10 Of The Most Bizarre, And Occasionally Unethical, Reality Shows To Ever Grace Our Television Sets

8 months ago 5

I can't believe some of these shows were even allowed to be aired...

These days nothing is off limits for reality T.V. If you can imagine it, there's probably been a reality show about it. Here are 10 of the most bizarre, unethical, or just plain trashy reality TV shows to ever grace our televisions sets.

1. Cheaters

American Forces Network

Okay, don't judge me because I loved this show back in the day, and I'm not alone, either, seeing as how it had a 21 year run (2000-2021). Filmed in Dallas, Texas, the entire premise of the show was to catch suspected cheaters in the act. The drama that ensued was just a perk. This had to make the list though, because host Joey Greco was stabbed on air during an altercation in 2003. And to add to the drama, the stabbing was allegedly completely staged (it's unclear if the entire show is staged, but Dallas has more cheaters per capita than any other city, so odds are some of them are real). Want to watch? It goes where all quality programming ends up, the Roku Channel! Happy streaming!

2. I Wanna Marry Harry

A man who looks like prince harry (but honestly not THAT much like prince harry) surrounded by a group of adoring women

20thcentfox / ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

A reality show circa 2014 that tricked women into thinking they were going to marry the eligible Prince Harry. But wait it gets worse. In a 2015 interview with Fusion TV, contestant Kimberly Birch explained that the production crew "really messed with us", and "were really trying everything they possibly could to convince us that [Hicks] was [Harry]", including having a member of the crew pose as a therapist who told the contestants that they needed to stop doubting the situation. Ultimately, Birch compared it to brainwashing. Brainwashing young women into thinking they're going to marry Prince Harry, only to later reveal they've been lied to this entire time and then laughed at them on national television? Classy. It gets a stellar 23% rating on TV guide.com. 

3. Next

two next contestants, one a 21 year old man named stache who's a proud vegetarian, lives in a christian fraternity house, and is afraid of muppets, and a woman named shannon who loves to freestyle rap in her care and is afraid of not going to heaven


Every '90s baby remembers Next. IMDd describes it as "A reality based dating show in which five dates have been lined up for the contestant. The contestant can opt to declare 'Next' at any time to reject his current option and carry on with the next, or, if rejecting all five, go home alone with a monetary consolation prize." However, it's essentially live-action Tinder, and all I remember from Next were the crude phrases the contestants shouted out, all while looking like contestants fresh off Jersey Shore

4. Best Funeral Ever

best funeral ever written out as a flower arrangement


This one falls in the "bizarre" category. It's a show about funerals. Yes, you read that right, the premise of the show is simply celebrating people's lives in the most over the top way possible. This aired in 2013 on TLC, and unfortunately we only got one season. You see every kind of funeral, from Elvis impersonators to Santa impersonators to Candyland-themed funerals and even one that takes place in a wrestling ring. This show was both delightful and morbid. Filmed at the iconic Golden Gates funeral home in Dallas, Texas, there's something endearing about this one. 

5. Kid Nation

a group of kids in bandanas who look kind of over it cooking a meal in a dilapidated barn

Cbs / ©CBS/Courtesy Everett Collection

This one is straight unethical and hard to watch. Kid Nation, which aired in 2007, is about 40 8-15 year old children and teens who take on an abandoned summer camp and try to form their own society. The living conditions were abysmal. One outhouse for 40 kids and no running water until after the first challenge. Ambulances were called at least twice in the show's 13 episode run as children burned themselves with grease and accidentally drank bleach. While producers claim 200 adults were nearby at all times, it's a common rule in reality TV that you don't interfere with the subjects. There's been a resurgence of interest in this one, as it's gained a cult following in recent years. 

6. Bridalplasty

Four brides, one holding a bouquet or scalpels, needles, scissors, and syringes


Another one season wonder, airing in 2010. The show followed 12 brides-to-be who competed in challenges weekly for their dream wedding and dream plastic surgery procedures. The groom would not see his bride until her wedding day, when all of her plastic surgery was complete. Celebrity doctor, Dr. Dubrow, was the one helping the girls go under the knife. This show was widely criticized for pushing the bounds of medical ethics. 

7. The Swan

A perfectly beautiful woman on the left wearing glasses, a ponytail, and a t-shirt, and that same woman on the right with a blowout, pearls, and a full face of makeup


Again featuring celebrity Dr. Dubrow, this is another plastic surgery centered television show. Yet another show that couldn't make it beyond Season 1, each episode centers around two "ugly ducklings" for three months at a time while they undergo plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, and head-to-toe makeovers. At the very end all the women compete in a beauty pageant and the winner is given the title "The Swan". The series was widely criticized for promoting body image issues and multiple contestants on the show have come forward to state their regret for being on the show. Producers were accused of editing the dialogue of one constant's husband to make it sound like he didn't enjoy being married to her due to her appearance. 

8. The OCD Project


This show, which aired in 2010, centers around six patients with OCD who are in intensive 21 day treatment, with clinical psychologist Dr. Tomlin, who is using an extreme method of exposure therapy. Look, this show tried to be educational and raise awareness about a mental health disorder that was not as well known at the time. However, it feels a little bit exploitative of vulnerable people. I mean, you do root for the patients to do well, but I can't help but feel like this show never should have been made (filming vulnerable people at a low point in their lives seems icky). 

9. Toddler and Tiaras

A toddler saying i'm tired of this pageant can I get some chicken nuggets


This mega-popular reality show aired on TLC from 2009-2013. A show that follows the lives of children and their parents as they're hyped up on sugar and energy drinks and pushed to their limits to perform in full glitz pageants. Not to mention, they're dressed up in costumes that sometimes cross the line like a Dolly Parton costume with sewn-in fake implants, or a Pretty Woman costume. They also wear heavy makeup and fake hair, and go spray tanning, which just seems too over the top for young girls. Plus double exploiting kids (once in the pageant and again on TV) is just all around gross. 

10. Buying Naked

A for sale sign that says buying naked


Again, this one falls into the "bizarre" category. Airing in 2013 for only one season on TLC, this show follows a real estate agent that sells exclusively to her nudist customers. Simple right? My favorite part of the show is seeing all the creative ways the producers of the show cover up the nudist's NSFW parts that you can't air on cable. 

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