It all started with Survivor and American Idol, where some contestants and winners got as few minutes in the spotlight. Networks and show producers made bucket fulls of money, and the race was on for a long list of me-too shows looking to cash in and get noticed. Most people know that reality shows are anything but, and with the Balloon Boy events, it shows the desperate lengths that people will go to for their 15 minutes of fame, here are some shows that were best left out of our reality – we definitely could have done without them.
10. Temptation Island
This show, which aired on the FOX network (surprise?), was the true test of family values in America. Ha – not! The ridiculous premise was to put marital fidelity to the ultimate test of temptation by placing several couples on a tropical island to live with a group of singles of the opposite sex, in order to test the strength of their relationships. Kind of like the “Maurie Pauvich” cam in the bar when they send in the bait for some unsuspecting dude whose wife is watching. Only these were beautiful people on a paradise island. And guess what – it still didn’t make it good. The ill-fated show somehow hung on for three seasons of bad ratings before getting canned. Three seasons too long according to this list.
9. The Bachelor
Continuing along in the theory of matching up couples, the Bachelor was a trite attempt at creating the perfect union. Between people who have never met. And had one season to fall madly in love, while the guy sorted out from the crowd of admiring beauties who his dream gal was. There have not been many things on TV sappier than the whole “presenting the rose” ceremony, with the tension mounting on each, with the requisite dramatic music and all. Boy, the girls who didn’t get one must have felt like the last person picked for the team in the schoolyard at recess. Getting that TV time can sometimes look like a real act of desperation, you know.
8. The Celebrity Apprentice
The original Apprentice was really well done and for several years was in fact a good show with solid entertainment value. Donald is a character and definitely has the requisite charisma, and the contestants and challenges were fun to watch. You wanted to see what would happen next. But the celebrity series, oh man, what a train wreck. These “celebrities” Sorry Donald, but this one just did not work. I think along with Big Brother, this was where careers went to die, cause they sure didn’t have any business sense.
7. The Real Housewives of Orange County
Here we have another example of just how badly originality is lacking in the television world. So some producer thought that it would be a slam dunk to have another show with the word Housewives in the title – coincidence ? Maybe, but kind of doubtful. Desperate Housewives – good. Orange County me-too copy: very, very bad. The Desperate housewives are fantasy. They do whatever the script tells them to do, the story lines are so out there that they are compelling, the story goes where the writers want it to go. And it works, because the writers are witty and original, and to repeat, it is fiction. News flash – nobody wants to see this stuff for real, because its just too, well….real!
6. John and Kate Plus 8
The homage to fertility drugs. Four words for this one: Are you kidding me!! This nuclear family was “da bomb”, and exploded in prime time for the whole world to see. It?s hard enough to hold a relationship together with young children, let alone with cameras on you and a director in your face. Probably needed the money, sure, and some celebrity status doesn’t hurt, but clearly the process of airing your life and laundry in full public view has its impact. While we would never wish anything bad to a family, you just gotta think that this is one show that the world did not have to have a front row seat for.
5. Surreal Brother*
Since Surreal Life and Big Brother are equally ridiculous, they are morphed. Basically each series featured a bunch of people who lived together and got filmed. That?s about it. Since there was no island to leave, or bachelor to be rejected by, the “loser du jour” was simply evicted from the house, and the last man standing got $1 million. House guests gone awry. Surreal Life featured a wide range of C-list celeb housemates, ranging from bitter former models to twins and triplets, from an aging porn star to a true mini-me. The other has regular people. Same stuff different day. This show, unlike so many other reality series, appeared to be more or less unscripted, but certainly asked of its people to be over the top, which they were. The antics of both shows were entertaining but it was the completely voyeuristic nature of the program – basically it was a real life webcam – that caused this cacophony of story lines to be so popular. In fact, Big Brother has been franchised in over 50 countries and is seen in all continents, so it just goes to show, give us a good accident and people really will line up to watch.
4. My Super Sweet 16
The runner up name was, “Hey, Look at Me – I?m Rich and You’re Not!”. This in your face reality show, for anyone who has been fortunate enough to miss it, is all about young debutantes and gentry wanna-be?s who throw incredibly lavish parties when they hit the magical age of 16. This reality series really does showcase the sad reality that anyone rich enough can buy their way into the social register and media spotlight (Paris who?). Really all that happens is that it instills a false sense of entitlement in the current generation of teenagers, who approach their 16th birthdays either expecting one of these parties. One critique described the show as a “a depressing indictment of our next generation’s goals and aspirations” and a “stonehearted exposé of everything that’s wrong with our faltering, so-called civilization”; well, that may be a little over the top, but there are really no qualities on this show that would motivate the average parent to say, “Sure I would love for my daughter to grow up just like this”. Can?t they just have their birthday and move on…hard to say who is worse on this show, the kids or the parents. So, do yourself a favour – if you notice it on the guide while channel surfing, just keep surfing.
3. Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire
What do you call a girl who puts herself out for the richest guy on the block? Why, a reality show contestant, of course. This was a very short lived – one 2 hour episode – run of possibly the worst received reality show on record. It didnt even have a second show, let alone a second season! Premise – millionaire guy chooses from several millionaire-seeking gals. At the starting gate were 50 women who competed to be the bride of an unknown multi-millionaire, whom they did not see except in silhouette. They would not be allowed to actually see this mystery rich guy until the end of the show, when he would propose to the winner. They had one 2-hour show to get to know each other, fall in love and get married. Ahhh, the sounds of sweet romance. Needless to say, it didnt work on any front: the audience gagged, the show was dumped and the marriage was annulled. It was even revealed later that it was questionable whether the contestant was worth a million bucks and reports surfaced that the willionaire had failed to disclose to the series producers that a former girlfriend filed a restraining order against him…the bride later posed nude in Playboy. About the show, did I hear someone say train wreck? The millionaire groom has a written book called “What Was I Thinking,” which is described in a press release as covering “the untold story of a reality TV adventure gone terribly wrong” and “the dark underbelly of reality programming.”
2. The Swan
In this show we had Nip and Tuck, together at last, with all the girls who were so beautiful on the inside. They just needed a little help from Dr. Changelove to complete themselves. Elective plastic, or is more fashionable and PC to say “cosmetic”, surgery is rampant in the US. It is no longer the domain of the rich or privileged, with boutique operations opening up left and right, soon to be in your local mall next to the Wal-Mart. The show selected a woman who wanted just a couple of procedures done to make her feel good about herself, and she would be followed through the entire process, though never showing the results of each step along the Path of the Scalpel until that final moment, the Great Reveal. And then, the Swan would appear. Except that swans dont really metamorphise, so maybe they should have called it “The Caterpillar”. Or maybe “Has Anyone Seen My Self Esteem – I Seem to Have Misplaced it With My Dignity”, but I guess that would have been too long. There is a surgery channel on cable and really, it?s a better bet for entertainment.
1. Who’s Your Daddy
Maurie Pauvich move over – the big boy is in town! For the show’s premise, an adult who had been put up for adoption as an infant was placed in a room with 25 men, one of whom was their biological father. If the contestant could correctly pick out who was their father, the contestant would win $100,000. If they chose incorrectly, the person that they incorrectly selected would get the $100,000, although the contestant would still be reunited with his or her father. It was discovered that the first contestant had been n actress in R-rated movies, which led to a slew of heckling on other TV shows. However, the pilot aired as a ‘special’ and not as a ‘series premiere’ so technically the series was canceled before airing an episode. Thank goodness, daily in the afternoons is enough for anyone!
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