They don’t make them like they used to…
Once upon a time there used to be really good reality shows on tv. Reality television used to be SO GOOD you guys. Especially in the early to mid 2000s. We watched dysfunctional families in Hollywood long before the Kardashians came on the scene. Since we’ve all been stuck inside, with nothing but our favourite streaming services to keep us company, I took on the very important job of revisiting some of my favourite old reality shows just in case any of you need some more good distraction from the end of the world.
The Simple Life
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie became cultural icons. When The Simple Life dropped. In case you’ve never watched or if you forgot, the show saw the heiress and her best friend (at the time) leave their lavish lives in Hollywood behind to work odd jobs in middle America. Through the whole series the two girls remained so out of touch with reality, yet so endearing at the same time it was impossible not to rally behind them while they navigated life as a normal person. Even when the two were reportedly in the middle of a feud, and not talking they still made the show work. That’s hot. These two seemed to have patched up their relationship, but it was never returned to its former glory. But all I’m saying is that I’m fairly certain a reboot of this show would still hold up. Loves it.
Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica
Another show from the golden era, Jessica Simpson was partly responsible for the untrue, and extremely problematic “ditzy blonde” stereotype of the mid 2000s. This show followed the squeaky-clean pop singers in their first year of marriage, and it provided us with some pretty hilarious content in return. We will never forget the totally serious discussion Nick had to have with Jessica after she asked if the tuna she was eating was chicken or fish. Or when she took her multicoloured Louis Vuitton Speedy bag camping. There was never a dull moment in the Lachey house. And although the marriage didn’t last, Newlywedshas remained in my heart, as one of the greatest reality shows of all time.
The Ashlee Simpson Show
For all of those who felt like they didn’t identify with the perfectly blonde Jessica Simpson, us alternative girls were given the ultimate gift when Jessica’s younger sister Ashlee came onto the scene armed with her very own MTV reality show. With her freshly dyed black hair, and new album on the horizon, Ashlee was the anti-Jessica, and a beacon of hope for anyone who felt like they were living in the shadow of their older, more successful sibling. We watched Ashlee move out of her parents’ house, start dating Ryan Cabrera (I still think about that first date montage), get piercings against her parent’s wishes, and even follow her through her infamous lip sync scandal at Saturday Night Live. This show still holds up, and the 13-year-old edgy girl who cut her own bangs in her bathroom mirror remains faithful to Miss Ashlee Simpson.
There would never be Keeping up with the Kardashians if it weren’t for the Osbourne family. Their show in the early 2000s opened up the doors for reality television shows that simply follow families in their everyday lives. The show followed Rockstar Ozzy Osbourne, his superstar wife Sharon, and their kids Kelly and Jack as they moved from London to California. The show sparked a lot of controversy for the family’s use of bad language, and the kid’s rebellious nature. They were far from cookie-cutter perfect, and never pretended to be anything but themselves, (even if it was amplified for the sake of television). I will never forget when I found out there was a third sibling who opted out of the show, and like I said before without the Osbournes, we would have never gotten the Kardashians, and how would we know how to follow current fashion trends?
Rock of Love/Flavor of Love
I put these two shows together because they were essentially the exact same thing. These shows were like watching a tornado. As musicians Bret Michaels, and Flavor Flav were looking for love, they were also making their potential love interests compete in meaningless challenges, making this the most unhinged, and entertaining version of a Bachelor show to date. These shows were messy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Flavor of Love also gave us an important, and iconic star Tiffany “New York” Pollard. So even if these shows aren’t your cup of tea, you have to at least be thankful for that.
Bad Girls Club
Granted I have only watched a few seasons of this show, the episodes I have watched are mindless reality gold. Imagine Big Brother but the cast is entirely female, there is no monetary prize, and they’re allowed to leave the house. All of the girls who enter the house are self-proclaimed “bad girls”, which means they probably got into a fight in line at a club with another girl. The only rule I recall, is that they’re not allowed to get in fights with each other. As you can imagine, this happens often, and only sometimes results in the eviction of a girl. BGC is a hidden gem, and I highly suggest it to play in the background while you’re scrolling through Instagram, because you won’t miss much, but it will catch your attention when it needs to.
Laguna Beach is the superior California teen drama reality show. Sure, it gave us the iconic, and culturally important spinoff The Hills, but nothing will quite measure up to those rich kids from Laguna organizing charity fashion shows for mudslides, and the underprivileged. This show was marketed as the real-life O.C, and boy was it ever. It’s been 16 (yes SIXTEEN) years since this show premiered, and I’m still holding out hope for LC and Stephen. They tried to revive the show with a new generation of cast members, but it was never the same after the originals graduated. Hey, we can’t all be Degrassi.
I hope this list provides you with some much-needed comfort, and relaxation during these trying times. Binge watch, relax, and take your mind off what’s going on outside. And no matter how bad things might be, at least you never confused tuna for chicken. Take care, wash your hands, and get streaming.