Who doesn’t love spending hour after hour of their ever-fleeting time watching other people have their lives filmed and then exploited on television screens for the world to see? Probably a lot of people, but many Americans can’t seem to get enough reality TV. Reality TV has been a major part of American culture for years now, with shows like American Idol and America’s Next Top Model giving hope to young attractive people, and shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Real World making us question our education system. But what is it that causes us to give hours of our time to reality TV?
Reality TV has been on our screens almost since the television was invented. Documentary-style television series have been the most popular style among reality TV show creators, but producers have always been doing their best to create outrageous story lines and absurd conflict to continually attract viewers. Reality television gained extreme popularity in the late ’90s, only to be followed by a decline in the early 2000s, causing many to speculate that it was only a fad. But with almost every network now airing reality television series, following people and stories of all sorts, it seems reality television is here to stay.
Many people often complain about reality TV, but it seems the clamor for these shows is always on a steady increase. Reality TV covers everything from weddings to deaths to love to money, food, and culture, and sometimes it seems as though producers will put together as many outrageous characters and shocking stories as possible just to get viewers. Here is a list of 15 outrageous reality shows that have us asking, “How and why did these get made?”
Botched is an hour-long series that follows two of California’s most famous plastic surgeons and their journey to transform cosmetic surgeries gone wrong into what the patient had originally intended. We’ve all seen pictures of horrific plastic surgery stories and are often intrigued by the topic itself. This hour-long show introduces several patients throughout the episode who either had a doctor completely botch their procedure, or use harmful products and practices leaving the patients disfigured. We then watch as the patients go from horror movie villain to plastic goddess on their journey with the doctors. It’s easy to see why this one is popular as it gives the viewers the best of both worlds. We just hope the network is paying for these poor people to get fixed.
14. Dual Survival
Everyone loves watching men drink their own pee and murder innocent animals for the sake of survival education that we’ll totally, definitely, absolutely need at some point (no sarcasm intended…yeah, right!). Dual Survival takes it one step further by following not one, but two survivalists and their journey to prove they don’t need anything but each other to survive in the wilderness. The show originally started with Dave and Cody, two tough men who seem to have many differing views on how to survive certain situations. One of them even has a whole thing where he never wears shoes; cause that sure makes sense in a survival situation, right??? They never fail to entertain , and survive, in this Discovery Channel original series. Or fail to bicker with each other, for that matter.
13. Cutthroat Kitchen
While it could also be considered a game show, Cutthroat Kitchen still deserves to make the list, as it is reality, and outrageous and absolute “Foodie” fun. The host of the show is Alton Brown, who has been around forever being everyone’s favorite good eater. He subjects four different contestants in each hour-long episode to outrageous challenges they must endure while preparing a specific dish. Each contestant starts out with $20,000 and then uses the money to bid on these specific challenges, assigning them to their competitors. The show never fails to include unique chefs and insane challenges, which is why the Food Network series has over 100 episodes since its premiere in 2013. We’re not sure if the food itself is quite worth all of the fuss but the drama sure is.
12. Total Divas
Just like reality TV, Americans can’t get enough of wrestling. Like ever. Wrestling is around all the time and even if you don’t follow it, chances are you know way more than you think you do about “sports entertainment.” The show Total Divas takes a more intimate look into the lives of a select few of the WWE Divas (i.e. the hot chicks who are female wrestlers). We watch everything in their lives from their weddings, relationships, and romances, with plentiful added drama between the divas themselves, of course. We even get a look at some of the male wrestlers, and plenty of guest appearances from John Cena himself. The E! show has been on for three years, each season adding or removing certain Divas from the select few it follows. It may not have as much drama as the actual WWE itself, but it comes close.
11. Skin Wars
Skin Wars is a show that plays on GSN and involves different challenges that pit body painting artists against each other to compete for the grand prize. Yup, you heard that right; we couldn’t make this stuff up. We didn’t even know there were that many body painting artists out there that could fill up such a show! It’s basically like America’s Next Top Model, but instead of standing in front of multiple cameras, the contestants paint naked bodies depending on different themes and challenges they’re given. The series does showcase some amazingly talented artists, but never fails to entertain with outrageous challenges and eclectic characters. As well as the general weirdness of its very existence.
10. S*x Sent Me To The ER
We’re pretty sure the title of this one says it all. From the same network that gave us I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, and I Still Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, we’ve been given another reality TV show gem, Sex Sent Me to the ER. The half-hour series interviews people who had to make visits to the ER for reasons relating to sex. Not only are the stories hilarious, but the reenactments performed by top notch actors are perfect as well and include some of the funniest scenes you will ever see anywhere. The show is outrageous- so much so that we want to question the actual “reality” part, but that won’t make us turn our TVs off any time soon when Sex Sent Me To The ER is on. Although we may be a little bit more, ummm, careful in the bedroom.
9. Sister Wives
Just when we thought we might be done with terrible religious families after the 17 Kids and Counting Cancellation, we’ve been given the Brown family and the exploitation of their lives and their children’s lives in the TLC reality show, Sister Wives. Even if we didn’t necessarily ask for another show like this, we still got it. The show follows Kody Brown, arguably one of the grossest people in the world, and his four wives. The show depicts the family as happy living their polygamous lives, but after watching Kody put his children through his strange lifestyle and overall cringe-worthy personality, we question the true thoughts of his wives and children. Not that any of them would ever say anything about that in front of the camera- they know which side their bread is buttered on. Although we have to admit the show makes for fascinating and “engrossing” TV. And we mean that most literally.
8. Buying Naked
It seems reality TV is taking a new path, by taking what would normally be a boring HGTV show and adding the word “naked” somewhere in the title. A new “Naked” show seems to crop up every season. We get it too- an awful lot of HGTV’s programming would be pretty darn boring if they didn’t get people out of their clothes. This show is exactly what it sounds like: a show about people buying homes naked. Yup, you read that right. They’re not doing it for the sake of reality TV, either, which, unfortunately, would make plenty of sense nowadays. Rather, they’re all actual nudists looking for homes in actual nudist communities. For those looking to spice up their House Hunters binge watching, this show is for you. Although you may not have much of an appetite for snacking while you watch this one.
7. Party Down South
Imagine Jersey Shore, but with the cast of Duck Dynasty. Go on, we know you can do it. What could be better? Well, actually, probably pretty much any show in the world ever, but that didn’t stop this CMT series from being on for over two years. It’s amazing what people watch, especially when we are supposed to be living in the “Golden Age” of TV programming. This one is from the same producer as Jersey Shore, and follows people who come to the south to do nothing else but party. Instead of watching people tan and swap saliva on the Jersey Shore, we get an inside look at what it’s like to party down in the South. The accents and outfits are definitely different but other than that the same level of intelligence pervades the whole enterprise.
6. Dash Dolls
Not only do we get to keep up with the Kardashians, but now we get to look into the lives of the people who work for their boutique in Hollywood. Oh joy, will wonders never cease? There really was nothing else out there in TV land that we ever wanted to watch rather than another thing related to America’s most famous clan of reality stars. Dash Dolls is another E! reality television series that follows the lives of a group of young female employees who work at the upscale Dash Boutique owned by the Kardashian family. The show does not star any of the Kardashians, though they do make guest appearances often. We suppose we should feel honored and lucky that we get to see them even more but for some reason we just don’t.
5. Naked And Afraid
Another show to include “naked” in the title, this Discovery Channel show follows a new pair of strangers (that’s right, strangers) each episode who are forced to live and survive in the wild for twenty-one days with nothing on other than their birthday suits. We’re not sure if this is even legal in some states but there you have it. Each survivalist is, however, given the option of bringing one item for survival, such as a fire starter or weapon. Yay for them! Just when we thought Dual Survivor couldn’t get any better, Naked and Afraid came along. Fortunately for all of us, we don’t have to see either of the hosts of Dual Survivor naked. Unfortunately, we do have to think about what it would be like to be bitten by bugs in certain normally inaccessible places and other fun thoughts.
4. S*x Box
When creating a reality show, if the word “naked” can’t be included in the title, the next best option is to add the word “sex”. So, of course, Sex box is a show that premiered on WE in 2015 that follows a couple with intimacy issues. Because that sounds like something that just everybody wants to air on national TV. They are set down in front of a panel of experts and discuss the issues at hand. The experts offer some advice to spice things up or resolve certain issues, and the couple is then sent into a box to have sex with each other. The audience can’t see them having sex, but they do get to sit there, knowing exactly what’s going on inside the box. After they’re finished, they then come out, only to discuss exactly what just happened with the sexperts again. It’s just like learning to ride a bicycle on TV except nobody knows if you made it or crashed until afterward.
3. Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills
Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be born into a rich family and live in Beverly Hills? Of course you do- everybody does! Well, now you can find out in E!’s reality show Rich Kids of Beverly Hills! Gosh, what a time to be alive it is for us all- so much brilliant TV to choose from. The show follows several young adults and their daily struggle of being rich in Beverly Hills. That’s right, you can watch whingeing young, self-centered, entitled kids deal with that terrible disease “Affluenza.” The show includes all of the reality show essentials, with the added bonus of knowing these people only have a show because they’re rich. Somehow we feel like this has all been done before and probably done better.
2. Dating Naked
The third “Naked” show to grace the list, the VH1 dating competition doesn’t fail to hold up to the title. Dating Naked revolves around two singles who go on various sets of dates with other singles. The twist, you ask? You guessed it- they’re naked while dating! Who would ever have thought of it? Wow! That is like, so original! The show is full of drama and sexual tension that we often forget that they’re naked, until two guys get into a total bro war and we’re reminded that they both have to stare at each other’s genitals while arguing. Which is pretty funny, actually, and leads to all sorts of awkwardness. But still, did we really need another “Naked” show? You know what, please don’t answer that last question.
1. S*xy Beast
Arguably the best dating show to ever exist in the realm of reality TV, Sexy Beast tops our list of most outrageous reality TV shows. The BBC Three series takes singles looking for a companion, and completely transforms their appearance, causing the daters to decide if they’re compatible based only on the moments they share on their dates. That is until the last round when the daters are able to see each other without the effects and are forced to decide on the spot if they want to go on a final date. They don’t just transform the daters by adding a prosthetic nose or outrageous wig, they full on transform the contestants into unrecognizable creatures. It’s just about as strange as it sounds and looks even weirder than that. In the end, though, it’s only another dating show. We guess viewers really, really like to watch other people interact awkwardly with each other.