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Top 10 Over-Exploited Reality Show Genres

Ryan Thomas . . . Comments

A long time ago, reality t.v. might have truly been considered a post-modern art form. The idea of observing something in its natural state, unaffected by linear plot or pre-packaged conventions, but such never took. Like communism, theory fails to actualize itself in the hands of those with self-serving motives. If the Real World was the first of its kind, the staged conflict and startling revelations seemed necessary to keep ratings, the real precedent (art is never a priority in the entertainment business), and every reality show thereafter has required a hook and sort of structure, more than observing a creature in its natural habitat without feelings of self-consciousness. Only problem is, knowing you’re going to be on television is bound to make you feel self-conscious, and thus undo the purity of ignorance. While the reality show could be true art in the RIGHT hands, in the wrong hands, it’s just the cheapest way to make wild profits (like selling empty boxes). The result: a lack of substance, and a ton of it. Here are the most heavily pimped out boxes of nothing, time and again tapped into as invisible gold mines, thanks to the self-revealingly high numbers of viewers with low standards and gluttonous habits (quantity is way better than quality anyway).




Dr. Drew thrives on addictive personalities. The funniest diagnosis he ever shelled out was at Arnold Schwarzenegger, indirectly, in reference to his illegitimate affair with his former housekeeper, calling it a “love addiction” (to which a skeptical, smirking Anderson Cooper wondered what the difference was to actual love). Such an abstraction as love is a hard thing to be so sure of, at least from a clinical perspective, but what is a sure thing is the addictive properties of actual chemical substances like crack, meth, heroine, alcohol, etc. For that, shows like Celebrity Rehab (with the bespectacled aforementioned) and Intervention exist. Let Gary Busey be living proof that you can go from recovering drug addict (on Celebrity Rehab) to Donald Trump employee-in-training (on Celebrity Apprentice) in no time at all, at least within the confines of reality television (which thrives on irrational outbursts).


Feigning Survival


Let The Real Gilligan’s Island, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, and 22 seasons and counting of Survivor be an indicator that there is a large enough sector of people who find entertainment in the prospect of being stranded on an island, and that there is definite market for a genre catering to such. How twisted is it that a phony competition in which competing teams live as primitives in order to win a million dollars and/or intermittent meals at an onsite Outback Steakhouse; meanwhile, actual people in third-world countries are forced into such circumstances as a matter of fact. Only in America. Next thing you know, there will be a reality show devoted to more immediate forms of human suffering: waiting in line at the DMV (actually, it does exist and is called Parking Wars).


Spoiled Debutantes

Living-Lohan L

Notorious examples include Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Living Lohan, The Girls Next Door, Brooke Knows Best and the Simple Life, where in which the worst offenders of art and decency prove you can sell crap if it’s wrapped in something shiny. E! is mostly to blame for the success of otherwise talentless heiresses and pretty nobodies. That and “unauthorized” sex tape distribution. It really seems like a rule of thumb to quick fame and fortune. Is it really any coincidence that Kat Dennings managed to find her way to a blockbuster like Thor with nude photos of herself circulating around the internet?


Little People


TLC must stand for The Little Channel, judging from their heavy emphasis on shows featuring short-statured individuals with a topical quirk (a hook more like): Little Chocolatiers (why not The Food Network?), Little Couple, Our Little Life and Little People, Big World. But TLC isn’t alone; Animal Planet is even getting in on the “racket” with the show Pit Boss, about a dog-owner who also happens to succumb to the height-affecting throes of dwarfism. The question is, at what point does entertainment become exhibition? Is this a good thing for the dwarf community, a niche demographic and population sector that’s veritably under-represented in the entertainment industry, or very harmful? The reality format disseminates the actuality of their existence to a level of relative normalcy and ostensibly aims to obliterate intolerance, but is it undercut by the fact that they are also put on a pedestal, called entertainment without trying to be? Who is this show aimed at and at whose expense? At any rate, their presence is known, even more abundantly than is the case in actual life, and that is a good thing in and of itself.



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Suddenly decorative cakes have become valid entertainment, not that you can go to your local grocery store and spend the day oggling the various floral frosting patterns. The Food Network, TLC and WE seem to account for way too much televisual dedication to baked goods called artwork, between Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, Wedding Cake Wars and Amazing Wedding Cakes. It’s almost surprising how amusing any such shows can be, watching five competing teams race to construct the ultimate edible shrine to Sesame Street seeing a frosted, food-colored rendition of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s Bridge getting built from scratch for a wide-eyed fanatic, but it takes a hard-core cake-enthusiastic, or drooling menopause-sufferer, to tune in ritualistically, to watch cake as entertainment.


Singers and Dancers


Because the filth factory doesn’t churn out enough unwarranted record deals, American Idol exists for this very purpose. Apparently songwriting musicians aren’t as in so high demand as vibrato-capable beauties who require them to put their names on albums and marquees (after “American Idol Presents” of course). It’s these menial talents that come a dime a dozen that win every stilted competition time and again (who always wins America’s Got Talent? A technically-adequate singer with a smooth complexion…or Susan Boyle). Not that other shows don’t specialize in vocal talent, singers are always selected for being the most topical, every dance crew, chainsaw juggler and impressionist getting the shaft. With American Idol’s viewership and success transcending genre barriers, other networks have wised up to the merits of sensational opportunism. Now we have The Voice, The X Factor and Going Platinum finding singers who stand out in the crowd, but not in a crowd of singers. Talent searches have actually gone hand-in-hand with television for much longer than Idol (think Star Search and Opportunity Knocks), and singing is just one in a list of other talents that are turned into any one of the competition shows that currently flood network television; there’s dancing (So You Think You Can Dance? and Dancing with the Stars), comedy (Last Comic Standing), modeling (which is what you would call any American Idol finalist, sans the ability to sing/possess any true talent), and miscellaneous other (America/Britain’s Got Talent). But in the end, song and dance always takes the cake. Even if your talent happens to be making and/or juggling cakes (then you might consider auditioning for the Food Network…or TLC if you’re a little person).


Real (Loud and Obnoxious) Wives

12698 The-Real-Housewives-Of-Orange-County

Because this country’s morals and standards are bankrupt, shows like Real Housewives of Orange County/New York City/New Jersey/Miami/Atlanta, and Mob Wives exist. Belligerent drunkenness, unyielding cattiness, ignorant shout-offs and adultery are acceptable as long as its caught on tape, so think the regular tuners-in who find such despicable behavior amusing. There’s loving to hate something, and continuing to watch anyway, but some human displays are just so abominable that you should hate to watch and never do so, keeping these low-impulse-feeders off the air.


Looking for “Love.”

Rock Of Love 3

Countless shows, mostly on VH1, take up the cause of finding “true love” for celebrities, fading musicians and reality show veterans. More often than not, though, these shows are a quest for attention, career resuscitation, disguised as a fantastical notion termed “true love”. Of course, true love can only be found after “interviewing” (i.e. sleeping with) a handful of desirable candidates, whereupon ever-rolling t.v. cameras and staged dates provide the proper lubricant for that chemical spark (that and barrels of booze). It’s always a shock when the winner (the hottest and dumbest of the rest of the dumb hotties) and object of true love only lasts til about a few months before the show’s second season (Rock of Love meet Rock of Love 2). Bret Michaels sang it himself, “Every rose has a thorn,” and every broad he serenades inevitably finds the door. After all, they just want to say they’ve been with a famous rock star. Because that gets you places…like Charm School, or For the Love of Money.


Pregnant Teens


No longer do you have to venture to any given public high school to find someone too young for childbirth, doing just that; MTV makes teenage child-rearing look so cool, what with the popularity of shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant carrying on for more trimesters than the subjects involved (both have found third seasons). If this isn’t just a freakshow capitalizing on the shock and awe of hardcore truth T.V., is MTV really the best boilerplate for a PSA-like lesson against such prevalent practices? It almost seems like presenting these cases as matter-of-factly as possible could, in the wrong hands, make it seem okay to abort (pardon the word) any shot at a future consisting of more than waitressing and living with mom/the guy at fault. A bad idea is casting attractive examples as expectant mothers, which only glamorizes the predicament, for that’s the only thing that seems to drive a message home for the typical MTV viewer: I must emulate this attractive person (see the Hills, Jersey Shore, any rap video). This kind of regular programming almost makes you long for the days of the Real World and Road Rules. Almost.


The Young and the Wasted

Jersey-Shore-Recap-The-Situationjpeg-7D1837Bb781173C0 Large

There is nothing more contagious then a drunk young person. College students use alcohol as a social crutch and only come to find out that it was really alcoholism and ineptitude all along by the time they turn thirty (or if they don’t learn, they maintain bland personalities by day and barfly-habits by night, straight into a roadside grave). Oblivion is key to never having to ultimately relinquish the lifestyle. Surrounding your world, Facebook photo albums and refrigerator with the artifacts of a very distinct alcohol culture, it just seems like a hobby of sorts (like going to a basketball game to get drunk, sports-related clamor serving only as background noise). It’s all about finding reinforcement everywhere you go, or else creating it out of thin air. Thankfully shows like Jersey Shore exist to pat poor choices on the back and stylize the party-and-club-hopping lifestyle. Being drunk and stupid become just a lifestyle choice amongst any other…like going to grad school, or taking an interest in Greek literature.

  • What about murder? So many shows involing violend deaths.

    • CrackedPepper86

      This is about “reality” shows.

    • DJ

      There’s a reality show about murder?

      • MurderSheWrote

        There is. Those PI and CSI esque reality shows involving team elimination. Yes, every crap is on tv nowadays.

      • wasd

        The first 48?

        • Mrs Marvel

          The original reality TV show was Cops. The only murder reality TV show I know of is First 48. No reason to watch scripted murder shows after that – real life is way scarier!

  • Criminal minds,castle, NCIS, Bones just to name a few

    • Otter

      The list is about reality tv, not actual scripted shows.

      • Notmybacon

        So your saying that these shows arent scripted? LOL.By the way,Im selling a bridge in San Francisco; You intrested ? Only 1 million dollars !!! Looking forward to your check Jethro…..

    • HJRO

      So you actually think Criminal minds,castle, NCIS, Bones are Reality tv.

      wow just wow

      • kabatta

        Well, there are the tv shows on discovery like the one where a woman discovers the cause of death by autopsy and the one where “criminal forensics” shows different investigations.

        • Craig

          Those shows aren’t promoting murder as the Jersey Shore promotes douchebaggery.

          • Jok3r

            Haha thts goin in my vocabulary

          • Mon

            nice one!

  • Noah

    “Looking for love”
    Fantastic list, really.
    I was gonna mention the blatant racism in the jersey shore

    • HJRO

      I would mention the blatant lack of intelligence in the jersey shore

      • agent orange

        I would mention the blatant lack of orange in the jersey shore buut… there isn’t

        • Fred

          I was going to mention the complete waste of materials for all that hair gel… but.

    • fudrick

      “I was gonna mention the blatant racism in the jersey shore


  • Noah

    Those shows are scripted with hired actors.
    Reality shows, yeah i get the argument, just how much of it is real.
    But honestly compare a scripted show with big brother.
    there’s a damn difference.

  • Some dude

    I fucking hate reality tv shows there soo fucking brianless. Good stuff

    • Dusty-Lynn

      I hate when shows are Brian-less as well. Everyone knows you can only have good show if there is a Brian involved.

      • MarianWare

        HAHAHAHAHA! Thanks. You made my day.

  • Ben

    Pretty difficult to read, the author can’t really pull off the writing style he’s gone for, which has resulted in some sentences that don’t make sense and incorrect usage of big words.

    • Glad I’m not the only one who noticed this. There’s little point in using “ten-dollar” words if you don’t know what they mean. It made an otherwise good list less enjoyable.

      • Truth-Monger

        Correction: you don’t know what they mean. And think a “ten-dollar word” means it contains more than one syllable. Go on, vent your intellectual insecurities.

        • Um, no, I’m perfectly aware of what they mean. I just don’t feel the need to use every big word I know in every paragraph I type, that’s all. I can definitely understand the desire to sound intelligent and knowledgeable; I just don’t think overusing big words is the way to do it.

          • I’mRight

            Didn’t notice it. Guess that comes with not watching these shows and having an education.

  • freethots

    Reality tv is truly frightening in that life does imitate art and art life. Who are these people that enjoy some of this crap? Is this intentional from the powers that be…the dumbing down of the populace? Is this stupidity on purpose for that very cause? Makes me wonder.

  • Treeman

    “Chart Throb”, by Ben Elton, is a good read for anyone fed up with the multitudinous song and dance shows.

  • demon

    I hate jersey shore and the people in it. I think it’s shows like that , that prove this world is getting dumber. How is that dumb shit entertaining at all?

  • StupidRabbitSuits

    jersey shore! lol

    there like oversized oompa loompas, only they’re not in the same league as oompa loompas.

    Oompa Loompa = My Future Husband

  • FatMan

    How about fat people? Like The Biggest Loser.

  • Armadillotron

    Jesus Christ Reality TV.. I can`t STAND it. It allows total retards to become multi-millionaires. Like Jade Goody and Susan Boyle. Or “Su-Bo.” Call me a cynic, but I prefer women with good voices to look attractive, not a female version of Giant Haystacks. If we ARE going to have Reality TV, why don`t we have programmes like The Running Man? I`d watch that.

    • Craig

      Wow. You’re saying the only people that deserve to be talented are the attractive. You’re, obviously, a piece of shit.

      • Jerome

        Yeah your not really being cynical when you say talented musicians should be attractive. Music should be based on talent and ability. Compare the number of Stevie Ray Vaugns in the world to backstreet boys sometime.

    • fliplover

      They laughed at Susan Boyle on the show until she opened her mouth. She is the exception to the general rule of so-called “talent” shows, which are actually just popularity and/or beauty contests.

      I would enjoy the mildly unattractive Iggy Pop or Tom Petty before I would ever enjoy a Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus. Singing, that is…

      P.S. I’d watch The Running Man if it was like the book.

      • Gumbi 09

        Say what you want but Justin Beiber can sing. the kid is talented. you may not like his style, his music may not be breaking huge barriers, but come on. He is taleted

        • Utwig

          There are much more talented people on youtube that can sing better than justin beiber yet justin was the one that caught the manger’s eye… why do you think that was?

          • Jude

            It’s because Usher was looking for a new cock toy for himself.

    • “Call me a cynic, but I prefer women with good voices to look attractive, not a female version of Giant Haystacks.”

      Guess you’re not an Aretha Franklin fan, then. Or Patti Labelle.

      I fail to see what looks have to do with vocal talent, but whatever floats your boat.

    • sorcy79au

      There is a variety show called Running Man but it’s Korean. I’ve never watched the movie or read the book but the premise of the tv show in Korea is to receive Running Balls through playing games and the team/person with the most running balls wins. The other team has to do a punishment. I actually quite like it. They do it with celebrities of Korea. This from wikipedia:

      This show is classified as an “urban action variety”; a never-before-seen new genre of variety shows. The MCs and guests play games and carry out missions in a landmark, and are required to win missions to earn Running Balls. The team with more Running Balls will win.

  • Armin Tamzarian

    How about sports? Nowadays it’s more about the circus surrounding it, than about sportsmanship. When it’s WC time, it’s five straight weeks of commercials, merchandise tie-ins, and human interest stories. No-one gives a damn if the match was any good, as long as they can hear that Messi got a new girlfriend who is also a glamour model, and that the official ball, by Adidas(TM), is made from rhinoceros leather and broken dreams, and wobbles even less than the previous one.

    And while the attention-craving idiots in reality shows are ridiculed, the pompous a-holes that play sports are widely worshipped. Some people even turn to them for advise on economics or politics. And that’s a bloody shame.

    • What hideous kind of sports coverage do you have where you come from? I could never imagine a coverage of a World Cup where someone gave fuck about Messis privat life. I have honestly never experience that a world cup was about anything but the games. Your nations sports channels must have very low standards…

  • Plodd

    Geordie Shore

  • David

    Why not have a show called How To Be A Dictator? The contestant can see who has the biggest palaces, wackiest behaviour, best military parades, has the best Weapons of Mass Destruction, personality cult and so on. That`d be cool. None of the “Big Brother,” or “I`m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!” crap.

  • thievingbastard

    good article. liked it except for the dig at kat dennings.

  • Samantha Rockwell

    is this real

  • Samantha Rockwell

    If you people really want to know about South Asian Street Food You Ought To Try! check this one.

  • I think that reality tv shows are there so that the people watching can think “wow, i am better than these people” look at jersey shore/addicts/survivor shows etc you can look and think, oh, i am better than them because i dont do drugs/can hold my drink/am not a complete jackass/would act differently in that situation.

    Most humans like drama of some sort, if you read a 1,001 arabaian nights, the Odyssey, many, many myths and legends there are examples of fueds and misdeeds which create drama because it is interesting. People don’t want to watch a show about women who are really housewives because watching someone look after their family compitently is not entertaining and could potentially point out flaws in their own parenting.

    So it is easier, and better to create an over-the-top cast that has no reflection on how most people live their lives so people can sit there and laugh at the antics while being reassured that they are better than the people on screen.

    This is of course, excluding the shows like the ones about little people, that’s just voyuerism.

  • Will Trame

    I hate reality shows.

    • inconspicuousdetective


  • An entire list based on one person’s opinion = meh.

    • CrackedPepper86

      I assure you , it’s not just one person’s opinion.

      • joe mama


        • fliplover

          Second word!

  • Vanowensbody

    Great list. Remember when you had to have something called talent to be a star on TV?

  • these shows all suck ass. We are witnessing the first REAl signs of the decline of western civilization.

  • Tryclyde

    I would add the influx of shows about pawn shops/auctions, following the success of Pawn Stars. There has to be about 7 of them by now. Also, I’ve noticed how there are a number of shows about Alaska on now between History and Discovery channel. It’s a beautiful state, but a bit of overkill. We don’t need a show about taxidermy in Alaska.

    • Spaz

      I love Pawn Stars.

  • Steve

    If we didn`t have Reality TV, we never would have had george galloway and “Now would you like me.. To be the Cat?” Funniest thing I`ve seen!

  • oouchan

    I\’m a recovering Reality TV addict. I used to watch all kinds….up to 14 in a week. It was awful. I\’ve stopped watching TV altogether now because I can\’t watch that crap anymore. It started out ok, but as this list portrays, it\’s over exploited. The ONLY one that was the best was Survivor and only the one show. The one on pirate islands with Rupert. He made that show fun. Now it\’s all hype and boring….and repetitive.

    Good list.

    • Moopersoup

      You should create a reality tv show about your struggle to overcome your reality tv show addiction ?

  • Joe W.

    I’ve never considered Survivor a reality show. It’s a game show, albeit one that lasts 39 days, but a game show nonetheless. I call it a game show to justify watching the program. ;)

  • Lifeschool

    Great list – I agree with everything said – great choices for list items, and I enjoyed the sarky (sarcastic) style of the writing. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been flashes of all these types of shows as I scramble for the remove to change channel, while at the same time trying to hold back my gagging reflex.

    TV changed for me in the mid to late 90’s from an ‘information standard’ to a ‘lowest common denominator junk-fest’ and since then my viewing habbits have pailed and withered and died. I can stand perhaps one or two condescending televisual efforts a day now – while I used to watch TV all evening. Thank God I have all the best shows on DVD to watch instead of this drivel. The level of staged bias is unbelievable, and even the ‘documentaries’ and ‘talk shows’ seem patronising and boring as hell (to me).

    I’m under the impression that TV has been under the ‘been everywhere, seen everything, tried everything’ mentality for a while now, and they really must be running out of options. What happens when ‘pushing the envelope’ leads to you running out of envelope to push?? It’s yet another argument for the Over Saturation principal. Are there any taboos left?? Last night I watched a man die Live – in a suicide show called something like The Right To Die. What’s next?? Live drive-by shootings? Live Afghanistan? Live Fu.cking?? Excuse me, I’m going to be sick.

    • Lady Shamisen

      Actually, I’ve got to call you out on the “Right to Die” programme. I hardly think that can be spoken of in the same context or category. The point of the programme was to produce a shock enough to open up the euthanasia debate whilst showing us that there is nothing to fear in death, and that we should all be allowed to choose the time to die. I didn’t watch it myself as I don’t think it’s something I’d like to see, but I support its message.

  • jon

    Hey! Kat Dennings was awesome in Thor!

    • Ah Kat Dennigs… as Brian on ‘Family Guy’ said, “Oh yeah… oh yeah… I would do everything to her. I would WRECK THAT CHICK!”

  • Mooncroww

    When I was in highschool I had a mild interest in the first few seasons of Real World. Not that it represented the actual real world, but it was entertaining and my first taste and reality tv. I still look back on it fondly.

  • Dan

    Interesting article, but after reading it, I felt an uncontrollable urge to trash my television set.

  • timmar68

    “The Situation” is lucky he’s on a tv show and that there are girls that will be with someone only because he is on tv because he is BUTT-UGLY!

  • Somebody

    Bonus item:

    Reality TV as a whole.

  • Fast Loris

    The writing in this article is terrible, as it usually is with Ryan Thomas lists.

    I’ll over look the fact that Ryan Thomas appears to be an angry old codger or some bitter dork of a shut in (after all, he writes things like “College students use alcohol as a social crutch and only come to find out that it was really alcoholism and ineptitude all along by the time they turn thirty”)

    But the writing on this one is especially bad. It’s as if the author bought a used copy of an “Introduction to media studies” textbook from the university book store, and said to himself ” I can do this…”

    Seriously – “The idea of observing something in its natural state, unaffected by linear plot or pre-packaged conventions, but such never took.” What does that mean? Are you trying to tell me you don’t proofread your writing beforehand?

    “The reality format disseminates the actuality of their existence to a level of relative normalcy and ostensibly aims to obliterate intolerance, but is it undercut by the fact that they are also put on a pedestal, called entertainment without trying to be?” Illusions of pretension, failing miserably, only succeeding in making a run on sentence.

    God, go back to something you’re good at, like making lists about how great Ayn Rand is or copying articles off wikipedia

    • Swedish

      Wow, someones grouchy

    • scrumpy

      “A lack of substance, and a ton of it.’

      I agree; a terrible piece of writing.

    • Ben

      I want to meet someone who has ‘succumb’ to dwarfism.

      • monie

        Completely agree, the writing was awful. And the dig at college students like they’re all drunks, seriously? I don’t drink and I have went to clubs and parties without touching alcohol all through undergrad and now as a grad student I still don’t drink. The list was ok at first (minus the awful writing style) but just got way too cynical by the end.

        • By not drinking at all, but still partying, you are the exception, not the rule.

          • Arsnl

            I disagree. Its quite common not to get sh*t faced everytime there’s a party. The author gives the impression that all college students are like that when, actually, it’s just a minority. Most don’t get all crazy on spring break.

    • Ernest J. King

      I usually expect people who complain about other people’s writing to not make any errors themselves, which you have (in case you didn’t know, “overlook” has been spelled as one word for decades now), but that’s not my main issue with your comment–it’s your hypocrisy. You say Ryan Thomas is an “angry old codger or some bitter dork,” yet you act like the latter. Yes, the writing is bad, but what in the world has Ryan Thomas ever done to you? Good God! One gets the impression that he either raped your mother and then proceeded to disembowel her as you watched or stole your girlfriend, who later confessed Thomas has a longer dick and a nicer apartment. Otherwise I don’t see why you have to turn a piece of criticism into a personal attack, like an immature House wannabe.

    • LadyShamisen

      Agreed. I might change my mind if I ever succumb to dwarfism though.

    • Lady Shamisen

      Clarification – I agree with Fast Loris.

  • Spaz

    I agree with the shows that were mentioned on the list. I do love the real “reality” shows like Pawn Stars, MythBusters, Dirty Jobs, etc.

    • Mooncroww

      Mythbusters is AWESOME and Pawn Stars is way cool too.

  • jrdn1

    reality tv would be greatly improved, and actualy be ”reality” tv if the people on the shows were unaware that they are on camera

  • Kou

    mmmm I love the Real Housewives….

    • Swedish

      I love real housewives too, ohh wait a sec’….

  • fruityOH’s

    author came across as ignorant, narrow minded, and stubborn. granted i hate most of the shows on here, but i didnt even bother to read the entire list after making it through the first article, all i did was skim through the titles. whats with the know it all attitude?

    • Arsnl

      “whats with the know it all attitude?”
      This from a person that didn’t even read the article, but complains?

  • Kayla Palmer

    I can’t stand the reality shows that are so scripted it’s ridiculous. But I do love the ones where the people are actually being themselves however outrageous they may act. I’ll fully admit I’ve watched the Jersey Shore since the beginning. It’s the most entertaining reality show I’ve ever watched and these people are just being themselves. It’s not scripted. Sure, they’re probably told what clubs to go to, but the reactions and interactions are all candid.

    If that’s reality filth then I guess I’m a dirty person. ;)

    • Arsnl

      “If that’s reality filth then I guess I’m a dirty person. ”
      Yes. Yes you are.
      I can assure you that in the context of what you previously wrote, you cannot make that “dirty person” line seem cute in any way.

      • Kayla Palmer

        It was a joke and I’m pretty sure anyone with half a brain could understand that. No need to make a big deal out of a comment.

  • Yafeellucky?

    I agree 100% with this list reality tv is complete garbage. I really don’t like any tv shows that I feel don’t teach me something. The shows listed have no redeeming qualitys whatsoever. It’s sad and gross that they can find an adiuence.

  • Dawnchaser

    Nice list; I totally agree. Reality shows are SO stupid. Hopefully someday people will look back and shake their heads and be like, “that was such a stupid fad in the early 2000’s…”

  • Nice list. The writing was a bit too forced for my taste, but I fully agree with ideas. A good bonus might be the influx of meta-reality shows. You know the ones: the most entertaining person from a given show is given another spin-off reality show that chronicles their “real” lives outside the previous reality show. Those are the worst.

  • shygirl

    Don’t like ’em? Don’t watch ’em!

  • joeandpeace

    For The Love Of Money? I’m pretty sure it’s called I Love Money.

  • jasper420

    An ACTUAL survivor show would be cool. Like a hidden camera Cast Away.

    • Maggot

      Well there’s that Bear Gryllis show “Man vs. Wild” (which I don’t like much, too fake), and Les Stroud’s “Survivorman” (which is pretty good IMO), but my favorite is one called Dual Survival, with these two professional survivalist instructors, one is military trained, the other more of a free-spirit type, but both are super knowledgeable and the way they work together with different skill-sets is pretty cool. I highly recommend you check it out:

      • Auburn Tiger

        I like all three of these. Bear Grylls is a cool dude IMO. Granted, his show is very made for tv, but that’s part of what makes it so watchable. Survivorman is somewhat less watchable, but the guy’s constant complaining makes it kind of funny. The last one you named (I’ve only seen one episode) is really cool. I don’t know if I like it more than MvW (it spawned the Bear Grylls piss jokes!), but it’s definitely worth watching.

  • mehmeh

    No respect for reality shows. Cheap, hollow, meaningless crap. Couldn’t believe it when it became a trend, can’t believe now that it’s still a booming industry.

    from all the reality shows out there no 1 is indeed the most unbelievable one. I simply no not understand what “we” did wrong to be part of the same species as those people.

  • anon

    Not a very well written list. Look at this whopper of a sentence.

    “f the Real World was the first of its kind, the staged conflict and startling revelations seemed necessary to keep ratings, the real precedent (art is never a priority in the entertainment business), and every reality show thereafter has required a hook and sort of structure, more than observing a creature in its natural habitat without feelings of self-consciousness.”

    Also, I think the author just discovered parentheses. I have never seen so many unnecessary parenthetical statements in my life.

    • Truth-Monger

      Good writing doesn’t mean omitting clauses. Read some Thoreau you alliterate philistine. Comment sections certainly account for all of your publishing credits.

      • Truth-Monger


        • slayer

          **illiterate, bozo

      • anon

        Sorry, I try not to be a pretentious ass on the internet.

  • Adam

    Do reality show contestants get a SAG card?

  • chris s

    I know a girl who went on a reality show, she was made to live with penguins and had to pretend to be a penguin.

  • Dickensgirl

    I’m most definitely not a ‘reality tv’ fan – I see nothing real about it, and find the majority of it’s stars morally repugnant and intelligence deficient. However, this list showered disdain on, not only the reality tv ‘stars’ and fans, but on other groups of society for no apparent reason other than vindictiveness.

    I’m not a menopause ‘sufferer’, and I’m not close, but I find the characterization ‘drooling menopause sufferer’ almost as insulting as intimating that such people (should they exist) would be spell bound by the sight of cakes on tv. Perhaps the lister should research menopause, as I’m pretty sure there is no mention of craving cake in the generally accepted symptoms.

    And it bears mentioning that a) not all college students are drunks and b) not everyone who is irresponsible with alcohol is a college student. Lots of people are irresponsible with alcohol, not just young people, and most of those who are are not irresponsible all the time. Most people grow out of feeling the need to get roaring drunk every day, and if they don’t then it’s not really anyone’s business, if they’re consenting adults doing no-one else any harm.

    This list seemed vitriolic and derogatory towards, not only the reality tv world, but towards society in general. It must be difficult being forced to live with us mere mortals.

    • Arsnl

      “I’m not a menopause ‘sufferer”
      I agree. I watch cooking shows and i guess id watch a cake show too. I wonder if im a 50 year old woman trapped in 20 smth year old’s body. Or i just watch it cuz i like to feel bad about myself cooking skills while i gobble down some pasta. I guess sometimes watching something neutral that doesn’t want to teach me something or doesn’t fill me up with rage, is quite good.
      “It must be difficult being forced to live with us mere mortals.”
      I think it’s his style. He also had that 10 sports you wont see outside of gym class (3 sports being on the olympics)

  • rik

    We have a name for the jersey shore/paris hilton types in the uk. We call them twats

  • Black Velvet

    What about shows that promote stupidbitchery (I’m pretty sure thats a real word) eg: America’s Next Top (puh-lease) Model, Bad Girls Club, The Hills, The Real Housewives Of Who Gives A Fuck etc.

    Reality shows have a way of making even the most intellegent women look like retards. The only reality show I even bother watching is The Amazing Race. Sometimes.

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Funny list

  • chadwicktron

    I believe with what Frank Zappa said that anything should be allowed to be placed with the public. I think that we, as a group of intelligent people, need to go beyond this type of entertainment and ask for something more. Once poverty and distress is addressed, this sort of thing won’t be interesting to anybody and entertainment will be entertaining again. However, that seems a long ways away.

  • ZackAttackMorris

    Did anyone see last week’s South Park episode where Stan became a cynical @sshole? Something about that episode reminds me of the poster who came up with this list. Yeah reality tv is mindless drivel, but we don’t need yet another cynical @sshole to remind us of that fact. The last comment on the Jersey Shore was super condescending and honestly I rather hang out with a young drunk person, than an uppity snob who considers Greek Literature a lifestyle choice and calls letting loose with a few drinks amongst friends a poor lifestyle choice.

  • Dian

    I dont agree with the cake shows being included, as I feel they showcase real talent and skills, and I didnt appreciate the derogatory reference to menopausal women.

  • Samantha

    Who’s watching this crap? I’m not.

  • mom424

    How about all of them? The only good thing about reality programming is that it is cheap to produce. I refuse to watch it, not because I would hate it – I love a train wreck as much as the next guy – but by watching it, my advertising revenue goes to more of the same. Unfortunately the good programming available today is only available on PBS or the pay services – HBO, Showtime, etc. Basically even our entertainment is being doled out along class lines – those who can only afford network tv are stuck with the garbage…shame that. All because revenue is more important than content.

  • lilkty

    I can proudly say I’ve never ever watched any of these shows except for that one season of american idol back when I was in USA. I was a foreign exchange student and thus told to spend quality time with my family watching a show together with them, and that happened to be the only show they watched together, and it also proved to be more of a freak show than an actual singing contest, it was obvious they picked contestants with interesting/tragic stories to gain viewers, that is so cheap.

  • toomuchtv

    I can’t really say I’m a big fan of this list… however, I am a big fan of Pit Boss and anything involving a “Real” Housewife and I just HATE myself for it!!!-but not enough to pick up the remote and turn it off…..

  • Alan

    And this list.

  • trfan01

    Give me the cake competitions anyday over any of the rest. Those cake and cooking reality shows are amazing!

  • matthew walker

    i agree with all of this. i was waiting for this one lol

  • Bekah

    The worst is the Project Runway style talent shows.

  • stopper333

    Ok I guess I’ll be first to say: I like reality shows. It’s complete bullshit how much they’re hated based on the “ignorance and stupidity” of those in it. I find it quite funny that some of you go as far as to say ALL reality show are bs. Trust me I myself don’t appreciate some of these shows and trust me some of them are obviously scripted but that being said there’s ALOT that aren’t. Hmmm don’t you find it funnt how some of you just find flaws in every single reality even those ranging from people truly trying to get help with a serious problem to those that just want to be taped living their extravagant lifes. You want to know why? because you all my friend have a problem with REALITY! this is REALITY tv as in it happens. Out of the thousand of reality stars there have been I’d guess 80% have been labeled negatively. Truth of the matter is if the whole world was a reality show 80% of us would be labeled the same. Psht get over yourself, the ignorant is you. Pathetic, just pathetic.

  • I’ve heard there’s going to be a show where people send in lists to a website and then readers rip on them for run-on sentences and poor spelling. Sounds completely awful!

  • mynameis….

    Another reason to not have cable…bring back Growing Pains or the Cosby Show! I have netflix so I can choose what to watch.

    Great list…from a first time commentor! Thumbs up!

  • Craig in Portland

    Oh my god.. You had me going with your article pointing out the stupidity of the modern media. Right until you said “then” when you meant “than”. After that (thank god it was in the last segment), you became the very fool you were making fun of.

    • Truth-Monger

      God help us all if making a single typo automatically strikes you down as an idiot. BTW, you didn’t capitalize the “g” in God (God is a proper noun). So by your logic…”you became the very fool you were making fun of.”

  • Rog

    That jersey shore picture at #1 is the most homoerotic thing ive seen all day, and i just watched a ton of gay porn

  • Auburn Tiger

    If you have enough money, you get to consider Top Gear a reality show. That would make it the best by default. I wish I had that kind of cash…

  • leslie

    i like the cake shows because you get to see how they are made. its fun for me to see how they construct such amazing works of edible art. low standards? more like frustrated baker.

  • Thank you, Ryan Thomas!

    Once again, I have been vindicated for only watching the Science Channel, the History Channel, MSNBC, CNN, listening to the Classical Music Channel, and thus and so…I simply can’t force myself to watch any of the above shows or any of their ilk.

    When there is nothing worth watching, my husband I read. I know that sounds radical, but you’d be surprised at the amount of knowledge you can pick just by reading instead if remaining glued ti the tube.

  • Gurumaguaffi

    I kinda like survivor, dunno why. I like characters.

  • Chris

    Kat Dennings had already finished shooting “Thor” when those photos hit the Internet. I mean sure, she could probably use a bit more publicity, but she is a moderately successful actress… not really fair to tar her with the Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian brush…

  • Kotchy

    I’m not sure if this counts, but Ghost Hunter shows are all over the place.

    There’s even cops by day, ghost hunters by night…

  • JHZ

    I watched the 1st season of Survivor, and that’s all the reality TV I’ve ever needed.

  • JellySamich.

    I feel like he was saying all teen mom’s have no future.. I’m offended.

  • Mon

    Big Brother is the Mother (or Brother) of all Reality Shows!

  • Marilyn

    Ok so good list but I do disagree on the teen pregnancy list. MTV doesn’t try to make pregnancy look “cool” it makes teens aware of the struggle these teen moms have each day and te consequence of unprotected sex.

  • 9999

    Great article.
    Kat Dennings is awesome though. Thor was shot early 2010 and her photos leaked in november. I don’t see the link.

  • nathan

    Thank God Amazing wasn’t in this list
    Besides, #1 is the best choice

  • Brii

    I agree with all of this except the cakes bit. The stuff they makes is amazing! I mean, I can get if you think watching it is boring… but it’s a genuine talent that’s finally received some recognition. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  • jynxie

    you forgot basketball wives, and married to Rock, under wives….

  • you forgot one.

    Black family problems

  • Jerrith

    I have watched the shows 16 and pregnant, and teen mom (but not regularly). I disagree with the opinion that it glorifies teenage pregnancy. It show how real it is and that its not a faerie tale. It show the crap they go through with the childs father, that the moms dont really have a social life and friends. And for the mothers who neglect and pass off their kids to grandma to go partying, the child is takenaway. I dont know if they should have made a showout of these situations but it does not make teenage pregnany and motherhood look cool.

  • Mabel

    I agree with all except Amazing Wedding Cakes. I love that show. Ticks me off that I had to downgrade my cable to save money and lost that channel. Those cakes are CRAZY AWESOME.

  • Candicethetattooist

    I’m so surprised to not see “tattoo shop” shows on this list! I’m sick of people asking me if I watch that crap. I feel exploited as an artist, now everyone wants to be a tattooer because they think it makes you a rock star. In this instant gratification generation you know what that means, lots of stupid people scratching people up in their kitchens and thinking it’s ok. Ugh.

  • Sam

    what about decorating houses? and shows like MTV´s Made. do shows like Cheaters count? Fat people going slim? oh, and I have never seen a show about cakes! and what about fashion shows?

  • Jonathan Pond

    People forced to live in pig sties and act like pigs. True, it only happened once. but for something like that, I think once is enough to call it over-exploited.

  • x

    These shows aren’t “scripted” they are manipulated in the editing room after the fact to trump of fake controversy. However, I do watch them (aside from the spoiled brat/”real” housewives one) because I normally like the competition aspect and the drama. I’m not dumb, in fact i’m college education, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself some reality TV sometimes!

  • sharon keogh

    just to let you know susan boyle never won britians got talent, she came second. A very good dance group won that year called ‘diversity’. But generally agree reality shows wreck my head.

  • Jamz

    They need more variety shows in the US… they have them in Asian countries and they’re funny not to mention entertaining

  • Housemate

    Where’s Big Brother?

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