2009's Trashy Reality Report Card
by Michael Pascua, posted Dec 28th 2009 10:05AM
While there are reality shows like The Amazing Race, Survivor, or even Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List garnering praise and Emmys for their quality level or American Idol, America's Next Top Model, or So You Think You Can Dance giving real people with potential to fulfill their dreams, trashy reality shows appear like the black sheep of the family. They are loud, brash, and sleazy. Like a car crash, you can't help but turn and look.
For reality television, 2009 has provided some of the biggest reasons why reality television gets a bad reputation. Four cable channels have become festering points for Trashy Reality in 2009: VH1, E!, MTV, and WE.
Worst Offenders: Real/Chance of Love 2, For the Love of Ray J, Tool Academy, Rock of Love Bus, My Antonio
If someone asked me, which channel makes the best trashy shows the answer is clearly VH1. They have managed to turn E-list celebrities into shells of what they once were and pluck desperate women and men and turn them into characters for our amusement. It's as if they have a winning mathematical formula for trash.
Damn The Surreal Life for getting this Celebreality ball rolling. If it wasn't for that show, we wouldn't have Flavor Flav and Brett Michaels, who begat New York, Daisy, Real, Chance, Megan, and Frank the Entertainer. This trend seems to have no end as contestants of one dating show end up with their own dating show, Charm School, or a VH1 version of a Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
Then sub-par celebrities like Ray J and Antonio Sabato Jr. show up, desperately looking for love. They would have done better with an account on Match.com. Ray J is in a league of his own, his connections to Kim Kardashian automatically puts him in a bad light. He's bringing down his sister Brandy.
Worst Offenders: Leave it to Lamas, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami, The Girls Next Door.
What can I say about E! that hasn't been said? The Girls Next Door aren't the same anymore without the dynamic between Kendra, Holly, and Bridget. I spent five seasons with them and it was more interesting. The fact that they show up erratically in season six is a bad sign for the twins and Crystal.
The Kardashians have gotten used to their faux-celebrity status, but I prefer them when they are on their own reality show. Kim was horrid on Dancing with the Stars and Kourtney was questionable on The Celebrity Apprentice. Now we just need Khloe on Launch my Line and we would have a trifecta of Kardashian hot mess.
Worst Offenders: Jersey Shore, Real World: Cancun, Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins.
The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins brought back a lot of veterans this season and it made Katie, Veronica, and Tonya look insane, while Kenny, Johnny, and Evan continued to look like douches. There were some good trashy moments: busting an implant, fights between Dunbar and Kelly-Anne, and Darrell and Brad. Clearly, the cast of Cancun will show up and add more dynamic to future seasons. I should give any future Real World cast members advice: do college speaking tours, invest your money correctly, and get a real job.
The biggest impact for reality television recently was Jersey Shore. On paper the show was The Real World: Jersey Shore, but it devolved into emphasizing of guido culture. Their actions are deplorable, but I find the show to be like watching an animal documentary on Animal Planet. I love how everyone has garnered an opinion on this show, but people like this do exist. Walk the Jersey shore one summer day and people will be out with muscles, fake tans, good hair, and speaking with an accent.
Worst Offender: Bridezillas
Since I'm not the target market for WE, I often shrug over WE's original programming. Bridezillas has been around since 2004, but this year had the breakout bride, Karen from Staten Island. She was a one person Jersey Shore. You knew it was bad when her story arc was three episodes long. I still scream "He's a DOOR-MAN!" whenever I'm bored.
My biggest problem I have with WE is that several of their reality shows are just knock-offs of other reality shows, making WE trashy in general. Raising Sextuplets capitalizes on Jon & Kate Plus 8, Little Miss Perfect is Toddlers & Tiaras, and cake shows are done better on The Food Network. I guess WE could be worse, it could be Oxygen.
There are many other shows that could be mentioned to define trashy, but are leagues better than all the shows above. Several of Bravo's shows including Million Dollar Listing and The Real Housewives get trashy, but on a whole Bravo has provided quality reality programs. Oxygen continues to bring out The Bad Girls Club, which I have no clue why anyone would bother to watch that. What was your favorite trashy show? Leave comments below.