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10 Weirdest Reality Television Shows

Kathy Zerbib |
March 14, 2013 | 2:31 a.m. PDT

Associate Entertainment Editor

Alana Thompson and her mother June Shannon were originally on "Toddlers and Tiaras," until they received their own TLC spinoff, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (Twitpic).
Alana Thompson and her mother June Shannon were originally on "Toddlers and Tiaras," until they received their own TLC spinoff, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (Twitpic).

From wedding preparations to child pageants to dating competitions, there's a reality show out there on just about any topic that seems mildly interesting. Some have received positive viewer attention, like "The Bachelor," while wackier ideas have profited simply by being mindless entertainment, like "Jersey Shore." Yes, these shows have ridiculous plots, but they can be quite hilarious to watch when nothing else is on. Out of the diverse pack, there are quite a few head-scratchers that beg the question, "What were the show's producers even thinking?!" We not-so-proudly present 10 (Trust us, there's a lot more than just these 10!) of the strangest, most absurd concepts for reality television shows imaginable. Be warned - the ridiculousness of their plots might make you face-palm.  

"Buckwild," MTV

Two words: Redneck “Jersey.” Same roommates concept (This time in West Virginia), similar party scene, but with a lot more mud and (Dare it be said?) trashier moments. How MTV possibly considered this concept to be the next big thing is a complete mystery. The roommates tan with motor oil and poke each other with toothpicks for entertainment… What? For an imitation of this caliber, one would at least hope that it could match the legacy of “Jersey Shore.” It unfortunately does not. If a show like this HAS to be on the air, “Jersey Shore” would be the saner pick.


"Tool Academy," Vh1

This competitive reality show initially said it would bring together a group of the most egotistical, immature people in the country to compete for the title of “Mr. Awesome” (An equally ridiculous concept…). The contestants were actually enlisted into a boot camp to become better partners to their significant other. They participated in challenges to earn badges like Fidelity, Trust, Dedication, and Modesty. The last one standing would win $100,000. All in all, it was a weak attempt to make an absurd topic interesting. These “tools” did not change… they merely smartened up when they discovered the hefty reward being offered to them. Sure, we can hope otherwise. But, really, if they were nominated for a show like “Tool Academy,” how quick could they be to change?


"Duck Dynasty," A&E

There is really no excuse for the popularity that “Duck Dynasty” continues to relish in. The show follows the lives of the Robertsons, a Louisiana family that operates a thriving million-dollar business. The heavily bearded family creates products for duck hunters, like the duck call. If ever proof was needed, the Robertsons are a symbol that money does not always change people. With that being said, they are also a symbol of the low standard that producers suddenly have. America has somehow fallen in love with this family, but it could just be because their rags-to-riches story is admirable and viewers are studying how the heck the family achieved it.


"Toddlers & Tiaras," TLC

At this point, TLC is starting to stand for Totally Ludicrous Calamities, a reference to the quality of shows they put out. “Toddlers & Tiaras,” a show about child pageants and borderline child abuse, is a prime example. There is something so wrong about a show that promotes fake-tanning a toddler and forcing her to wear fake eyelashes.  These children cry and often times voice their desire to stop competing, but their strict stage moms aren’t hearing it. Even worse, the show creates so much exposure for these young girls that the attention only adds to the appeal to join pageants. 


"Date My Mom," MTV

In the older days of “Next” and “Parental Control,” MTV also launched “Date My Mom” about – You guessed it! – a hopeless romantic going on three dates with different moms. The moms try to convince the dater to pick their son or daughter and, in the end, the dater has to choose which mom impressed him or her most and make a decision. First of all, how uncomfortable does that have to be for the person going on three dates? They have to meet Mom before even meeting their boyfriend or girlfriend. As the children of strict, serious parents will tell you, it takes a certain kind of parent who would even be okay with embarking on such a weird adventure like “Date My Mom.” It was awkward to watch and probably scripted, anyway.



The children of "19 Kids & Counting" (Twitpic).
The children of "19 Kids & Counting" (Twitpic).
"19 Kids & Counting," TLC

As much as America loves cute babies, do we really need to glorify a family with this much offspring? TLC invites you to follow this unconventional family around to see for yourself how profitable it can be to have 19 children in your home. The “& Counting” part is most uncomfortable… Isn’t 19 more than enough already?! Apparently not for Michelle Duggar, who shared that she would love to add even a 20th child to the family.



"Virgin Diaries," TLC

This show might just win the award for Most Awkward Reality Show… EVER. TLC made this show to feature sexually inexperienced individuals living in a very sexualized culture. Some of their honorable guests include a couple who have never shared a first kiss until their wedding day, let alone had sexual intercourse. Needless to say, this show and the couple’s kissing scene were both extremely cringe-worthy. We get it, not everyone’s doing IT. What’s the point?


"Parking Wars," A&E

This show literally follows the lives of the jerks who ticket our cars, tow our precious modes of transportation, and hassle us at the impound office. The best part of the show? For once, we get to watch other people suffer from experiences many of us had with parking officials and laugh at them. When average citizens like us start getting loud with parking officials on TV, we join in from our couches (and sometimes we feel a little bad for the parking officials AKA public enemies). What a cruel and twisted time killer. 


"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," TLC

Bless TLC for their astounding ability to give spinoffs to the most embarrassing citizens of America. Remember Alana Thompson and her mother June Shannon from “Toddlers and Tiaras,” mentioned earlier? TLC gave Alana and the rest of her family their own shows, as if their wild antics really needed to be televised. We, as the people of this glorious country, can only hope that the rest of the world won’t use this family as a symbol of what it means to be an American (We’d like to think that would be a great mistake).



"Bridalplasty," E! Network

For some very obscure reason, E! Network decided it would be a fantastic idea to create a show where 12 women would compete in wedding-themed challenges to win their dream wedding. Each win in a challenge rewards a bride-to-be with a plastic-surgery procedure. With such a winning concept that promotes (Ahem!) self-confidence issues and little self-satisfaction, once can only wonder: How did this show only air for one year? Could it be the superficiality that just had to be ripped off the network? And where’s the grooms’ version of this show? 


Reach Kathy Zerbib here; Follow her on Twitter here.



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