They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 4 – Average Joe to Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair

Reality TV has such a presence in our culture that you have to be under a rock no to have any exposure to it at some level. Unfortunately, I believe that a lot of it tends to appeal to the lowest common denominator. But perhaps it might explain why The Hunger Games is so popular since a lot of the stuff you see in the books and movies are what you see in reality shows. This is especially the case when Katniss has to fake a romance with Peeta during the course of the competition. But at least Katniss had a good excuse since the Hunger Games is a teenage death match. Yet, she did toy with Peeta’s emotions in the process which devastated him at the end of the first book. In world of reality shows, you have production crews meddling in people’s lives all the time. They have writers who craft story lines and scenarios for the participants to follow. Sure it’s not scripted but that doesn’t mean participants are being coached. You also have a lot of deceptive editing, too. So we can’t say that what’s presented in reality TV is necessarily real. Nevertheless, for your reading displeasure I bring you another installment of terrible reality shows with the same appeal as a train derailment.

31. Average Joe


On Average Joe a bunch of normal guys compete for the hand of a unrealistically beautiful woman. Sure these guys don’t look half-bad. But c’mon, why didn’t they have one with average looking women competing for a beefcake?

Station: NBC

Premise: A bunch of normal looking guys compete to win the affection of a gorgeous woman. Halfway through there are some hot guys thrown in as well, just in case she starts falling for some of them based on their personalities.

Why It’s Stupid: Let me put it this way, would anyone be willing to do a reality show pertaining to a group of normal looking women vying for an incredibly gorgeous guy?

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it went on for a few seasons.

32. Chains of Love


In Chains of Love, contestants are chained together in order to compete for the love of the person in the middle. They also live in a mansion where they eat and sleep together. Hope they don’t bathe, dress, and go to the bathroom together. For God’s sake, you have to wonder about these things.

Station: UPN

Premise: Dating show where contestants are chained to 4 suitors of the opposite sex, sometimes for days where they eat together and sleep together. Each suitor represents a quality they look for in a potential mate. After a couple of days, one “chain gang” member is cut by the person in the middle and is given some of a $10,000 purse. At the end they’ll have to choose a winner who will get them and the rest of the $10,000 purse.

Why It’s Stupid: Uh, being literally chained to suitors isn’t really a lot of fun. Also, you have to wonder how these people even bathe, dress themselves, or go to the bathroom. Or whether the person in the middle has sex with any suitors or if the others watch it. It’s a miracle that no one on this show was murdered at all. One person called it, “a S&M Party gone horribly wrong.”

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and so did the network.


33. Change of Heart


In Change of Heart, couples go see other people before deciding to whether to stay together. If you and your partner are on this show, you might want to evaluate your relationship. Seriously, this is messed up.

Station: Syndication

Premise: 2 couples go on dates with other people and decide whether they want to stay together.

Why It’s Stupid: Seriously, this show takes the “seeing other people” thing a bit too far. When someone said that they want to see other people, it should mean they want to break up with them. Not going on dates with other people and wanting to stay together.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but ran for 5 seasons.


34. Conveyor Belt of Love


Conveyor Belt of Love was a show on ABC where women look at guys on a conveyor belt before deciding to date them. Here one guy takes off his shirt to reveal his washboard abs.

Station: ABC

Premise: 5 women check out 30 men who pass them by on a giant conveyor belt who only have 60 seconds to impress them. If a woman is interested in someone, that man will step aside and wait as the rest of the men go by. But if another man comes by on the belt who seems better than that woman’s first choice, then she can swap out the man waiting off of the belt as many times she wants until the last man has passed by. If 2 or more of the women are interested in the same man, the man on the conveyor belt gets to choose which one he’d have to wait for. After all 30 men made it through the belt, each woman is left with her final choice as she embarks on a date in the hope of finding a true connection.

Why It’s Stupid: Oh, there’s nothing romantic like checking out guys like they’re cars just off the assembly line (sarcasm).

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, after one season.


35. Date My Mom


In Date My Mom, a single dater goes out with 3 moms who try to convince them to date their kids. Yes, I know it’s kind of like the Graduate and it’s creepy but that’s beside the point. No, I don’t know if there was any Mrs. Robinson contestant.

Station: MTV

Premise: Single dater goes out with 3 moms who try to convince them to date their kids. The dater chooses which of these they want to date.

Why It’s Stupid: Have anyone of you have ever seen The Graduate? When it comes to dating, you might want to skip on dating somebody’s kid after going on a date with their parents. Let’s just say Thanksgiving going to be awkward. It would’ve been more ironic had they used “Mrs. Robinson” as a theme song. Creepy.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 2 years.


36. Dating in the Dark


Hey, I don’t mind meeting a guy on a blind date. But I’d rather be able to see him when I meet him. But this isn’t what these daters get in Dating in the Dark. Yes, it’s stupid.

Station: ABC

Premise: 3 single women and 3 single men move into a house getting to know each other and form bonds in total darkness.

Why It’s Stupid: Going on a blind date is one thing. But dating a stranger in total darkness? Sorry, but I think it might be better to date somebody in a way I could actually see what they look like such as on the Internet (in some ways). Let’s just say, while looks aren’t everything, it could be a very disappointing experience to know that the person you dated in the dark didn’t look like you’d imagine them. And yes, the contestants are judged by their looks at the end.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 2 years.


37. EX-treme Dating


If you’re a girl who’d like to meet a new guy but doesn’t mind your ex stalking you and give you advice, then EX-treme Dating is the show for you. Or as I call it EX-treme Stalking. Because that’s what it is.

Station: Syndication

Premise: Two people go on a blind date chaperoned by their exes who talk to the daters through earpieces, guiding the conversation topic. At the end of the date, a limo shows up. If the dater is in there, the two go on a second date. If the ex is in there, they win a prize.

Why It’s Stupid: Hmmm….people going out on a date while being watched by their exes. In many situations, it’s called EX-treme stalking.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 3 years.


38. ElimiDate


In ElimiDate, one contestant is paired with 4 of the opposite sex for a date. And as it goes on, things get sexier and sexier. Guess one has been elimidated so far.

Station: Syndication

Premise: One contestant dates 4 other contestants at the same time and eliminates them one by one. Think of it as a poor man’s version of The Bachelor.

Why It’s Stupid: Other than going on date with a few other people, the dates tend to get sexier and sexier. For instance, it would start in the park. But when it comes down to the final two, they’d be in a hot tub. Let’s just say, if I was one of the suitors to make it to the hot tub scene, I’d be glad to get eliminadated by that point.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 5 years.


39. For Love or Money


Sure love should always trump money in the real world. But on For Love Or Money, if a suitor be chosen, they should’ve always chose money. Because a lot of reality show relationships don’t last.

Station: NBC

Premise: It’s like The Bachelor with one contestant with 15 suitors to choose from. However, the chosen suitor always has the opportunity to start a relationship with the central contestant or taking home a cash prize while not being permitted any further contact. Eliminated contestants are forced to rip up their checks that represented the money they could’ve won.

Why It’s Stupid: Yes, I do think that love should trump money in the real world. However, in the world of Reality TV where plenty of relationships die after the credits roll, always go with the money.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but not after 4 seasons.


40. Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair


In Frank the Entertainer: A Basement Affair, a bunch of beautiful women compete for a man who lives in his parents’ basement. And they have to move in for a time, too. Yes, it’s a true basement affair.

Station: Vh1

Premise: Another poor man version of The Bachelor. Here, 15 women contestants move in with Frank “The Entertainer” Maresca and his parents. And yes, it’s a true basement affair.

Why It’s Stupid: Yes, there are plenty of 30 something men who live in their parents’ basement and still rely on them. However, we usually never want to talk about it. Nor do we really want to watch an entire show about it. Also, if I were a contestant, I’d probably glad to be eliminated on this show.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 3 – Hell Date to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

As you look through the stupid reality TV shows, you can see why I try to avoid them. There are a lot of criticisms of this genre that state how it’s dumbing down the populace and corrupting society. But don’t worry, because the United States isn’t the only country with reality shows. Because yes, foreign countries have their own, too. After all, you can find the lowest common denominator almost everywhere. But what was particularly bad for me is the fact reality shows are particularly popular among teenagers. And as someone growing up in the 2000s, I had to deal with classmates talking about this garbage, especially in college. I had a roommate who loved The Hills while a lot of people in my pod watched Jon and Kat Plus 8. But shows like Tila Tequila and Cribs were particularly popular students at my high school. You can say reality TV was a bane of my adolescence. Still, studies have shown that young people emulate behavior displayed on these programs, gathering much of their knowledge of the social world, particularly about consumer practices from TV. And it doesn’t help that many of these shows teens watch contain questionable role models, particularly the representation of sexually objectified women. Or the depiction of women as shallow, materialistic gold diggers. So for your reading pleasure or lack of it, I bring you another installment of terrible reality shows that would make you feel worse for watching them.

21. Hell Date


Hell Date is a dating show in which people are on a blind date with one acting like a total asshole. And there’s a devil in it, too.

Station: BET

Premise: It’s a typical dating show with single people looking for love. Only difference is that the potential mate is an actor paid to be the most annoying pain in the ass any person could be forced to go on a date with. Also has a little person in a devil costume for the big reveal.

Why It’s Stupid: The people at Madame Noire thought this was entertaining. However, this is pretty terrible if you think about it. It’s bad enough to date a genuine asshole, let alone be forced to date one. Yet, to date someone pretending to be an asshole, that’s just awful. Even has as dwarf in a devil costume saying, “You on Hell Date!”

Did it Get Canceled?: Not sure.


22. Joe Millionaire

FOX 2003 WinterTCA Tour

So let me get this straight, this is a show about a guy who’s trying to get a girl by pretending to be rich. Like Aladdin. But at least Aladdin had a lot of good songs and a wisecracking genie which I’d rather watch anyway than this garbage.

Station: Fox

Premise: Ordinary construction worker poses as a multi-millionaire heir looking for love as he takes a group of women to exotic, luxurious locations. But none of the women are aware of the ruse until it’s revealed to the last remaining woman. If she chooses to stay anyway, they’d receive $1 million.

Why It’s Stupid: Well, it was built on the idea whether money can buy love. But while “love” prevailed, it wasn’t long until the two went their separate ways, only $500,000 richer. Kind of a let down if you think about it but not surprising.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, after 2 seasons but the first season was wildly popular.


23. Bridalplasty


Bridalplasty is one of those horrible shows in which women compete for the plastic surgery makeover and wedding of their dreams. But the winning bride’s groom didn’t see her until their wedding day. Yeah, I know it’s very exploitative and made women seem vapid and superficial.

Station: E!

Premise: 12 engaged or already married women compete in a series of challenges for the wedding of their dreams and their dream plastic surgery makeover. Each woman had a plastic surgery wishlist and the winner of each week’s wedding challenge would win one plastic surgery procedure from her list. The winner received the wedding of her dreams and her entire wish list fulfilled. But the groom didn’t see his bride until she revealed her new look on their wedding day.

Why It’s Stupid: This show is downright deplorable in regard’s for women’s self-image. Also made women seem vapid and superficial. Makes Bridezillas seem like a feminist show in comparison.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and there was much rejoicing.


24. Superstar USA


Seeing the success of American Idol, those at the WB thought it would be great to have a singing competition show of their own. But instead of picking great singers, Superstar USA did the opposite.

Station: The WB

Premise: It’s like American Idol except they’re trying to find the worst singer in America. Contestants who couldn’t hold a tune were told they were the best singers around. Those who had the best voices were eliminated. Audience members were told the singers were terminally ill and that a charitable organization had made their dreams come true. Winner leaves with $50,000.

Why It’s Stupid: If it was a parody, it would be understandable. But it wasn’t. So it’s ridiculous.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and so did the network.


25. Survival of the Richest


Survival of the Richest paired a rich kid and a poor kid for a major cash prize of $200,000. I’m sure the winners split the prize money. Probably not.

Station: The WB

Premise: Seven kids worth over $3 billion are paired with seven kids with a combined debt of $150,000. The pairs had to compete to win $200,000.

Why It’s Stupid: Casting only reinforced typical stereotypes between rich and poor. And I know dividing the prize money went quite well (sarcasm).

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and so did the network.


26. I Know My Kid’s a Star


I Know My Kid’s a Star is a show where moms try to live vicariously through their kids by trying to put them into show biz. Of course, many will succeed in putting their kids into a lifetime of therapy.

Station: Vh1

Premise: Parents and kids are in an elimination style competition in which each week the kid was given tasks to try and advance their show-biz career.

Why It’s Stupid: Parents exploiting their kids? Check. Parents getting into fights with other parents saying that their kid is the next big thing in Hollywood? Check. If I want to see something like that, I’ll just tune into Gypsy. At least Mama Rose has some great songs.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.


27. My Super Sweet 16


My Super Sweet 16 was a very popular show when I was growing up to my chagrin. This one covered a lot of spoiled rich girls who had to have the most lavish 16th birthday party ever. By the way, this is a promo featuring Jennifer Lawrence. Best thing to straighten her out is to have her little sister picked for the Hunger Games.

Station: MTV

Premise: Spoiled rich teenagers were given a party of their lifetime, all to celebrate their 16th birthday. Parties featured popular singers, lavish gifts, and expensive locations.

Why It’s Stupid: It basically featured rich kids as complete brats lashing out at their parents for getting a small detail of their party right. Not only that, but this series was on when I was a teenager and had to hear other kids talk about it at school almost all the time.

Did it Get Canceled?: Not sure.


28. Keeping Up with the Kardashians


Yes, I know this show is immensely popular. But seriously, these people may be accomplished in their own right. But they seem to become the faces of undeserved celebrity since they’re more like celebrity groupies. Famous for being famous indeed.

Station: E!

Premise: Documents the lives of the Kardashians whose patriarch was once a defense lawyer for O. J. Simpson. The stepdad-turned stepmom was a famous Olympian. Then there’s athlete Lamar Odom and rapper Kanye West.

Why It’s Stupid: Because when it comes to celebrity reality shows, at least they did something in their lives to earn some celebrity status. Other than the spouses, most of the family is just famous for their reality show or being celebrity groupies (Kim was a stylist and personal shopper to Lindsay Lohan as well as dated a lot of celebrities as well. Was also married to Kris Humphries for 72 days and their marriage was certainly a publicity stunt). It’s also made the Kardashian sisters into icons, particularly Kim which I think is a travesty. Still, they’re probably good people as you can see by their relationship with Lamar Odom. But that doesn’t mean they deserve to be famous.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, it’s still on and it’s still a hit. There have also been spinoffs.


29. Toddlers and Tiaras


Personally, I can’t think of anything so exploitative and detrimental to children as child beauty pageants. But a show covering them is beyond the pale. Seriously,

Station: TLC

Premise: Documents parents (mostly moms) lavishing makeup on their 4-6 year old children, giving them big hairdos, dressing them in outrageous clothes, and entering them into beauty pageants.

Why It’s Stupid: It’s about parents exploiting their kids through entering them into child beauty pageants, which horribly sexualize young girls and teach them that their looks are the only thing that matter. Not to mention, they force these girls to conform to unrealistic beauty standards with hooker makeup and high heeled shoes. Sounds what evil people would do in secret. Can someone call Child Services on these parents? Hope these pint sized pageant queens get some prize money, because they’re going to need it for years of therapy.

Did it Get Canceled?: Ended in 2013.


30. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo


Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a spin-off of Toddlers and Tiaras which covers this girl’s family. Yes, I know it reflected people in her area quite badly. But thank God it was cancelled.

Station: TLC

Premise: Basically, it’s a spin-off of Toddlers and Tiaras but it takes a look into the family and life of Alana Thompson.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, this is a show about a girl in a child beauty pageants. Second, it’s filled with offensive stereotypes of poor, rural whites. Third, fellow town residents felt the show reflected badly on everyone living there like no one had any manners. Fourth, Mama June giving her child “go-go juice” really should’ve had people calling child services since it contains Mountain Dew and Red Bull.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, in 2014, but not without scandal. Nevertheless, it was highly popular, unfortunately.

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 2 – The Pickup Artist to The Briefcase

Well, we’re off to a great start. Note that I have to put pictures on these to show my reader that these are real shows. But as you go on with these shows, some of them might seem familiar to you. Some of them might be ones you’ve never heard of before. Out of the last bunch, I’ve heard of Kid Nation and I Wanna Marry Harry. And though I didn’t remember some of the Fox ones, I can recall that the network was known for a lot of sleazy reality shows back when I was a teenager. And you will see more from them. But other networks weren’t far behind. And for a time, PBS did some reality series but they were mostly historically based for educational purpose. Yet, those were also stupid, too. To be honest, I did a lot of the research into these shows months ago, but I’m doing a series right now since I haven’t had much to write about since last week. And yes, a lot of the stuff I found did greatly disturbed me but I can be rest assured that I didn’t miss much. Or at least miss what was worth missing. And so I give you my second installment of dumb reality shows you might remember but would like to forget.

11. The Pickup Artist


Here we have a show about a guy in a big furry black hat and piercings giving guys dating advice on how to pick up chicks. His advice: guys, if you want to get the girl, it helps that you treat her like crap until she falls for you.

Station: Vh1

Premise: 8 ordinary men who had severe problems with women are attempted to turn into “master pick-up artists” with the help of some bleach and kissing tips. All this with the men entering a mansion prepared to be guided in the ways of love by a soul-patching hat-feathered enthusiast named Mystery. Mystery challenged these guys to learn skills like “negging.”

Why It’s Stupid: To make a short story short, this show gives terrible relationship advice for men, particularly when it comes to women. For one, according to the Urban Dictionary, “negging” means giving women low-grade insults meant to undermine their self-confidence in order to make them more vulnerable. Second, for men who have been in unsuccessful relationships, such advice will not help them in the long term. Third, it teaches men the highly sexist advice that in order pick up women, you have to treat them like garbage. Look, if you’re a guy who’s unsuccessful with women, just remember that there are plenty of women who are looking for men who want them. Some women may be looking for a challenge. But there are some women who are so desperate for boyfriend that they’d subject themselves to such stupid shit and date any jerk who gives them any attention. Then there are single girls like me whose lack of social skills and tendency to be bullied throughout school really don’t respond well to such tactics. Perhaps a better way for men to know women should consist of approaching them, treating them with respect, and getting to know them as people. But if a guy just wants sex, he should just go to Tinder. Still, if you’re a guy who’s been unsuccessful with women, while you should make an effort to improve yourself, understand that not all your relationships failures are your fault or their fault either. And sometimes if a woman rejects you, it might be because she doesn’t think it would work out.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 2 seasons.


12. The Swan


The Swan is a show in which a bunch of self-conscious women with severe appearance insecurities get major plastic surgery that conforms to impossible beauty standards. Oh, and they also compete in a beauty pageant. Still, these women didn’t look that ugly in their before pictures. Jesus Christ.

Station: Fox

Premise: Women who are judged as ugly are given extreme makeover including several forms of plastic surgery. Each contestant has a panel of specialists – a coach, trainer, therapist, cosmetic surgeon, and a dentist- who together design a program of total transformation. Their work ethic, growth, and achievement are monitored over the course of 3 months. Each episode, two women were featured, one went home while another was selected to move to compete in the Swan pageant at the end of the season.

Why It’s Stupid: In a gist, according to journalist Chris Hedges, “The Swan’s transparent message is that once these women have been surgically ‘corrected’ to resemble mainstream celebrity beauty as closely as possible, their problems will be solved.” Not only that, but it also sets impossible beauty standards for women and says that altering their appearance with plastic surgery will solve their social, financial, and family problems. And to make things worse, it even featured a beauty pageant at the end for these women to be judged by a national TV audience. Seriously, there are plenty of women who look like trolls but they still find happiness to their lives without subjecting their bodies and faces to plastic surgery.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 2 seasons. Also, had its own SNL parody with Amy Poehler.


13. Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?


The Fox special Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? was inspired by the Bachelor and was condemned across the political spectrum as an exploitative show. However, what this show also taught him was the importance of background checks since the guy was later found to have a restraining order against him by an ex-girlfriend for domestic violence. The marriage was never consummated and was later annulled.

Station: Fox

Premise: It was a special that was structured like a beauty pageant with 50 women (one from each US state) compete to be the bride of an unknown multi-millionaire whom they didn’t see except in a silhouette. Included a swimwear and question-and-answer portion.

Why It’s Stupid: Despite high ratings, it was harshly condemned as exploitative and the show was condemned by the liberal-leaning National Organization for Women and the conservative-leaning Media Research Center. Also, it emphasized the importance thorough background checks. Not only was the groom’s net worth questioned, it was also discovered that he had a restraining order against him for domestic violence. And the guy wasn’t even using his original name. No wonder the bride annulled their union less than 2 weeks.

Did it Get Canceled?: This was a 2 hour special.


14. The Anna Nicole Show


Yes, Anna Nicole Smith had her own reality show, too. I know we all made fun of her for marrying a rich old dude for his money. But we have to concede she wasn’t doing very well and later died suddenly. Kind of makes me feel horrible.

Station: E!

Premise: Well, it’s a reality show that takes an intimate look on former trophy wife Anna Nicole Smith.

Why It’s Stupid: Well, it’s basically a show made to exploit an obviously troubled woman, whose slurred words and unsteady gait were played for laughs. And yes, we all made fun of her for being a gold digging tramp. But she died of an overdose in 2007, which came as a massive shock. Now that makes you feel bad about yourself, doesn’t it?

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but she died of a drug overdose 4 years later.


15. Pretty Wild


Now I don’t remember this show being on. However, one of the sisters was implicated in the infamous Bling Ring in which a bunch of teenagers stole jewelry from celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Audrina Partridge, Megan Fox, and Orlando Bloom. Interestingly, Alexis Neiers occupied the same cell block as Lindsay Lohan but the two never spoke to each other.

Station: E!

Premise: It followed the day-to-day lives of 3 wild child sisters called Alexis and Gabrielle Neiers and Tess Taylor.

Why It’s Stupid: Well, Alexis Neiers was arrested and accused being a member of the now infamous Bling Ring in the very first episode. But that didn’t stop her from taking a vacation to Cabo, throwing a massive party for her younger sister complete with a stripper pole, and hanging out with football player Vernon Davis. She also angrily confronted Nancy Jo Sales for her 2010 article called, “The Suspect Wore Louboutins.” Alexis would later plead no contest to felony burglary and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. Andrew O’Hagan wrote about the series principals: “If real fame is a mask that eats into the face, then pseudo-fame, the current kind, might be a decoy that eats into the brain. You often meet those people in California, people who have forgotten that you are real, that you watch the news, that you know who they really are. They begin to lie to journalists and themselves with the same grim hope: if I say this and no one contradicts me it might be true. A sense of entitlement stands in for personal values. They don’t mind if they’re fooling you and fooling themselves, so long as they can keep the show on the road.”

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and thank God it did. Only lasted 9 episodes for obvious reasons. But Alexis was played by Emma Watson in the Sophia Coppola movie.


16. Married by America


Married by America is a show in which 10 singles have their matches arranged by online voters and are engaged on the spot. Next they’re sequestered to a spot for an engagement period with all but two getting eliminated. The final two couples remaining opted not to get married.

Station: Fox

Premise: Viewers played matchmaker for complete strangers. The newly created couples were engaged to be married and sent to live together while cameras filmed their unconventional courtships while receiving relationship pointers.

Why It’s Stupid: Let’s just say setting people up together works much better if you actually know the people, personally. Also, critics believed that this show demeaned and exploited the institution of marriage. Unsurprisingly, the two remaining couples decided not to get married and went their separate ways.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and we’re glad for it.


17. Who’s Your Daddy?


Yes, they actually had a show like this. It follows a woman who’s trying to find her real father. I know what you’re thinking. We already have a show like this. It’s called Maury.

Station: Fox

Premise: A young woman who’s adopted as a child tries to win $100,000 by picking her biological father from a group of men claiming to be her real dad. If one of the imposters managed to fool the adopted woman, the fake daddy would win the $100,000 prize instead.

Why It’s Stupid: A sensitive issue is turned into a reality show. Enough said. And no, there’s no Maury Povich DNA test either. Seriously, we already have Maury Povich exploiting uncertain paternity all the time. We don’t need this.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and thank God and mostly due to objections by adoption rights activists.


18. The Will


When a loved one dies, nothing brings a rich family together like fighting over who gets the estate as The Will shows. Of course, if I want to watch a family fighting over a will, I’d just watch Masterpiece Mystery.

Station: CBS

Premise: An Arizona millionaire’s potential heirs competed for his estate.

Why It’s Stupid: This is actually a great premise, assuming you’re writing a soap or a murder mystery. Nevertheless, like adultery, fighting over a rich dead person’s estate can bring out the worst in people but in a very different way. I mean a lot of people get killed over inheritance issues in Agatha Christie stories.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and there was much rejoicing.


19. Temptation Island


In Temptation Island, couples’ relationships are tested when they’re whisked away to a tropical paradise, are separated, and are tempted to cheat by attractive tempters. 30 Rock made fun of this with “MILF Island.”

Station: Fox

Premise: Couples are sent to a tropical island where the men were separated from the women. Sexy tempters and temptresses were thrown into the mix to see if the separated couples would be enticed to cheat on their mates.

Why It’s Stupid: This show is basically setting people up to cheat on each other as well as testing their relationships is the most horrifying way possible.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 2 seasons. Had its own 30 Rock parody called, “MILF Island.”


20. The Briefcase


The Briefcase is a show in which poor people are given a briefcase full of money while the production crew toys with their emotions and makes them feel guilty. Yes, exploitative reality TV at its most despicable. Why do networks even make shows like this?

Station: CBS

Premise: Impoverished families are presented with a briefcase full of $101,000 but there are strings attached. Either these families can keep the money they desperately need or give all or part of it to another family in need. But they aren’t told that the other family has received a similar briefcase and instructions.

Why It’s Stupid: This is basically manipulating and exploiting innocent and desperate people for entertainment. These are people who are desperately trying to keep their homes, feed their kids, and pay their medical bills. And this show puts them in front of the cameras with a Faustian bargain, which is just highly unethical as well as cruel and unusual. Some people consider this psychological torture.

Did it Get Canceled?: I sure hope so.

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 1 – Born in the Wild to Moment of Truth

I am not a fan of reality TV and think it’s a cancer on the entertainment landscape. But this genre of shows really hit its stride when I was growing up and I often got to hear about them from classmates all the way up to college. As someone who watches PBS documentary series, old movies, as well as forms of quality scripted shows, I really can’t see their appeal. Yet, I think people watch reality shows with some sort of bile fascination akin to witnessing a house burning down. However, I now realize that reality TV is here to stay whether I like it or not. After all, reality shows are cheap to produce and that people seem to like them. Unlike scripted shows, reality shows seem to be so hard to cancel once it has an audience. Nevertheless, as I did some research for terrible reality shows and found how this genre plays fast and loose with reality in ways that are both implicit such as putting people in artificial situations as well as deceptive or even fraudulent practices like misleading editing, participant coaching, storylines generated ahead of time, and scenes being staged for the cameras. There are also plenty of shows intended to exploit or humiliate participants that they either make stars out of people unworthy of fame, infamous personalities, or both and that they glamorize vulgarity and materialism. In this series, I will go after some of the worst reality shows that have ever aired on television. Note that I haven’t watched most of these shows. But just reading about them would make people scratch their heads.

  1. Born in the Wild

My question is how did Lifetime convince so many expectant mothers to give birth like this. Yes, pregnancy is a natural process but its one that’s gotten a lot of women killed for God’s sake. Seriously, women have babies in hospitals for a reason.

Station: Lifetime

Premise: Documents couples who want to have a more “natural” birthing experience by delivering a baby in the great outdoors—unassisted by modern medicine.

Why It’s Stupid: This is arguably the most irresponsible reality show ever made and was slammed by medical experts, since premodern birth processes have been associated with vastly infant and maternal mortality rates. This kind of makes it a miracle-of-birth version of “The Blair Witch Project” with suspense being generated from viewers wondering if a mother and her newborn are going to die. You have to wonder how this ever got the green light by Lifetime in the first place. Seriously, there’s a reason why during the course of history, most women opted for the birth process assisted by the most modern medicine available at the time. Because most women don’t want to die while giving birth or want their babies to die, too.

Did it Get Canceled?: I hope it did.


  1. Cheaters

Cheaters is the show that’s a combination of Jerry Springer meets Cops. In it, private detectives catch a cheater in the act for the sake of entertainment. And it’s popular.

Station: Syndicated

Premise: Catch suspected relationship cheaters in the act with hidden cameras and private investigators.

Why It’s Stupid: The execution is as tasteless as it sounds. Yes, I know that cheating on your significant other is terrible. Because any situations pertaining to a cheating partner tend to bring out the worst in people. It’s not just the partner who gets hurt in these situations either. Because when you cheat on your spouse, you’re cheating on those closest to you as well, especially family and friends. Suspecting a partner cheating is pretty bad, too, and it can lead to things going ugly. It’s bad enough for a politician’s family to deal with their loved one’s infidelity in the public eye. But having regular people deal with something like that on reality TV, that’s just awful. Not to mention, the show’s host got stabbed during a confrontation. Also had a lot of claims that it was staged and had actors who were paid to appear. And people from the show have experienced some degree of legal trouble.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s been on the air since 2000 and it’s still going.


  1. Boy Meets Boy

In Boy Meets Boy, a gay man looks for a mate among 15 potential suitors. However, he doesn’t know that half of them are straight. Yes, it’s pretty awful as a premise. But it was the early 2000s.

Station: Bravo

Premise: It’s a gay man’s version of The Bachelor, but more cruel, offensive, and boring.

Why It’s Stupid: The show had the gay bachelor James Getzlaff romance 15 men, unbeknownst to him, almost half of them were pretending to be gay. And each eliminated contestant’s sexual orientation is revealed at the end of the episode. Not only that, but if James chose a straight male, he would win nothing and the mate would win $25,000. Could’ve been groundbreaking as a same-sex dating show, but it’s just a cruel stunt. Oh, and the producers managed to keep a mixture of gay and straight men in the house despite the eliminations by putting the guys into “groups” that prevented the contestant from eliminating all the gay or straight men at once.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and after one season. Though it was parodied on Mad TV 3 times.


  1. Dating Naked

Dating Naked is a show where the contestants go on a date with absolutely nothing to hide. At least on the outside. Still, it’s the kind of show you’d wouldn’t want your parents to watch if you’re on it as a contestant.

Station: VH1

Premise: Dating show that allows contestants to “remove barriers” in more ways than one. Each episode puts a man and a woman on a remote tropical island and they go on nude dates with 3 different people. Then they ultimately decide if they’ve made a connection with anyone.

Why It’s Stupid: Look, unless nudity is your thing, having to date a stranger while in the buff could be a very awkward experience. Even more awkward to have it broadcasted all over the country. Not sure if most people would be comfortable with that. Hell, not sure if these people want their parents to watch them in the nude.

Did it Get Canceled?: I sure hope it did.


  1. Are You Hot?: The Search for America’s Sexiest People

On Are You Hot?, several highly attractive contestants are judged and rated solely on their sexual appeal. However, from how I see it, you’re able to get on this show, then your hotness shouldn’t be questioned.

Station: ABC

Premise: Contestants are evaluated by a panel of judges on the sole criterion of their physical attractiveness.

Why It’s Stupid: Uh, did you hear the premise? Seriously, the notion of physical attractiveness is a highly subjective concept. Also, has a tendency to shame perfectly attractive people for not being good looking enough. Seriously, can’t such judging be regulated to beauty pageants? That’s their job.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and thank God. But not without SNL doing a cartoon parody of it featuring Betty Boop, Popeye, Cinderella, Olive Oyl, Strawberry Shortcake, Droopy, Marvin the Martian, Dagwood, Optimus Prime, Yosemite Sam, and Barney Rubble.


  1. I Wanna Marry Harry

You have to hand it to Fox for having the guys to have a show like this. Seriously, the guy doesn’t look like Prince Harry who’d probably not date many of these women in the first place.

Station: Fox

Premise: Revolves around a group of ladies trying to win over a Prince Harry con artist and doppelganger.

Why It’s Stupid: Well, the concept sounds incredibly trashy but it sounds like something the show’s pitchman didn’t think this through. For one, it requires that there has to be a group of women would actually want to be with Prince Harry and are dumb enough to think that they’d be able to date the guy. Second, the con man involved obviously does not look like Prince Harry. And third, none of the contestants seemed all that convinced by the ruse anyway. I Wanna Marry Banksy would’ve made more sense. Nobody knows what that guy looks like so he could be anybody.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, because it was too boring.


  1. Kid Nation

Sorry, but sending 40 kids to a desert ghost town to create their own society should belong in realm of fiction like Lord of the Flies. The contract is disturbing to read since it covers clauses pertaining to death, injury, natural disasters, STDs, and teen pregnancy. Also, I think I might’ve seen a Star Trek episode like this but at least the kids in that town had their parents die of a plague that they’d catch upon adolescence.

Station: CBS

Premise: A bunch of 11 year old kids are dragged to the New Mexico desert to reenact Lord of the Flies and Plato’s Republic. And all without adult supervision save the cameramen.

Why It’s Stupid: Let’s just say having kids survive on their own is a great premise, assuming you want to write a fictional story aimed for young adults. But I think this reality show proves Suzanne Collins right when it comes to how willing people are about endangering children and exploiting them for entertainment (though this show didn’t take it to that extreme as The Hunger Games, which is about teenagers fighting it to the death). The very first line uttered by a kid was, “I’m not gonna be with my parents. There’s no adults. I think I’m gonna die out here cause there’s nothing.” Also, since it was produced in 2007 when Reality TV was the center of pop culture, it seemed that CBS gave the producers a blank check to do whatever they wanted. Also, the obvious accusations of child endangerment as well as legal implications pertaining to child labor. One of the participants’ mothers even filed a complaint that her son was hurt.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, only lasted one season.


  1. Next

Though I have to admit, these dating profiles are pretty funny to read. This one has a guy who surfs every day, compulsively washes his hands, and peed on his friend while he was sleeping.

Station: MTV

Premise: A bunch of potential dates are piled up into an RV and released one by one by the main contestant. Whenever he or she got tired (or disgusted) by a date, they could just say – “Next!” and be presented with a new human being to test out. Dates get cash for every minute spent with a date before their dismissal. And the winning date could either choose cash or a second date.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, it’s like a Tinder version of The Bachelor. Second, when you read the premise it almost sounds like a form of prostitution. If these people hadn’t consented, it would’ve been sex trafficking. Nevertheless, it would better for the winning date to just take the money. These aren’t people you want to spend extra time with.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but not after being on the air for 3 years. Yes, it was on for 3 freaking years.


  1. Outback Jack

If you liked The Bachelor but wished it put the female contestants through a barren desert and among creatures that could kill you, then Outback Jack has you covered. No, I don’t think a man is worth going through those extremes for no matter how hot he is.

Station: TBS

Premise: It’s like The Bachelor but it had 12 girls dropped off at a mansion expecting a lavish experience, only to be immediately flown to the Australian Outback to compete for former underwear model Dale’s affections.

Why It’s Stupid: Okay, while The Bachelor is a terrible show on so many levels, at least the women on that show don’t have to struggle to survive in a desert with scorpions and snakes as well as all the other things that could kill you. Not to mention, there’s dehydration. Seriously, if you’re dropped right in the middle of the Australian Outback, not winning Dale’s affections is the last thing you’d be worried about. Seriously, if I was a contestant on that show, I’d be much more worried about getting out of there alive.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, for it was only aired in 2004.


  1. Moment of Truth

Moment of Truth is the kind of show where the host asks you some very personal questions on national TV. You might even have a surprise guest on once in a while. If you get all the answers right, you can win prizes but lose your sense of dignity.

Station: Fox

Premise: Contestants are asked ultra-personal questions while strapped to a lie detector. Sometimes a surprise guest such as an ex-partner or a good friend would come on stage and ask a particularly difficult question. If the machine deemed a contestant’s answers correct, they won cash prizes.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, according to studies, lie detectors tend to be accurate about 70-90% of the time any testimony obtained during such tests isn’t admissible in court. Still, this show was set up to feature desperate contestants humiliating themselves and their nearby loved ones by revealing their secrets on national TV. One lady confessed to cheating on her husband, only to lose her winnings by incorrectly answering this question: “Do you think you’re a good person?” (She said, “yes.”)

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for a couple seasons.