There is no greater guilty pleasure than turning on a reality show and letting yourself get sucked in. Reality Television is one of those genres that can simultaneously delight and horrify a person while questioning why they even watch. Some shows clearly have higher-quality content and premises than others, but that doesn’t always matter to fans.
While some reality shows seem truly awful, the truth is that audiences can’t stop watching! There’s something about watching outrageous people in mind-blowing circumstances that is just plain fun. Some reality shows are just so bad that they end up being the most fun to watch, and Redditors have taken note of which reality shows are so bad that they’re actually good.
10 ‘Floribama Shore’ (2017-2021)
Courtesy of MTV, Floribama Shore was the follow-up to the popular Jersey Shore. The series followed a group of young adults in a Florida beach town as they partied while putting any real-world responsibilities on hold. Their wild behavior was criticized by many, and the antics even led the show to be spoofed in a sketch by Saturday Night Live.
While the show garnered plenty of criticism for the behavior of its stars, with many believing it was distasteful and trashy, some fans just couldn’t help but love the trash. Redditor chasingandbelieving wrote, “Omg, I LOVED Floribama Shore…I was obsessed. Complete trash but soooo entertaining.”
9 ’90 Day Fiancé’ (2014-)
TLC’s 90-Day Fiancé is a relationship show like no other. The series follows couples with an international long-distance relationship, allowing them to meet their fiancés for 90 days on a special visa. Once those 90 days are up, the couples must determine if they’re ready to get married or if the relationship doesn’t quite measure up.
The drama that ensues between the international couples can be jaw-dropping and wild, with scandal after scandal and many arguments to witness. Some might call it trash, but people can’t help but be entertained by it. As Reddit user Foodieandcrimejunkie said, “[90 Day Fiancé] for suuure! The newer seasons are a bit boring, but earlier ones were so entertaining!”
8 ‘Vanderpump Rules’ (2013-)
Audiences were first introduced to the powerful personality of Lisa Vanderpump when she appeared on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In 2013, the network decided to give her and the staff at her restaurants a spinoff with Vanderpump Rules, and a decade later, people are still tuning in.
Between the numerous cheating scandals, infighting, and more, many would put Vanderpump Rules firmly in the “trash” category of reality TV. However, several Redditors expressed that the trash is exactly what they love about it, with the user Left-Requirement9267 simply stating, “Vanderpump rules.” Besides the messiness of the relationships happening in the show, it has also spawned iconic GIFs and memes that fans can’t get enough of.
7 ‘Love is Blind’ (2020-)
Netflix’s Love is Blind asks the question: Is love blind? The series features singles who start “dating” one another in pods, where they can’t see what the other person looks like, followed by getting engaged based only on their emotional connections. In the weeks that follow, the couples are put to the test to see if their relationship can survive the real world and make it to the altar.
Viewers find themselves reveling in the drama and the mess of the series while also rooting for their favorite couples to go the distance. Reddit user GaramondBold sums up the feelings of many fans, “Part of me is really rooting for these people to find true love. But a bigger part of me wants the drama and to see everyone meltdown.” There’s something about it that’s irresistible.
6 ‘The Simple Life’ (2003-2007)
The Simple Life was a defining series for early 2000s Reality TV. The series followed wealthy socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie and sent them to live on a low-key family farm in Arkansas. There on the farm, the two girls were forced to step out of their comfort zones, abandon their cell phones, and do low-paying labor jobs.
The series was a common target for those who didn’t care for reality TV, and Hilton and Richie were criticized for their behavior. However, the show also catapulted the two girls into international stardom because fans couldn’t get enough of how awful it was. When it came to choosing the best of the worst, all Reddit user SoPernicious could say was, “The Simple Life. Pure trash.”
5 ‘Flavor of Love’ (2006-2008)
After rapper Flavor Flav suffered a public breakup, VH1 decided it was the perfect opportunity for a reality dating competition show called Flavor of Love. In a similar style to shows like The Bachelor, 20 single women move into a mansion, all to compete for the love and affection of Flavor Flav. The goal was to be the one lucky lady he would choose in the end.
The series ran for three seasons and garnered criticism for the premise that didn’t appear so successful, given that Flavor Flav didn’t find love in season one. But that didn’t stop fans from loving it or the memes it inspired. Reddit user Organic_Berry_8732 said, “Flavor of Love will always be my favorite mess of all time!!!!”
4 ‘Joe Millionaire’ (2003, 2022)
While this series may have initially only ran for one season, there was a time in 2003 when it was all reality show viewers could talk about. Joe Millionaire was another dating show, but with a twist: the women that the handsome bachelor was dating believed him to be a millionaire instead of the humble construction worker he was in reality.
Some felt the show was unfair to the women and disliked the lies in the premise, yet people couldn’t help but watch. Redditor yungalohaa wrote, “I was just a kid when this aired, but I remember being glued to the screen, and even then, I thought, ‘How could these girls fall for this.’” While some found it bizarre, it nonetheless had the entertainment factor and, in 2022, was revived by Fox.
3 ‘Jersey Shore’ (2009-2012)
Jersey Shore was one of those shows that used to be all anyone could talk about. It featured eight people living in a house together on the New Jersey Shore and ran for six seasons. To say that this series became a pop culture icon would be an understatement, and it launched several of the cast members to international fame.
Despite people putting Jersey Shore firmly in the “trash” category of reality TV, many felt it was the best kind of trash they couldn’t get enough of. Reddit user kitchenhummin says, “Jersey Shore really was the GOAT imo. The casting was just lightning in a bottle, and the production was SO good…I didn’t miss a single episode! Plus, the effect on culture and fashion trends was huge.”
2 ‘Love After Lockup’ (2018-)
Love After Lockup follows couples who met and formed a relationship while one of them was incarcerated. They meet in person for the first time when the felons are finally released and then get to work on making the relationship work, which for people who have never really spent time together can be easier said than done.
The series recently released its fourth season and has spawned several spin-offs. Fans find themselves completely entranced by these couples and the messy relationships they’re witnessing. As Reddit user ToastyPrincess420 puts it, “Love After Lockup is my GUILTY PLEASURE! It’s about people being in relationships with incarcerated prisoners. It NEVER ends well.”
1 ‘Too Hot to Handle’ (2020-)
What happens when you take a group of attractive singles, put them in a paradise-like location, and then tell them hook-ups are off the table? You get Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle. This competition dating show challenges its participants to try to attain meaningful connections without resorting to physical intimacy while competing for a $100,000 prize.
Some of the show’s critics feel it’s not a dating show and is rather shallow. Yet fans just can’t get enough of the show’s messy entanglements, delicious drama, and binge-able nature. Redditor Consistent-Flow-2409 wrote, “I never watch these types of shows but got hooked on this during Lockdown. I didn’t believe in guilty pleasures until I found this show.”
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