In recent years, reality shows have become more popular than many other types of television programming. Late 1990s and early 2000s MTV shows such as The Real World, Survivor, Big Brother, America’s Next Top Model and Man vs. Wild helped popularize the genre. In addition, shows like Jeopardy! and Hell’s Kitchen, which let viewers root for particular individuals and even vote or play along, were popular with viewers because they provided for a more involved, engaging viewing experience.
Sadly, many of these productions have not been able to hold up through the years. When there were shows like The Amazing Race, there were others that were so bad taste that they made reality television seem like a guilty pleasure. It’s worthwhile to analyze why current viewers find them problematic.
10. Toddlers And Tiaras (2009-2016)
Recent years have seen TLC’s controversial reality shows, which include anything from planned marriages to people who have hoarded everything, become well-known. When Toddlers and Tiaras premiered in 2009, it sparked a wave of interest in child beauty pageants and all that goes along with them. The parents of the children in the show were gleefully watching as their children were subjected to unrealistic and damaging beauty standards at a young age. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was the most popular spin-off from the show, but there were many others. Many controversies have damaged its reputation and caused these shows to be canceled.
9. There’s Something About Miriam (2004)
When it comes to British reality television, There’s Something About Miriam is arguably the most shameless representation of what the country has to offer. Miriam Rivera, the Mexican model and transgender woman who appears on the show, is forced to hide a critical element of her identity from her suitors: she’s transgender.
Transphobia was not celebrated in any way, shape, or form, thanks to this show’s portrayal of transgender people as dishonest and deceptive. On top of that, the guys involved in the complaint against the show didn’t assist its reputation in any way either.
8. The Swan (2004)
Unbelievably, a show like The Swan made it on television at all. Throughout the performance, the anxieties of women were openly exploited, and no effort was spared to exploit them. According to Western beauty standards, the women who appeared on The Swan were deemed “ugly” by the show’s producers and forced to radical physical alterations, including plastic surgery, in order to conform. One would be hard pressed to find a show like this on a major network in this era of body positivity and diversity.
7. Boy Meets Boy (2003)
It’s heartbreaking to see this show because of the squandered opportunity to create a genuinely ground-breaking piece of reality TV. This film, like Miriam, is notable for its prominent portrayal of a member of the LGBTQ+ community but falls short when it comes to execution. Gay guys are given 15 males, but they don’t know which of them are homosexual or heterosexual. In the end, the result is an uninspired and gimmicky dating show instead than a fresh and creative one. An over-the-top comedy that plays on the principal male character’s sexuality is Boy Meets Boy.
6. Born In The Wild (2015)
In this episode, “natural birth” takes on an entirely new meaning.
In Born in the Wild, couples who are expecting a child are taken into the woods and forced to give birth without the assistance of doctors, modern medicine, or hospitals. According to the majority of people, the hazards involved in putting on a show far surpassed the benefits. As a result of giving birth without medical assistance, the moms put themselves and their children at risk for a variety of potentially catastrophic problems. Viewers didn’t like the voyeuristic nature of the show, and it was discontinued after just six episodes.
5. Britney And Kevin: Chaotic (2005)
One of many examples of how Britney Spears’ personal life was exploited for business and ratings, the reality show Britney and Kevin: Chaotic serves as an example. Spears and Federline’s failing romance was dramatized in the short-lived television show, which was quickly slammed by viewers and critics alike for being painfully uninteresting and shallow.
It’s now just a sad footnote in Spears’ career, but at least the home movies of the couple involved offered the world a few laughs.
4. Kid Nation (2007)
It was already garnering similarities to Lord of the Flies even before the reality show launched on CBS.
There was no shortage of criticism for the show, with many critics accusing it of putting young children at risk in order to boost ratings.
It was Kid Nation’s goal to see what it would look like if a bunch of youngsters were put in charge of building their own independent, fully functional community in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, the experiment was short-lived.
3. The Pickup Artist (2007-2008)
Erik von Markovik, better known as Mystery, presented VH1’s The Pickup Artist, which followed a group of men who had been unsuccessful in love as they learned the “craft” of wooing women. Many of the guys in this episode were shamed and ridiculed for their lack of exposure to the opposite sex, and they viewed women as objects to be conquered rather than people who shared their humanity. Critics also pointed out that von Markovik’s methods lacked scientific backing. The sitcom was canceled after only two seasons because of all of these violations.
2. Are You Hot? (2003)
The basic premise of this ABC reality TV fiasco was to find the country’s sexiest man and woman. This competition focused only on the appearance of the candidates’ bodily parts. It was only on the air for less than two months before it lost its viewership. There’s no doubt in my mind that Are You Hot? is hot. A poor premise and a dreary viewing experience were the obvious reasons for the failure of The Search for America’s Sexiest People. As a result, many people objected to the show’s portrayal of beauty as a purely objective quality and the severe criticism of the contestant’s physical appearance.
1. The Moment Of Truth (2008-2009)
On this Fox reality game show, humiliation and disgrace were for sale. To win cash rewards, contestants had to answer a series of personal questions during a polygraph exam, which they had to pass. Real people’s careers and personal reputations were at stake when the games began. As a result, the show’s cancellation and a number of unaired episodes were the result of people’s outrage at this form of mean-spirited entertainment. The idea of a reality program like this obtaining a green light in the modern era is nearly impossible.