Top 10 Reality Shows That Wouldn’t Get Made Today



Top 10 Reality Shows That Wouldn't Get Made Today

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Vanessa Lee
These are the reality shows that wouldn't get made today. For this list, we'll be looking at ridiculous, cringe-worthy, and outright offensive shows that would either get canceled at first pitch or shamed straight off the air today. Our countdown includes “Playing It Straight,” “Toddlers and Tiaras,” “Are You Hot?,” and more!
There was a point in time where nothing was off the table for reality TV. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reality Shows That Wouldn’t Get Made Today.

For this list, we’ll be looking at ridiculous, cringe-worthy, and outright offensive shows that would either get canceled at first pitch or shamed straight off the air today.

#10: “I Want a Famous Face” (2004-05)

Starting off our list with a show that brilliantly mixes body shame with toxic celebrity idolization, it’s probably safe to say that in today’s world, ’I Want a Famous Face’ would get canceled faster you could say ‘nose job.’ The show follows the journey of young men and women who undergo various cosmetic surgeries in hopes of acquiring their favorite celebrities’ defined jawlines, slender bodies, and full breasts. ‘I Want a Famous Face’ exploits the unhealthy desires of its participants, encouraging and broadcasting life-altering decisions that they will most likely come to regret. In the current age where body positivity and self-acceptance are increasingly being celebrated, this show just wouldn’t fly.

#9: “Playing It Straight” (2004)

I think we can all agree that in 2020, ‘gaydar’ is not a real thing. Well back in 2004, ‘Playing it Straight’ based its premise off this problematic concept as it had a woman pick her suitor out of a group of men – many of which were gay. She would attempt to weed out the contestants she detected as being gay before singling out one man at the end of the season as her (hopefully) straight beau. But if he did turn out to be gay, he would leave the show with every penny of the prize money. The show relies on malicious trickery and baseless guessing of sexuality, that just would not go over well today.

#8: “The Moment of Truth” (2008-09)

Would you reveal your darkest secrets for half a million dollars? Contestants of ‘The Moment of Truth,’ thought they could when they went on the game show that awarded cash prizes for honest answers to extremely personal questions. Using a polygraph, contestants answered questions that were broadcasted to everyone they knew, plus anyone else who happened to be tuning in. Feeding into the schadenfreude of its audience, the show dangled fortune in front of its contestants to make potentially life-ruining confessions, sometimes with devastating consequences. This malicious entertainment just would not sit well with today’s audience. Thus, it shouldn't be surprised that an entire season went unaired... or that it was brought to you by Fox.

#7: “There’s Something About Miriam” (2004)

Although, ironically, the series did break ground by being the first to present the world with an openly trans reality star, it’s easy to imagine how this problematic show would get ripped to shreds in the current age. Today, mainstream media still has much to learn about celebrating trans identity, ‘There’s Something About Miriam’s’ reckless perpetuation of dangerous myths was an abomination that would not be tolerated in today’s age. On the show, six contestants tried to win the affections of Mexican model Miriam Rivera, but her trans identity would be kept from them until the very end. Instead of honoring Miriam’s identity, the show uses it to at best fetishize trans-women, and at worst shock contestants and perpetuate essentialist myths of trans people ‘deceiving’ others.

#6: “Toddlers and Tiaras” (2009-16)

Combine children, beauty pageants, and package it for a home audience and you'll get some surefire chaotic results. The mega-popular TLC show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ gaves viewers at home a glimpse into the controversial world of child beauty pageants. Following the lives of contestants and their families across America, the show exposed various aspects of these pageants that we would doubtlessly deem problematic today. From stuffing their kids chests to getting them to smoke fake cigarettes on stage, the show’s pageants parents got up to some questionable antics that we can only shake our heads at today, and probably should have back then.

#5: “Bridalplasty” (2010-11)

If wedding planning wasn’t stressful enough to begin with, imagine adding a complete overhaul of your appearance to your to-do list. On the 2010 E! Network show ‘Bridalplasty,’ twelve brides-to-be competed not only for their dream wedding but also every plastic surgery procedure they desired before their big day. Heavily criticized at the time of its release for glamorizing plastic surgery and preying on the insecurities and unhealthy desires of its contestants, we can only imagine the show’s reception if it were to come out now. Stripping marriage of all substance and focusing only on superficial aspects, it’s hard to imagine this show sitting well with modern viewers, but then again, given it's lowly ratings it was clearly out of touch even in 2010.

#4: “Boy Meets Boy” (2003)

If reality dating shows weren’t controversial enough, ‘Boy Meets Boy’ throws in a twist that will have you cringing. The American 2003 TV series followed a gay man, James Getzlaff, as he weeded through fifteen men to find his one true love. However, unbeknownst to him and his fellow gay cast mates, many of these men were actually straight and merely pretending to be gay to win the show’s prize money. It's fair to think that in this day and age, we can all agree that feigning sexuality is no laughing matter and can have harmful consequences. As society is progressively learning to celebrate all sexualities, this tasteless show simply has no place in it.

#3: “My Husband’s Not Gay” (2015)

Sexuality and religion is a mix that is sure to stir up some controversy. ‘My Husband’s Not Gay’ explores this testy theme as it follows four Mormon couples whose husbands, though admitting to being attracted to other men, claim not to be gay. Because a ‘gay lifestyle’ would go against their Mormon beliefs, they choose to not lean into their ‘same-sex attraction.’ The show stirred up quite the controversy at the time of its release, with many believing that it supported the rejection of one’s sexual identity. Given that, it's crazy to think this ever got green-lit, but easy to see why it seemingly disappeared without a trace. Imagine the plethora of critical thinkpieces that would be written if it were to come out today!

#2: “Are You Hot?” (2003)

Well it’s all in the title – this ABC reality show’s premise is cleverly summed up in three words, ‘Are You Hot?’ Thousands of Americans lined up to participate in this reality competition show, eager to find out the answer to this fateful question from a panel of celebrity judges and the rest of America watching at home. With the only criteria being face, body, and sex appeal, a man and woman would be crowned the ‘sexiest people in America’ at the end of the show. Zeroing in on peoples’ physical attraction as their defining trait, nitpicking their facial features and body parts, and seeing ‘hotness’ as an objective scale – none of these offenses would be considered acceptable now, especially on mainstream, network television.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

"Kid Nation" (2007)
“Lord of the Flies” Was Fiction for a Reason, People

“The Pickup Artist” (2007-08)
Because Real Connection Can’t Be Taught

“Best Funeral Ever” (2013-14)
Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

“Next” (2005-08)
Who Wants Their Date to be Compensated for Their Time

“Who’s Your Daddy” (2005)
Finding Your Biological Parent Should Not Involve Prize Money

#1: “The Swan” (2004)

Basing its title off of the fairytale ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ 2004 reality show ‘The Swan’ is far uglier than any of its contestants it attempted to correct. The show invited a cast of women they deemed ‘ugly’ to go through drastic surgical transformations in hopes of being crowned ‘The Swan’ at the end of the season. Each contestant was assigned a humble team of a coach, therapist, trainer, cosmetic surgeons, and a dentist, all nitpicking aspects of their physical appearance that they just had to fix. In the current age where superficiality is increasingly rejected and inner beauty celebrated, every aspect of this show just seems absolutely ridiculous.