A Cancer on the Local News: The Insidious Nature of the Sinclair Broadcast Group

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You may have noticed how some of my blog posts on the media usually consist of me attacking conservative media outlets like Fox News, Breitbart, and Info Wars. However, understand that I didn’t attack these outlets solely for spouting conservative views alone. Rather, I’ve attacked them due to their stunning lack of journalistic ethics, propensity to spread misinformation, derogatory stereotypes, peddling conspiracy theories, and blatant disregard for the truth when it suits them. Not to mention, the fact these outlets have been so prolific and influential in the media landscape. However, I have to concede that these three media outlets have audiences who know what they’re getting.

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This is a map from the New York Times depicting Sinclair’s reach. The green dots represent the markets where the company has a station. The orange ones represent where Tribune owns one. If Sinclair gets its way, 233 local stations can be under its wing.

This isn’t the case with audience who watch the local news on a station owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Called “the most dangerous company most Americans haven’t heard of,” Sinclair is possibly the largest TV station operator in the United States. Owning and/or operating a total of 173 stations across the country covering over 100 markets, this conglomerate reaches 40% of all American households, many of which are located in the South and Midwest along with small and medium sized cities. Thus, it had already hit the 39% cap imposed by the Federal Communications Commission which should’ve effectively barred the company from further acquisitions. But today, the Sinclair Broadcast Group is set to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. The deal is expected to receive FCC approval sometime soon. If Sinclair gets its way, its media empire could cover nearly 72% of the US and an average viewership of 2.2 million households. Some of these Tribune stations are already in markets where a Sinclair one exists. At any rate, it could result in Sinclair creating a media oligarchy in the broadcast television industry with 233 stations under its wing. After all, Sinclair has expanded drastically over the last 2½ decades since it went from owning 3 stations in the early 1990s to 59 in less than a decade. By 2014, its local station ownership had tripled to 162. Still, it’s widely expected that Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Media will be approved thanks to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai reinstating the archaic “UHF discount” which allows broadcasters to understate their overall reach. In the meantime, the company has faced criticism over circumventing concentration in media ownership rules, particularly in using local marketing agreements and similar arrangements to take over stations on behalf of preferred third parties. It’s no surprise that so many progressive groups have expressed opposition to the sale. But so have conservative media outlets like Newsmax, The Blaze, and One America News Network perhaps fearing the competition. Though their motives may not be pure, they have a point when they speak about diversity and independence. After all, a larger Sinclair operation would chip into the market for right wing news as well as further diminish media access already dominated by a handful of players thanks to years of media consolidation.

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Sinclair is notorious for trying to inject right wing propaganda into their local news broadcasts. One must-run segment is “Terror Alert Desk” which is mostly devoted to demonizing Muslims than discussing terrorism. Don’t expect any commentary on Charlottesville or white supremacist violence on this segment any time soon.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group has also faced significant scrutiny over promoting its conservative agenda within a news format that’s supposed to be apolitical: local news programming. The company’s stations have been known for featuring news content and programming that promote conservative political positions and have been involved in various controversies surrounding politically motivated programming decisions. From the early 2000s, Sinclair has infected local news coverage with politically-charged programming and turning local news stations into partisan outlets. The company is also known for pushing heavy partisan commentary in the lead-up to elections, often favoring Republican candidates. And it has received plenty of criticism for critical content of Democratic candidates during each presidential election since 2004. Most recently, Sinclair made headlines for striking a deal with Jared Kushner to give positive press to the Trump campaign while heavily criticizing Hillary Clinton. Now promoting their political agenda wouldn’t be much of a problem if Sinclair confined their bias on DC-produced segments, commentary shows, or attack ads. However, what Sinclair does on local news is far more insidious. And since more Americans place high value on their local news, it has become a perfect tool for the company to inject their right-wing propaganda.

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Sinclair regularly produces conservative propaganda pieces before distributing them to their stations like this Mark Hyman’s “Behind the Headlines” commentary bit. Called “must-runs,” local stations are required to air them in their broadcasts. While they may not always feature commentary, they’re nevertheless inflammatory, misleading, and certainly inappropriate for a local newscast.

One practice that stands for are Sinclair’s infamous “must-run” segments. These segments are short pieces of political commentary Sinclair produces at their national headquarters that affiliates are required to air. Every day, Sinclair mandates its stations to air specific reports, segments, and editorials referred to as “must runs.” Sinclair produces these at its Washington DC headquarters and directs its station managers to work them into the broadcast over a period of 24 to 48 hours. And they mainly consist of conservative propaganda presented as news content. In July 2017, the HBO show Last Week Tonight had John Oliver present clips of various anchors using the exact same script describing the FBI as having a “personal vendetta” against Michael Flynn, clips of Mark Hyman editorials in which he compared multiculturalism and political correctness to a cancer epidemic and stated that marriage was a solution to domestic abuse, and joked that the “Terrorism Alert Desk” segments defined terrorism as “anything a Muslim does.” The show also aired content by former Trump adviser Boris Epstheyn alleging Obama won North Carolina due to voter fraud and a clip blaming the Democratic Party for slavery, Jim Crow, and the Klu Klux Klan. Back in the Bush administration, Sinclair required all its stations to air an editorial segment called “The Point,” which Hyman railed against the “angry left,” and “clueless academia,” dismissed peace activists as “whack jobs,” called the French “cheese-eating surrender monkeys,” and supported a host of right wing initiatives from a national sales tax to Medicare privatization. You might expect such commentary from Breitbart or Fox News that are often inflammatory and misrepresent the facts, not your local station. But this is exactly the kind of content Sinclair tells its stations to run on their local newscasts to promote its right-wing agenda. TV journalists have complained about being forced to run these overly partisan segments because as Oliver noted, “with Sinclair they’re injecting Fox-worthy content into the mouths of your local news anchors, the two people who you know, and who you trust, and whose on-screen chemistry can usually best be described as two people.” In one notable incident following the 9/11 attacks, Sinclair ordered its stations to read editorials praising President George W. Bush’s response. The WBFF staff objected, claiming the endorsement would “undermine public faith in their political objectivity.” It’s very clear Sinclair’s must run segments are a concerted effort to turn your local 6 o’clock broadcast into a little Fox News clone without disclosing it to the public. But when they put these segments into local newscasts, they degrade journalistic standards, abuse viewers’ trust, and blur the lines between news and propaganda. Furthermore, they compromise America’s right to be informed on the matters affecting their lives. Of course, Sinclair executives defend their practices citing how the mainstream media is overwhelmingly liberal and that their pieces provide a counterweight but that’s based on an intellectually dishonest interpretation of what journalism is.

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Remember when Montana GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs? Well, Montana’s NBC affiliate KECI refused to air the audio recording on account that there wasn’t enough facts on the incident. Despite that the audio clearly shows Gianforte started and that 3 local Fox News reporters watched it. It was later found Sinclair had just bought the station and that its vice president and director had donated to Gianforte’s campaign. So figure it out.

Sinclair also dictates how news stations can present some of the local news and programming is presented aside from the “must run” segments and scripts. Even before the Trump administration, Sinclair had a nasty habit of skewing news stories to fit with their conservative vision, censor content, and promote disparaging and very misleading information on Democratic candidates. In 2004, the company ordered its ABC affiliates to not air an episode of Nightline where Ted Koppel listed the names of soldiers killed in the Iraq War. They argued that the broadcast, “[appeared] to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq” and undermined a then-ongoing effort by its Washington bureau to report on positive “untold” stories from Iraq under occupation mainstream media outlets ignored. ABC responded stating that Koppel’s reading was meant to be “an expression of respect which seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country.” And it was a gesture Arizona US Senator John McCain found “deeply offensive.” That same year, tried to air an anti-John Kerry documentary called, “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal,” alleging “that North Vietnamese captors used Kerry’s statements about atrocities committed by American troops during the conflict as an excuse to torture U.S. prisoners of war.” But the Democratic National Committee filed a legal motion with the Federal Election Commission stating it was inappropriate for a media organization to air “partisan propaganda” in the last 10 days of an election campaign. Then-Vice President of Corporate Relations Mark Hyman stated that any network refusing to air the anti-Kerry documentary were “acting like Holocaust deniers.” And when Sinclair’s Washington bureau chief Jon Leiberman called the documentary, “biased political propaganda,” he was promptly fired. As for President Barack Obama, well, Sinclair has linked him to Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers, alleged he raised campaign funds from Hamas and labeled him as a socialist extremist. In 2014, its Baltimore Fox affiliate WBFF according to The Baltimore Sun, “misleadingly edited and aired video of a protest march to make it seem as if protesters were chanting ‘kill a cop.’” In reality, the marchers actually chanted to the lead of Tawanda Jones, “We can’t stop ‘til killer cops are in cell blocks” in a non-violent protest against police brutality. Jones would eventually sue WBFF and Sinclair for defamation the next year. Because after that segment aired, she received death threats, lost community support for her protests, and had been reduced to reclusive behavior. In 2017, Montana’s NBC affiliate KECI refused to air an audio recording of GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte attacking Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. The station denied Sinclair instructing them on handling the Gianforte incident and essentially framed it as an “he said/she said” situation. This despite that the audio recording covers it, Jacobs ended up in the hospital, and 3 Fox News reporters witnessed it. That and Politico later reported that Sinclair’s vice president and director had donated to Gianforte the day after he was charged with the assault. This July, Sinclair affiliate KBOI used a photo of Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKeeson in several stories he had nothing to do with including an attempted robbery in Idaho.

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Here’s a “must run” segment of “Bottom Line with Boris.” A former investment banker who was born in Soviet Russia, Boris Ephsteyn was a Trump crony during the 2016 campaign and in the White House. On his Sinclair segment, he normally parrots Trump White House commentary which stations are required to air 9 times a week.

But Sinclair’s connection with Republican politicians and operatives doesn’t just extend to media coverage. A 2004 study found that 95% of the company’s political contributions went to Republican candidates. The Center of Public Integrity showed concern on Mark Hyman’s history of government lobbying (such as for the FCC to loosen rules regarding media ownership concentration), along with making its stations provide “anything but fair and balanced news programming.” In 2002, the company gave lots of perks like using its luxury helicopter to former congressman Bob Ehrlich during his run for governor of Maryland. Mostly because Ehrlich pressed the FCC to fast-track its request to acquire more stations. In 2007, 9 Sinclair stations aired public affairs shows without disclosing that “host Armstrong Williams had been paid by an affiliate of the Education Department to make favorable comments about the Bush administration’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ policy.” The FCC issued the company a $36,000 fine for violating “rules against ‘payola punditry.’” In December 2016, Jared Kushner said that the Trump campaign, “struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage” particularly in swing states. As part of that deal, “Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary.” The Washington Post noted that the company scored 15 exclusive interviews with Donald Trump in a year while “news stories and features favorable to Trump or that challenged Clinton were distributed to Sinclair stations on a ‘must-run’ basis.” Of course, Trump would appoint Pai to head the FCC Ajit Pai pushed through a measure that would allow the Sinclair-Tribune merger to go forward. Recently, Pai has further proposed eliminating a rule requiring each TV station to have a main studio in or near the community it serves, arguing that modern technology allows community interaction without one. But critics charge the action as another handout for Sinclair as former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler argues, “will have an open field to replace local voices with national control.” In April 2017, Sinclair hired former Trump official Boris Epshteyn as its “chief policy analyst” whose must run “Bottom Line with Boris” segments air on its local news affiliates 9 times a week. Yet, Epshteyn is a shady character. He’s pleaded guilty to assault in 2014. The House Intelligence Committee has questioned his ties to the Kremlin. In the 2016 campaign season, he dismissed Gold Star father Khizir Khan as a Democratic prop. And during his time in the Trump administration, he crafted the notorious Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that omitting any mention of Judaism. He left the White House that March amid reports that every cable news network hated him.

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The Sinclair Broadcast Group’s rapid expansion and promotion of conservative politics highlights serious consequences of media consolidation. And as John Oliver noted, “Should this Tribune acquisition go through, there are going to be even more good journalists having to see their hard work placed alongside terror desk nonsense, just as there’ll be even more unsuspecting audience members who will be getting a heaping dose of Sinclair’s content, possibly without realizing it.” Perhaps it’s best you google your local stations and find out who owns it. If your local market has a Sinclair station, then expect that station to carry a lot of right wing bullshit. If it’s a Tribune, then pray to God that the acquisition doesn’t go through. For the Sinclair-Tribune merger is a very bad deal for America.

It’s one thing for a news station like Fox News to deliberately mislead the public to advance its own political agenda. But it’s very disturbing for a company like Sinclair to injecting intentionally misleading political diatribes where it has no place. It’s even worse that Sinclair forces news local stations run such content they know is bullshit and undermine viewers’ trust in them. If not, then perhaps warp their minds into accepting right wing talking points as undisputable fact as Sinclair would intend. For as John Oliver said, “The problem is, there is real power in hearing your trusted local newscasters using FBI and personal vendetta in a sentence.” Because after all, most people don’t really know who really owns their local station since they’re often branded with the national network that broadcasts on them, not the real owners. Nor do they seem to critically think about these stories aired on their local station. Scaremongering and propaganda have no place in local news since it’s corrosive to our democratic process. Sinclair’s “must-run” segments and other policies rob viewers of hearing local and opposing viewpoints. Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune would lead to less competition, threaten media localism, and harm information diversity. Thus, it would best for the country if the Sinclair and Tribune merger doesn’t go through. Sinclair is a cancer on the local news and our democracy as well as should be stopped from buying more stations. No major media company should have that much power, especially if they’re abusing the trust between the public and their local news stations in order to advance their political agenda. But it also means that we must be more careful of what we hear on the news and know who owns them.

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It’s widely said that Americans trust their local TV news broadcasts than any other source. For years, Sinclair has often abused that trust and eroded journalistic standards with their conservative propaganda. Advancing a political agenda has no place in a local newsroom meant to cover actual news stories, sports, traffic, and weather.

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They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 10 – House Hunters to The Hills

Seems like we’ve made it to the end of this series on reality shows. Even if you’re a diehard reality show fan, I hope you can walk away from this blog series without being too offended. For I don’t really mean to let you down on some of your favorites. Or at least understand that what you see on reality shows isn’t always real or accurate. But if you’re like me and don’t like reality shows at all, then I hope you can find some satisfaction that the world of such television is about as fake, sleazy, and contrived as you thought it would be. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to understand the concepts behind a lot of these shows as well as the questionable ethics employed by production crews. And yes, there’s a lot of manipulation involved. But what disturbs me most when reading about reality TV is how some networks and producers can sink to disturbing new lows for the sake of ratings. And so I bring you the final installment of my bad reality show series.

91. House Hunters

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Though House Hunters is stated to be about families and couples looking for a new home, in reality it’s not the case. Because it’s more likely the family already picked the house while the other two homes belong to their friends.

Station: HGTV

Premise: Follows individuals searching for a new home with help from a real estate agent. In each episode the buyers must decide between 3 properties, ultimately choosing one before the end of the episode. The show concludes by revisiting the buyers in their new home a few weeks or months later, where they describe the changes they’ve made and the effect their new home has on their life.

Why It’s Stupid: In 2012, a former participant told the Hooked on Houses blog that she and her family already picked the house before taping the show. In addition, she said the remaining 2 houses they viewed on TV were really just their friends’ homes. Another participant stated, “The show is not really a reality show. You have to already own the house that gets picked at the end of the show. But the other houses in the show are actually the other houses we considered buying.”

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on and with several spin-offs

 

92. Call of the Wildman

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Call of the Wildman follows a man who operates a Kentucky backwoods pest removal business. While the show was a hit, Mother Jones did an article exposing him of animal mistreatment with evidence to support.

Station: Animal Planet

Premise: Follows the exploits of Kentucky woodsman Ernie Brown Jr. nicknamed, “The Turtleman.” Aided by his friend and his dog, he operates a nuisance animal removal business while he catches and releases the pesky critters.

Why It’s Stupid:Because it depicts Brown’s Spartan existence in the backwoods of Kentucky, some poverty advocacy groups have expressed concerns that it exploits the stereotypical views of Southerners as being poorly educated, poorly groomed, and impoverished. Then there are detractors stating that while Brown actually does catch animals on his show, the scenarios and animal catching scenes are scripted and faked using appropriated animals instead of naturally occurring events. In 2013, the city of Danville, Kentucky released an investigation report that the city parks department and the crew failed to obtain the required approvals before releasing poisonous snakes into a local public pool in order to stage an apparent poisonous snake infestation there. In addition, the Kentucky Reptile Zoo director identified the species of snakes used in the scene as not indigenous to where the scene was filmed. Thus, making it impossible for the scene to occur naturally. In addition, after a seven-month investigation, Mother Jones published an expose on the show including testimony and supporting evidence that the crew obtained an opossum from a wildlife rescue in order to fake a supposed wildlife infestation at a Lexington fraternity house. They also discussed a baby raccoon dying from an apparent lack of appropriate food and medical care after being in Brown’s supposed possession for several days amongst numerous other actions against Brown and the crew. Since the release of the Mother Jones report, Kentucky state agencies have increased scrutiny of Brown because some records filed with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife that detailed what was captured, released and euthanized on Call of the Wildman appear to have been falsified. The Department of Agriculture also reviewed the situation in order to determine whether Brown or the show’s crew violated the Animal Welfare Act by not having appropriate federal licensing to display regulated animals on television.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 4 seasons.

 

93. Gold Rush

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Gold Rush is about men mining gold in the Yukon. If you know anything about past gold rushes, this goes about as you’d expect. Because the most successful miners mined miners, dummy.

Station: Discovery Channel

Premise: Follows various teams of miners mining gold placer deposits in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Why It’s Stupid: From Thought Catalog: “There has never been a reality show in the history of the world that’s more depressing than Gold Rush. These rugged miners spend tens of thousands of dollars and work grueling hours in order to uncover gold from every corner of the globe. The problem is that most episodes end with the guys spending $80,000 to mine an area and leaving with $400 worth of gold. The show will then cut to their family’s homes being repossessed by the bank as the theme song plays. As awful as that is, I can’t look away.”

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

 

94. Armed & Famous

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You have to wonder what the producers were thinking to come up with this show. Celebrities as police? Yes, this happened. Ironically someone in Muncie didn’t recognize any of them.

Station: CBS and Vh1

Premise: Follows 5 celebrities as they train to become police officers with the Muncie Police Department in Muncie, Indiana, followed by graduation. After that, the celebrities go on patrol with the same police officers who traditionally ride with the new ones.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, they featured celebrities less famous than who you’d normally see on Dancing with the Stars. Second, a woman named Lyndsay Clements filed a lawsuit over this show claiming her home was wrongfully entered and was questioned by people she didn’t know. LaToya Jackson and Jack Osbourne were named in the suit.

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

 

95. Who Wants to Marry My Dad?

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In this show, grown children screen potential mates for their single father. Though seen as romantic, this show is actually very creepy.

Station: NBC

Premise: A dad’s 4 grown children shop for a new stepmother out of 12 ladies for their single dad to marry.

Why It’s Stupid: To be honest, it’s creepy, especially since the women involved are subjected to embarrassing tasks, mind games, lie detector tests, and truth serum while living in a luxurious Southern California mansion. The kids can even watch their dad make out with some of them, too. Sure wanting to help find a good stepmother is one thing. But despite being called “the most romantic show on television,” this is disturbing as hell.

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

 

96. Mystery Diners

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Mystery Diners has people go undercover to spy on potentially disobedient restaurant workers in a sting operation. In reality, most of the participants on this show are paid actors.

Station: Food Network

Premise: Follows an organization of Mystery Diners which at the request of certain owners, go undercover at certain restaurants and set up stings and unseen surveillance cameras to catch misbehaving employees in the act.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, this demonizes a group of people who really get treated like shit in the working world since many of them work on minimum wage, are often victims of wage theft, and have no access to health benefits or any kind of paid leave. Second, the mystery diners and restaurant employees featured on the show are all actors who passed auditions regularly held in Phoenix.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

 

97. Alaskan Bush People

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Though Alaskan Bush People was supposed to follow a family in the Alaskan wilderness, it was later found they live nowhere near in that remote lifestyle. Also they were in court on fraud charges.

Station: Discovery Channel

Premise: Follows the life of a family living deep in the Alaskan wilderness in Chichagof Island.

Why It’s Stupid: The Browns are portrayed as a true wildlife enthusiast Alaskan family who relies on hunting, fishing, and bartering skills to survive the Alaskan wilderness. However, they were recently in court for fraud charges and the LA Times exposed that the Browns doesn’t live the remote, antisocial Alaskan lifestyle the show would lead viewers to believe.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

 

98. Lizard Lick Towing

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Lizard Lick Towing follows a tow and repo business in North Carolina. Cracked called it a show about towing mixed in with pro wrestling. Yes, it’s quite fake.

Station: TruTV

Premise: Follows a towing and repossession company in North Carolina.

Why It’s Stupid: As Cracked states, “Either its crew is by far the most inept that has ever operated or they’re putting something in the water around their garage (my guess: They replace it with whiskey), because absolutely every single second of their work life is a goddamned monkey brawl. This is partially entirely because a) they operate with all the tact and professionalism of a dog that has just seen a butthole it would very much like to sniff, and b) literally every person they encounter is a fucking psychopath that would make Hannibal Lecter go, ‘Whoa.’” They later add, “If you hit YouTube, you’ll find scene after scene of these situations, and the more you watch them, the more they start to seem like those dumbass skits WWE likes to air between matches, with all the acting ability that involves. Upon closer inspection, this is because — gasp — that’s pretty much what Lizard Lick Towing is.”

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes but it ran 4 seasons.

 

99. Cribs

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Cribs was a hugely popular show on MTV when I was a teenager. If you’re over a certain age, it follows a similar line to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous which tours the homes of celebrities. However, it was later found that some of these celebrities weren’t being as honest about their lives as they portrayed themselves to be.

Station: MTV

Premise: Camera crews take a tour into a celebrity’s mansion as well as get a glimpse into their lavish lifestyles. Think of it as Lifestyles of the Rich and famous for teenagers. Show has featured tours of the homes of over 185 celebrities, musicians, actors, and athletes.

Why It’s Stupid: Since this show aired, several celebrities have been accused or willingly used other people’s property and claimed them as their own. In 2004, the real owner of Ja Rule’s house sued MTV for alleging unauthorized taping of the interior and damage to the property caused by Ja Rule’s partying. The first MTV episode with Robbie Williams showcased Jane Seymour’s house as his home that he was renting off her. He later admitted to the con and showed off his real home in a later episode. Then there’s 50 Cent with 3 Ferraris that he claimed were his “whips.” In reality they were owned by a private collector who lent them for him for the episode and some music video work. Those are just a few examples.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 13 years.

 

100. The Hills

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The Hills was a show that followed young women trying to make it in LA. Though it was structured like a soap opera, stars later admitted that a lot of the show was staged and were being prodded by production crews. Oh, and much of the problems and relationship drama was fake.

Station: MTV

Premise: Follows the lives of several young women living in Los Angeles, California though it originally focused on Lauren Conrad before she left halfway through and was replaced with Kristen Cavallari. But this show is best remembered for Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

Why It’s Stupid: It was often criticized for tending towards a narrative format more commonly seen in scripted genres including soap operas and appearing to fabricate much of its storyline. Among these include sex tape rumors as well as personal conflict and fights between the women. The costume changes were usually preset by the crew. Spencer and Heidi actually eloped in Mexico but had to marry on-camera due to frantic producers and how their marriage wasn’t valid in the US. A lot of their relationship drama was also scripted for the cameras. Kristen Cavallari’s drug problem was made up. Brody Jenner didn’t hook up with anybody. Audrina Partridge and Lauren Conrad didn’t live in that apartment. And if it weren’t for the show, Lauren would’ve ditched Heidi a long time ago.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 6 years.

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 9 – Breaking Amish to Man vs. Wild

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

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Breaking Amish is a show about young people leaving their old ways of life for the big English city. Or are they really? Actually it’s more likely to be staged.

Station: TLC

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

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It’s shows like My Strange Addiction that has given TLC the notorious reputation of coming up with shows to exploit people’s problems. This series uses people’s serious mental problems for the sake of entertainment.

Station: TLC

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

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Sure I’m aware that the US has a serious obesity problem thanks to processed foods that needs to be taken care of. However, it still doesn’t explain how TLC could find enough 600 lb people for this show.

Station: TLC

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

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A show like Doomsday Preppers takes us into the world of survivalists who have to come up with plans to survive hypothetical but apocalyptic situations. Of course, you can guess it’s jammed packed with plenty of crazy conspiracy theorists.

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

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Though I Cloned My Pet is a series of specials instead of a regular show, it’s certainly insane. I mean it features rich people who miss their departed pets so much that they’re willing to spend up to $100,000 to have it cloned. Sorry, but what they really need is a visit to the psychiatrist.

Station: TLC

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

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Yes, I’m well aware that Duck Dynasty is a very popular show. However, if you look at past photos of this family, it’s incredibly clear that the Robertson family is selling a fantasy. And that the beards and wardrobe are contractually obligated.

Station: A&E

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

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In Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, a bunch of women compete to be one of Paris’s confidantes. Well, for at least until the next season.

Station: MTV

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

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Tool Academy may not seem like a bad idea on the surface since it pertains to jerks reforming themselves. However, it also enforces the idea of “I can change him,” which doesn’t constitute as healthy relationship advice.

Station: Vh1

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….

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Though The Real Housewives franchise has been a boon to Bravo, we have to acknowledge these women are technically socialites. Also, a lot of it’s scripted and demeans women in very nasty ways.

Station: Bravo

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

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Man vs. Wild made Bear Grylls an instant sensation on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean with his survivalist feats. However, it was later found that Grylls’ death defying acts on the show weren’t as impressive as portrayed. One scene consisted of him surviving a bear attack from a guy wearing a bear suit.

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.

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 8 – Jersey Shore to True Tori

Sure American reality TV shows have often been blamed for decline in society and in entertainment as appealing to the lowest common denominator. However, we need to understand that at the same time American reality shows have become so popular that their concepts are often imitated in other countries all over the world. You read that right. But sometimes other countries have their own shows as well like Britain with the Great British Bake Off and Don’t Tell the Bride. Though while reality TV is often associated with surveillance states and consumerism in western countries, other countries have their reasons. For instance, reality show voting has been the first time many citizens in authoritarian regimes have voted in free and fair wide-scale elections like American Idol style singing competitions. In fact, the Chinese government criticized a show called Super Girl for its democratic nature before banning it a few times. In the Arab world, reality shows have often challenged long standing taboos which resulted in public outcry and street protests. However, it’s best that we go on with the series as I add another installment to my series of lousy reality television.

71. Jersey Shore

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Jersey Shore was one of the infamous shows on MTV that became strangely popular and made Snooki a household name. Was known for promoting and glamorizing a lot of misbehavior.

Station: MTV

Premise: Follows 8 housemates spending their summer on the Jersey Shore.

Why It’s Stupid: Debuted amid large amounts of controversy regarding the use of words “guido/guidette” (which is deemed as an ethnic slur) as well as portrayal of Italian-Americans due to the fact some cast members either weren’t or weren’t fully Italian descent (including Snooki) and for perpetuating degrading Italian stereotypes of an ethnicity often featured in gangster movies. Also faced scrutiny from locals because cast members weren’t state residents which resulted in protests. Hell, even Governor Chris Christie criticized the show for this and he’s known for stopping traffic. Then there’s the fact a lot of cast members got into some serious trouble, sponsors pulling ads, as well as glamorized tanning (note that most of MTV’s viewers are teenagers). Still, this show was very popular in its day.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 6 seasons.

 

72. Kill Reality

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Kill Reality was a show on E! that had leftovers from various reality shows making a horror movie. Yes, the producers must’ve been on something to come up with this idea.

Station: E!

Premise: Leftovers from various reality shows get together to make a horror movie called The Scorned with behind the scenes features with the cast living together as it was being filmed.

Why It’s Stupid: One guy got removed from the house after defecating in a fellow contestant’s bed while she slept. Also, featured former reality show contestants trying to cash in on their fame.

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

 

73. Flavor of Love

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Flavor of Love featured several women competing for the heart of Flavor Flav, the guy with the big watch. However, he didn’t end up with any of the winners during the show’s 3 season run. Instead, he married the mom of his 7th child.

Station: Vh1

Premise: It’s supposed to be The Bachelor with negative black stereotypes. Several women compete for the heart of rapper Flavor Flav, a man known for looking for love in all the wrong places.

Why It’s Stupid: Mostly because Flavor Flav decided not to date or marry any of the winners from the first 3 seasons. Instead, he ended up marrying Liz, the mother of his 7th child which he did on the Season 3 reunion show. Let that sink in. Also, he was assisted by his mom and his ex in the first season. So yes, it was all a publicity stunt.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, after a few seasons with Rock of Love having the same format but having Bret Michaels from Poison instead.

 

74. Bad Girls Club

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Bad Girls Club focuses on the lives of 7 unruly women who may have behavior problems. And they’re allowed to live a life of luxury with some restrictions by production crew. Was subject to several controversies over the years.

Station: Oxygen

Premise: Focuses on altercations and physical confrontations of seven highly aggressive, quarrelsome, and unruly women. Each of them with psychological and behavioral problems and all have different backgrounds and personalities. Mischievous sexual and rascally moments are captured. Each are introduced to the show based on their capacity to be a “charismatic, tough chick.” Also they enjoy a luxurious lifestyle in a fine mansion for 3 months during which they must obey specific rules. Their lives inside and outside the house are chronically recorded. If a cast member violates production rules, she is evicted before being replaced.

Why It’s Stupid: Mary Mitchell of Sun Times stated that it was “hazardous to the female psyche” and “Just like some teens try to emulate rappers in their dress and behavior, the same is true for ‘bad girls. ‘” She also went on that the show gives a distorted view of how to live the good life, calling the cast “wannabe” who are “sleeping in a mansion they can’t pay for.” However, she believed that most people know these women are living a bogus lifestyle and said it’s disturbing. But that doesn’t stop many teenagers from emulating it. Also was subject to several controversies over the years. In addition, having crazy alcoholic women get drunk in a nice house which results in fights, feuds, and broken furniture is really not setting a great example. If I want to see charismatic, tough chicks enjoying luxurious lifestyles and getting into fights, I’ll watch Downton Abbey. Because at least the Dowager Countess and Cousin Isobel know how to argue with class.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

 

75. Mob Wives

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Mob Wives follows a group of women whose husbands are in prison for their mafia-related activities. The fact this show disturbed victims’ families goes without saying.

Station: Vh1

Premise: Follows a group of Staten Island women after their family members are arrested and imprisoned for crimes that are allegedly connected to the Mafia.

Why It’s Stupid: Other than the obvious negative Italian stereotypes, this is basically the Real Housewives consisting of women who live off of their men’s violent an criminal life. One person wrote in The Staten Island Advance in 2011: “Out of interest we only watched about twenty minutes of the first episode and couldn’t stomach watching the second. We don’t know what’s so interesting about a bunch of low-life women (the one pictured is a real piece of work) who think that husbands that go off to prison is like spending a year at college. I bet their kids are real proud of them. Any glorification of a life of crime is pathetic. They all deserve whatever misery that comes along.” Borough president James Molinaro commented, “I’ve seen it – It’s disgraceful. It paints Staten Island and Italian-Americans in a bad light. It’s detrimental because people will think this is what Staten Island is made of. I’m Italian – and this is bad for our doctors, our lawyers, the people who came from Italy to build their lives.” Not to mention, this also disturbed relatives of murder victims. If I want to see something on mob wives, I’d watch The Sopranos instead.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 6 seasons.

 

76. Jackass

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Before we had the Jackass movie franchise, there was a Jackass show on MTV. You can say it involves a bunch of guys getting themselves injured for the sake of entertainment. Or trying to win a Darwin Award.

Station: MTV

Premise: Features people performing various dangerous, crude, self-injuring stunts and pranks.

Why It’s Stupid:  From Fame 10: “We’re not entirely sure how “Jackass” became as big as it did. All of the dangerous, crude, self-injuring stunts and pranks that they partook in were hardly that entertaining. If anything, it really should have made most people question these individuals and their intelligence. These guys were behaving like careless morons and were being paid for it. Unfortunately, many of us encouraged this by tuning in once a week! The real danger in “Jackass” is that there were some young people who copied some of the stupid things that they did and really hurt themselves as a result.”

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, after a few seasons but they managed to make 4 movies that did very well at the box office. Still, people shouldn’t be rewarded for behaving like absolute idiots as these guys were.

 

77. Buckwild

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Thinking of demographics to offend after the success of Jersey Shore, MTV decided to focus on rednecks with Buckwild. But everyone thought it was boring and just as offensive.

Station: MTV

Premise: Follows 9 young adults in Charleston, West Virginia and nearby Sissonville to create their own unique ways to enjoy life in the rural area surrounding them.

Why It’s Stupid: It’s like Jersey Shore with redneck stereotypes. From Fame 10: “According to one critic from The Hollywood Reporter, this show is not worth anyone’s time because it fails to offer its audience anything new or interesting. ‘It adds nothing. It’s not shocking, it’s not interesting, and it’s not quite crazy enough to become part of the zeitgeist. There’s nothing about these young rednecks that is particular to West Virginia, either, as much as any other state would surely deny it. These are just kids gone wild (though no wilder than you’d find in any college town). The biggest problem is, we’ve seen it all before.’”

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and thank God.

 

78. Being Bobby Brown

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Out of all celebrity spouses, Bobby Brown should be the last guy to have his own reality show. Seriously, he may be Whitney Houston’s husband but he’s not fondly remembered by her fans. And it doesn’t help that Whitney Houston died some years after this show aired.

Station: Bravo

Premise: Depicts life of R&B singer Bobby Brown and then-wife Whitney Houston as well as their family.

Why It’s Stupid: Anyone who knows anything about Whitney Houston’s personal life, knows that Bobby Brown is a horrible human being as well as has a rap sheet longer than his catalog. I mean this guy is less known for his R&B career and more famous for his domestic violence, infidelity, drug use, and legal troubles. Was also said to rob Whitney Houston of any last shred of dignity. Seriously, this just gives a known abuser more undeserved celebrity.

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

 

79. Hogan Knows Best

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Hogan Knows Best follows professional wrestler Hulk Hogan and his family. Of course, it shows that Hogan didn’t know best since the family would be beset but a cavalcade of shit.

Station: Vh1

Premise: Follows the life and family of professional WWE wrestler Hulk Hogan.

Why It’s Stupid:Well, hoping to rip off the Osbournes, they were seen as way more dysfunctional and unlikeable that you get the idea this show aired because Hulk needed the money while his kids wanted a taste of fame. Doesn’t help that their family would be later destroyed with Hulk cheating on his wife with one of his daughter’s friends, his son permanently disabling his best friend in drunken car crash, and his wife going on the rebound with one of her children’s classmates. Turns out Hulk Hogan doesn’t know best, not by a long shot. Also, Hogan has admitted in an autobiography that a lot of this show was staged.

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

 

80. True Tori

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True Tori documents the lives of Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott’s life 3 weeks after he left for rehab as well as the uncertainty in their marriage after his alleged affair. Let’s just say, you don’t want to see this.

Station: Lifetime

Premise: Documents Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott’s life from 3 weeks after Dean left for rehab and highlights the apparent uncertainty in their marriage due to the alleged affair as well as them rebuilding their relationship.

Why It’s Stupid: From Fame 10: “Like most normal people, we enjoy a good cheating scandal; however, when it involves Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott and a reality TV show (“True Tori”), we’re instantly turned off. After giving this show a shot during season one, we quickly learned just how dysfunctional this couple’s relationship is. The whole point of the show is to give Spelling an opportunity to punish her husband for being unfaithful. While some women would choose divorce, she doesn’t have the strength. She’d rather obsess about McDermott’s infidelity, finding various ways to keep him in the physical and metaphorical doghouse, all while giving the audience way too much information about their sex life. One season of this awful show was bad enough; however, for some odd reason it was renewed for a second season. McDermott ended up dropping out of it after only a few episodes. Apparently Spelling’s punishment got to be too much, which isn’t surprising – she wanted to make him feel really bad and successfully accomplished it. These two need some serious couples therapy and, if that doesn’t make them stop airing their dirty laundry, we suggest that they get that divorce everyone has been hoping for.”

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

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 7 – Finding Bigfoot to The Bachelor and Bachelorette

As many of you might know by now, there are many types of reality shows. But there are 3 main ones that stick out. First, there’s the docusoap in which the viewer and the camera are passive observers following people going about their daily personal and professional lives. Sure there may be some “fly on wall” filming going on, but the “plots” can be compiled for the program that often resemble soap operas. TLC is famous for these kinds of shows but other cable networks air them on, too, like E!, A&E, the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, and the History Channel. Some of these may have educational value but a lot of them won’t and may potentially exploit people’s problems. The second type is the hidden camera when random passers by encounter a clearly staged situation. A lot of prank shows fall here. And finally, we have the so-called “reality game shows” where participants are filmed intensively in an enclosed environment while competing to win a prize. And when we think of reality shows, we usually think of these. Though we should remember that producers control the format and can manipulate the outcomes of these shows. So it’s always questionable how “real” reality TV really is. Anyway, on to another bad reality show installment for your reading pleasure.

61. Finding Bigfoot

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Spoiler Alert: They don’t find Bigfoot. Still, if Bigfoot was real, we would’ve known by now. I mean creatures always leave tracks like hair and excrement. Also, for someone as tall as Sasquatch, people probably would’ve seen one in the Pacific Northwest by now. Just saying.

Station: Animal Planet

Premise: Follows 4 researchers and explorers investigating potential evidence of Bigfoot, a cryptid hominid allegedly living in the wilderness of the United States and Canada.

Why It’s Stupid: To put a short story short, they haven’t found Bigfoot so far. And giving this creature’s alleged dimensions, there should be some considerable evidence like large footprints, feces, and the like. But it’s very likely that this mythological creature doesn’t exist and this show is a virtual wild goose chase. Makes the Discovery Channel’s documentary about an extinct shark seem rather reasonable because at least that animal really existed.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, and it’s set to enter its ninth season this year.

 

62. Bridezillas

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Sure weddings can be stressful and yes, a bride may act like a diva on her big day. Yet, Bridezillas portrays women as uncontrollable, selfish, and bullying bitches who’d throw tantrums if they don’t get what they want. It should be off the air.

Station: WE

Premise: Follows the lives of engaged women about to get married as they prepare their weddings and get into crazy fights with their families, friends, groom’s family, wedding parties, and service providers.

Why It’s Stupid: It’s incredibly offensive to both sexes on so many levels casting women as crazy and emotional and men as calm but vacant. It also implies the concept that women can be uncontrollable, selfish and bullying harpies who’d do anything to get what they want.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, been on the air since 2004, unfortunately.

 

63. Lost

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You may not remember but there was a reality show called Lost on NBC that was kind of a rip off of the Amazing Race. But unlike the long running series on ABC, it made way less sense.

Station: NBC

Premise: It’s similar to The Amazing Race except that the 3 two-member teams knew only of the final destination and were only given a backpack full of clothes and other essentials. Also, contestants who were not acquainted with one another prior to the show, were assigned to teams. They were then blindfolded and dropped off with a single camera person in a remote location of an unknown country to find their way back home. First team that reaches the Statue of Liberty receives $200,000.

Why It’s Stupid: Let’s just say that the contestants were more worried about getting home in one piece than competing against one another. Also, by the end most of the contestants quit.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, thank God.

 

64. The Family

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The series The Family, followed an Italian-American clan who moved into a mansion with a staff to compete for $1,000,000. And yes, it comes complete with offensive stereotypes, too.

Station: ABC

Premise: 10 members of an Italian-American family are moved to a mansion with a staff and compete for a $1,000,000 grand prize. Each week, contestants played reward challenges and elimination contests that determined which two people would be up for elimination from play. It worked with a secret Board of Trustees and making a decision on which member would be eliminated. Unbeknownst to the family, this board consisted of the servants.

Why It’s Stupid: Let’s just say that when it comes to portraying Italian-Americans, it makes Growing Up Gotti and Jersey Shore seem less offensive in comparison. Also, runs the risk of tearing families apart over money. If I wanted to see that, I could’ve watched some Agatha Christie adaptation on PBS or The Sopranos.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

65. A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila

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A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila was a hit on MTV during my teenage years which featured a group of men and women competing for Tila’s heart. However, there were not only rumors that Tila’s bisexuality was just an act, but that she had a boyfriend already. Such can be reinforced that the man who one in the first season never received her phone number and never saw her again.

Station: MTV and Logo

Premise: A group of both men and women vie for the heart of bisexual social media personality, occasional porn star, and recording artist Tila Tequila.

Why It’s Stupid: This was one of the most watched shows on MTV when I was in high school and college. While it did attract the conventional LGBT bashers, it’s to be expected. However, what makes this show stupid is that there were rumors that its star was not only straight but she had a boyfriend already. And it wasn’t helped that the show’s first season winner Bobby Banhart claimed that he never saw Tequila again after the show finished taping and that he wasn’t even given her telephone number.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, after 2 seasons.

 

66. America’s Next Top Model

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While America’s Next Top Model has been popular, it has often been criticized for shaming women as well as giving people unrealistic ideas of fashion model life. The allegations can go on and on.

Station: UPN, CW, and Vh1

Premise: Aspiring models compete for the title of “America’s Next Top Model,” with the show providing them the opportunity to begin their career in the modeling industry.

Why It’s Stupid: Okay, I understand that appearances matter here since it’s a fashion show but it’s endure long string of criticism from the first season. It’s been criticized for containing elements of cruelty and humiliation as well as some judges’ critiques being “really cruel and cringe-inducing” as well as humiliating and degrading young women according to Yahoo! Shine. The site also noted that the show gave contestants and women viewers unrealistic visions of life as a model and, “always espousing empowerment and female strength and then forcing the contestants into embarrassing scenarios far outside the realm of real-life modeling.” One scenario highlighted in Season 12’s final two contestants “were made to wear bikinis so skimpy that the producers had to blur out Allison Harvard’s butt cheeks” and perform “creepily sexual mud fight,” after which winner Teyona Anderson was “commended for taking her weave in her hand and whipping it around on the runway like a sexy feather boa.” Season 8 caused considerable controversy when Tyra Banks and Ken Mok noticed that most of the girls were unusually heavy smokers. Season 9’s winner Saleisha Stowers was later discovered to have appeared in a Wendy’s commercial, on a catwalk from a Season 6 show, and an episode of the Tyra Banks show prior to participation. This with the show breaking its own rules that a contestant must not appear as a model in a national campaign during 5 years prior to the season they participate in. After filming Season 10, the show’s producers were served with a lawsuit from the Top Model house owner for an estimated $500,000 in damages. This claiming that the contestants engaged in food fights, made holes in walls, caused water damage to the bathroom, damaged a $15,000 chandelier beyond repair, and caused $90,000 worth of damage to an electrical store. Also, claimed that the crew damaged the floor and made holes in the ceiling for lighting equipment. Additionally, it’s said that show hasn’t exactly produced any supermodels and the fact Season 1’s winner Adrianne Curry claiming that part of the grand prize she received such as a Revlon modeling contract was for a much smaller amount of work than was promised throughout the show.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, it’s still on VH1 and on its 23rd season but this time without Tyra Banks as host.

 

67. Jon and Kate Plus 8

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Now Jon and Kate Plus 8 was a major juggernaut in TLC’s ratings that the family soon became major celebrities. However, claims on child labor violations and a messy divorce gave me the impression that the parents were horrible people who exploited their kids for fame and fortune.

Station: TLC

Premise: Follows the lives of Jon and Kate Gosselin and their 8 children that includes a set of septuplets and a set of twins.

Why It’s Stupid: This was a hugely popular show when I was in college as well as one of TLC’s highest rated shows. However, when the Jon and Kate’s marriage began to fall apart and result in their divorce, I kind of got the impression that the two are incredibly awful people who I believe clearly exploited their kids for fame. Criticism and legal inquiry were raised in the children’s participation as to whether or not the children were exploited and under emotional distress. At the time the show filmed, there were no clear laws in Pennsylvania (where the Gosselins resided), regarding a child’s appearance on a reality show. However, PA law does permit kids 7 and up to work in the entertainment industry as long as certain guidelines are followed and a permit is obtained (the kids in the show were about 8 and 5 around the Gosselins’ divorce in 2009, so this law was clearly broken). For instance, kids may not work after 11:30 pm or where there’s alcohol being served. An investigation by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Labor Law Compliance found that, “The activity being filmed was spontaneous. However, children introduced episodes of the television show and transitions. DVDs and other merchandise were sold involving the children’s appearance. Lighting was placed in the home for the show and there was product placement in some episodes.” Thus, under Pennsylvania law, the kids were considered working on the show and the show had to obtain work permits, which it did not do. Nonetheless, both Jon and Kate deny that the show has done any harm on their children even though I most seriously doubt it because a lot of former child stars aren’t known for their well-adjusted lifestyles as adults.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on but as Kate Plus 8.

 

68. Storage Wars

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Storage Wars revolves around a facility buying contents in storage lockers in hopes to turn a profit. However, it’s been subject to lawsuits alleging that the stuff was bought in advance for the show. So yes, there’s a lot staging involved.

Station: A&E

Premise: Follows professional buyers in California who purchase storage locker contents based on a 5 minute inspection of what they can see from the door when it’s opened. The goal is to turn a profit from the merchandise.

Why It’s Stupid: It was subject to a lawsuit by one of the show’s stars Dave Hester in 2012. In it, he claimed being fired after complaining to the network and the production company producing the show that the series is staged. According to him, the items seen in abandoned storage containers that are acquired by the cast are appraised in advance before A&E plants them in the containers. A&E also pays for storage lockers for the “weaker” cast members, scripts the cast member interviews, and stages auctions still on the show. A&E has denied this.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, it’s still on.

 

69. 8 Minutes

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The show 8 minutes follows an ex-cop turned pastor who attempts to rescue sex workers by posing as a john. However, while sex trafficking and prostitution are horrible things, not all sex workers want to be rescued. Besides, unlike what the show may imply, saving sex workers is often a long term and complicated process, not a simple sting operation. Subject to a damaging article by Buzzfeed.

Station: A&E

Premise: Chronicles ex-cop and Pastor Keith Brown meeting sex workers and attempting to convince them to quit their profession within 8 minutes. Each week, Brown would pose as a client in a hotel room. Once she arrived, Brown would try persuading the woman to escape their situation for a better life and promised to help. The “8 minutes” was the maximum amount of time a woman can decide to leave with Brown’s team before her safety was in jeopardy.

Why It’s Stupid: This show has attracted controversy for its storytelling consisting of approaching women with hidden cameras and myths about sex work. Yes, prostitution is a very exploitative business and is a travesty but there’s a reason why there’s a very heated debate over criminalizing it, particularly among feminists and former sex workers. However, this show had Pastor Brown coercing sex workers and sex trafficking victims to leave their trade. Not even Saint Paul would approve of this, because he perfectly understood prostitution was not something sex workers could easily escape from. Instead, Paul simply told men not to buy sex (when he mentions, “fornication” he’s referring to this). Nor would other organizations who are engaged in helping sex workers and human trafficking survivors leave their profession, which is often a long term process involving building strong support networks, accessing economic opportunity, and addressing many obstacles to former employment like childcare and prior criminal records. Sure a lot of prostitutes are victims of circumstance, but you simply can’t “rescue” them, especially if they’re not asking for it. Then there’s the fact this show was subject to an extremely damaging Buzzfeed article in which several of the featured women alleging that after producers promised them to provide professional help and privacy, the show didn’t deliver on either. One woman told the site that producers promised her “medical, dental, housing, and employment” but instead received $200 and radio silence. She would later be forced to return as a sex worker for money and was later arrested on prostitution charges. Another claimed that staffers gave her $400 and she never heard from anyone again. A third woman said her family found out about her job from the show and is now living in a hotel. A fourth claimed the producers told her husband to pose as a pimp.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and thank God.

 

70. The Bachelor and Bachelorette

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The Bachelor and Bachelorette may be among the most popular reality shows ever made. Yet, the behind the scenes often involved producers coaching the contestants for storylines as well as manipulating emotions for the camera. And it’s been widely acknowledged.

Station: ABC

Premise: Dating show in which 25 contestants compete for the hand of one eligible bachelor/bachelorette who is expected to select a spouse, mostly at some large estate or some romantic or exotic location. During the course of the season, the bachelor/bachelorette eliminates candidates and proposes marriage in the final selection. However, the shows don’t always follow their designed structure and those variations often provide as source of drama and conflict like an eliminated candidate returning to plead their case, a bachelor/bachelorette distributing fewer or more roses than planned, a bachelor/bachelorette eliminating a contestant outside the normal elimination process like both on a 2 to 1 date, or the bachelor/bachelorette choosing to pursue their relationship with their final selection rather than propose marriage.

Why It’s Stupid: The creator of both shows as well as former contestants have stated that they’re both scripted. Bachelorette Season 4’s winner Jesse Csincsak stated that both series have contestants required to follow producers’ orders and that storylines are fabricated in the editing room. Bachelor Season 13 Participant Megan Parris related, “I don’t think [the producers] showed any real conversation I had with anyone… The viewers fail to realize that editing is what makes the show… You’ll hear someone make one comment and then they’ll show a clip of somebody’s face to make it look like that is their facial reaction to that statement, but really, somebody made that face the day before to something else. It’s just piecing things together to make a story.” She also stated that producers bully and berate contestants into saying specific things that they don’t wish to say. During the 2012 filming of Bachelor Season 16’s Women Tell All episode, what should’ve been a private conversation between contestant Courtney Robertson and one of the show’s producers went public when microphones were accidentally left on during camera takes. The leaked conversation revealed that the producer was encouraging Robertson to fake certain emotions for the camera which she was not feeling. Oh, and both shows’ creator even admitted to developing contestants into characters catering to his audience’s tastes and that they “need [their] fair share of villains every season.” There were even rumors that ABC hired actors to play specific roles on both shows. One Bachelorette cast overtly acted out the show’s written script with the Muppets. If such stuff I’m describing reminds you of Haymitch telling Katniss to fake her feelings for Peeta, it’s certainly no accident because both shows aired before The Hunger Games Trilogy was even written.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 6 – My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé to I’m a Celebrity….Get Me Out of Here!

You may notice that I put a lot of reality dating shows in this series. Well, it turns out that a lot of dating shows can be particularly downright horrible for several reasons. For one, a lot of them tend to be built around terrible concepts as you’ve seen in some of the ones involving gays and plus-sized people. Second, many tend to play with people’s emotions as you’ll find out when I get to Tila Tequila, Flavor Flav, and the Bachelor. Sure we’re convinced that what we see on the screen could be real but you can never be sure. And there were even winners known to be upset that their prize to date the center contestant was not to be. Third, some of these shows didn’t use background checks to screen their contestants as you see in Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? and Megan Wants a Millionaire. Fourth, a lot of them tend to tag on unrealistic ideas about relationships. And finally, reality dating shows are notorious for being really demeaning toward women. Anyway, here’s another installment of sleazy reality shows that belong in a garbage fire.

51. My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé

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In My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, a woman fakes an engagement with a fat jerk in order to get money. And they have to convince her family of their engagement for 12 days. Yes, it’s as bad as you think.

Station: Fox

Premise: Woman is set up by producers and offered $250,000 for herself and $250,000 for the rest of her family if she takes part in a fake engagement to a big fat guy pretending to be a slob (for $250,000 for himself and $250,000 for his family). And the two have to convince the family of their engagement for 12 days and the family members have to attend the wedding without any objection.

Why It’s Stupid: Attractive blond woman willing to do anything for money? Check. Has a family that would do anything similar? Check. Bad fat guy stereotypes? Check.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

52. Sister Wives

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TLC’s Sister Wives is proof that the network would put on any show for ratings. Even if it’s pertains to a practice that’s illegal and would result in prosecution for the participants.

Station: TLC

Premise: A show that takes a look at a polygamist and his 4 wives and 18 children.

Why It’s Stupid: The guy and his wives said they participated in the show to make the public more aware of polygamist families and to combat societal prejudices. Yes, this was an attempt to show the human side of what is an illegal and outright creepy practice (and there are very good reasons for it). Also, the series led to the family being investigated for prosecution.

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

 

53. I Want a Famous Face

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I Want a Famous Face depicts people who get plastic surgery in order to look like their favorite celebrities. Yes, you read that right. And yes, this was actually a show. Of course, what these people need is therapy. Still, none of these was Jonathan Brewster who got a famous face anyway since he’d kill if you’d say he looks like Boris Karloff.

Station: MTV

Premise: Young people go through plastic surgery with the goal of looking like a famous person. Also features short spots on how plastic surgery can go wrong from people that have experienced poor health resulting from their attempts at plastic surgery.

Why It’s Stupid: Trying to imitates a celebrity’s hair and makeup is one thing. But having a plastic surgery procedure to look like them, now that’s creepy. Even creepier are the spots on plastic surgery. Also, I don’t think Jonathan Brewster would’ve wanted the famous face he got. I mean that guy practically killed a man who said he looked like Boris Karloff.

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

 

54. Living Lohan

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No, Living Lohan doesn’t feature Lindsay, just her folks. However, it does show you why she turned out to be so messed up in the first place. Having a stage mother could do that to you.

Station: E!

Premise: Follows the Lohan family in Hollywood.

Why It’s Stupid: While personally I think reality shows are stupid in general, the fact that Lindsay wasn’t in it kind of makes it worse (she refused to take part in it). I mean, if anyone was interested in watching a show about the Lohans, she should’ve been in it. Then again, the fact her mom Dina being a modern Mama Rose might have something to do with it and maybe Lindsay made the right call. Also Anderson Cooper would say, “I cannot believe I’m wasting a minute of my life watching these horrific people.”

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

 

55. Amish Mafia

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While Discovery Channel tries to depict itself as an educational network, Amish Mafia has no educational value since it’s totally fake. How can I tell? Well, one of the guys is holding a machine gun in the promos, obviously. Also, when a noted professor saw previews for it, he thought it was a skit off SNL.

Station: Discovery Channel

Premise: Follows 4 young men in the Amish community who serve as self-appointed fixers which seems to mostly entail harassing people for committing petty crimes.

Why It’s Stupid: Yes, this is a real show, which has been questioned by scholars, local newspapers, and law enforcement, especially when it comes to an unspecified number of “re-enactments.” Also has been subject to accusations being bigoted and defaming Amish people. According to Professor Donald Weaver-Zercher, when he initially saw the trailer from the show, “I thought maybe it was a Saturday Night Live skit on reality television because it was so far-fetched.” He later added, “My sense is this Amish mafia is about as real as the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in The Office.” Also, there was one scene purported to be shot in Lancaster County but was really shot in Columbia, South Carolina. Not to mention, even the politically corrupt former Governor Tom Corbett called for the show’s cancellation.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, it’s still on, unfortunately.

 

56. Baby Borrowers

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Sure Baby Borrowers seemed to be a show to prevent teen pregnancy by giving babies to teen couples. However, childcare experts wanted the show removed due to concerns over the emotional health of babies and young children. If I want to see a show on baby borrowers, I’d just watch Raising Arizona.

Station: NBC

Premise: Couples between 18 and 20 are lent babies, toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers, and elderly that they have to look after over the course of a month.

Why It’s Stupid: Think of it as a terrible idea to prevent teen pregnancy. The Natural Child Project and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry petitioned to NBC to remove the show over the emotional health of the babies, toddlers, and young children pertaining to attachment and separation anxiety.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

57. Date My Ex: Jo & Slade

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In Date My Ex: Jo & Slade, 3 guys go on a date with Jo while living at Slade’s house. And Slade gets to watch. Yes, it’s as disturbing as you think. These two don’t have a healthy relationship.

Station: Bravo

Premise: 3 guys are invited to Slade’s house to compete for Jo’s heart. Each day, one of Jo’s friends delivers a red and white polka dot box with a note and a clue hinting at the day’s events. Each of these guys takes Jo out for a unique date but what they don’t know is that Slade is watching their dates. At the end Jo chooses one of the guys in Slade’s house and go on a second date with her while the other guys have to leave.

Why It’s Stupid: Let’s just say having your ex find a new guy for you can be quite awkward. Even creepier that he’s watching the dates. You know what that reminds me of? Uh, something normal guys get restraining orders for.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

58. Hurl

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The show Hurl brings you to the world of competitive eating and extreme sports. First one to make it without vomiting wins $10,000. However, watching it will probably make you hurl.

Station: G4

Premise: Amateur competitive eaters force as much food into their stomachs as they possibly can before immediately partaking in extreme sports while trying not to vomit. Prize is $10,000.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, this is gross. Second, I don’t think gorging and partaking in extreme sports is a recipe for better health. I honestly don’t.

Did it Get Canceled?: Let’s hope so.

 

59. Sex Box

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The show Sex Box is kind of self-explanatory. It’s a show where couples have sex in a box. And there’s some sex therapy involved, too. For the love of God, I hope this show got cancelled.

Station: WE

Premise: Several couples are brought into the studio (some with relationship issues), where they enter a sound-proof box where they have sex. During this time the hosts will comment on sex, the couple, and the chances that their relationship will survive. After a certain amount of time, the couple exits the box and rejoins the hosts on stage, where they answer questions about themselves and their sex life, based on the theory that the couple will be more likely to be more open and honest in their answers after having sex.

Why It’s Stupid: Okay, I understand that some couples need help on their sex life. But I think this kind of therapy is going way too far. Seriously, if I needed relationship or sex counseling, I’d just see a therapist.

Did it Get Canceled?: Let’s hope so.

 

60. I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Outta Here!

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Now seeing celebrities fight for their lives in the jungle might seem like something you’d fantasize about. Until you have a show like this and don’t know any of the celebrities on it.

Station: ABC and NBC

Premise: 13 celebrities live together a jungle for a few weeks or some months with no luxuries and compete to be crowned king or queen of the jungle.

Why It’s Stupid: Actually I don’t think the premise is stupid at all. I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d want to see celebrities struggle to survive in the wilderness. However, what is stupid about this show is that most of the celebrities in question are has-beens or famous people you tend to forget about after a certain amount of time. If I had any say in this show, it would be to have celebrities viewers would want to see trying to survive in the jungle like Donald Trump, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Tim Tebow, Jenny McCarthy, and others. Okay, now I feel pretty guilty here. See how reality television can bring out the worst in people?

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 5 – Gay, Straight, or Taken? to Megan Wants a Millionaire

Now we’re halfway through with my series on reality show disasters. But whether we see it as a groundbreaking form of entertainment or a steaming pile of garbage as I do, you can’t deny it has made an impact on our culture. Plenty of reality TV stars have become celebrities who’ve graced magazine covers. Take for example Kim Kardashian. Sure her dad was an attorney for O.J. Simpson. But until Keeping Up with the Kardashians, you’ve probably never heard of her. And now her name is everywhere like she’s famous for being famous. Seriously, what has she done to warrant her fame? Nothing! However, she is one of the few celebrities in reality TV whose name will live forever even when her show gets cancelled. Many reality TV show contestants are often seen as “Z-List celebrities” who’ve done nothing much to warrant their 15 minutes of fame but have used it nevertheless. And yes, many get lampooned for it, too. But anyway, enough with the celebrity stuff, and let’s go on with another installment of awful reality show TV has ever aired.

41. Gay, Straight, or Taken?

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In Lifetime’s Gay, Straight, or Taken? a woman goes on a date with 3 guys and has to decide which one is gay, which one has a girlfriend, and which guy is straight and available. If she’s wrong, she’ll certainly be humiliated in the fact she can’t find a man.

Station: Lifetime

Premise: A female contestant goes on a group date with 3 men and then has to decide which one of them is gay, which one is in a relationship with a woman, and which one is straight and available.

Why It’s Stupid: Brought to you by the network for women who love men but hate women, this show basically served to humiliate women like “ha, ha, you’ll never find a man and even when you do, he’ll probably be gay, ha, ha.” Also, you have to feel bad for the gay boyfriend and the girlfriend of a couple of the guys who’s basically going out with another woman on television.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

42. Millionaire Matchmaker

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In Millionaire Matchmaker, a woman finds compatible dates for rich people. However, her rules are said to be sexist, outdated, and horrible, and tends to treat people like shit.

Station: Bravo

Premise: Follows Patty Stanger, owner of Beverly Hills based, “Millionaire’s Club” dating service where she matches single, wealthy people with closely compatible dates.

Why It’s Stupid: According to Beamly, she’s a monster who rules her dating service with an iron fist, throwing around insults and barking orders at anyone who will listen. Her rules for love are said to be outdated, sexist, and all around horrible. It’s said to be a trainwreck.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, and it’s been on the air since 2008.

 

43. Momma’s Boys

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In Momma’s Boys, 32 single women live in a mansion with 3 bachelors who they’re competing for and their mothers. And the women have to complete a series of tasks, too. I know what you’re thinking.

Station: NBC

Premise: 3 bachelors live in a house with 32 single women, all vying for their affection. The guys also bring their mothers who do their best to influence their son’s decisions. Throughout the series, the female contestants participate in competitions and are selected by the men for dates, with some of the contestants being eliminated at various intervals. Each woman receives a text message of “yes” if any of the men want to keep her in contention or “no” if none of them want to keep her in contention. If the men are undecided, they send a text message for the woman to meet them at the house’s swimming pool, where the men have an additional opportunity to talk to her before deciding whether she should stay or go.

Why It’s Stupid: If I wanted to see a show about some guy’s mom doing her best to influence her son’s decisions, I’d rather watch The Manchurian Candidate. Also, some of the women had been models for Playboy and Penthouse.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

44. More to Love

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More to Love was a show on Fox about a guy looking for love among a group of plus sized women. And he ended up choosing the skinniest one. Still, I’m sure there are plenty of men who’d go for these women since they’re all extraordinarily gorgeous.

Station: Fox

Premise: It’s like The Bachelor but the contestants are plus-sized women with the single guy promising them that he won’t judge them by their size.

Why It’s Stupid: Well, despite his promise ring not to judge the ladies by their size, he proceeded to choose the skinniest one of the bunch as the winner. Obviously. Way to go with hurting women’s self-esteem. Also, those women seemed to look quite unrealistically gorgeous, plus-sized or not.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

45. Mr. Personality

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I have to admit, though dating a guy in a creepy mask might seem awkward, it kind of makes a great Halloween costume. It also shares the irony of it being hosted by Monica Lewinsky. You read that right.

Station: Fox

Premise: It’s like The Bachelorette with one woman having to choose among 20 suitors. But they all wear creepy gray luchador masks the entire time so she’d judge them based on their personality alone.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, this show tends to infer that women are notorious for judging men only by their looks (and not the other way around). Was also hosted by Monica Lewinsky, yes, that Monica Lewinsky. Not to mention, why the hell was there no Ms. Personality?

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

46. Parental Control

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Parental Control is the MTV show in which parents try to get their kid to break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend they don’t like and set them up with someone knew. Or something that rich Victorian parents did all the time by threatening to take their kids’ inheritance away from them.

Station: MTV

Premise: Parents who hate their kid’s current squeeze interview and set them up with 2 other options. Kid dates those people and then has to decide whether to keep their current relationship, stay single, or choose one of the 2 new options.

Why It’s Stupid: It’s one thing for parents not to like who their kids might be dating. And sometimes there might be good reasons for it. But parents trying to control their kids’ love lives on reality television? That just sounds like torture. This is especially since 90% of the time the kid decided to stay in their current relationship.

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

 

47. Playing It Straight

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Playing It Straight is a show in which a woman spends time on a ranch which 14 different men she has to distinguish between which ones were gay and which were straight. It’s built on the idea that a woman can’t find a guy because the nicer ones are gay. Yet, she chose the straight one anyway.

Station: Fox

Premise: It’s like The Bachelorette. One woman dates 14 bachelors. However, some of these guys are gay. And each week she eliminates guys she doesn’t have a connection with as well as guys she thinks are gay. At the end, if the guy she picks is straight, they split the prize. If a gay guy is picked, he gets all the prize money and the woman receives nothing.

Why It’s Stupid: Well, this is playing on the idea that women can’t find a nice guy because they’re gay. Nevertheless, the woman went with a straight guy in the end.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes.

 

48. Room Raiders

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You have to hand it to MTV to make a show around privacy invasion of potential dates. Now that’s just messed up, if not, then probably illegal. Yet, it went on for 5 years.

Station: MTV

Premise: A contestant must search the contents of their 3 suitors’ bedrooms and then choose which one to date based solely on said contents.

Why It’s Stupid: Not only is this gross and a total invasion of privacy (as well as a form of stalking which is illegal), it’s bound to make any date very awkward. It’s bad enough to get into your significant other’s stuff. But raiding the bedroom of a total stranger you’re thinking of dating, that’s messed up.

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

 

49. 16 and Pregnant

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Look, teen pregnancy is a terrible problem in this country that shouldn’t be encouraged. But a show like 16 and Pregnant tends to glamorize it. No, kids, you don’t want to have a baby as a teenager. This show makes me want to throw up.

Station: MTV

Premise: Follows the stories of pregnant teenage girls in high school dealing with the hardships of their pregnancies.

Why It’s Stupid: To be fair, it’s said to that the show has generate a 4.3% in teen births. However, I’m sure the possibility of getting knocked up and being offered money and fame is really preventing teenagers from unprotected sex (sarcasm). And it really doesn’t match the reality that most real teen mothers go through like poverty, lack of career options, and domestic instability. Oh, and the fact their children may end up just like them. Same goes for Teen Mom.

Did it Get Canceled?: No, it’s still on.

 

50. Megan Wants a Millionaire

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In Megan Wants a Millionaire, a bunch of rich guys compete to become Megan Hauseman’s sugar daddy. Too bad one of these guys was suspected for killing his wife.

Station: Vh1

Premise: A bunch of rich guys with a net worth of $1 million vie to be Megan Hauseman’s sugar daddy.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, this woman is an obvious gold digger aspiring to become a trophy wife, which doesn’t set a great example for girls to aspire to. Second, it was suspended after airing its third episode in 2009 when it was announced that contestant Ryan Jenkins was being sought by police for questioning for the connection to the murder of his wife, swimsuit model Jessica Fiore. A few days and an arrest warrant later, he was found dead in British Columbia, having hanged himself. The series was canceled the next day.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and at quick notice, too.