or don’t.  Mr. Tribble provides a list of all the restaurants featured on Mystery Diners and pleads with visitors to his site to “[p]lease do not patronize or support these restaurants!”  Again, I’m not sure how eating at one of the restaurants featured on Mystery Diners, or not eating at one, matters.  Food Network apparently doesn’t care that the show is largely made-up, and neither do fans of this family of reality programming.  Personally, I am not a fan of the “re-enactment based” reality shows, but if you are, go ahead and indulge.  We’re all gonna die anyway.  May as well enjoy yourself.

Justin Tribble is not content merely exposing the lies and frauds perpetrated upon the American public via the Mystery Diners team however.  He’s keen on taking down the Long Island Medium, the Ducky Dynasty guys, Dr. Oz, Storage Wars and the NSA.  He’s also pretty excited about the upcoming Man of Steel sequel.

The title of this post promised weirdness, and while you may have just assumed the situation couldn’t get any weirder, you are sorely mistaken.  Close to the bottom of MysteryDinersFraud.com, apropos of nothing, there is a picture of the young woman from the Wendy’s commercials, tied up with ropes.  Fully clothed, but restrained.  “The Wendy’s Girl is all tied up,” it reads next to the picture.  “Learn more at Wendys-Girl.com about Morgan Smith Goodwin.” Not knowing very much about Wendy’s latest spokesperson other than the fact that she hocks my favorite artery-clogging fast food items, I clicked the link.  What I found, was a little weird.

What the WTF?!?

Following some unattractive ads for Chuck E. Cheese and Hidden Valley Dip, we are greeted by a headshot of Morgan Smith Goodwin accompanied by a quote from Christian fraud exposer, Justin Tribble:

“She enchants me.  She is all I want and all I desire.”    -Justin Tribble, Wendys-Girl.com Webmaster

Ick.

For even more "ick," Tribble answers some very important Morgan Smith Goodwin questions, but puts his own creepy spin on things to make the proceedings that much more vomit-inducing.  Like his skin-crawling answer to the self-imposed question, "Do people just not realize how great she is?":


"Quite frankly, no, I don't think they realize it. She is a treasure. Is there a single woman who has captured more of Americans' hearts than Morgan Smith Goodwin? I cannot think of one. She is magical. No one looks like her. No one sounds like her. No female actress even comes close to how stupendously attractive she is. Why aren't people paying attention? 

"Now do I secret hope she gains weight? Yeah, I probably do. I would love to see her chow down on those pretzel bun burgers for a month and put on 30 pounds. Nothing would please me more. Will it happen? Unlikely, but we can hope and pray. I just hope somewhere along the line she just loses self-control or enters into a deep depression and just starts pigging out like there's no tomorrow. It's the one thing I wish about her that was different, I wish she was quite a bit fatter. That would make my year."


And how about this answer from Mr. Tribble--who is a virtuous man of faith with a passion for exposing other people's moral ineptitude--when asked if we should purchase the HBO docu-series Cathouse on DVD because some people say there is a prostitute featured in it that looks remarkably similar to the Wendy's spokesperson:

"Yes, I would. I bought it. It's a great show to begin with. It's about Nevada's brothel the Bunny Ranch. Some people consider it some of the finest television to ever air (this is not hyperbole). It's a fascinating look at Nevada's legendary "industry" which is still legal across the state, outside of Clark County and Las Vegas. 

"I highly recommend the series. You can buy it here. As to whether Morgan Smith is in it, well, that's just a rumor. I was told by a good source she made an appearance in it under a different name about seven years ago. I've watched it and there is a girl who looks remarkably like her, but isn't. She's so much younger it's hard to tell. That said, she's insanely hot." 

Ew.

I think Camper Van Beethoven said it best in their song "Jack Ruby" from 1989's Key Lime Pie: all our heroes are bastards.  Sure, Justin Tribble is fighting the "good" fight against reality television fakery that no one asked him to or, frankly, cares about, but he also feels compelled to provide us with a front row seat to what he's thinking about after he finishes a long day of posting restaurant names on his terribly designed Web site, and, quite frankly, that is something I can do without.  I should've never clicked that link.  Somethings you simply can't un-see.



38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, the Wendy's Girl website is gone.

Anonymous said...

Everything on tv. Online and news are manipulated. You can't trust anything anymore. I think the person who wrote this article was pulling my leg on the Wendy's girl

Anonymous said...

The writer was trying to be funny

Matt said...

Oh, I assure you, I was not pulling your leg with the Wendy's girl stuff. It was very, very real, and more than a little creepy. I'm actually kind of glad it isn't there anymore, because it was super creepy, as you probably gathered from my post. I'm going to do a follow up on this story, because I noticed a lot more stuff when I last looked at the Mystery Diners Fake site, like, for instance, Justin Tribble is now Roy Tribble (???)???

Anyway, stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

Anon2: The actual image is still there, the one that links to the broken Wendy's Girl site.

http://i.imgur.com/fgGTPwQ.png

Anonymous said...

I'm not really sure what your issue is.

You seem to just hate this guy.

Let him do what he wants. He has every write to put up a web site and post his opinions.

Why are you so obsessed with him as to write an article like this?

Matt said...

I have to have an issue to write a humorous article about a guy writing creepy things about the actress in a national ad campaign for a fast food burger chain? What do I say that suggests that I hate this guy? When did I say he couldn't do what he wants? Why does he have the right to post his opinions about stuff, but I'm a jerk for doing the same thing? Am I obsessed???

Look, Anonymous (if that is your real name), this post recounts a journey I took on the internet one night. If you don't think it's funny or interesting, that's fine.

Chelsea McElroy said...

Hahahahaha I stumbled across this article because I did the EXACT same thing you did. Googled mystery diners fake, and this was the third link i click on. I was like "omg he went to the mystery diners fraud site too!!" All your thoughts were exactly my thoughts, ahh if only the wendy website was still up. Night made thank you sir

Anonymous said...

Bahahaha, bahahaha. This article AND your reply comments are hilarious.

Jill Arrowood said...

I did same thing as you and Chelsea. I enjoy watching food network, but Mystery Diners is so absurdly stupid and FAKE. What is food network THINKING??????

Anonymous said...

The Wendy's girl website is back up right where this article described it. Only the name of the "webmaster" has changed. It is just as icky.

"We're a place for obsessed fans of Morgan Smith Goodwin to come and be obsessed with her, and find out details about her. And if you haven't seen the HBO Cathouse series with her possibly in it, you're missing out." - Jim Richarts, webmaster

"A lot of people want to know if there is a tape of the Wendy's girl, compromising shots of her or photos of her in the buff. So far, nothing has come up, but I'm working tirelessly to find out if something is out there. There's more to this story..."

Jake Reeve said...

Haha, this blog entry was a great laugh! It seems like this Justin Tribbles/Roy Tribbles/Jim Richarts (whatever name he's using now) is a definite creeper with too much time on his hands. I hope he doesn't meet the Wendy's girl in person. Well, if he does, I'm sure we'll find out his real name via the news!

Anonymous said...

If I don't think someone is genuine I won't like there show. He has always given me hebby gebbies, now that I'm in the know it's even worse. A few weeks ago I figured the show wasn't real, but tonight it hit me so I looked it up. I love being right. I don't ever have to watch another deceiving episode.

killen joke said...

thank you for recanting your weird journey. We forget that the internet is not all cat memes and rainbows. it's a dark rabbit hole with a plethora of horrific col de sacs.

It connects us to an endless number of people. but it also brings those strange obsessive people closer to us and gives them anonymity to share their creepy obsessions.

I myself googled "mystery diners fake" as many of the others did, expecting to see the typical posts about paid actors and scripts, instead I find this. All I can say is thanks for treading where I do not dare, and I hope Goodwin(I didn't know her name until now) has some good personal security.

David Wilson said...

So a show everybody should know is fake within 3 seconds of watching manages to garner a little extra cash for the restaurants that take part in it whoop-dee-friggin-do.
here's the real problem you can't even claim shenanigans on this much less fraud.it's obviously fake thus there is no fraud.if you pick places to eat based on fiction i feel sad for your taste buds.
you want to know where the real good places to eat are in any city...just ask a police officer/fire fighter.they always know the best places to go every single time and for whatever budget you might have.
as to the wendy's girl thing yeah that was uber-creepy borderline stalkerish i hope that site goes into the round file of hell never to return and i hope she (Morgan Smith Goodwin) has not only top notch security but a lawyer good enough to get that site yanked.
i also think the author of that site needs psychiatric help.

Anonymous said...

I am not joking when I say that I was playing two dots while watching my first ever terrible episode of this site. Unfortunately NOT muted. It made my brain hurt.

This Google result seemed safe than the other site! Ha. Thanks for a laugh.

TZM Photo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy Dy said...


I am very happy to locate your website. I just wanted to thank you for the time you spent on this great article. I definitely enjoyed reading it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.


Kris
www.gofastek.com

SolarFlux said...

It's back

newper said...

Oddly, I typed in the same thing you did, and found the same things in the same order you did, and had the same reaction to everything just like you did. But I don't have a blog.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I typed in the same 3 words on Google because I wanted to prove to someone else the show was fake.
I am so over all the fake shows and over all thw reality shows as well.
Give me good old well written entertainment TV like "Hogans Hero's" "Bewitched" "I Dream of Genie"
Mythbusters is more entertaining than these shows and sometimes educational.
I will start watching Mystery Diners when they start blowing stuff up in the name of science.

Kristian Gustafson said...

And now his website endorses Donald Trump. Of course it does. Also, I'm sure Mr. trump appreciates the help.

sarah lee said...

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Anonymous said...

They aren't even good detectives on "Mystery Dinners". I was watching an implausible episode about a Tex/Russian fusion pop up restaurant and the owner/investor said early in the episode that one of the prep cooks "only spoke Russian" yet right on camera the Manager was giving this "Olga" instructions in English to sneak out the back and go buy food. The great Charles Stiles just ignored that piece of evidence and was more obsessed about her leaving the restaurant. It is so cheesy and scripted, I guess that's why my 9 year old loves it!

Andy Marschall said...

Wow! First time watcher, and this was unbelievably scripted from the first 5 min. What a horrible attempt at reproducing Bar Rescue. This must be produced in Canada. Please tell me we have much better to offer than this.

Quinn said...

Andy, the show is American! I'll admit, our Canadian productions can sometimes be pretty hokey, but it wasn't our fault this time ;)

Unknown said...

Lol

yolanda shabazz said...

Excellent Statement. May I quote you on FB? Please :-)

yolanda shabazz said...

Excellent Statement. May I quote you on FB? Please :-)

yolanda shabazz said...

:-)

Anonymous said...

Mystery diners is 100% fake. Even the diners in the background are paid actors. But you get a free meal out of it.

Anonymous said...

I, too, was playing Two Dots in my phone while MD was on a few minutes ago. After an unacceptable number of years of frustration with this show, I went and Googled "Mystery Diners Fake"...and here I am. Thank you for making me laugh and thank you for making my night!

Unknown said...

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time lmao, made my night. Day? Why am I awake googling "mystery diners fake"? *sigh*

Unknown said...

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time lmao, made my night. Day? Why am I awake googling "mystery diners fake"? *sigh*

Mork 666 said...

Funny thing is that I just came from that site,lol and there's something even worse there,there's a link under the duckdynsaty.com that will take you to a site where you are encouraged to buy stock and some shitty fake comments saying how great that dude's advice on stock is...meaning he is a scammer trying to expose other scammer,go figure!!

Anonymous said...

As for the wendys-girl site, just go to archive.org and you'll find a few snapshots of what this creepy site looked like. Ugh...

Anonymous said...

The funniest part of this show is the revolting sludge that passes for restaurant food in America. Too large serves, bizarre food combination eg seafood and dairy and disgusting out of date decor that passes for style. The fake ness of the show just adds to the humour - the situations are so obvioulsly fake they should tone the phoniness down. It's sad Americans have no idea about food, even fine dining is wrong

Unknown said...

Here's an idea, install cctv security cameras like normal global businesses!!

Problems solved