Of course, we all know that networks like to air reality shows since they’re cheaper to produce than a scripted series. Proponents tend to say that plots and subject matter on such shows are more authentic and engaging than in scripted dramas. However, as we see in my series, reality TV doesn’t necessarily reflect real life. An obvious example of this would be Amish Mafia from the Discovery Channel which I think doesn’t reflect the Amish whatsoever. For one, one of the Amish guys in the promo is holding a machine gun and we know their firearms of choice would be a blunderbuss. Second, genuine Amish people are religiously forbidden to appear on camera so it’s clear anyone dressed in their attire is an actor. In fact, they mostly don’t interact with the media at all since they value their privacy. And lastly, it’s highly unlikely an Amish Mafia would exist since the Amish are staunch pacifists. So it’s no wonder that a noted Amish expert mistaken a trailer of this show as an SNL sketch. However, this lousy show was popular enough for 4 seasons. Yes, I’m scratching my head. Then there’s Finding Bigfoot in which we all know they’re not going to find him. Because Bigfoot ain’t real. Anyway, for your reading pleasure, I give you another installment of bad reality shows.
81. Breaking Amish
Premise: A group of Amish and Mennonites ditch the butter churns for the bright lights of New York City.
Why It’s Stupid: For one, such idea is ridiculous. Second, after 2 episodes reports circulated that the cast of the show wasn’t exactly who they said they were. Allegations include the couple said to be meeting the first time actually had a child together and another said to be leaving the faith the first time had actually split 14 years prior. Also, there are plenty of Mennonites who don’t shun technology or even modern fashion and don’t live isolated from the rest of society. Seriously, my dad went to school with Mennonites.
Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but ran 4 years.
82. My Strange Addiction
Premise: It’s a documentary series about people with unusual compulsive behaviors. These range from eating specific non-food items to ritualistic daily activities to bizarre personal fixations and beliefs.
Why It’s Stupid: For one, this show gives a lot of psychological misinformation since a few of these subjects wouldn’t be classified as having a true addiction, neither conventional or behavioral. Rather cause of behavior varies of psychiatric diagnosis with examples including obsessive-compulsive disorder, pica, paraphilia, schizophrenia, psychosis, Alzheimer’s disease, exercise bulimia, trichotillomania, body dysmorphic disorder, dermatillomania, and object sexuality. Many of these could be considered harmful. Second, it got a lot of flak for exploiting people’s problems that Us Weekly stated the “afflictions are fascinating, but too much time is spent gawking at their odd behavior as opposed to treating it. Only in the final moments do therapists pay a visit, and they oversimplify things by suggesting exercise and journaling!” The New York Daily News called it “the most disgusting reality show on television” while TV Guide said, “maybe the most entertaining freak show on television now, and definitely the most guilt-free one” noting that “the lack of hand-wringing feels deliciously subversive.” Third, specific cases on the show have raised concerns that at least some portrayals are fictional or falsified. For instance, a large number of Pica-like cases where the subject claim consuming materials known to be fatal in quantities shown such as gasoline, camphor, broken glass, and other non-food objects.
Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 6 seasons.
83. My 600-lb Life
Premise: A reality show about morbidly obese people and their attempts to lose weight to a healthy level, usually with the assistance of gastric bypass surgery performed by Houston-area surgeon Younan Nowzaradan.
Why It’s Stupid: Another way TLC has exploited some messed up people’s problems. Also, one of the people featured on the show died of an illness related to his gastric bypass surgery. Still, you have to wonder how could they come up with enough 600-lb people to do this show.
Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 4 seasons.
84. Doomsday Preppers
Station: National Geographic Channel
Premise: Profiles various survivalists preparing to survive the various circumstances that may cause the end of civilization like economic collapse, societal collapse, and electromagnetic pulse. A consulting company called Practical Preppers grades the quality of their preparations.
Why It’s Stupid: As Vh1 states, think about this quote from contestant Jay Desai, “We don’t make it an obsession like some folks but we do spend a fair amount of time and money on it. …You can’t always rely on the government or society to help you. The more people that are prepping minded, the better off we’ll all do.” Anyway, Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times condemned it as an “absurd excess on display and at what an easy target the prepper worldview is for ridicule,” noting, “how offensively anti-life these shows are, full of contempt for humankind.” Practical Preppers also profits off the show.
Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 4 seasons.
85. I Cloned My Pet
Premise: Mostly about bereaved pet owners who want to have the next best thing to a second chance with their departed furry friend through having it cloned.
Why It’s Stupid: As Lisa Mannering said from The Stir, “I understand what it means to have a pet you’re totally in love with. I loved two pets that were near and dear to me, but I accepted death as a part of life and have moved on. Cloning, if you ask me, is an unnatural, science-fictiony plot against the natural order of things, and no living, breathing being should be cloned for fun. Because, let’s be honest, people aren’t cloning their pets here in the name of research; they’re cloning their pets because they’re selfish and probably a little bit unhinged. After watching the clip, arm chair psychiatry will tell you that this woman secretly always wanted children and her obsession with her pet is a manifestation of that burning, unfulfilled desire.” Besides, clones aren’t necessarily the reincarnations of the original despite being a genetic carbon copy. Just look at identical twins. If you lost a pet you really loved, the healthiest thing to do is to bury it in the back yard or perform some other funerary ceremony and never look back.
Did it Get Canceled?: I’m not sure since it only ran in several hour long specials.
86. Duck Dynasty
Premise: Portrays the lives of the Robertson family who became successful from their family-operated duck caller business in West Monroe, Louisiana. The men are known for their long beards and conservative Christian views.
Why It’s Stupid: Phil Robertson’s controversial GQ Interview comments aside, this entire show’s success is based on selling a fantasy. Though the men of the Robertson family seem like a bunch of rednecks who speak simple homey truths and see what their more sophisticated brethren can’t, their facial hair and camo are all lies. Earlier pictures of the men depict them clean shaven in short hair in polos at golf courses. So I guess the long beards and camo were contractually obligated. As Rolling Stone called it, “A dipshit sitcom passed off as a reality show, with a bunch of bearded phonies stumbling over their scripted banter – like The Beverly Hillbillies with less believable facial hair. The Robertsons talked about Jesus a lot, but Jesus probably prefers Real Housewives like the rest of us.”
Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on. Shit.
87. Paris Hilton’s My New BFF
Premise: It’s a competition series in which Paris Hilton searches for a new BFF.
Why It’s Stupid: From Metacritic: “Given these chances, it’s a surprise that thousands of people are not auditioning for the coveted position, whose prize does not seem to extend beyond bragging rights. (Seriously, no cash incentive?) It’s also a surprise that the show has been turned into a global franchise, with versions slated for taping in Canada, Germany and Russia, ensuring that the jet-setter will have a friend for all seasons.” Seriously, would I want to be friends with a shallow Paris Hilton? No. Still, even when someone wins the show, a friendship with Paris could be nothing but artificial. As Irikated would say, “Did anybody ever think that winning a show like this would instantly catapult them to a level where they will be there to console the failed porn star/DJ/model/actress/singer/fashion designer/jewellery designer, as she fails at the next career path she chooses?”
Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 4 seasons, including one in the UK and the UAE.
88. Tool Academy
Premise: A bunch of self-centered jerks are tricked into entering a competition for the title of Mr. Awesome by their equally shallow girlfriends. But as it turns out, they’re really entering the Tool Academy to turn them into decent boyfriends through a series of instructional counseling sessions. Each week, one contestant is eliminated and their partner must chose to whether to stay or not. Last remaining contestant wins $100,000. As Metacritic says, “Think of is as a reform school for the men of Jersey Shore, which, now that we consider it, isn’t such a bad idea after all.”
Why It’s Stupid: Kind of promotes the idea of, “I can change him,” which is a very bad relationship notion. Also, 6 cast members from various seasons filmed porn videos for their website Reality Revealed, an offshoot of the gay porn website Straight College Men. Lawsuits ensued.
Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 3 seasons.
89. The Real Housewives of….
Premise: Documents the lives of several affluent housewives (actually socialites) residing in varying regions throughout the United States.
Why It’s Stupid: These shows really make women look bad by depicting them as shallow, spoiled bitches. As one blogger wrote, “I hate that Bravo has made these women – these disgusting examples of everything that is bad and wrong with our society – into minor (VERY minor) celebrities. They are all hopeless – and very difficult to watch.” She then goes on saying, “I mean, who do these idiots think they are?? Before the show, they were nobodies! In my eyes, they still are – but you can’t pass a bad magazine as the check-out aisles of stores without seeing one of their faces on the cover. Ugh. It makes me shake with anger that these shows are still being watched.”
Did it Get Canceled?: These shows are still on.
90. Man vs. Wild
Station: Discovery Channel
Premise: Follows Bear Grylls left stranded in a region with his film crew and documents his efforts to survive and find a way back to civilization, usually requiring overnight shelter of some kind. Most of these are wild terrains like jungles, forests, or similar non-urban areas.
Why It’s Stupid: Let’s just say if you want to get tips to survive in the wild, you should probably watch The Hunger Games instead. That or reading stuff from survivalists. Because a UK Channel 4 conducted investigation in response to claims that some of Grylls’s stunts were set up by his production crew. Their findings revealed a long list of misleading information including instances where Grylls was staying in a hotel while claiming to be in the wild (like how the rest of us camp). One instance had Grylls shown trying to lasso a “wild” mustang in the Sierra Nevada that was actually tame and had been hired from a trekking station nearby. Another scene had a crew member wearing a bear suit to simulate a bear attack due to the inability to find a tame bear. One scene where Grylls is purported to have escaped from an active volcano by leaping across lava, avoiding poisonous sulfur dioxide gas was actually enhanced with special effects using hot coal and smoke machines. Then another episode gave viewers the impression that Grylls was a real life Robinson Crusoe stuck on a desert island when in reality he was on an outlying part of Hawaii where he spent the night in a motel.
Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 7 seasons.