Reality shows have been around for years, even before the first season of Survivor aired in 2000. The lower production costs, and viewers desire for “real-life” drama, has made the reality show an important part of every network’s lineup. We all know by now that a lot of reality shows are more scripted than real. Even though scenes on shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and The Real Housewives franchise are clearly planned out beforehand, they are still some of the most popular shows on TV.
The Bachelor franchise has gone through 18 seasons of “real people finding love” but the truth is, none of it is as real as we want to believe. Reality TV isn’t much more than a guilty pleasure, but the trend shows no signs of slowing down. There are new shows coming out every season, and while some of them do well despite all odds (Here Comes Honey Boo Boo), not every crazy idea ends up being a hit. Here are 8 of the craziest, weirdest, and just downright terrible reality shows to hit the small screen.
I Wanna Marry “Harry”
In May 2014, FOX started airing a reality “dating” show similar to The Bachelor, where a group of women go on a series of dates with one guy hoping to find love. The only difference is, the guy in question is actually a prince. Prince Harry, to be exact. At first, the women aren’t told they are vying to date a prince, but the lavish dates, and constant security detail, not to mention the guy looks just like Prince Harry eventually tips them off. It isn’t until the fifth episode that it is confirmed to the remaining women than he is indeed the prince. But in reality, the guy is a Prince Harry look-a-like named Matthew Hicks. The show only aired 4 episodes before it was cancelled because of low ratings. We just wonder what the real Prince Harry had to say about this.
We have all heard of the concept of a bridezilla, who will steamroll everything in her way to get to the perfect wedding. But some brides aren’t satisfied with the perfect dress, hair, and reception venue. They want to look like a different person altogether for their wedding day. Cue Bridalplasty, the reality competition show that pits shallow women with low self esteem against each other in a fight to win the most plastic surgery procedures to go along with her dream day. Hosted by Shanna Moakler, the show ended up exploiting the insecurities of the female contestants, by tapping into their obsession with a perceived idea of beauty. What would really be interesting to see, is how the winning bride’s husband reacted when someone he didn’t even recognize walked down the aisle on their wedding day.
Skating With Celebrities
Since the unlikely success of Dancing With the Stars (18 seasons in, and still going strong), it isn’t a big surprise that other networks have attempted to cash in on the concept of D-list celebrities trying (and mostly failing) to be good at something. While learning to dance is definitely grueling, learning to figure skate is even harder. The celebrity contestants on the one and only season all had varying experience with skating, ranging from a couple of childhood lessons, to more intense training. Six celebrities competed against each other with professional skaters as partners, and in the end Kristy Swanson (claim to fame: the film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and her partner took home the top prize. But ultimately, the most interesting part of the show were the rumors that Swanson and her partner were involved in a steamy affair.
Married by America
Getting married is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Unless you are on a reality show. The contestants on Married by America actually consented to being set up with a stranger of America’s choosing, and immediately becoming engaged. The couples would then live in a sequestered ranch house where they got to know each other a little bit, and attended regular couple’s counseling sessions. The couples therapists would then eliminate one couple per episode until only two couples remained. They were then allowed to decide it they wanted to get married or not. Not surprisingly, both couples chose not to get married. So what was the point of all of that? We’re still not sure.
Are You Hot?
The premise for the ABC reality show hosted and judged by Lorenzo Lamas couldn’t get any more straight forward. Contestants showed up at open casting calls, and were judged literally 100% on their physical attractiveness. Dumb as a stump but have rock hard abs? You’re in. Zero sense of humor, but have the lips of Angelina, and the long flowing blond hair of Blake Lively? You’re an automatic finalist. Not to say that none of the contestants had a personality, it just didn’t matter whether they did or didn’t. Basically, it was a beauty pageant for people who were already well aware they looked good. The show only lasted one season of six episodes, and a winner was crowned. Where is she now? Your guess is as good as ours.
My 600 Pound Life
TLC makes money off people’s fascination with how the other half lives. In this case, the other half is a group of people who are morbidly obese. How did they get that big? How do they perform basic human functions like going to the bathroom, and taking a shower? These are apparently things that people want to know, because My 600 Pound Life has had at least 2 seasons. Each episode follows an individual’s struggle to get their weight under control, and start down the road to a healthy lifestyle. It is supposed to be inspiring, but it ends up being depressing to think about how those people got to that point in the first place.
Bad Girls Club
Reality TV is usually meant to be a guilty pleasure, but Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club is one of those shows you really shouldn’t admit you actually watch. To anyone. Ever. Basically, the producers purposely put 7 women with behavioral problems that lead to heated confrontations often including physical violence, in one house, and sit back while insanity erupts. The goal of the show is to see which bad girl can out-last all the other bad girls, and make it 3 months without throwing a tantrum so epic is gets her kicked out of the house. The show apparently taps into people’s love of watching people with no boundaries losing their cool (if they ever had it in the first place) on TV, because it has inexplicably lasted for 13 seasons, and even spawned a couple spin-offs.
Boy Meets Boy
Dating shows are always a crowd-pleaser, but they tend to cater to the heterosexual populace. That is until Bravo released the boundary-breaking Boy Meets Boy. This reality show took “gaydar” to another level when it mixed a bunch of straight guys pretending to be gay in with the ones who were actually looking for love with the gay bachelor. If the bachelor, James, chose a gay suitor at the end of the show, the couple would win a trip and a cash prize, but if he chose one of the straight red-herrings than he would win nothing, and the successful suitor would get $25,000. Every week turned into a guessing game for viewers too, as the sexual orientation of each contestant was revealed when they were eliminated. The show claimed to break down sexual orientation-related stereotypes, but it also trivialized the search for love in the homosexual community.