Reality shows are basically just binge-worthy television shows that are so bad that they are actually amazing. Scripted or not, the drama and ridiculousness is so addicting. It’s refreshing to escape from your own world and submerge yourself in the lives being plastered on TV. When you need some refuge from actual reality, here are 25 reality shows that are guaranteed to get you hooked.
1. The Bachelor Franchise
It’s a scenario we would never approve of in real life – dating 30 people simultaneously – but put it on television and we’re all for it. Navigating the love lives of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and the Bachelor in Paradise cast has become America’s guilty pleasure.
2. The Real Housewives Franchise
There’s something about watching disgustingly rich grown women act like absolute maniacs. Everything is over the top, whether the ladies are throwing a party or a tantrum. New Jersey is my favorite in the franchise, but I shamelessly love them all.
3. Don’t Be Tardy
Kim Zolciak began her climb as a Real Housewife of Atlanta. As her family grew, Kim got a spinoff which follows her and her hot husband as they raise their numerous children. You can’t help but love Kim in all her hot mess glory.
4. The Millionaire Matchmaker
Patti Stanger runs a matchmaking service for the financially elite. Millionaires from a multitude of backgrounds seek Stanger’s help in meeting their soulmates. Stanger’s larger than life personality is engaging, but the millionaires are always interesting characters.
5. Vanderpump Rules
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Lisa Vanderpump owns and operates three successful restaurants in West Hollywood. Vanderpump Rules follows the lives of the exceptionally attractive staff and the juicy content will instantly draw you in. The fights, parties, and love triangles of this group of friends will make your crazy friend group seem totally normal.
6. MTV’s The Challenge
This competition based reality show puts 20+ wild personalities under one roof to participate in physical and mental challenges to win loads of money. The show began with players from MTV’s The Real World and Road Rules, but has evolved into casting reality show heavy hitters from across the globe.
7. Are You The One?
If we can’t figure out our own love lives, at least we can watch people who suck at it even more. Are You The One? gathers a slew of singles whose goal is to find their “perfect matches,” which are predetermined by personality tests done prior to filming. Each week the cast takes a swing at picking their mates, in the hopes of winning a million bucks for a perfect matchup.
8. Paradise Hotel
Kristin Cavallarri hosts this absurd dating show where the only point is to find someone to hook up with. The goal is to “find love,” but strategy to stay in the game usually takes precedence over true connections. The ending of season one is sure to shock you and have you longing for another season.
Image courtesy of @paradisehotelfox via Instagram
9. Ex On The Beach
Reality veterans join each other on an oceanfront beach vacation for what they think is a dating show. The twist is that throughout the duration of their stay, all of their exes periodically show up to crash the party. Secrets are exposed and limits are tested as the stars try to decide if they’re really over their exes.
Image courtesy of @exonthebeach via Instagram
10. Southern Charm
Bless their hearts, the cast of southern charm is a hoot. Watch these old-world wealthy Charlestonians wine and dine themselves around South Carolina while they stir up plenty of scandal. Social standing is everything to this crowd and they will do anything to defend their family names.
11. Laguna Beach
This “reality” classic had to make the list, as it was one of the highlights of the early 2000s. The personal lives of several California high schoolers are documented as their friendships and romantic relationships twist and turn.
12. Siesta Key
Siesta Key is another show about drunk kids living on their parents money, from the producers of Laguna Beach. Watch these young adults try to find themselves as they all date each other and live on endless summer vacation.
13. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
It’s the train wreck that we literally refuse to stop watching. I have no idea how the cast is still going strong after 10 years, but I’m sure glad they are. The first season of Family Vacation isn’t that great, but the second and third season are more fun to follow. It’s like I know I shouldn’t still care what the guidos are up to, but I just can’t let them go.
Image courtesy of @jerseyshore via Instagram
14. Long Island Medium
Theresa Caputo has the gift of being able to connect with the spirits of the deceased. She shares her life with us as she reads people and shares the messages from their passed love ones. Caputo’s personality is also wildly endearing and entertaining.
15. Summer House
The Hamptons is a go-to destination for New Yorkers in the summer. Join the cast of Summer House as the escape from the city after long summer work weeks. This group of adults parties like teenagers on Spring Break as soon as they cross those city limits.
16. The Hills: New Beginnings
The internet lit up when we all found out that The Hills was getting a reboot. While Kristin and Lauren don’t make a comeback, other favorites, like Audrina and Whitney, are sharing their lives with us once again. Newcomers like Mischa Barton and Brandon Lee have their own L.A. storylines that align perfectly with the melodramatic cast.
17. Total Divas/Total Bellas
Female WWE superstars are the epitome of badass. Total Divas dives into the worlds of the Women’s Division in both personal and professional settings. The spinoff, Total Bellas, focuses on twin Divas Brie and Nikki Bella, two of the most popular female wrestlers in history.
18. The Rachel Zoe Project
Fashionistas, park yourselves in front of the television. Rachel Zoe is a celebrity stylist who runs in an A-list fashion circle. She is career goals, but struggles to balance her personal life with her explosive profession. Join her through five seasons of fabulousness.
19. Bad Girls Club
The criteria of making the cast of this show is basically just being ratchet (and I mean that in a nice way.) Each season has its own collection abnormally loud and outspoken women who spend four months living and partying together. Most women claim to be working on themselves and trying to behave better, but most just end up in fights and nonsense.
Image courtesy of @badgirlsclub via Instagram
20. Nailed It!
This show is like Pinterest fails on steroids. Seemingly simple DIY crafts are presented to three contestants who are tasked to create the project under a time constraint. The results are usually hilarious as they are nowhere near the desired result. Three judges choose the best of the worst, but the competition is all in good fun.
21. Very Cavallarri
Kristin Cavallarri, who originated as the “villain” of Laguna Beach and The Hills, has achieved huge success in life. She started her own business, Uncommon James, a boutique shop run in Nashville, where she lives with NFL husband Jay Cutler. Watch Cavallarri be a total girl boss as she tries to do it all.
22. Bar Rescue
Jon Taffer has one of the most boisterous personalities to grace the television screen. Imagine Gordon Ramsay’s belligerent demeanor but instead of harassing aspiring chefs, Taffer targets bar owners. He goes into failing bars and restaurants and flips them into profitable businesses before they officially go under.
23. Say Yes To The Dress
Manhattan bridal shop, Kleinfeld’s, opens its doors to viewers as brides-to-be browse some of the world’s most decadent gowns. Fashion meets family therapy as the salon stylists work to make bridal dreams come true while keeping their entourages in check.
Paul Nassif and Terry Dubrow are plastic surgeons who have embarked on a mission to fix failed cosmetic surgical procedures. From disfigured noses to displaced butt implants, the celebrity surgeons strive to restore patients’ self confidence by reversing what went wrong.
25. The Girls Next Door
Hugh Hefner is constantly surrounded by smokeshows, but he tends to keep a few Playboy bunnies as long term house guests and girlfriends. The Girls Next Door explores the mansion lives of the girlfriends, who are surprisingly charming and lovable. I prefer the earlier seasons featuring Holly, Kendra, and Bridget, as opposed to later seasons with Karissa, Kristina, and Crystal; however, they’re all entertaining in their own right.