Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with reality television. When the phenomenon first appeared on MTV in the form of The Real World: New York, everyone was intrigued. They have strangers living with each other? And they’re on camera? Interesting. But it wasn’t long before outrageous shows began appearing on every channel imaginable.
I personally flat-out adore Top Chef on Bravo. And to my husband’s dismay, I have been known to watch a little bit too much of The Real Housewives of New York City. (Ok, Beverly Hills, too…) But these shows (some would argue) have some merit. At least Top Chef does.
In the list below, we have gathered some shows that are just plain awful. In fact, we would all probably be better off if they were never on the air. Seriously. The sad part is, there was an inordinate number of shows to choose from. If you disagree with any that we listed, we could come back with ten more that simply reeked.
6. Dating Naked
Ok, I get the appeal. The producers know what sells (sex and nudity, obviously) and figured that this would be a good, easy way to get some eyeballs. But the point of the show is for these good-looking twenty-somethings to find Mr./Miss Right and they actually think they’re making meaningful connections with the people they’re “dating.” But they’re naked all the time. Hard to really get to know someone when you have to simultaneously stare at their naked bum, dontcha think?
5. Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?
Here’s the premise: A bunch of women try to woo a multi-millionaire in the hopes of marrying him. While some extra money certainly does allow for comfort and luxury, it does not guarantee a happy marriage. The winner, Darva Conger, wanted out almost immediately after tying the knot with millionaire Rick Rockwell. It was also revealed that Rick’s former girlfriend filed a restraining order against him for abuse. What a healthy way for two people to meet and fall in love!
4. The Rich Kids of Beverly Hills
Watching this show makes you want to bang your head against a wall until you pass out. This group of twenty-somethings is filthy rich, entitled, and completely out of touch. Oh, and they did nothing themselves to earn that cash that they flaunt all over Beverly Hills. They have their successful mommies and daddies to thank. It’s just a train wreck from the word “go.”
3. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
Little Honey Boo Boo (a.k.a. Alana Thompson) first garnered attention when she appeared on another (awful) reality show, Toddlers and Tiaras, about children competing in beauty pageants. The spin-off, starring Thompson and her family, was an enormous hit for TLC, but was criticized for potentially exploiting the child in the center of it all. It was ultimately canceled when rumors emerged that Mama June (Boo Boo’s mother) was dating a registered sex offender.
2. 90 Day Fiancé
This is yet another example of a show that takes full advantage of the desperation of people. Here we have foreigners who meet Americans (usually online, but not always) and come to the States for 90 days to see if a lifelong relationship is possible. The desirable carrot of citizenship is dangled in the faces of the foreigners, and it’s painful to watch. But perhaps the harder part is watching the Americans. One has to ask why these people even need to have “mail-order brides” to begin with. Generally, the answer is that they are lacking in several departments (personality, education, looks, health, you name it). The show exploits everyone’s weaknesses as its premise and is just horrid.
1. Jersey Shore
While this went on to be one of the most successful reality shows of all time, it was completely unnecessary. We watched season after season of uneducated, amoral twenty-somethings drinking themselves into oblivion and jumping into bed with anything that had a pulse. When the show was funny, it was usually because the cast was doing something stupid. We would all be better off if we had never heard of Snooky or the Situation.