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Top 10 Times Reality TV Went Too Far

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Regan Fischer
Sometimes reality is really too much. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we are counting down the Top Ten Times Reality TV Went Too Far. For this list we are looking at those moments from reality TV that pushed the proverbial envelope. These are the grossest, most shocking and head-turning sequences that have ever come to our TV screens straight from real life. Written by Regan Fischer
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Sometimes reality is really too much. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we are counting down the Top Ten Times Reality TV Went Too Far.

For this list we are looking at those moments from reality TV that pushed the proverbial envelope. These are the grossest, most shocking and head-turning sequences that have ever come to our TV screens straight from real life.

#10: Kutcher Punks Timberlake

“Punk’d” (2003-07; 2012; 2015)
Back before Ashton Kutcher was a husband and father, he was a young celebrity hosting a show about pranking his friends. These pranks ranged from the outlandish to downright hilarious, and were all on our favorite celebrities. But in one instance, he definitely went a little too hard on his pal Justin Timberlake. In this featured prank, fake IRS agents are called to Justin Timberlake’s Hollywood home to repossess all of his belongings. This cruel joke ended with Timberlake in tears and frantically making phone calls. We’re all for a little fun and games here at WatchMojo but taking somebody's dogs seems a little harsh.

#9: Shocking Transformations

“Extreme Makeover” (2002-07)
The premise of a show which features vulnerable contestants yearning for a change to their appearance is disturbing enough, but after the first episode aired, the seamy underbelly of this show was clear. In “Extreme Makeover” people undergo elective surgery to go from so-called ugly ducklings to swans. In 2005 the episode featured the youngest contestant ever, Katie Cox. who came in to fix her severe jaw deformity. She told a heartbreaking story of the bullying she had endured because of her appearance, but the surgery she went through was so brutal the surgeon had to break her jaw and completely reconstruct it.

#8: Jeff Bites Off Lizard’s Head

“Naked and Afraid (2013-)
In this dramatic fight to the death, survivalist Jeff Zausch took out his built up hunger on unsuspecting prey. After hours of hunting for a tiny lizard in the heat of Madagascar, Zausch finally captures the little rascal, and in a truly Ozzy Osbourne-esque display, bites off its head. The lizard did serve as an extravagant meal for starving naked people in the wild, so that’s a pretty good legacy for a little lizard to leave behind. Zausch went on to compete on “Naked and Afraid XL”.

#7: Repo Man Threatened with Gun

“Repo Games” (2011-12)
“Repo Games” was a short-lived reality game show that featured real life individuals whose cars were repossessed, but who were then given a chance to win them back through a game of trivia. One of the more dangerous entries on our list, in this episode, a man becomes so aggravated that he pulls a gun on Tom DeTone. Now, this host had faced some seriously difficult situations before but having a gun pointed straight at your face takes the cake. DeTone later stated that his whole life flashed before him; but, luckily, security was on the scene and quick to defuse the tension.

#6: Teen Mom Pressured to Give Up Baby

“16 and Pregnant” (2009-14)

Hey, look, if we’re being honest, we could choose more than one episode of this doc-style MTV show. But even putting aside the program’s debatably exploitative nature, the particular story of Lori Wickelhaus was just so heartbreaking. This Catholic school girl was heavily pressured by her religious, adoptive parents to give up her as-yet unborn son for adoption, despite Lori’s own misgivings. And without her baby daddy Cory’s financial or emotional support, she eventually gave in. It’s certainly not for us to judge what she should have done, but damn the whole process was hard to watch.

#5: Outing on “Survivor”

“Survivor” (2000-)
Your sexual identity and how you wish to make it known, or not known, to others, is the right of the individual. On this upsetting episode of Survivor, tribe member Jeff Varner found it necessary to out his fellow competitor Zeke Smith as being transgender. Whatever plot to sabotage Smith Varner had planned, completely backfired as it caused him to look like an insensitive jerk. What’s so upsetting about the outing is that Varner himself identifies as a gay man so he knew the hurt that bringing this up could cause his fellow LGBTQ community member.

#4: Children Dressed Wildly Inappropriately

“Toddlers & Tiaras” (2009-16)
Some parents would do anything in their power to keep their young ones from growing up too fast, but this concept seems fairly impossible in the world of toddler pageantry. One of the most shocking examples came in this show when a child came out in Madonna’s infamous cone bra. That incident can only be beat by the mother who thought an appropriate outfit was one similar to the one Julia Roberts wore when she played a prostitute in “Pretty Woman”. Both incidents were met with outrage from audience members and judges alike..

#3: Big Brother Gets Racist

“Big Brother” (2000-)
In one of the most controversial seasons in “Big Brother” history, housemates exhibited increasingly worse homophobic and racist behavior. Season 15 brought us housemate Aaryn Gries, at the time a 23-year-old girl from San Angelo, Texas, who saw no problem saying things which called out other houseguests by exploiting their race or sexuality. When finally evicted, Aaryn was greeted by Julie Chen who was anxious to question her antics. Gries’ best response to the accusations was simply . . . that that’s how people talk in Texas.Yeesh.

#2: Snooki Sucker Punched

“Jersey Shore” (2009-12)
In the first season of this notorious show, things rapidly got a little much . . . and physical. During a night of inebriation, Snooki got into an altercation with a man who swiftly sucker-punched her in the face. The infamous “meatball” of New Jersey could sometimes be hard to get along with, due to her outgoing personality and drunken antics, but this hit came way out of nowhere. Thankfully, Snooki was not severely hurt and the man was arrested.

#1: Donkey Juice

“Fear Factor” (2001-06; 2011-12; 2017-)
Fear Factor has always been a show that tests the boundaries of humankind, and in this case they pushed those boundaries further than we’d like to go. Think about the grossest thing you would do for $50K; now think about doing that on live television. Still convinced that you would do it? Well, now imagine that the act you were asked to do was drinking a full cup of donkey semen while your friend chugged a glass of donkey urine. This is what two twin contestants once had to do to win; and shockingly enough, they completed the challenge. But the episode was pulled from the air.
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