The Weekly Ten: Reality TV Shows That Changed Our Lives

You might not have noticed this, but here at CollegeCandy, we’re kind of TV addicts. Comedies. Dramas. Dramedies. It doesn’t really matter. As long as it’s on, we’ll watch it. And if we’re not there to see it, we’ll DVR it and watch it later.

But there’s one genre in particular that holds a special place in our hearts. That’s right, you guessed it, I’m talking about reality TV. Who needs actors and scripts when reality is just so damn entertaining all on its own? The people we watch, the situations they put themselves in, just can’t compete with figments of the imagination. And love ’em or hate ’em, reality shows have altered our lives and pop culture as we know it.

So, since it’s early on a Monday morning and there’s nothing on but the news (boring) and some Proactive infomercial (it’s too early for Avril Lavigne’s skin problems), let’s count down the top ten reality TV shows that changed our lives.

10. The Real Word. What? Do you think I have no sense of history? This is the longest running show on MTV. One of the longest running reality TV shows of all time. It set the standard for hot tubs and co-ed bathrooms and super dramatic fights that often involve throwing things. It’s a classic. It had to be here.

9. Iron Chef America. Or Top Chef. Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis. Or Throw down with Bobby Flay. Basically any show that makes me hungry… while also teaching me what an amuse-bouche is. Or how to reduce cooking wine. Or the beauty of scallops. Seriously, why do I know these things? Oh yeah, TV.

8.  John and Kate Plus Eight Well, this one is not so much the show itself, but more the fact that it brought us the whirlwind that is Kate Irene Gosselin, the woman who just wanted a normal life for her kids. That’s why she let TLC film her as she “mothered them.” It’s why her divorce was scattered across tabloids. And it’s why she appeared on Dancing with the Stars. (Side note: Have you seen that woman’s hair?)  

7. Sixteen and Pregnant. And people wonder why teenage girls are making pregnancy pacts (and why twenty-something girls are making runs to CVS at 10pm to ease their minds after an 8-hour TV marathon).

6. Keeping Up With the Kardashians. When this show first started, I was not a loyal viewer. Who wanted to watch a family pretending like they actually have a reason to be famous? What do they even do? Sex tapes. Celebrity boyfriends. Been there, done that. Then I accidentally on purpose turned on the TV while it was on. I think you know what happened next….well, after I spent 4 hours mastering the intensely smokey eye.

5. The Real Housewives. Orange County. Atlanta. New York. New Jersey. D.C. Or Beverly Hills. Everyone has their favorite. This show is just one of the many reasons to be glad you’re still a college girl.

4 Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. This was the beginning of an era for MTV. The first of many “reality TV shows with the feel of a scripted drama.” This was LC’s big break. This was the show that gave us…

3. The Hills. Somehow I’ve managed to make it through life without ever seeing an episode. But even I understand the socio-cultural significance of this particular show. I mean Speidi alone was life altering. But the couple everyone (or at least I do) loves to hate was only the beginning. Drama. Deceit.  Juicy details. And then the last few seconds of the series finale. Enough said.

2. The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad. This show has been on the air for eight years, providing viewers with almost a decade’s worth of pretty people breaking up, making out and freaking out. But let’s be honest, it never would have gotten the coveted number two spot if it hadn’t been for Brad Womack. He led us to DeAnna Pappas who led us to Jason Mesnick who led us to Jillian Harris who led us to Jake Pavelka who led us to Ali Fedotowsky. So much drama. So few brain cells. Add in a summer season of Bachelor Pad, and an upcoming repeat performance by Brad Womack, and this show just can’t be beat, well, except for…

1. The Jersey Shore. Come on. Did you really expect anything else here?  These people were the most popular Halloween costume of 2010.  They brought us t-shirt time, grenades, smushing and, of course, “CABS ARE HERE!” MTV gave them their own book. South Park dedicated an episode to them. They are pop culture.  As much as you might hate to admit it, Snooki, The Situation, Pauly D, JWoww and all the rest have wormed their way into the hearts’ of America, monumentally shaking the very foundations of our existence.

GTL ladies, GTL.

Which reality TV shows changed your life? Which one do you love? Love to hate? Or just plain old hate?

[Check out Jenn’s other musings-in-the-form-of-a-list here.]

Sundays Are For Procrastinating
Sundays Are For Procrastinating
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