By Adam B. Vary
Updated December 19, 2011 at 03:30 PM EST

No reality TV show can really call itself worthy of the name without at least one tear-streaked, red-faced, expletive-laden meltdown — the more out of left field, the better. And 2011 was chockablock with them, from Snooki on Jersey Shore to Taylor Armstrong on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, from Meat Loaf on Celebrity Apprentice to Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Dancing With the Stars. Let us count the ways:

Work of Art‘s Kathryn goes into the ugly cry

“What you describe as a experimentation could also be seen as a limitation of means, vision, thought — and that concerns me.” Such was judge (and professional art critic) Jerry Saltz’s assessment of photographer Kathryn Parker Almanas’s video exploration of movement, entitled (it turned out aptly) “Splat.” And in the face of such harsh words, Kathryn did what you expect a lot of these reality show contestants wait to do until the cameras are off: Go into a full-on ugly cry.

Project Runway‘s Joshua WILL NOT STAND for muttered profanity

Project Runway viewers had already gotten a healthy helping of eventual runner-up Joshua McKinley’s diva behavior in his dust up with so-called “dowdy” designer Becky Ross. But that paled in comparison to Josh’s bizarre blow up over Bert Keeter muttering in frustration because he had trouble printing his self-designed fabric.

Ashley Hebert cries over Bentley leaving The Bachelorette

Ashley, trust us, this tool ain’t worth a single tear.

Real World San Diego‘s Frank is in his underwear, and upset about Nate’s homophobia.

After bisexual Frank brings home a dude from a gay bar, his roommate Nate decides not to sleep in his bed. Frank gets drunk, gets in his underwear, and, well, this happens…

Big Brother‘s Rachel cries in the bushes

After a Power of Veto competition, Jeff confronts Rachel about her, well, bitchy behavior. Naturally, she responds by climbing into the bushes to cry. Only her partner-in-life-and-on-the-show Brendon can coax her out. A few weeks later, when Brendon’s impending eviction is clear, Rachel loses it once more. It is all highly entertaining.

Oh, by the way, Rachel eventually won.

NEXT PAGE: Rachel Crow fills the X Factor stage with her delicious tears, and the ladies of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fight like the “evolved species” that they are

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Rachel Crow is voted off of The X Factor, and Nicole Scherzinger is devastated

Unable to cast the vote that would kick off Marcus Canty, judge Nicole Scherzinger cast her vote for Rachel Crow instead, clearly expecting that by taking it to a deadlock, America’s vote would send L.A. Reid’s pitch-unfriendly crooner home instead of Simon Cowell’s adorable muppet. America, alas, let Nicole, and Rachel, down, and the ensuing torrent of tears and wails made for some fantastic television.

Snooki sobs on the streets of Florence on Jersey Shore

Poor Snooki. Her boyfriend Jionni comes to visit her all the way out in Italy, they go out, she drunkly flashes her lady business to him (and anyone else in eyeshot) in a nightclub, and, suddenly, out of nowhere, he just storms off! All Snooki can do is stumble in her platform stilettos on the cobblestone streets, and wail into the cold, unwelcome Florence night, “Where’s my boyfriend?! I don’t deserve this right now!”

Maks tells Dancing With the Stars judges that “this is my show”

Yeah, Len Goodman can be a bit of a blowhard, but, Maks, c’mon, that rumba with Hope Solo was turrible.

Everyone breaks down at Brandi’s party on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

After Camille Grammer reveals that Taylor Armstrong’s late husband physically abused his wife, everyone seems to confront everyone else at Brandi’s big party — and yet no one manages to say anything of consequence.

Meat Loaf curses out Gary Busey on Celebrity Apprentice

You do not want to take Meat Loaf’s sponges. Even if you did not take them, just don’t take them. Makes perfect sense.

Okay, that’s what stood out to us this year in wonderful/terrible reality TV behavior. Your turn!

Follow @adambvary

Read more:

The most horrifying but hypnotic reality TV eliminations (that you’re about to watch again!)

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