Friday, January 1st, 2010

The End of the 00s: The 348 Best Reality Television Shows of the 00s, In Order, by Jon Caramanica

GET TO WORK, KIDS348. The Girls Next Door
347. I Want to Be A Hilton
346. Denise Richards: It's Complicated
345. Armed & Famous
344. That's Amore!
343. Joe Schmo 2
342. Homeland Security USA
341. Jockeys
340. Hit Me, Baby, One More Time
339. Fame
338. On the Lot
337. America's Next Top Model (season 2)
336. The Real World: Philadelphia
335. The Apprentice (season 5)
334. Kill Reality
333. Driving Force
332. Tori & Dean: Inn Love
331. The Little Couple
330. Nashville Star (season 6)
329. The Real Housewives of Orange County
328. Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll
327. Superstar USA
326. Airline
325. The It Factor
324. American Juniors
323. Viva Hollywood!
322. DietTribe
321. Family Business
320. The Bachelor (season 11)
319. Ax Men
318. I Wanna Be A Soap Star
317. Hey Paula
316. The Apprentice: Martha Stewart
315. American Idol (season 8)
314. The Law Firm
313. R U The Girl?
312. Gone Too Far
311. Survivor: The Australian Outback
310. Invasion Iowa
309. A Shot at Love II with Tila Tequila
308. Are You Hot?
307. Pageant Place
306. Grease: You're The One That I Want
305. Dancelife
304. Farmer Wants A Wife
303. The Principal's Office
302. Average Joe: Hawaii
301. Chasing Farrah
300. Combat Missions
299. Your Mama Don't Dance
298. Survivor: Borneo
297. Rock of Love: Charm School
296. Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane
295. Flipping Out
294. He's A Lady
293. Looking for Love: Bachelorettes in Alaska
292. The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty
291. Gone Country (season 3)
290. America's Most Talented Kid (season 1)
289. Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew (season 1)
288. Extreme Makeover
287. Confessions of a Matchmaker
286. The Surreal Life (season 4)
285. Pitchmen
284. A Double Shot at Love
283. The Biggest Loser: Second Chances
282. The Restaurant
281. College Hill (season 1)
280. Frontier House
279. American Loggers
278. Househusbands of Hollywood
277. The Next Food Network Star (season 4)
276. Last Comic Standing
275. Three Wishes
274. Flavor of Love 2
273. Ruby
272. 18 Kids & Counting
271. Dancing with the Stars (season 6)
270. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno
269. Celebrity Fit Club (season 4)
268. Beauty and the Geek (season 1)
267. The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency
266. Life of Ryan
265. Who Wants To Be A Superhero? (season 2)
264. The Bachelorette (season 1)
263. The Anna Nicole Show
262. Top Chef: Las Vegas (season 6)
261. Making the Band: O-Town
260. Age of Love
259. American Chopper
258. Baldwin Hills
257. Celebrity Mole: Yucatan
256. Big Brother 10
255. True Beauty
254. The Agency
253. The Bachelor: London Calling
252. The Biggest Loser: Families
251. Work Out
250. Mad Mad House
249. Sunset Tan
248. Outback Jack
247. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
246. Transamerican Love Story
245. Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew
244. I Want to Work for Diddy (season 1)
243. The Next Food Network Star (season 2)
242. My Fair Brady
241. Dr. 90210
240. Oprah's Big Give
239. Rich Girls
238. Mr. Personality
237. Man Vs. Wild
236. Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School
235. Boot Camp
234. The Joe Schmo Show
233. Kendra
232. For Love or Money
231. WWF Tough Enough (season 1)
230. The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom
229. The Contender 2
228. Dog the Bounty Hunter
227. Dream Job (season 3)
226. Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami
225. The Family
224. Luke's Parental Advisory
223. The Real World: Sydney
222. The Ashlee Simpson Show
221. Last Comic Standing 4
220. Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (season 2)
219. ego trip's Miss Rap Supreme
218. Varsity Inc.
217. Trick My Truck
216. Rock of Love with Bret Michaels (season 2)
215. The Cut
214. The Real Housewives of New York City
213. Boy Meets Boy
212. Road Rules: Campus Crawl
211. Deadliest Catch
210. The Moment of Truth
209. Running in Heels
208. Date My Ex: Jo & Slade
207. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet 2
206. The Amazing Race 2
205. Living Lohan
204. Million Dollar Listing
203. Celebrity Fit Club (season 5)
202. Bands on the Run
201. Dice Undisputed
200. Supernanny
199. Tool Academy (season 1)
198. Daisy of Love
197. The Fashionista Diaries
196. Making News: Texas Style
195. Tabatha's Salon Takeover
194. Survivor: Tocantins
193. RuPaul's Drag Race
192. Celebrity Mole: Hawaii
191. Dancing with the Stars (season 3)
190. The Search for the Funniest Mom in America (season 2)
189. College Hill (season 4)
188. Scott Baio is 45… And Single
187. The First 48
186. Making the Band 3
185. Hopkins
184. Shear Genius (season 1)
183. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Duel 2
182. I Love Money (season 1)
181. I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! (season 2)
180. The Amazing Race 11
179. The Gastineau Girls
178. The Assistant
177. Fraternity Life
176. Survivor: All-Stars
175. Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory
174. Blow Out
173. Dance Your Ass Off
172. America's Most Smartest Model
171. Trading Spouses
170. Celebrity Fit Club (season 1)
169. The Bachelor: Paris
168. The Mole (season 1)
167. Jon & Kate Plus 8
166. The Bachelor (season 1)
165. Brat Camp
164. Skating With Celebrities
163. The Real World: Paris
162. She's Got The Look (season 2)
161. Little People, Big World
160. I'm From Rolling Stone
159. Big Brother 11
158. Keeping Up With the Kardashians
157. For the Love of Ray J (season 1)
156. Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling
155. The Amazing Race 4
154. The Biggest Loser (season 2)
153. The Contender
152. The Bad Girls Club (season 3)
151. Gay, Straight or Taken?
150. Average Joe
149. America's Next Top Model (season 3)
148. Run's House
147. Toughest Cowboy (season 1)
146. The Real World: New Orleans
145. The Apprentice (season 1)
144. Real Chance of Love (season 1)
143. High School Reunion (season 1)
142. America's Next Top Model (season 13)
141. The Amazing Race 7
140. The Fashion Show
139. Big Brother 7: All-Stars
138. Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (season 1)
137. The Bachelor (season 4)
136. Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels
135. The Bad Girls Club (season 2)
134. America's Got Talent (season 2)
133. Beauty and the Geek (season 2)
132. America's Next Top Model (season 7)
131. A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila
130. Top Chef (season 2)
129. #1 Single
128. Big Brother 4
127. American Idol (season 6)
126. High School Reunion (season 2)
125. T.I.'s Road To Redemption
124. The Simple Life
123. Under One Roof
122. Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave
121. Dancing with the Stars (season 2)
120. Monster Garage
119. Parking Wars
118. Intervention
117. Temptation Island
116. The Rachel Zoe Project
115. The Real World: Las Vegas
114. $1,000,000 Tough Enough
113. Paris Hilton's My New BFF (season 1)
112. Engaged and Underage
111. Wildboyz
110. Make Me A Supermodel (season 1)
109. Paradise Hotel
108. NYC Prep
107. Survivor: Samoa
106. From G's to Gents (season 1)
105. Brooke Knows Best
104. Celebrity Rap Superstar
103. Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire?
102. HGTV Design Star (season 2)
101. Britney & Kevin: Chaotic
100. The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search
99. Swords: Life on the Line
98. Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge
97. Joe Millionaire
96. Nashville Star (season 5)
95. Dream Job (season 1)
94. Bromance
93. The Real World: Hollywood
92. Growing Up Gotti
91. Teen Mom
90. Models of the Runway
89. More To Love
88. Strange Love
87. Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites
86. I Love New York (season 2)
85. Giuliana & Bill
84. Top Design (season 1)
83. Flavor of Love
82. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons
81. The Cougar
80. The Osbournes
79. The Millionaire Matchmaker
78. Starting Over
77. King of Cars
76. The Starlet
75. Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County
74. Nashville Star (season 1)
73. So You Think You Can Dance? (season 2)
72. ego trip's The (White) Rapper Show
71. Breaking Bonaduce
70. College Life
69. Viva La Bam
68. The Two Coreys
67. Stylista
66. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat
65. Megan Wants A Millionaire
64. The Bachelor (season 13)
63. The Surreal Life (season 2)
62. Big Brother 2
61. Two-A-Days
60. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II
59. Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica
58. Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew (season 3)
57. American Idol (season 1)
56. Project Greenlight (season 2)
55. Project Runway (season 3)
54. Making the Band 4
53. The Hills
52. Meet the Barkers
51. The Pick-Up Artist
50. Pimp My Ride
49. American Inventor (season 1)
48. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Sexes
47. Adventures in Hollyhood
46. Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods
45. Project Runway (season 2)
44. Confessions of a Teen Idol
43. The Real Housewives of New Jersey
42. Hoarders
41. Can You Duet? (season 1)
40. American Candidate
39. Gone Country (season 1)
38. The Locator
37. The Real Housewives of Atlanta
36. Black. White.
35. Top Chef (season 3)
34. Wife Swap
33. The Scholar
32. The Bachelorette (season 4)
31. Jersey Shore
30. The Amazing Race 6
29. The Celebrity Apprentice (season 1)
28. Greatest American Dog
27. Punk'd
26. The Player
25. Survivor: Cook Islands
24. So You Think You Can Dance? (season 4)
23. The Paper
22. I Know My Kid's A Star
21. My Super Sweet 16
20. Beauty and the Geek (season 3)
19. I Love New York (season 1)
18. American Idol (season 5)
17. Big Brother 5
16. Jackass
15. The Amazing Race 12
14. The City
13. Big Brother 8
12. 16 & Pregnant
11. 30 Days
10. America's Next Top Model (season 8)
9. Making the Band 2
8. Amish in the City
7. Being Bobby Brown
6. Made
5. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
4. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
3. American Idol (season 2)
2. Kid Nation
1. The Bachelorette (season 5)

(The worst is Ace of Cakes, by the way.)

Jon Caramanica writes about popular music for the New York Times but manages to watch a lot of TV.

69 Comments / Post A Comment

David Cho (#3)

Joe Millionaire should have cracked the top 10. There was a scene where, in the finals, one of the girls took Joe out in the courtyard where they thought they weren't being filmed, and then the caption, "Slurp, slurp, gulp," was used. Not to mention it was the first switcheroo reality show.

katiebakes (#32)

HA, the first thing I did was a Command-F search for "Joe Millionaire" !!!!

Tuna Surprise (#573)


OOOooo!! Edgy move on the Jackass selection! FIESTY -ASS LIST!

This JC character is slippery!

Turboslut (#1,036)

How you could not make room in your heart for the merrie band of preternaturally stoned-looking fondant wranglers trying to survive in Baltimore by selling $1,000 cakes is beyond me. They make a cake that looks like a giant crab!

Evan Hilbert (#2,724)

#272 and #266 should be swapped. Just sayin'.

mathnet (#27)


suggested starting place: this list does not include Cheaters!

(which, even if it doesn't count, deserves a place on this list for its amazingness)

mathnet (#27)

But I'm actually feeling some shame relief at the number of titles I don't recognize so OK.

katiebakes (#32)

Assuming you are ignoring Season 3 of Laguna Beach in your lump sum. I would too.

Brian (#115)

Let's go back, back to the beginning.

caramanica (#2,776)

That's the only one I considered adding a parenthetical explanation to, for just that reason. Sorry, Cami!

No Project Runway season is ranked any higher than 45??

OK, clearly this entire list is designed to be flame bait. Because you just can't be serious about those Project Runway rankings.

It's reality show flame bait!!!

Ha ha ha …

I personally objected to the omission of Rock Star: INXS, but I can also see why it didn't place. Because it was FUCKING STUPID. and yet…

It ain't pretty…

Are we still doing the +1 thing? Because if so, you get one from me, Mantooth.

rj77 (#210)

Rock Star INXS is the only reality show I watched in the last ten years and that's because I was kind of forced to watch it by a friend who was the friend of a friend of one of the contestants, and he was actually quite good and made runner up or something.

Okay, and also Trading Spaces. Was that on the list? It was three hundred and fucking forty eight title long, for cripe's sake….

Kiala (#2,825)

The Paper made me cry.


Brian (#115)

My boss thinks Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is my favorite show because I said it was in my job interview years ago. I was just trying to SIGNAL, you know, I wasn't srs.

BoHan (#29)

WTF Temptation Island at 117? Man this is so wrong. But Greatest American Dog @ #28 is so right. That Oklahoma dog trainer was just beef on a stick. Feng Shiu I guess.

Luckier (#857)

Temptation Island should be in the top ten, if only for the line "But I didn't know it would be so tempting!"

AmishOrSomething (#2,826)

No vintage Blind Date with Rodge Lodge? If only for the Hot Bod commercials?!

brent_cox (#40)


jerryk (#2,827)

amazing that there have been so many in just 10 years. I produced a handful of these shows, including Queer Eye, so thanks for the mentions. Paradise Hotel for its total lack of rules and total insanity as a social experiment gone awry, should be higher. And you left off a show I made that I am very proud of, Inked (A&E).

jerryk (#2,827)

to clarify, I did not produce Paradise Hotel.

rachiavelli (#2,829)

Frontier House should be Number One with a bullet, forever.

bb (#295)

ooh I loved that so much. I cried at the end with the black guy and his dad! Also, Colonial House and Manor House.

Jef (#1,843)

Hell YES Making the Band 2 is top ten.

Ted Maul (#205)

Yes, that would be number 1 on my list.

I'm happy to see the White Rapper show in the top 20 too, that show was underrated.

"Get your sneakers. It's time for you to….STEP OFF".

Ego Trip was (is?) so awesome.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

I can't find Expedition Robinson on this list. Other than that, a nice documentation of the precise moment when humanity as a project was terminated for lack of interest.

To quote from another reality show that somehow did not make the cut: You're doing a heck of a job!

Abe Sauer (#148)

No "Cops?!" Elitists.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Also: No "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant?" Do you even watch TV or take Reality Burred lists and dump them into randomized Excel sorts?

caramanica (#2,776)

That's a legit possible oversight, though I definitely think of that show more as "medical drama." Or "comedy."

Alternate title for "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant": "I Pooped a Baby"

joeclark (#651)

As the 00s have now come to an end, could the "End of the 00s" series please do likewise?

Also, this post has the worst slug in the history of the Awl.

There have been many posts that were worse than this.

Sweetie (#519)

Intervention in the early hundreds? My rage at that low ranking justifies my early drinking. When I pass out on my lawn after the Oregon game … that's for you, Intervention!

GangstaLeanBacon (#2,460)

What?!?! No, The Ultimate Love Test(icle)?

Ken Layne (#262)

I was pretty sure this was brilliant comedy — mixing ever-more absurd fake titles with actual shows — until I got to #12, which sounded completely retarded, and then I remembered my friend Morgan actually directed that. (Cries.)

Sweetie (#519)

You're kidding? Sixteen and Pregnant is fucking masterclass work. Even better is the sub series Teen Mom. If you ever hoped that the mentally retarded would stop breeding, you're gonna have to hope these shows light the fire.

I just want to put a word in for Teen Mom.


hockeymom (#143)

Needs more Food Network.

Flashman (#418)
Lane (#2,809)

Yes, Mantracker definitely belongs on this list.

Ok, tell me about the pill that will let me concentrate to put together a list hundreds of items long.


NominaStultorum (#1,638)

I won't quibble with the ranking, but what of…
- Love Cruise!
- Wickedly Perfect!
- Married By America!
- Crowned!

A few omissions, some of which have already been mentioned here:

Cheaters (Joey Greco was stabbed for Dallas residents' maybe-faked sins!)
Kitchen Nightmares / Hell's Kitchen (poor Gordon)
You Are What You Eat (for its "here's all the brown food you eat in a week" vistas of fried foodstuffs alone!)
My Bare Lady (adult film stars learn Shakespeare!)
Sex Decoy: Love Stings (a mom sends her daughters out on fake dates in order to prove that the men involved are cheating!)
Blind Date (a.k.a. my go-to show during super-late nights at my old night-shift job)
Love Cruise (without it, Paradise Hotel might not have given a room to Toni!)

And Joe Millionaire really does deserve to be higher for the "slurp" alone.

Also would True Life count? At the very least, it deserves some sorta achievement award because it pretty much laid the groundwork for 16 & Pregnant and Jersey Shore…

I am so so glad I am not the only person who saw Toni appear in TWO excursion-based reality series.

caramanica (#2,776)

I'm so glad people are concerned about process.

vague rule: no non-narrative dating shows or food shows or home makeover shows.
another non-vague rule: I hate Gordon Ramsay
an admission: I'd never heard of Mantracker before today. Embarrassing.

garge (#736)

Joey Greco was STABBED??!! What a brave man, to have continued his honorable work post-assault.

lawyergay (#220)

I remember being out at dinner with some friends, and we suddenly realized with horror that we were going to miss "Joe Millionaire." My friend Julie made her boyfriend run back to their apartment and tape it (this was before DVRs were so commonplace).

Also, "Queer Eye" is unforgivable. What's next, "Aunt Jemima Presents Cotton-Pickin' Ninnies Minstrel Showdown" or maybe "Cheap Old Asian Woman With a Bad Perm Who Is Also a Bad Driver"?

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Maybe! Pitch needs more work, though.

lawyergay (#220)

Good point. Get this:

"Randy Jackson Presents The CW's Chicken-Fried Funk-OFF!" pitch:

Randy, with his fellow judges ______ Jackson and Aisha Tyler, presides as ridiculous urban contestants scramble to accomplish outrageous cooking and dancing challenges. This show's gonna be all frontin' and gruntin', ya feel me?

Deep fried watermelon? Check. Break-dancin' while cake-enhancin'? Check. The twist is that the winner gets a marriage proposal from ______ Jackson. It's the original "I Love New York" meets "Top Chef."

"Cheap Old Asian Woman With a Bad Perm Who Is Also a Bad Driver" pitch:

Hi. I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Gene. As in Yus. Gene Yus. That's right. I'm walking out right now unless you make me an offer. Did I mention Julie Chen? Pilot plus 13 episodes. Right. Fucking. Now.

Ok: This list is way too hard on "Denise Richards: It's Complicated." In fine, EVERYTHING is complicated when you are Denise Richards. I know it was stupid and, worse, thoroughly contrived (widower dad, beautiful, tragic Charlie Sheen kids). But the sheer hat Denise actually saw this as a vehicle that might gain her public sympathy after what went down with Richie Samborra is genius. It was a one sided parlor game with odds unfavorable to the beautiful but astonishingly vapid Richards.

But the sheer hat = But the thought that

queensissy (#1,783)

I'm going to millin myself a sheer hat in 2010 if it kills me.

percolator (#1,721)

I'm just glad to see that I'm not the only person who remembers Bands On The Run.


queensissy (#1,783)

I know it's a latecomer, but Steven Seagal: LAWMAN beats Cops all hollow.

"Yo, that's Steven SeaGAL!" -Dude getting 'cuffed

Legs Battaglia (#2,484)

I was just thinking about Black. White. the other day. I couldn't tell in my memory if it was REAL OR NOT despite having watched every episode.

bennimaddi (#314)

the low rankings of early survivor editions on this list is completely outrageous!

Maroussia (#5,150)

It will be great to watch Legally Blonde, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.

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