Reality shows have come and gone over the last 15 years. Some, we are absolutely fine with NEVER coming back (here’s looking at you, The Swan) and some should’ve had a longer run. The early-to-mid 2000’s were rife with reality shows of every stripe and so many were fascinating and addictive. I can remember a time where all I watched were reality shows because the options were juicy and endless! I took a trip down memory lane and have listed below the ones we most wish would be revived because even if it’s been years, we still can’t get enough.
1. Joe Millionaire
The premise of this show was really kind of cruel. Several women, in the manner of The Bachelor, competed for the heart of the show’s star, Evan Marriott. He was purported to be a wealthy bachelor who had inherited millions. The reality was that he was a construction worker (and former underwear model) and definitely not at all a millionaire. In the end, he told finalist Zora Andrich the truth and it was up to her whether she wanted to stay. When she chose to be with Evan, the couple were gifted $1 million to split. Their union did not last but boy, was this show the best train wreck ever. Please bring it back!
2. Singled Out
I can’t be the only 90’s kid who got home from school and raced into the house to grab a snack and turn on Singled Out. This show was an absolute blast from start to finish, mostly due to hosts Chris Hardwick and Jenny McCarthy and their insane antics. Each episode included 50 men and 50 women all competing for one member of the opposite sex going through a series of eliminations to thin the herd. It was so much fun making predictions with each show and waiting to see who made it to the end. One of MTV’s finest, no question!
3. Flavor of Love
Years have passed since this show ended and I’m still baffled that so many women would vie for the heart of a man known best for wearing a Viking helmet and giant clock around his neck at all times — but they did. For three whole seasons. Flava Flav’s search for true love ended after the last round when he decided to marry the mother of his seventh child. Glad he found his true love after all but his strangely vast appeal to women mystifies me to this day.
4. The Girls Next Door
This one is my hands-down favorite of all time. This show was so adorable and such a guilty pleasure! It had every ingredient of a fascinating reality show – a voyeur’s dream, really. A peak inside the lives of Hugh Hefner’s infamous pack of girlfriends and the goings on in The Playboy Mansion, one of the most hallowed locales in all of Hollywood. What one didn’t expect before actually seeing the show is how genuine it was. You would think the big focus would be Hef’s relationship with the girls but it was really the girls’ relationships with each other that made it so entertaining. Of course, we can’t bring this one back in its original state because Hef is now married and the old girlfriends have moved on but we will always have reruns!
5. Pimp my Ride
Was there anything more exciting to the average teenager than the idea of the crappy car that their parents probably gave them being turned into pretty much the most amazing vehicle they could possibly dream of? I think not. Rapper Xzibit was the host who guided each lucky contestant through the process of their car being transformed into something that reflected their hobbies and personality. It has come out in recent weeks that the makeovers weren’t all they were cracked up to be and the cars often took months to be finished but at the time, it was way too fun to see it go down.
6. The Osbournes
The Osbournes were celebrity reality show pioneers paving the way for so many after them. Ozzy and his wife Sharon presided over their extremely quirky family with love and many hilarious antics. They drew in a record number of viewers and are still one of MTV’s most successful shows of all time. Even though Ozzy often needed sub-titles because of his garbled language, we were all feeling him – a bumbling family man trying to make everyone happy. He loved his wife and kids and it was a blast to see “The Bloody Prince of Darkness” as just another beleaguered husband and father.
7. Beauty and the Geek
The brainchild of actor Ashton Kutcher, this show featured self-proclaimed “geeks” and “beauties” competing together as couples to win prizes. They pairs had to live in the same room and learn to work as a team despite their perceived differences and talents. The show was hilarious and oddly heart-warming as you got to know the couples and see them work toward a common goal even though they didn’t have much in common. I think it could have done a few more seasons before viewers got tired of the premise.
8. Fear Factor
This was another reality show pioneer and one of the longest-lasting of all. Fear Factor was disgusting and fascinating in equal parts. What other show featured a person in a glass coffin covered in cockroaches for as long as they could hold out? I’m honestly not sure why it was ever canceled because it seems like the possibilities for gross-out challenges would be endless. But alas, it was. Please come back, Joe Rogan. America NEEDS this.