ABC gets into the Westport “Groove”

Max Bibicoff, Staff Writer

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Groove Clothing Store, located on the Post Road in Westport, recently had the unique opportunity of playing host to ABC’s hit program “What Would You Do?” The hidden camera reality show led by correspondent John Quinones brought along a crew of actors to play out a controversial scenario in front of unknowing shoppers. Cue the look of embarrassment on the customers’ faces when they found out that their disgusted remark had just been caught on film.

“What Would You Do?” is a show widely known for the heated incidents it captures in public places. Local businesses all over the country have been home to the program’s reaction-provoking scenes.

As the show’s catchy name suggests, it focuses on the essential decision that people are faced with every day: whether or not to get involved in problematic situations. Some of the issues that they have played out include homophobia and racism. Resembling a scientific procedure, the program experiments with variables such as gender and age in every episode in order to test the differences in people’s reactions.

“I was excited and thought that it was really cool that my mom’s store got picked out of many,” Amanda Neckritz ’18, one of the daughters of store owner, Corri Neckritz, said.

Owner Corri Neckritz touched on the details of the experience. She said although the selection process was mainly random, the store “met the criteria they were looking for.”  This criteria meant looking for a children’s clothing store in an upscale town, making Westport a fitting destination.  She remarked that ABC found the store through her website during a search for possible filming locations in the area.

As one would imagine, a TV show constantly on the move takes some time to make every new environment ready for filming. Cori Neckritz recounted the process and the lengthy setup that preceded it, saying that hidden cameras had been implemented with additional lighting early in the morning, as the crew had a long day of filming ahead of them.

This particular episode was centered around a young girl who was acting abusively towards the sales person. The girl and sales person were both actors, along with the girl’s mother and a few extras. However, real customers who entered the store that day had  no idea of the filming and their potential appearance on TV, until Quinones walked in to shake their hand.

“The girl was so rude to the salesperson. They wanted to let the scenario get out of hand in order to get reactions,” Cori Neckritz said of the way the episode played out.

“There were full-on altercations between the actress’ mom and customers. Some people were ready to fight with the mother. I think it was a very rare scenario. People who live here don’t really raise their kids like that,” she continued.

While some would be eager to take part in such an intriguing experience, others might not have so readily volunteered. Cori Neckritz said that, above anything else, it was for fun.

“Obviously there are two sides to it. It could offend customers, but it’s also a unique situation,” Neckritz said.

Emma Fasciolo ’16 said that she had just recently watched an episode of the show.

“I think it has a good purpose in getting people’s reactions to the controversial issues […] that’s what makes it entertaining,” she said.

“It gives suspense and makes the viewers think twice about their own actions since it’s ordinary people,” Fasciolo continued.

The airing of the episode on TV will certainly be something to watch for in the coming weeks. Who knows? You might just catch the priceless reaction of someone you know.

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