Running In Heels
In 2009, Marie Claire and the Style Network gave the world a glimpse of what it was like to be an intern at a major fashion magazine. Three interns share an apartment and compete for a position at the fashion publication, and as in most
reality television, drama ensued. Along with the usual intern tasks, the girls are given various competitive assignments, in addition to the chance to meet with EIC Joanna Coles for a critique. Parts of the show are an honest reflection of what it’s like to be a fashion intern, and other moments are things that few interns on Earth have ever (or will ever) encountered. But, it’s the interns behavior that makes the show entertaining and a little hard to believe. Case in point? They turn on each other in no time and ask to borrow dresses from the fashion closet. (What intern borrows a dress from the fashion closet?!)
Beauty And The Geek
This Ashton Kutcher-produced series was billed as “the ultimate social experiment,” pairing beautiful women with geeky guys to compete for a $250,000 prize. The objective of the show was to take stereotypically beautiful women and equally stereotypically nerdy guys and have them teach each other social skills and basic math (serious groans). Of course, backstabbing, romance, and mayhem ensue amongst the varying personalities living in the house. Oh, and of course, no show based on superficial things is complete without the makeover episode (and, honestly, we all know that's usually the best episode). Our favorite moment comes in season two during a debate, when one of the contestants is asked what can be done to reduce air pollution. Her answer is to eat less gas-inducing food. Yeah.
I'm From Rolling Stone
Music’s most iconic magazine opened its doors to MTV in 2007, inviting six 20-something contestants and an audience curious to know more about music journalism. Writers chased bylines and the chance to become a contributing editor for the publication while viewers watched as the talented young journalists imploded, argued, second-guessed themselves, awkwardly interviewed musicians, and in some cases, actually turned around great stories at the last minute. The show’s energy was contagious and a good look at the hustle and ambition required in the real-life world of Almost Famous. In fact, it may have been as close to reality as MTV has ever gotten. Unfortunately, the show suffered from low ratings, and eventually it was moved to a different time slot before inevitable cancellation.
In an effort to prove that her family is just like yours, Dina Lohan allowed cameras into casa de Lohan for this slightly disturbing, supposedly real look into what it’s like to be a member of the crazy clan. Looking back, it's clear that Dina was the original momager. (Sorry, Kris Jenner!) She tackles tabloids, handles Lindsay’s drama, and manages Ali’s budding music career. The world is not only treated to a healthy dose of Dina and Ali, but we’re introduced to the youngest Lohan, Cody, and even granny Lo makes a few appearances. And, although Lindsay didn’t participate in the show, there was more than enough drama to go around.
Growing Up Gotti
Growing up the daughter of infamous mobster John Gotti (no relation to Murder Inc.’s Irv Gotti) couldn’t have been easy, so to step out of shadow of her father and prove to the world that she wasn’t as scary as people believed, Victoria Gotti let cameras film the daily routine of her and her three boys. Victoria, who could be mistaken for Donatella Versace on some days, is kind of icy. But, she's not as scary as her family’s reputation would have you believe. However, it’s the rambunctious, hair-gel-loving Gotti boys that bring the over-the-top antics. The most memorable of which includes Carmine throwing a tantrum when someone uses all of his hair gel.
Bravo answered all of our prayers when it created a reality version of The CW’s Gossip Girl. Much like the scripted drama, NYC Prep was about the lives of rich teens living in Manhattan. The show documented the “real life” ups and downs of what it’s like to be a spoiled kid in the city. At times, you laugh, but most of the time, you just roll your eyes as they manufacture drama out of nothing. Between the feuds, the parties and events, and spending of Mom and Dad’s money, it’s amazing that they even found time for school (except Camille, she’s all about getting into Harvard). Critics panned it, but the show was a guilty pleasure for those who simultaneously hated and loved watching the saga unfold in this over-the-top world.
Moment of Truth
What’s worse than taking a lie detector test on live television? Nothing, but make it through without failing and you’ll receive $100,000. That was the premise of Fox’s game show Moment Of Truth. How much would you be willing to reveal in order to get that kind of prize? Contestants put it all on the line by answering extremely personal questions in front of literally everyone. For example: Have you ever cheated on your spouse? Do you really love your mother? And, the contestant isn’t the only person put under tons of stress. Family and friends participate as well; they’re allowed to pass on a question if they’re afraid of hearing the answer. This brings new meaning to the normally hypothetical question of what one would or would not do for a large sum of money.
If you never got the chance to go to summer camp, Bug Juice was the opportunity to live vicariously through preteens who seemed to be having the time of their lives in a rigorously structured wilderness environment. The show aired in 1998 and lasted three seasons. During the series, the campers experienced the typical summer drama that some of us tackled while we were at camp: the struggle to make friends, summer crushes, freedom from parents, awkward activities that involved partnering up, and homesickness. The counselors share their side of things as well, like how challenging it can be to get through to kids who seem to be living in a completely different world. Most important, however, is the absolutely ridiculous theme song.
Because people over 65 deserve to have their own version of The Jersey Shore, WeTV though they’d cater to that niche market with Sunset Daze. This Golden Girls-meets-reality-show followed the lives of a group of senior citizens getting rowdy in Arizona. Imagine your dear old grandma taking pole-dancing classes, going to shooting ranges, and discussing eligible bachelors, and you've got the idea. These are, honestly, some of the wildest old ladies to ever grace television. Even though you never know whether to watch or look away, the show makes you hope that you’ll be lucky enough to grow that old and happy.
Lizzie Grubman is infamously known as the PR woman who mowed down bystanders with her SUV outside of a party in the Hamptons. But, in 2005, she tried to make you forget all that when she teamed up with MTV to relaunch her career with Power Girls, a reality television show about four young publicists competing for a permanent position at Lizzie Grubman Public Relations. Unfortunately, the show wasn’t a very good portrayal of how to run a successful PR firm. In fact, it’s actually more of a cautionary tale. But, in typical MTV fashion, there was enough going on to keep everyone entertained. The publicists faced new obstacles every episode, from planning an album release party to putting together the ultimate guest list. The show is a walk down memory lane for a year that feels like it was centuries ago, but it is full of celebs whose stars have waned a little. A particularly memorable bit comes during Diddy’s annual white party, when celebrity-obsessed Kelly ditches her responsibilities in order to stalk Paris Hilton. Just another day in the life!
Kell On Earth
PoweR Girls may have been the original PR reality show, but Kell On Earth was the first to show audiences what a successful PR firm as like. Sure, there was some less-than-subtle editing, but Kelly Cutrone, the boss of People’s Revolution, keeps it pretty real. The show is full of lovable personalities like Andrew Mukamal and Tandrew (a.k.a Andrew Serrano). It’s also a pretty good look at the pressure of being a publicist and the tasks involved. Kelly’s take-no-prisoners attitude is also what kept the show entertaining, in addition to her tidbits of genuine wisdom.
Victoria Beckham: Coming To America
Unfortunately, this wasn’t a series, but a one-time-only reality special that followed Victoria Beckham’s trip to America in search of a new home in L.A. before the family’s big move. Aired at the time of David Beckham’s switch to the L.A. Galaxy soccer team, this was our chance to really get to know Posh. Partially scripted and slightly real, Victoria’s house-hunting trip was a surprisingly hilarious adventure. Mrs. Beckham cheats on a driving test, confronts Perez Hilton, throws the first pitch at a Dodgers game, and attends a socialite luncheon — all while managing to find the perfect house. Oh, and sorry, ladies, but David doesn’t make an appearance.
Ally Hilfiger (yes, the daughter of the fashion designer) and her BFF Jaime Gleicher were just two girls enjoying high school during MTV’s Rich Girls. The girls go through typical teen obstacles like finding the right prom dress and chitchatting about life — except these girls chitchat while cruising in the back of a limo, and they hire stylists to help them find said prom dresses. There are a few appearances from Mr. Hilfiger himself, as well as cameos from American Idol’s Randy Jackson and former president Bill Clinton. It’s also funny to see trends from 2005 that haven’t really aged well (denim minis with leggings and flip-flops, anyone?). Sadly, as entertaining as the show is, we also see the girls' friendship begin to fall apart.
Kid Nation is actually a hard one to forget because it’s just that crazy. CBS decided to take 40 kids, aged 8-15, and place them on a ranch in New Mexico with no adult supervision to see if they could form a functioning society. This Lord of the Flies could easily have gone wrong, but the kids come out okay. Each child was given $5,000 for participating, but the ones who excel had a chance to earn an additional $20,000-50,000. To no one’s surprise, the show faced a lot of criticism and legal issues and was eventually cancelled. Sadly, it was the closest we'll ever get to a real-life version of the best reality show of all time: MILF Island from 30 Rock.