10 Most Degrading Reality TV Shows
There really isn’t much that’s not degrading about appearing on a reality TV show, but the worst of the worst is what people really want to see. This list excludes shows in which contestants must display their talent (like singing or dancing; being the biggest whore doesn’t count) in competition. It focuses purely on reality TV shows that thrive on degrading, humiliating, and exploiting the contestants — the cringeworthiest of the cringeworthy. Here are the 10 most degrading reality TV shows that make its viewers feel like they’re rubbernecking at a horrific accident.
Extreme Makeover/The Swan
Slightly different in that contestants in The Swan were made to compete against one another in a beauty contest at the end of the season, both shows have a very similar theme. An unlovable, hideous monster of a ‘human being’ is chosen to receive lots and lots of expensive plastic surgery. Before the surgery, though, that person must talk about how much she hates herself for being so ugly. The family of this repulsive creature must also trash-talk the participant, naming her flaws and openly wishing for someone to fix her nasty face already.
As mentioned earlier, The Swan (which was a full-body plastic surgery makeover instead of just a facial one) would end in a beauty pageant full of these shiny new plastic people who could no longer make proper facial expressions or bend over without tearing a suture. Extreme Makeover, on the other hand, once ended in suicide instead — and not because of a botched surgery job. One contestant was told to go back into her cave, no procedures done, after producers realized that her healing time would not coincide with the show’s schedule. This was after all the trash-talk by family members and promise of a ‘Cindy Crawford smile’. The woman stopped leaving her house and her sister committed suicide out of guilt for the horrible things she had said on camera. A lawsuit was brought against ABC, but the network obviously had more money than one ugly little family and, consequently, won.
The Bachelor/The Bachelorette
Take 20 to 30 fame-hungry whores (could be men or women or even both, as seen on the dating show with Tila Tequila) and dangle a handsome millionaire and some cameras in front of their faces. They’ll do anything for you. The cameras don’t even have to be on; just point them at the fools and they’ll perform.
It’s pretty obvious from the beginning that no contestants on The Bachelor or Bachelorette are looking for love, but instead vying desperately to stay until at least the next episode. The contestants go through a series of ‘dates’ to ‘get to know’ the person they could end up marrying, live, at the end of the show. More awkward than an extremely short date surrounded by men holding cameras is the fact that neither person cares about the other, not even a little bit.
All those married at the end of the show have been divorced shortly afterwards. Everything about this show proves that the union of marriage has become a complete parody of itself.
Married by America
…But not as much as Married by America, a show churned out by the ethically devoid morons at Fox. This show puts marriage into the American Idol format, allowing audiences to couple up five men and five women using a voting system.
The new couples, who had never seen one another before getting paired up, get engaged on their first meeting and are shipped off to some cultish ranch for an ‘engagement period’. In a twist that sounds a little like the creepy stuff that goes on behind closed doors at the Church of Scientology, ‘relationship experts’ evaluated each couple, eliminating one per week.
The end of the show saw two couples, who actually got the privilege of deciding whether or not they wanted to marry (because forced marriage is illegal here, but think of how high the ratings could have been if it weren’t). Everyone decided to break up instead.
It’s got one star on IMDB
The premise: a bunch of happy couples are chosen to test the strength of their relationships whilst on a beautiful tropical island. The catch is that the couples are separated onto different islands, and the producers let a slew of sluts loose on each one. These sluts set out to break resolve, unzip pants, and make sure some cheating and betrayal is captured on tape. The tapes are then played for their significant others, who watch in horror and get really upset that they might not win a vacation at the end of the show. In a society where we often refuse to accept that sex can be a neutral and meaningless event, we sure do love to shove it in each other’s faces as if getting hurt and offended were a cultural norm in American relationships. Oh wait, it pretty much is.
Toddlers & Tiaras
This should really be filed under ‘child abuse’ and used as evidence for prosecution, but is somehow an extremely successful show on national television today instead.
Let’s examine the many levels of degrading wrongness on this sad carnival of child exploitation:
- Parents forcing their children into what could be compared to slave labor. Long and sometimes painful procedures are often forced upon an unwilling child, such as eyebrow waxing a 6-year-old, spray tanning a 2-year-old, and spending hours applying makeup/fake eyelashes to kids of the same ages.
- Child pornography. Let’s face it: there are a lot of creeps out there who furiously masturbate to this show. So, you may think, should kids be banned from television? No, but we probably shouldn’t have them shaking their shit in sexualized adult-style makeup, heels, and bikinis on a stage.
- Exploitation. Some of these kids actually do ‘want’ to do pageants (because mommy will hate them if they don’t), but others are clearly just the parent’s plaything. One episode even features a mother who wanted kids just to enter them into pageants, and dressed her boy up as a girl for years because she would have preferred to have a daughter. While there’s nothing wrong with rejecting gender stereotypes, ignoring the idea that your child has a personality (unlike a doll) is neglectful and sad.
- Teach ‘em young. Many of these kids are learning that they aren’t beautiful without fancy hairdos and makeup, that a small crown implies a lame loser kid (which it does…losers), and that love and appreciation comes from having the coolest krump dance (please make a pageant where they have to krump).
Any ’1 Vs Many’ Dating Show
Daisy of Love, Flavor of Love, the Tila Tequila one, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, A Double Shot at Love, Joe Millionaire, and others. Whenever there are a group of people competing to date one person, you can almost immediately tell that none of those individuals have any self-respect. You can look them all up on the internet to see what they do have, however — whether it be a crappy record, some awkward amateur modeling pictures, DJ ‘skills’, or an F-rate acting reel. No matter who the winner scores at the end of the show, the prize is really one or both of two unspoken things: fame and money.
During filming, however, denial is the name of the game. Every contestant vehemently denies being there for either money or fame, repeatedly professing his or her ‘really really real and deep and like totally serious’ love to the coveted celebrity in the dating throne.
Most of these shows ask the contestants to perform humiliating tricks to prove their phony love, and Paris Hilton’s My New BFF had some of the best examples of these. There was the Get Drunk and Try Not to Act Like an Idiot competition, the Lock You in a Room With This Hot Guy and Spy on You Acting Slutty competition, and the Force You Onto Scary Rollercoasters That You Hate competition. Whoever can bend over the furthest, wins.
Who’s Your Daddy?
In Who’s Your Daddy?, an adopted girl examines a roomful of older men (AKA potential dads). Can she guess the sperm donor who couldn’t or didn’t care to raise his own child? If she can, she gets $100,000. If she can’t, the biological father keeps the cash. Regardless of the outcome, the girl gets to meet her bio-dad, but we all know that no one (including her) cares about that.
My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance
A girl wants to win her family a million dollars, which is very nice and sweet with a sugar on top. But the emotional ringer she puts them through beforehand makes that prize seem a little stale. The girl is set up with a fat, slovenly beast of a man, whom she must convince her family she’s marrying in just a few weeks. Appalled, her loved ones try really hard to be at least a little bit accepting and ignore the fact that there are cameras following them around. To be fair, the premise is that she lies and says they fell in love on a dating show.
The hijinks begin. Steve, the fake fiance, farts and swears and gets naked at really inappropriate times. The girl giggles and looks at her dad like “I’m so sorry, please don’t disown me.” Her mother cries. No one gets any money until the wedding vows have been said, so the girl persists and painfully watches her siblings and parents become depressed and withdrawn from her.
She does actually succeed to get them to attend the wedding, albeit most of them are crying and staring down at the ground. When she announces that the whole thing is a farce and money is to be had, her family glares at her with a loss of respect and no regard for the stupid stack of cash we all know they already have plenty of.
Bad Girls Club
The Bad Girls Club is specifically for women with little to no self respect or self worth. A bunch of ‘bad girls’ get thrown in a house together with alcohol and no job or goal, the end. They physically fight one another over everything from a single article of clothing forgotten on the hallway floor to accidentally spilling someone else’s drink. The fights are usually slap-heavy and immediately broken up by the poor producers, who are big hulking men who stoically endure misguided slaps and scratches.
But what makes a bad girl? According to Oxygen, a ‘bad girl’ is:
- Extremely slutty
- Has or has had a drug problem
- Had kids early but still likes to drink, screw and party in spite of the little burden(s)
- Loud and obnoxious at all times
- The crappy drunk at the party who no one wants to take care of when she’s done saying racist shit and starts puking in the planter
The truth is that there are no real ‘bad girls’ on The Bad Girls Club — only a bunch of schoolyard bullies who love to talk but have nothing to say. Oxygen is most likely forced to reject all the applicant who are actually ‘bad girls’, lest they enter the show and find themselves facing attempted murder charges after trying to carve a girl’s face off with a boycotter.
Are You Hot?: The Search for America’s Sexiest People
A laser “flaw-finder” was aimed at bikini-clad women in this demeaning porn-style show. The laser would then rate the girls on face, body, and sex appeal. Although this is extremely degrading, as are the other shows on this list, one thing must be kept in mind: the contestants were all voluntary! All of the people who were hurt, offended, insulted, and lied to, signed up for that when they entered the show. The only exception here is Toddlers & Tiaras — since kids below the legal age can’t consent, they can’t refuse, either.
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