More to Love
Is there really more to love with those who have bigger…hearts? Fox’s reality show ran exactly like The Bachelor, but replaced the usual studs with a man who is over 300 pounds of lovin’, and typical size-two women with those flaunting ”real curves.” Naturally, cast plenty of women with self-esteem issues who felt the only way to overcome them was to — what else — air them on television.
A SHOT AT LOVE WITH TILA TEQUILA
Forget those icky twins, er, Ikki Twins who flirted with men, women, and incest in the clone follow-up A Double Shot at Love, this intoxicating show had the ”bisexual” bachelorette test her own sexual limits — and America’s — by unabashedly dry humping both boys and girls at the same time. Here’s to you, Tequila. You probably need the titular shot more than we do. —David Yi
BLIND DATE: UNCENSORED
When the granddaddy of all reality dating shows took it one step further by releasing the uncensored version on pay-per-view, the LOLs instantly turned into STFU moments. With the same awkwardness of blind dates caught on camera and snarky pop-up video comments running along the bottom of the screen, the show transformed itself from quirky to shameful. —David Yi
4. WHO WANTS TO MARRY A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE? (Fox, 2000)
Thank this two-hour special for the advent of reality TV nuptials. The importance of thorough background checks, though, was its more critical legacy: Not only was groom Rick Rockwell’s net worth questioned, it was also discovered that he had a restraining order against him. No wonder bride Darva Conger annulled the union in less than two weeks.
An island that serves as host to a sexual fiesta was the basic premise of this show, which encouraged couples to venture out and put their love (making) to the test. Staying faithful to your significant other? Boring. —David Yi
The Entertainer of Love
Aside from having one of the more inane titles — we kind of expected some juggling — this VH1 show seemed to exist solely to prove that middle-aged losers could still find someone to sleep with.
FLAVOR OF LOVE
Crazy but true: Flavor Flav is a genius. The pint-sized rapper single-handedly changed VH1 from a channel of coma-inducing music programming (remember Rock & Roll Jeopardy?) to the ”It” network for anything and everything trash-tastic. The clock-obsessed, gold-grilled former hype man for Public Enemy started a legit thing by creatively naming all of his sex kittens — one of whom landed her own spin-off I Love New York that, in turn, spawned several more in (Real Chance of Love, Frank The Entertainer in a Basement Affair). It even introduced Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson to her future husband. —David Yi
I LOVE NY
With a synthetic weave full of dreams, the woman known as New York leapt from Flavor Flav’s reality TV universe into one of her own. What the wise-cracking, cackling diva lacked in the love/integrity department she gained in notoriety, cementing herself in reality television history as possibly the most hated yet watchable fiend in skankertainment.
FARMER WANTS A WIFE
The farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife, heigh-ho, don’t make us watch any mo’, the farmer takes a wife.
9. BOY MEETS BOY (Bravo, 2003)
The first same-sex dating show could’ve been groundbreaking TV. Instead, viewers watched gay bachelor James Getzlaff romance 15 men; unbeknownst to him, almost half of them were just pretending to be gay. Cruel, offensive, and worst of all, boring. (See what Getzlaff is doing now.)
THE LITTLEST GROOM
With a promotional line of ”Good things come in small packages,” the show featured Glen Foster, a 4′?5” salesman, trying to find love among women of different heights. Thankfully, someone decided the world needed to see only two episodes of this series. Plus, with just 7.5 million viewers, the audience was pretty, uh, small. —Jessica Shaw
PLAYING IT STRAIGHT
Who’s gay, who’s straight, who in their right minds knows any more? In this show, a woman had to pick a man who might actually like her back. Of course, this man might actually be gay. What’s worse? Learning that the man of your dreams is gay, or being rejected by a totally straight guy because he’s just not into you?
It is apt that this Fox dating show forced suitors to wear masks at all times, because Lord knows I still want to hide my face for having watched it. While single gal Hayley dated dudes who looked like dopey rejects from Voldemort’s Death Eater army, I engaged in my own private shame spiral for actually sitting through a show hosted by Monica Lewinsky. —Dalton Ross
MARRIED BY AMERICA
A cross between American Idol and The Bachelor, the show had America vote for two people they thought were most compatible. And America is usually so right about stuff.
THE 5TH WHEEL
The math didn’t ever make it even, but the equation made sense: take two guys, two girls, then throw in a dark horse to stir things up. The producers didn’t know it at the time (2001), but they were tapping into our love for trashy reality before the genre even existed. Thank you, 5th Wheel! You paved a special path for all things spectacular, like Bret Michael’s Rock of Love.
This show had good intentions: Bring mommy along to help you pick the right girl. But in a quick and unsettling turn, it seemed like all too often the mothers were competing with the women for the affections of their own sons. One mom creepily went on about how her son was ”sexy, good looking, handsome, has great muscles, and great teeth.” That’s when we knew that the show was really about mothers who never wanted their boys to leave the nest.
You can take a Joe Shmoe out of Shmoe-ville but you can’t take the Shmoe-ville out of the Joe. That’s what happened on this awesomely disastrous show about a ”millionaire” construction worker looking for love. When it turned out that he was broke and, yipes, was actually a loser, we couldn’t help but feel for everyone involved. Though, not so much for the girl who fell for him.
Change of Heart
What happens after the honeymoon stage ends in your relationship? The beauty of this delightful show was that it forced couples to make that decision by hooking them up on a date with someone new. Often, we were satisfied when the couple kept it together, but when they didn’t, and when hair began flying everywhere, we rejoiced all the same.