As much as we don’t like to admit it—we’re obsessed with reality TV.
I mean, every week here at The Urban List we look at everything Bachie, Bachie In Paradise, or Married At First Sight, and we can’t bloody get enough of it.
But, as the saying goes “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” and we’ve had to endure a lot of terrible reality TV before we reached the (debateable) promised land that we live in today.
So, where have we come from? What have we learned from the terrible reality shows that we’ve watched in the past? Well, to be honest, probably not much.
I mean, every reality show is still somewhat sexist, somewhat immoral, and extremely trashy, but still, we can’t pass up an opportunity to profile terrible shows from the past.
Here are 11 terrible reality shows that some extremely smart network executive should breathe life back into.
Average Joe set out to show that beauty is only skin deep by putting together a motley crew of dudes who vied for the attention of a beauty queen. Joke was on them in the end when they dumped in a bunch of hot dudes, and the beauty queen—Melana—chose to take home one of the hot dudes instead.
A classic stitch up. The premise of Joe Millionare was that Joe—who was actually named Evan—had inherited millions and was looking for a bridge to share his riches with. Unbeknownst to the contestants, he actually had bugger all cash as he was a working-class construction worker.
In the end if the winner chose to stay with him they were surprised with a $1 million cheque—which is exactly what happened. But, unfortunately, this true love story did not have a happy ending with the couple only lasting a few months.
A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila
A show that is much, much worse than it sounds. Tila’s show consisted of 16 males, and 16 females fighting for the attention of Tila Tequila in her house.
In the end a bloke named Bobby won the initial season, but that obviously didn’t last with season 2 airing just 6 months after the original. Sad.
Seven Year Switch
So, we’re still a little shook over just learning that Seven Year Switch has apparently been axed, well before it’s time if you ask me.
Seven Year Switch has been required viewing over the past couple of years, a show where they take couples that clearly hate each other, split them up, and pair them with someone else’s partner so that they can see if the grass is greener on the other side.
Generally the relationships are so cooked that going on a reality show doesn’t even save them. Who knew?
Farmer Wants A Wife
One of Australia’s greatest exports—Farmer Wants A Wife is worthy of inclusion in the National Film & Sound Archive of Australia.
The premise is difficult to explain, what you have is farmers, who want wives, and that’s where the magic happens.
A bunch of city-dwelling ladies are thrown into dust bowl farms in the middle of nowhere with a male farmer who has barely spoken to anybody but his herd of Jersey cattle since the mid-90’s.
Did any relationships actually work out over its near 10-year run? Apparently so.
Ladette To Lady
Ladette To Lady is probably the best show on this whole list. If you’re not familiar, the show took a group of ‘ladettes’ and put them on a five-week course that taught them how to behave like a traditional lady.
Throw in a hard-arse principal, and classes on deportment (behaviour), elocution, floristry, etiquette, and cookery and you’ve got a monumental recipe for success.
The winner at the end of the show won a sports car, so it was definitely worth going on.
Beauty & The Geek
We’ll take any version as far as Beauty & The Geek is concerned—especially if we see the reboot of the Aussie version.
What you get on Beauty & The Geek is a bunch of beauties that are paired with a bunch of geeks, makes sense right?
It’s super bloody awkward, and there is always questions on whether some of the geeks are actually geeks or whether they just grew bears for the show and act weird.
The highlight is definitely the geek makeover, where the beauties do their best to clean the fellas up a bit.
There’s Something About Miriam
If Married At First Sight calls itself a ‘social experiment’ then how to do we even begin to categorise There’s Something About Miriam?
The ‘something’ was that Miriam was actually a trans woman, and the 6 blokes who landed themselves on the show had absolutely no bloody idea about it.
Airing of the show was delayed as the male contestants sued the production company for psychological and emotional damage but after a nice little payout it hit screens for all to enjoy.
I was shocked to discover that The Swan only filmed 2 seasons, and they were shown in the same year.
The Swan was a mess of a show that took ‘ugly’ women and transformed them into beautiful swans via the aid of tons of plastic surgery, a therapist, a personal trainer, and a dentist—they bloody loved veneers on this one.
Every week there were 2 women featured where 1 of them continued on towards the finale, while the other was sent home.
The Swan Pageant at the end of the season pitted the contestants together in contest that involved an evening gown round, swimsuit, Q&A, and lingerie. Truly an awful show.
A classic from the UK has been off the air for nearly 10 years barring the classic 2017 ‘Brexit Special’.
Couples are split up and spend 2 weeks with a different partner. The first week in the new house, the wife must adhere to the rules that are already in place, but the second week—and this is where it becomes juicy—the ‘wife’ gets to implement new rules. And it always goes down so, so well.
There was also an Australian version that lasted a season.
Man O Man
What a show. There is absolutely no reason why Man O Man isn’t back on our TV screens almost 25 years on, hell, we’ll mount a campaign to get it back.
I was 8 years old when Man O Man was on TV, but I remember it fondly, who doesn’t get a kick out of smarmy dues being pushed into a swimming pool?
Just bring it back.
- Cheaters | It’s still going, but bring it back.
- Sylvania Waters | The OG Aussie reality show. While a trailblazer, there is absolutely no need to bring it back.
- The Simple Life | Paris & Nicole Ritchie’s trailblazing show was good at the time, but man it was tragic looking back.
- Surprise Chef | Who wouldn't love letting Aristos run absolutely wild in their kitchen?
None of these floating your boat? Here's a rundown of 90s TV shows that will get that sentimentality boiling.
Image credit: Seven Network