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Top 10 Most Awkward Reality TV Moments

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
You get a surge of adrenaline when you watch these, even when you’re just sitting on the sidelines. For this list, we’re looking at reality shows that showcase people from different walks of life competing for cash, a contract, a relationship or a title. Our list includes The Amazing Race, Project Runway, The Bachelor, America's Next Top Model, Survivor and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Most Entertaining Reality Competition Series.
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Top 10 Most Awkward Reality TV Moments


This divisive type of programming has the habit of catching stars at their worst and most uncomfortable. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten most awkward reality TV moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the most awkward and hilarious things ever captured on reality television. We’re defining “reality TV” as shows that document unscripted events and/or follows its subjects’ personal lives. Game shows and news fails won’t be included, as those generally aren’t considered “reality TV.”

#10: Rob Accidentally Takes a Male Enhancement Pill

“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” (2007-)
This is embarrassing on so many levels. After Kris obtains male enhancement pills from her friend, she slips some into Bruce’s coffee. However, Rob intercepts the second cup, resulting in a two-hour erection and a hospital visit. Kris and Bruce then visit Rob in the hospital, resulting in a supremely embarrassed Rob sporting an erection around his parents. If that wasn’t humiliating enough, Kris is forced to admit to her family that she had slipped Bruce erection pills. Just imagine being Rob here – awkwardly sporting an erection in front of your parents while they are discussing their sex lives and the use of male enhancement pills.

#9: Baby Madonna

“Toddlers & Tiaras” (2009-16)
To be honest, we could probably put every episode and segment of “Toddlers & Tiaras” on this list, but arguably no moment was more controversial than Baby Madonna. The Madonna impersonator in question is Mia, a two-year-old beauty child pageant competitor. These contests are problematic enough as is, but her outfit is even more egregious – a gold bustier complete with cone breasts, modeled after sex icon Madonna. You know, the outfit she wore while she famously feigned touching herself during the Blond Ambition Tour? It’s not something you ever put a two-year-old in, and it was met with fierce backlash by the mainstream media. It was not just awkward – it was reprehensible.

#8: Snooki Is Punched in the Face

“Jersey Shore” (2009-12)
Snooki being punched directly in the face is now reality TV history, and it is every bit as iconic and awkward today as it was back in 2009. In the show’s first season, Snooki was brutally punched in the face by high school teacher Brad Ferro, who was later fired from his position at Queens Community High School. The punch itself was widely shared across the internet and made Snooki a national celebrity. MTV later pulled the footage and called it “extremely disturbing,” but not before it had used the punch in promos and made “Jersey Shore” and Snooki household names. Funny how that works, huh?

#7: “Go Big or Go Home!”

“Vanderpump Rules” (2013-)
Reality tv usually centers on an egocentric cast, but rarely are the stars as overtly vain and shallow as this. In the fourth season of “Vanderpump Rules,” Jax admitted that he was falling back into bad habits. To perk himself up, he convinces his girlfriend Brittany to get a “full D” breast enlargement. While she was considering a C-cup, Jax managed to convince her to go bigger, telling her in an incredibly obnoxious manner, “It’s not just for you. It’s for me.” Worse, he later complained about helping her after the surgery, calling his help “serious boyfriend duty.” It made for really awkward TV, and it just made us feel bad for poor Brittany.

#6: Aviva Takes Off Her Prosthetic Leg

“The Real Housewives of New York City” (2008-)
This show is full of ridiculous and childish behavior, but this is on another level. After Aviva’s co-stars accused her of embellishing her asthma, Aviva responded in the intelligent and mature way of slamming her prosthetic leg on the table. Everyone was understandably shocked; it’s a weird move. However, it seems as if Aviva was fully aware of how inappropriate the action was, as she later told HuffPost Live that she did it for the drama. In her own words, “Would I ever do that in real life? No. But there were several cameras around me, and was I thinking about making a show and be[ing] entertaining? Yes, absolutely.”

#5: Asia’s Butterfly Fail

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (2009-)
If you’re going to attempt some dramatic flourish onstage, best to make sure it actually works before the big moment. On the season 10 finale of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Asia had planned to release some butterflies from her chest and wrist compartments during the lip sync in an “amazing... display of optimism.” Unfortunately, the butterflies were feeling a little lazy that day. Most of them simply stayed put in their little compartment, while others just fell to the floor after Asia forced them out. The horrified (and hilarious) reactions from the audience say it all. This fail instantly became a meme, and Asia was rightfully eliminated from the competition, placing fourth.

#4: Tiffany vs. Tyra

“America’s Next Top Model” (2003-15; 2016-)
Is there anything more awkward than watching two people scream at each other? Well, in this case it’s one person screaming while the other sheepishly takes it, but the point still stands! After Tiffany was eliminated from the fourth cycle, Tyra criticized her seemingly careless attitude and for treating the competition like a joke. And when Tiffany fought back by explaining her side, Tyra exploded in a scene right out of an Oscar-winning drama, complete with tear-choked lines like “I was rooting for you!” and “you take responsibility for yourself!” We never saw Tyra explode like this, and it made for really uncomfortable viewing.

#3: Why Mohamed Has Stopped Having Sex with Danielle

“90 Day Fiancé” (2014-)
You see, this is what is wrong with reality TV. Sure, we’ve had some fun before this, but the idea of cameras capturing such a personal and intimate conversation like this is just…wrong. It makes us feel voyeuristic and dirty. Here we see Mohamed and Danielle talking about their sex life (or lack thereof) and how Danielle threatened to have Mohamed deported if he didn’t sleep with her. Danielle further explains that Mohamed has told people that she smells (she does, says Mohamed) and that she has “peed on him,” prompting many bewildered looks. Everyone is clearly uncomfortable talking about this, and we are just as uncomfortable watching it.

#2: Josh & Emily’s Kiss

“Love at First Kiss” (2016)
Many of us have experienced awkward first kisses. But the next time you’re lying awake and thinking about your God-awful first romantic impression, take comfort in knowing that it couldn’t have been any worse than Josh’s. The whole concept of this show is having complete strangers kiss each other and seeing if anything sparks. Nothing sparked between Josh and Emily. Imagine that. We watched in horror as inexperienced kisser Josh approached Emily with a really creepy and uncomfortable smile before lightly smooching her cheek, weirdly embracing her, and walking away. We are forced to watch through our fingers, because this is just too much. Anyone who didn’t physically recoil from this wins one MsMojo point.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Chicken of the Sea
“Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica” (2003-05)

Smelly Toosie Noots
“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” (2012-14)

Pumkin Spits in New York’s Face
“Flavor of Love” (2006-08)

#1: Jason Dumps Melissa

“The Bachelor” (2002-)
Well, you don’t see this every day on “The Bachelor,” that’s for sure. Though it was shot a month and a half after the filming of the main episodes, the “After the Final Rose” special aired right after the season finale was broadcast. It followed Jason as he dumped winner Melissa to get with Molly. This is another instance of cameras capturing a moment of incredible intimacy, and it again made us feel terrible for gobbling it up as entertainment. How would you feel if your fiancé dumped you on national television in front of about 15 million people? Luckily everything worked out for Melissa, as she married Tye Strickland and had three children with him - but in the moment, our hearts were shattered for the poor woman.
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