Sometimes, you just need to switch off and immerse yourself in other people’s problems to deal with your own. That’s what makes reality TV shows so goddamn amazing. They say truth is stranger than fiction for a reason – the little moments of true reality and complete absurdity reality TV shows gift us can be truly unmissable television. I’m a seasoned expert on the completely addicting art form and feel well qualified to recommend some classics of the genre. Without further ado, here is your next reality TV shows binge made easy because these picks don’t disappoint.
You’ll often find fans of Vanderpump Rules correctly declaring that “it’s a show for geniuses!” A spin-off from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the almost Shakespearean tragicomedy follows the employees of Lisa Vanderpump’s Sexy Unique Restaurant. Expect heavy drinking, emotional volatility and plenty of black comedy. These young, hot psychos have made living out the supposed “best days of our lives” on camera into modern art.
The Real Housewives of New York
Picking the best iteration from a franchise that helped define reality TV shows isn’t easy but the best bet is the ladies of the big apple. These women let it all hang out, resulting in some of the funniest and oddly relatable television around. Not many reality TV shows manages to cover alcoholism, the election of Donald Trump and female friendship in the space of a single season. New York benefits from excellent casting, which really gels perfectly in later seasons. From the street smart Bethany to the deluded Countess Luann De Lessups, following these women as they struggle with the realities of life is a surefire serotonin hit. Of course, they are all rich narcissists at the end of the day so if you’re mainly here for the drama just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
It is a well-known fact that nothing is darker than reality TV shows that end up as a one season wonder. Participants generally lack self-awareness, display an insatiable hunger for fame and are willing to go the extra mile for the cameras. The best example of the genre is easily Pretty Wild, which started out with the intention of following three model sisters pursuing modelling in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, shortly before filming they became implicated in the Hollywood ‘Bling Ring’ burglaries whilst attending a robbery of Orlando Bloom’s house whilst high on oxycontin. The show switched focus to covering the ensuing legal troubles of the infamous Alexis Neirs, who compares her impending prison sentence to Buddha meditating under a tree for 40 days.
A cultural phenomenon when it debuted, Survivor has stood the test of time for good reason and is still churning out excellent seasons after two decades on the air. It’s a simple but brilliant concept, 20 strangers are stranded on a deserted locale and forced to vote each other one by one. The show is perfectly structured, strategically fascinating and an excellent insight into social dynamics. Earlier seasons have a heavier focus on the exotic locations and interesting characters on the adventure of a lifetime. With nearly 40 seasons to consume, discover why the godfather of reality tv shows would never be voted off the island.
Flavor of Love
FLAVA FLAV!!! I had to include this instant classic, considering it sparked off VH1’s generation-defining Celebreality block of programming that got me hooked on reality TV shows in the first place. Modelled after The Batchelor without any of the boring pretences and platitudes, the show is a comedic masterwork involving oversized clocks and bizarrely nicknamed female contestants competing for the heart of a washed-up late 80s rapper. The fantastic mess also introduced the world to Tiffany ‘New York’ Pollard, arguably the greatest reality star of all time and the indisputable HBIC. Watching her chaining smokes and plotting murder is a unique joy no one should deny themselves.