Many people are ready to do anything to find the love of their life, whether it is a human, fame, money or adventure. They hated and admired the new stars they saw on TV and decided to be better than them, even though they took the same path.
Why not get the chance to live a unique adventure with the most entertaining and beautiful singles? These contestants have been cast just for you by TV researchers, so you can have a blind date with someone that will make you live a unique experience. Everything is made up so there can be at least one match quickly, since you’re all here for the same reason and motivated by the competition.
However, many of these shows were not created to help candidates find the love of their life, but to help producers find theirs: money. Reality shows are so popular because they make producers a lot of money even though they don’t cost much to produce. Participants are their disposable stars, and they won’t mind using them to create a show.
Even if they are widely criticized, considered trash TV and – at best – seen as a guilty pleasures, there is one thing that makes it so dating shows are still presented on TV: most of you are still watching them. Producers won’t stop pushing the limits to create the weirdest moments, encourage the wildest drama, and find the craziest contestants to make it so you’ll always watch “just one more show.”
Dating is not seductive anymore, it is embarrassing, degrading, and humiliating as people are used and abused for nothing but entertainment. Still interested? Here are the 15 worst dating shows you will secretly be watching.
15. Conveyor Belt of Love (2010) – ABC
This dating show is Tinder’s latest ancestor: 30 men appear on a conveyor belt one at a time. They have 60 seconds to make a good impression in front of the 4 female judges. Uninterested? They are swiped away. Interesting? They go to the next round. The show presents picky women and men accepting whatever they have, just like the Tinder stereotype.
Men are presented as products who have to sell themselves. They do their best to impress, or at least get the attention of the ladies, by wearing a costume, constantly screaming, doing push-ups, rapping, playing the guitar, or telling their best pickup lines. Female judges also represented the stereotypes of why women are single: one hated everyone, another one kept trading hot guys for other guys, and another one scared off everyone with her obsession for marriage.
The only relationship that could ever work out is the one that involved two dogs who met during a date. They lived happily ever after and had many puppies.
14. Baggage (2010-2015) – GSN
Baggage is all about the dirty little secrets. Three candidates share three embarrassing, gross, weird and/or unique secrets hidden in their baggage: the bigger it is, the bigger is the secret. Then, the main contestant eliminates those who have the worst secrets until only one of them is left.
What makes the show so bad, but so entertaining at the same time, is all those secrets: “I have a fascination for roadkill,” “I have a webcam in my bathroom,” “I stole $10,000 from an ex,” “I keep my foreskin in a safe,” “I pay paparazzi to follow me,” “I am a cult leader,” “I sleep with a life-size cutout of Britney Spears,” “I eat a whole stick of butter every day,” “I clean my mind by hanging myself from meat hooks,” and much more.
At the end of the show, the main contestant’s secret is revealed and the Chosen One has the right to say if they want an all-expense paid date with them or not. No matter what, all secrets are revealed, and many of them are explained.
13. Room Raiders (2003-2006) – MTV
Three people are kidnapped by surprise and thrown into a white van so they can see a stranger breaking into their house and smelling their undies… The main contestant tries to find every little secret hidden in the rooms while forcing themselves to use a useless spy kit at least once. At the end of the show, they finally choose to date the person who has the best room.
Contestants were hiding baseball bats and handcuffs next to their bed, hanging out in graveyards, making their Barbie dolls experience BDSM, replacing real friends with stock photos, using a whole box of sex toys, writing with fake blood on their door, collecting garden gnomes… and Zac Efron stole a tiny G-string he thought his mum would like.
However, Van Winkles reported that this was one of the most formatted shows on MTV because they had to film 66 episodes in nine months. This means that the production team had to respect a strict plan to make sure everything was organized. It seems like reality has been kidnapped too.
12. Joe Millionaire (2003) – Fox
Evan just inherited millions of dollars, which gives him the right to be looking for a potential bride on television. However, in reality, he is only a construction worker pretending to be rich to find out who loves him for who he is, and who loves money. The truth will only be revealed after he chooses the one he wants to spend his life with.
Winner Zora decided to stay with him anyway and the couple was, at least, surprised by $1,000,000… that they had to split because their relationship did not last. After she said “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I do believe in fairytales“ on camera, Evan told her off cam that he wasn’t interested in any girl, but the producers wanted to see a happy ending, as explained in Reality Bites Back by Jennifer L. Pozner.
Ironically, the point of the show was that Evan could find true love and avoid gold diggers, but he was the one only interested in his $500,000 pay check, as he knew since the beginning that he wasn’t interested in love.
11. A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila (2007) – VH1
One of the biggest problems with this show was that Tila Tequila portrayed bisexual people in the worst stereotypical way: people who want to have sex with everyone. She was part of the first important bisexual-themed reality TV dating show but took this opportunity to get laid instead of looking for love.
This wouldn’t have been such a problem if bisexual people were presented on TV in a better way, but it was one of the first reality shows portraying them. Hot girls kissing each other were presented as a fantasy for men, and choosing between men or women made it so bisexuality seemed like a phase. As a first impression, A Shot At Love completely failed.
A Shot At Love is an appropriate title as the pleasure of a shot only lasts for few seconds before you swallow it.
10. My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance (2003) – Fox
A woman has to marry a man and win $500,000 for herself and her family if she does. However, they don’t agree with this idea. Why? Could it be because she is marrying him after two weeks or because it is part of a TV show? No: this is because she is matched with the worst fiancé there could ever be.
Steve is unattractive, doesn’t mind showing off his body, and pushes every boundary to make sure everyone notices he is there. The trick? Steve is, in fact, an actor pretending to be the most unlovable man that was ever presented on TV. The hypocrite fiancée falls into the trap and everyone makes fun of her as she pretends to love that man.
She kind of deserved to be treated like that as she was playing a game too, but her family doesn’t deserve to suffer and almost be torn apart because of this act. Randi had no problem risking her family, even though they probably wouldn’t have thought it was worth the money, which made her worse than her fiancé.
9- Megan Wants A Millionaire (2009) – VH1
After participating in Rock of Love, Beauty and the Geek, and I Love Money, Megan Hauserman also had to stop by Rock of Love: Charm School. However, it didn’t cure her obsession: earning money by pretending to find love.
This love story originated from an interview for Charm School in which she stated that she would like to become a “trophy wife.” Her wish was granted as 17 single men were competing for what she had to offer.
What makes this show so bad is one of the worst things that could possibly happen: murder. Ryan Jenkins, one of the finalists who made it to third place, was the prime suspect in the murder of his swimsuit model wife, Jasmine Fiore. She was discovered stuffed in a suitcase, so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her breast implants. Jenkins fled back to his home country, Canada, and later hanged himself in a motel room, as reported by ABC News.
Megan Wants To Be A Millionaire was then cancelled because presenting a dead suspect for murder was kind of a turn-off.
8. Boys Meet Boys (2003) – Bravo
While the main contestant was trying to find love, half of the men on the show were only actors pretending to be gay. It wasn’t a game, but a lie, as the main contestant thought everyone was gay.
Their goal was to seduce him and then reject him, which is nothing but cruel humiliation. Not only was the main contestant hurt, but straight men were encouraged to make fun of gay people. As it was the first same-sex dating show, it could have been a great opportunity to show that love is love, but they chose to encourage love as a lie.
Even if Fox could have learned from this mistake, they decided to make a show even worse instead. In Seriously, Dude, I’m Gay, straight men were taught how to be gay so they can live the lifestyle and convince everyone, including their blind dates, that they just came out of the closet. Gay people live just as much drama as straight people, no need to make it all about sexual orientation.
7. The Pick Up Artist (2007-2008) – VHI
“Eight ordinary men, each has conquered some of the most difficult challenges of manhood: puberty, driving, shaving… But with all their masculine successes, there’s one thing they haven’t been able to figure out…” Here’s what The Pick-up Artist had to offer:
Social misfits received the help of the one who claims to be the most successful pickup artist. With the help of his sexual frustration, he developed a “full-proof system” to attract women. Candidates are then encouraged to approach as many women as possible until one of them finally tolerates them enough to have sex.
It did work, but not for a good reason, as one of the contestants told said: “Why pick up works is that a lot of women seem to have a hard time turning a guy down, or saying they don’t want to give their number out, as if they owe it to his feelings, or want to spare him the embarrassment.” The show is simply encouraging manipulation and sexual harassment, which is absolutely not a turn on.
6. Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire (2000) – Fox
When you thought this was only about money… You were right. In a single two-hour show, 50 women – one for each state- were competing to marry a multimillionaire. As women were being judged on their appearance, they couldn’t even know what their future husband looked like.
After a little more than an hour, Darva Conger from California and Rick Rockwell got married live on television. She also received a three-karat diamond ring, $100,000 in prizes and… an annulment less than two months later.
Moreover, even if Rockwell was a multi-millionaire, he didn’t live a luxurious life and even lied about his job, as reported in the New York Times. Prince charming was also the subject of a restraining order because he was accused of physically threatening an ex-girlfriend nine years before the show.
Executive vice-president for Fox’s specials, Mike Darnell, finally decided that there wasn’t going to be any more shows like I Want To Marry A Multimillionaire on Fox as “It’s just not worth the risk.”
5. Temptation Island (2001-2003) – Fox
How to ruin a romantic vacation on a paradise island: separate two partners and let them meet hot and sexually ambitious men/women who will do anything to steal a heart and break another. Couples want to test their partner and prove that they can be faithful but this vacation ends up being much worse than simply being cheated on.
The point of this show is simply to see people being hurt and humiliated on television as the “love of their life” can’t resist the temptation. This quickly ends up in revenge, which is not a better feeling to have for someone who shouldn’t make you waste your time any longer.
Otherwise, you can always be the horrible character who cheats, or you can steal someone’s else partner. Insulting and degrading others is also a requirement if you want to be a Tempter. Things aren’t easier for the host as he has to tell everyone that they are being cheated on. The happy ending, in this case, is not to see the partner leaving with the Temptation or the couple forgiving everything: it is simply not to be part in this dating show.
4. The Bachelor (2002-Present) – ABC
The show makes people believe that they will find love but, as Wendy Merrill wrote in Reality Matters: “I mean, doesn’t the idea of one man test-driving twenty-five beautiful women at once sound more like a polyamorous play date than an honest attempt at finding one’s soul mate?”
Contestants are chosen, used and then edited to become horrible caricatures of women. Everything is made up to create drama as 25 women are sharing the two same bathrooms and the same man. To make it worse, they drink alcohol so they don’t have any filter, can’t have any contact with the outside world so they easily open up to anyone, and don’t have enough time to sleep so they are easily pissed off.
If you are interested in facing the truth, another (fictitious) show has been made just for you: Unreal. It was created by Sarah Shapiro, a former associate producer from the Bachelor who decided to tell everyone what this dating show is really about, inspired by her past experiences.
3. Next (2005-2008) – MTV
As the intro sequence presents the show: “You’re going on five dates. If the first one sucks, just say, ‘Next!’ […] Don’t feel bad for the daters who get the boot — they’ll get cash for every minute they last.” The one they chose can either leave with the money or go on another date.
Daters were described in ridiculous ways as: “gave herself a black eye to get out of work,” “had sex while talking on the phone to his church pastor,” “falls asleep while standing up,” “lit her house on fire when she was six,” and “has a crush on the King from Burger King.” If they lasted for more than one minute, they had to participate in weird activities to win the heart of their humiliating dater.
Moreover, it used to be possible to participate in Next or Not online, crowning people “hotties of the day” if other people spent a lot of time on their profile. This is how reality TV managed to contaminate real life.
2. Singled Out (1995-1998) – MTV
This show is sometimes described as The Dating Game on acid. The more, the merrier: 50 insane men or 50 crazy women are competing for a date with the main contestant of the opposite sex.
Singled Out really wants to push the limits of wildness as hosts slap contestants, smash eggs, bite people during interviews, and choke semi-finalists. Many people are quickly eliminated because of the picker’s preference on their weight, butt, warts, bedroom style, or package. When only a few of them are left, they have to share their best pick up lines and participate in the weirdest competitions: convincing a fish to go back to school or grooming a giant nose. The picker finally ends up with the one they share the most interests with.
This reality TV show clearly revealed how people would force themselves to act crazy so they can be on television. If you are wondering what is the average IQ on this show, let’s remember that there were only 5 out of 50 guys left when the picker eliminated those who had no brain.
1. Parental Control (2006-2010) – MTV
Parents sometimes think that their son/daughter-in-law aren’t good enough for their family. They are right to think so but choose the worst way to solve this problem. Mum and dad want to destroy the person their child is dating.
To get rid of their son/daughter-in-law, parents choose two people so they can meet their child and make the couple break up. During this time, the girlfriend/boyfriend sits next to the parents to watch the dates. They are being cheated on and insulted as the parents are happy to see all this happening. At the end, the main contestant chooses who he wants to stay with, either it is their partner or one of their blind dates. Many of the children decide to stay with their partner even though they have been cheating on them all day.
No one is right for anyone: the boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t good enough for the family, the parents keep insulting their son/daughter-in-law, the child is a horrible cheater, and the dates are happy to be involved in this. If you are looking for a lot of hate, jealousy, disrespect, and humiliation, this is the right show for you.