Top 10 Worst Reality Shows Of The Century (So Far)

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Top 10 Worst Reality Shows Of The Century (So Far)

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Catherine Neal
We know the century is still young, but we really hope reality shows don't get any worse than this. For this list, we'll be looking at the weirdest, most disturbing supposedly unscripted series that have aired since the year 2000. Our countdown includes “The Pickup Artist” (2007-08), “Paris Hilton's My New BFF” (2008-09), “Who's Your Daddy?” (2005), “Top Dog Model” (2012), and more!
Transcript
We know the century is still young, but we really hope reality shows don't get any worse than this. For this list, we’ll be looking at the weirdest, most disturbing supposedly unscripted series that have aired since the year 2000. Our countdown includes “The Pickup Artist” (2007-08), “Paris Hilton's My New BFF” (2008-09), “Who’s Your Daddy?” (2005), “Top Dog Model” (2012), and more! What’s the worst reality show you’ve ever seen? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Paris Hilton's My New BFF” (2008-09)


Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton was a staple of reality TV in the early aughts, namely thanks to “The Simple Life.” That paved the way for “My New BFF,” where hopeful fans competed to become her bestie. When we think of lifelong bonds, we don’t exactly picture a competition where people are getting eliminated. Season one winner Brittany Flickinger has since framed her persona on the show as a character, explaining that what makes it to air isn’t reality. Paris Hilton went on to make another season of the series, which was followed by a UK version called “Paris Hilton's British Best Friend.” That tells you everything you need to know.

#9: “Married by America” (2003)


Before there was “Married at First Sight” there was “Married by America.” This 2003 Fox show saw five people putting their romantic lives in others’ hands for reasons we will never understand. Indeed, the premise saw single folk being matched up with total strangers. And who they were told to spend their lives with depended on the public’s votes. Afterward, the newly formed couples dutifully became engaged. They then spent another period getting better acquainted and facing elimination. Predictably, nobody tied the knot. So despite what the title claimed, no couples were actually “married by America.” It’s probably a good thing considering what a horrible premise this was.

#8: “Top Dog Model” (2012)


This short-lived UK series definitely seemed to borrow its premise from “America’s Next Top Model”, replacing human contestants with those of the canine variety. The dogs were put through their paces in a range of different challenges and photoshoots. They then came up in front of a judging panel who critiqued their skills. Tensions and emotions ran kind of high considering this was a show about dog models. It might have been a good time, but the series took itself so seriously that it was impossible to enjoy. The owners in particular seemed far too invested, though it was sometimes more difficult to get the required emotion from the stars of the show!

#7: “The Moment of Truth” (2008-09)


“The Moment of Truth” had a simple premise. Contestants faced a lie detector test, before answering some of those questions once more, this time with a studio audience watching. Naturally, the topics that came up got more and more intrusive as the game progressed. If they made it through by answering truthfully until the very end, they got $500,000. But is money really worth the potential destruction of marriages, family ties, and future career prospects? Sure, some of the questions were only mildly embarrassing. But others had the capacity to turn peoples’ lives upside down. The show was pretty dark and uncomfortable, which explains its short lifespan.

#6: “The Pickup Artist” (2007-08)


Self-proclaimed ‘pickup artist’ Mystery acted as a dating guru in this morally dubious reality series from 2007. The supposedly undateable contestants believed he had the answers to their romantic woes, which was probably part of the problem. They were taught various tips to help them pick up women, though the goal never really seemed to be finding a life partner. These methods were then put to the test in weekly challenges. And the tactics, which were touted as valuable lessons, were often demeaning and problematic. The only thing this questionable series made us want to pick up was the remote so that we could turn the TV off.

#5: “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’” (2014)


The year is 2014. Megan Markle is still starring in “Suits.” But twelve of her country-women are attempting to win Prince Harry’s heart. Well, it’s actually look-alike Matthew Hicks, who bears a passing resemblance to the royal. Did the contestants truly believe he was the real deal? It seems so. Apparently, they were originally told they were joining a show called “Dream Date.” They were then tricked into thinking that the Prince was searching for love. The show reportedly went all out to sell the ruse, actually sending a fake therapist to persuade the cynics! That’s pretty messed up, even for reality TV. And couldn’t they have found a better look-alike?

#4: “Are You Hot?: The Search for America's Sexiest People” (2003)


Take the standard talent show format of the Simon Cowell era, remove the word ‘talent,’ and you’re left with “Are You Hot?.” As the name implies, this shallow reality series aimed to find the best-looking people in America. Contestants appeared before a panel of obnoxious judges who categorized them as “hot” or “not.” Then, each hopeful’s personal appearance was critiqued and scored. And the judges’ comments were harsh enough to make even the most confident person doubt themselves. Of course, viewer voting was also involved. The show relied on a lack of depth, but it shouldn’t have. Why anyone would subject themselves to this torture is unclear, and it was unwatchable.

#3: “Boy Meets Boy” (2003)


There were a lot of dating shows that relied on bad gimmicks, but perhaps none were as problematic as this 2003 series. It followed James Getzlaff, a gay man who believed he was simply searching for love. But what he didn’t know until later was that approximately half of the contestants were only pretending to be gay. If James picked a straight person in the end, the chosen man would win $25,000 while he would leave empty-handed. As a gay dating show in the early 2000s, “Boy Meets Boy” could have created something groundbreaking. Instead, its twist took it in the opposite direction, and was unnecessary, exploitative, and downright wrong.

#2: “Who’s Your Daddy?” (2005)


Complaints came flooding in before this show even began airing, and for good reason. “Who’s Your Daddy?” was such a flop that it was taken off the air after just one “special” episode. The premiere saw TJ Myers, a woman who had been adopted at birth, searching for her biological father. This being the early aughts, they found a way to ruin a potentially sweet concept by making her pick out her real dad from a line-up. Of course, there was a cash prize on the line. It’s not hard to see why the show sparked outrage, with critics reportedly calling it “voyeuristic” and “insensitive,” among other things.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

“Taking on Tyson” (2011)


Mike Tyson Tried Competitive Pigeon Racing

“Tommy Lee Goes to College” (2005)


The Mötley Crüe Drummer Got the University of Nebraska Experience

“There’s Something About Miriam” (2004)


The Men Competing to Date Miriam Had No Clue She Was Transgender

“Next” (2005-08)


A Dating Show Where Contestants Yelled the Title if They Got Bored of Their Date

“Kid Nation” (2007)


Forty Unsupervised Kids Were Left to Run Their Own Town

#1: “Bridalplasty” (2010-11)


We understand wanting to put your best foot forward for your wedding. But whoever had the bright idea for “Bridalplasty” should be ashamed of themselves. This reality show had brides competing in weekly challenges to earn cosmetic procedures in the lead up to their big day. Each woman came prepared with a “wishlist” of things she wanted to change, and only the winner got all their wishes granted. Would their husbands recognize them when they reached the altar? We’re not sure, but they’d be perfect in the eyes of the plastic surgeon. “The Swan” shared a similarly horrid concept, transforming so-called “ugly ducklings” through surgery. Striving for perfection has never been more depressing.
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