14 Horrible Reality Show Ideas

October 23, 2014  |  
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A guilty pleasure as pervasive as reality television is something that should be understood.  Though most people enjoy watching the proverbial car wreck that is real people attempting to catch 15 minutes of fame, some networks might go overboard with their show ideas.

Coming from a girl who just had a “Flavor of Love” marathon this weekend (I know… don’t judge me too harshly), these following shows/concepts just left me a little baffled.  The issue just seems like the payoff wasn’t worth the participation, but why don’t you be the judge?

I Want a Famous Face

MTV made sure to let people know, the moment they tuned into this show, that they did not encourage the participants to get surgery; it was on their own free will.  But it didn’t stop MTV’s cameras from following them and sharing the path with us.

I’m not going to lie, I watched it, and still wonder… why?!


In 2004, UK viewers were introduced to a house of ten participants that were locked in for seven days.  Sounds pretty mild right?  Until you find out that they were forbidden to sleep for those seven days while they were constantly and closely monitored.  How closely?  You got a penalty if you closed your eyes for more than ten seconds.  They also had to endure daunting mental and performance tests to stay in the game.

The prize was £100,000, but the show gathered more criticism due to the potential health risks the participants would face, like the hallucinations, hypnagogia, and passing out (which all happened).

The Swan

“The Swan” hit American televisions in 2004, when women who felt like they were deemed ugly went into competition to win surgeries to transform them into “beautiful women.”  They weren’t allowed to look into mirrors the entire competition, and was then made to participate in a beauty contest at the end.

Though they had a therapist to counsel the women, the second season winner went on to suffer complications due to the surgeries and psychological problems due to her participation.

Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?

Gold digging at its finest, eh?

50 women vied for a chance to be judged and ultimately marry a millionaire whose silhouette they’d only see.  Once the “millionaire” picked his… “bride” they finally met face to face and immediately got married.

The show was condemned for a lack of research on said “millionaire.”  Rick Rockwell, born Rick Balkey, who was a stand-up comedian and alleged public speaker, had a history of domestic violence and a restraining order from a previous ex.  He also didn’t seem to have the assets that a millionaire would.  Not to mention the renegade toilet in his backyard, but I digress.

His blushing bride, Darva Conger, quickly annulled the marriage after their “honeymoon,” and went on to do Playboy, and was an easy target for talk shows and interviews.

Man Vs. Beast

“Man Vs. Beast” was a competition show where humans competed against animals.  I wish I was making this up.

Sample competitions:  a hotdog eating contest against a bear, dwarfs racing an Asian elephant, a tug of war against an orangutan, and so on.

The show was panned for being exploitative and harmful to the animals that participated, but was able to get a Part 2 before Fox called it quits.

My Super Sweet Sixteen

In the birth of the despicable art that is trolling, MTV introduced the world to lavish birthday parties and the lucky/often times bratty teens who were being celebrated.  As the teens were able to relive their party by watching the show, some of them who did not behave well were bullied online.

*Catch a pre-“Real Housewives of Atlanta” Dwight as Allison’s party planner around the 3 minute mark.

Armed and Famous

There isn’t a problem with celebrities trying to gain a regular nine to five, but the problem comes when they don’t know what they’re doing.

“Armed and Famous” placed celebrities La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Erik Estrada, Wee Man, and Trish Stratus in a reserve police department in Indiana.  The show followed their training, and them on patrol.

They eventually got the network slapped with a lawsuit when they mistakenly rushed into a woman’s apartment, handcuffed her, and interrogated her, only to realize that they had the wrong woman.

Honorable mention:  Steven Seagal: Lawman

Boy Meets Boy

In a cruel twist, “Boy Meets Boy” was a Bachelor-esque reality show that had James Getzlaff try to find his mate in a group of 15 potential suitors.

The twist was, some of the men were in fact straight, and James didn’t know that!  If James picked a homosexual suitor, the two would have won a cash prize and a trip to New Zealand.  If he picked a heterosexual suitor, the “actor” would have won the cash and trip for himself.

Really, were their any winners in this cruel game of betrayal?

The Moment of Truth

Now, “The Moment of Truth” isn’t necessarily a reality show, more like a competition show, but dear God did it have such a small payoff for the exposure these contestants got!

Contestants were previously set up to a lie detector test and answered 50 questions, and then had to not only reveal the results to a live audience, but also a group of family, close friends, and spouses/significant others.

If at anytime you “lied” you could leave with nothing.

Though I am very pro-truth, airing yourself out and potentially ruining your reputation to your family and future employers just doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to do the show, as seen by the above woman.  The full episode is here.

Who’s Your Daddy?

A show that was dedicated to reuniting an adopted woman with her father seemed noble.  However, many people felt that it came off as more exploitative than heartwarming, and the show only lasted one episode.

Also, if you go to the Youtube page of the video that I embedded, the “father” admits that he was a hired actor!


I remember when I first heard about the show “Motormouth,” I thought it was going to be a gas.  As someone who sings loudly, proudly, and extremely off-key in the car, I thought that I could relate to the people who were caught on hidden cameras and then loudly alerted:  “You’ve been motormouth-ed!”

However, after four episodes (I realized after the first one) there wasn’t a lot of appeal to this VH1 show, and it was canceled.

Celebrity Rap Superstar

Taking household names and encouraging them to rap might have seemed fun, but was it enjoyable?  The answer, was and is, no.

From people like Shar Jackson (the winner), Perez Hilton, Sebastian Bach, Kendra Wilkinson, and Laguna Beach “star” Jason Wahler, we got to witness some of our popular songs being butchered.

I’m not going to lie though, I still occasionally find myself caterwauling:  “Jason Wahler, is a ball-er.”  DAMN YOU, CELEBRITY RAP SUPERSTAR!!

Why Can’t I Be You?

Before people were pretending to be someone they weren’t on Instagram and Facebook, MTV allowed people that outlet on national television.

Why Can’t I Be You?” allowed people who envied the lives of complete strangers to have full access to their… heroes(?) for 48 hours and try to live their lives(?).

Why can’t people just be happy with themselves?


I’m not even going to lie, I loved this show when I was a child!

“Becoming” allowed superfans of musicians, who also resembled them, to be able to dress up just like them and remake the artists’ music videos.

However, when you think back on it, it’s like:  “Was that it?  That’s all you won?  A chance to put on spandex and re-create Britney Spear’s Crazy?!”


So what do you think, readers?  Were these shows just misunderstood gems?  Did you agree with the assessments, or did I forget others?  Let’s hash it out in the comment section!

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