How is it that such a popular TV show genre can also be so controversial? Well, ever since the introduction of the reality show, this has been a question for many, as, no matter how much some people dislike them, they find themselves seeing the shows as guilty pleasures and tuning in every week.
This was especially true in the 2000s, when shows like Jersey Shore and Keeping Up with the Kardashians were introduced, and the world of TV would never be the same.
Thankfully, like other TV genres, there are some good reality shows, and we wish more people would've checked them out. Trust us, it would've been a better use of one's time. So, today, we're gonna look at some of the best and worst reality shows of the 2000s.
19 Best No One Watched: Who Wants Ro Be A Superhero?
Many people have dreamed of being a costumed superhero, and Stan Lee knew this. So, he developed a show to make those dreams a reality.
Airing for only two short seasons, Syfy’s Who Wants to Be a Superhero? allowed contestants to create their own hero identities and costumes and compete in superhero-themed challenges. The prize? Their own comic book and an appearance in a Syfy movie! But, perhaps best of all, immortality as a superhero.
18 Bad One Everyone Did: Jersey Shore
Whether due to the show’s portrayal of characters or the cast’s unrelatable antics, Jersey Shore was a controversial show from the beginning. However, this didn’t stop MTV from making it one of the most memorable (in all the wrong ways) reality shows of all time and air for six seasons.
While most ignored its spin-offs, the network still won’t let us forget, as the gang returned for a reunion show in 2018.
17 Best No One Watched: Fear
There have been plenty of shows about paranormal investigators exploring allegedly haunted locations, but what if everyday contestants were brought on instead? Enter MTV’s Fear, a paranormal show not long for this world that gave contestants a series of increasingly challenging dares to scare them silly. The good news, though, was that, if they made it out alive, they’d win cash.
Unfortunately, while it proved popular, MTV canceled it due to high production costs.
16 Bad One Everyone Did: The Biggest Loser
Losing weight is a relatable struggle, but there are many things we’d rather try than competing on The Biggest Loser. Overweight contestants competed to lose the most weight in relation to their original weight. Sounds fine, right? Well, one only needs to read about former contestants’ high failure rates, dehydration workouts, and shaming to realize this show may have been doing more harm than good.
Nevertheless, the series is set for a 2020 reboot.
15 Best No One Watched: Rides
Many are unaware that Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestley has a passion for cars and even hosted his own TLC show on the subject.
Featuring various custom-built vehicles, Rides took a behind-the-scenes look at the cars’ creations by meeting the technicians, detailing the building processes, and testing the cars under different conditions. Unfortunately, despite being that year’s highest-rated TLC program, it ended after only one season.
14 Bad One Everyone Did: My Super Sweet 16
We understand 16th birthdays are a big deal, but why did many of the teenagers on My Super Sweet 16 think they deserved the biggest party of all time? Centering on teens who certainly didn’t act 16, this MTV show saw them arguing with their parents over money, receiving expensive gifts, and getting angry at uninvited guests.
Our birthday wish is that this show is finally gone and won’t reach ever reach its 16th birthday.
13 Best No One Watched: Three Wishes
The world needs more wholesome reality shows, and the short-lived Three Wishes was a prime example of one. Led by Grammy-winning contemporary Christian/pop singer Amy Grant, the show traveled around the country to grant the desires of those in need.
From bringing a child to the Sesame Street set to paying for a serious operation, this was Make-a-Wish's TV show if there ever was one, and our wish is that more people would've tuned in.
12 Bad One Everyone Did: A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila
Long before her controversial tweets, Tila Tequila was keeping headlines with her dating show. However, it wasn’t what was on the show that gained the most attention, but what happened.
Season 1 winner Bobby Banhart claimed he wasn’t even granted a relationship with Tequila (since she reportedly already had a boyfriend). Then, following the final season, Tequila came out as gay, despite previously claiming she was bi (the central focus of the show).
11 Best No One Watched: Queen Bees
Some reality shows use selfish, unkind people to draw in ratings, but one show did it differently by trying to change them for the better.
2008's Queen Bees took seven rude women away from their social groups and put them under one roof, where host Yoanna House (winner of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 2) led them through challenges to earn stars for their progress reports. The winner ended up donating her prize money to charity.
10 Bad One Everyone Did: Toddlers & Tiaras
The world of child beauty pageants isn't all cute dresses and tiaras. Need proof? Check out what some pageant moms will put their children through by watching an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras, which gained notoriety through controversy when moms had their daughters do things like smoke fake items and pad their chests.
This is definitely one of the worst reality shows to come from the 2000s.
9 Best No One Watched: Here Come The Newlyweds
Newlywed couples may be ready to live a life of love, but they’re gonna need money to survive. Enter Here Come the Newlyweds, an ABC competitive reality show that pitted seven couples against each other in challenges to win a cash prize that only got bigger with every elimination.
Though it only lasted two seasons, this spiritual successor to The Newlywed Game was worth watching to see which couple lived happily ever after (with cash).
8 Bad One Everyone Did: Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County
A reality show about high schoolers may seem different, but, when looking at this show’s groups of friends/couples/enemies, audiences will quickly realize its similarity to other shows. However, despite the show appearing more scripted than reality (then again, what reality show doesn’t?), Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County proved a guilty pleasure for many audiences in the mid-2000s.
Unfortunately, even though the original cast left before the third/final season, this franchise was only beginning…
7 Best No One Watched: Dallas SWAT
SWAT teams are no joke. Members go on dangerous, stressful missions every day in the name of the law, and they deserve respect for it. People in the mid-2000s who needed further proof simply needed to watch A&E's Dallas SWAT, which followed the Dallas, Texas, SWAT team through their everyday lives.
Through this, we got to see not only their missions but also their downtime and how the job affects their personal lives.
6 Bad One Everyone Did: The Hills
Laguna Beach star Lauren Conrad proved popular enough to get her own spin-off, which blew up into an even bigger and more dramatic show. Laguna Beach for Los Angeles, The Hills followed Conrad pursuing a fashion career (and various love interests). However, the show shared the previous series’ problems, including Conrad’s exit from the show before a final season.
But, of course, a sequel featuring several returning cast members is set to premiere June 25.
5 Best No One Watched: Reality Bites Back
A reality show that made fun of other reality shows? Why was nobody watching this? Hosted by comedian Michael Ian Black, this forgotten Comedy Central classic followed ten comedians competing in a series of contests that spoofed other popular shows, such as American Gladiators and The Bachelor, to be deemed "Lord of All Reality" and win $50,000.
Amy Schumer almost took home the gold, but she came in second behind Theo Von.
4 Bad One Everyone Did: Oprah's Big Give
Oprah Winfrey has produced multiple series, and, while her fans usually enjoy anything she does, there was one show some found a bit conceited.
Airing for only one season, Oprah's Big Give saw ten people traveling the world with large amounts of money to complete challenges and help people. How is that bad? Well, they were eliminated like game show contestants, and the winner was dubbed "The Biggest Giver," which kinda ruined the show's message.
3 Best No One Watched: Combat Missions
Pitting various police, army, and government officers against each other in physical challenges sounds amazing, so it's a shock USA's Combat Missions only lasted one season. To make things even more awesome, it was hosted by retired U.S. Navy SEAL and two-time Survivor competitor Rudy Boesch.
The show's IMDB summary dubs it "the most exciting reality series ever produced," and, while that's debatable, we agree when it says it was "sadly, seen by very few."
2 Bad One Everyone Did: Kourtney and Kim Take Miami
What would a list of reality shows be without the Kardashians? Originally following sisters Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian opening a new D-A-S-H store in Miami (along with Khloé's radio show 'Khloé After Dark'), Kim became a main star in the third and final season.
While the sisters would also later take New York, it was their first team-up that really should've made audiences go, "Why should we care about watching more of this family?"
1 Bad One Everyone Did: Being Bobby Brown
Back in 2005, Whitney Houston and then-husband Bobby Brown had their own Bravo reality show. And, while it did prove a ratings hit, it has become known as one of the few stains on Houston's memorable career. Now, before you start writing angry comments, this was NOT because of Houston, but Brown, whose personality led one critic to call the show "disgusting."
The show only lasted one season, and the couple divorced two years later.