Reality shows that have become unwatchable.

This is not to say shows you never watched because you never liked them. These are shows that you once enjoyed but now do not watch because you actively dislike them.

  1. The Biggest Loser.
    Let’s start off that Allison Sweeney is horrible - even by soap actor standards. The in-show commercials are ridiculous and they can’t make up their mind what they are about. Is it a show about losing weight and cutting people who can’t perform or is it a contest and there is a game to play to make sure you win. Now I can handle the crying and emotional turmoil but I cannot stand how people constantly say, “I need to be here!” as justification for someone else leaving. Look - you’re all blue whale size (TBL has long since gotten away from normal obese Americans and now has people classified as continents) and so you ALL need to be there but they cry like they’re 500lbs about to drop dead and the other guy is looking to lose 5 maybe 10 lbs.

  2. American Idol
    Yawn. When was the last time they showed the horrible auditions? How far can someone advance if they are at all different? It seems like the judges goal is to have a slate of people who sing great and sound like everyone else in Hollywood trying to make it big. But what really pissed me off was one year there was a kid maybe 16, overweight and social awkward. I want to say his name was Jace. His group in Vegas kicked him out (for no musical reason other than he didn’t fit their image of cool kids) well after midnight. Luckily Geddy Lee lookalike (who was the last person cut that year) had a group that took him in. And Jace (ITIHN) almost made it to the top 20. I was so pissed that the producers would allow that and let a situation where a singer wouldn’t have a group happen although they did change the rules slightly the next year.

  3. The Amazing Race
    At first it started by changing rules to form bunching points so no team could really get a lead so what’s the point of you know - racing? Now they allow shared answers and teams to follow other teams so I honestly don’t see how strategy is any use over luck. Teams can (and have) won based on doing nothing on their own so why should I watch and “ability-based” contest that is 95% luck and alliances and 5% actual ability? Don’t we have Survivor for that?

Top Chef.

Padma has always been a complete asshole and she brings nothing to the show, but Tom was great through the first bunch of seasons. Lately though, he’s become more and more of an a-hole. I don’t know if he’s just become too full of himself or if he thinks being more of a dick gets better ratings. But yeah, it’s getting exceedingly hard to watch him strut around like an arrogant prick with a sneer of contempt on his face.

I find all of them unwatchable now. I can’t think of one reality show I still watch.

I loved the first season of Bar Rescue. It was fun and believable.

Now it’s shouting and unbelievable owners who deserve to fail.

Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. The former is so obviously stacked with people who have no chance of winning, it makes a mockery of the competition; in the latter, the restaurants wouldn’t be so fucked up if the people running them weren’t beyond hope as well.

I used to like Mystery Diners until I found out it was staged. I have my doubts about Restaurant Stakeout too.

Cheaters has gotten worse since that new douchebag took over as host, and I never thought that was possible.

Undercover Boss. The real world is known for its stubborn refusal to do things according to humans’ plans, but Undercover Boss has managed to come up with a formula and to make each episode fit perfectly into that formula. Hard-working, cheerful employee secretly caring for aged parents/disabled siblings? Check. Bright, creative young employee who just needs a little mentoring on the management track? Check. Woefully underpaid, but crucially important, staff member who hasn’t gotten a raise since the Clinton administration? Check. Boss humbled by his experience working among the common people, who promises to appreciate the employees more, because, after all, the company is nothing without them? Double-plus check!

I want to see an episode where the boss doesn’t learn a fucking thing from his/her experience among the plebes. I want to see the episode where the boss goes to a franchise location, only to discover that pretty much everyone, manager included, really IS a colossal fuckup. I want to see the episode where the young employee says “I don’t see a future in working here,” and when offered training on the management track says, “No, you don’t understand - there is NOTHING that could make me want to work for this company in a permanent capacity.” Shit, I want to see the episode in which it becomes clear that the boss is the company’s single biggest problem. I want to see explosions and fistfights!

Pretty much everything except Survivor. It’s a game, an actual game, and so it works.

I liked the Joe Schmo show as well.

…you would be interested in watching some of the other versions of the show made in other countries. I was a bit shocked watching the UK version at how “not to formula” the episode was. In the one episode I saw the boss was seriously shocked with what she saw and the end of the programme was full of disciplinary action and major changes. And no big cash prizes. Although someone got to spend the morning at a spa.

The same with the original Kitchen Nightmares. You could watch an episode and learn things. It wasn’t like a five act play with a predictable ending.

Cool! I’ll have to hunt down some of the non-US episodes.

Oh, yeah. Dumbing-down is a prerequisite for any American version of an imported format.

Next Food Network Star. You can’t even get onto the show unless you have a sob story about a dead relative and can relate everything you cook to how that dead relative made you a cook.

Storage Wars. I liked the first season, even if it was staged and Dave was a jerk. It’s gotten more and more moronic and EVERYONE’S a jerk. None of whom can act. I haven’t watched it in ages, and from the promos, I’m not missing anything.

So many. The common element for me seems to be obvious producer interference. It’s like they have to amp everything up and increase the volume and excitement. I think earlier shows were allowed to sort of evolve organically and that was the appeal. Now, you can spot where they re-shot for added drama. Or something.

But then, I grew up in the old Candid Camera days.

I couldn’t agree more.

Hell’s Kitchen comes to mind. We loved watching it until one season (I forget which one, likely around 2010) when it seemed to change from being all about the cooking to all about the drama. I turned to my husband and said “You know what happened? They fired their producers and hired the producers from Jerry Springer.” We haven’t enjoyed it since and stopped watching a while ago.

I’ve never watched the show, but I’ve wondered - how do they explain the supposedly undercover boss being followed by a camera crew to the other workers?

I wouldn’t be that harsh but yeah, Tom’s phoning it in these days and Padma, one of the most beautiful women in the world IMO, seems to always have a sneer on her face, ruining the whole effect. If they are tired of the show they should move on.

All the reality shows depending on the same manufatured drama - Artificial deadlines, personality conflicts and long drumrolls while we wait, tensely, for the winners and losers to be announced. They rarely have more than 15 minutes of content related to their subject in a hour of TV.

Usually the cover story is that the store/business is being featured in some documentary or being scouted as a new reality program.

I agree, but for different reasons. There are too many challenges that have almost nothing to do with being a good chef. It’s even worse on Top Chef Masters, where they were jumping out of planes for an “advantage.” That show had two really good seasons before turning into a pile of reality crud.

I haven’t watched TC the last couple of years but I don’t actively dislike it. I think my last season Tom had just gotten over back surgery and so I thought that was why he was like that. If they are more luck than skill then that seems to be a growing trend in cooking contests. The worst is Cutthroat Kitchen which I detest. It has nothing to do with adaptability (the basis of Sweet Genius and Chopped) but can you win using canned chicken and no salt against someone who has to cook soup with no pot and has to use cinnamon candies.

Speaking of cooking shows, I would love to see more episodes where it is not constantly against the clock. Masterchef is good in the elimination round where you have adequate time to prepare your food e.g. 2 hours to make a cake. Of course people with time-management issues will run out of time but suppose (as is common on these shows) I ask you to make me a plate that represents you as a chef. Hmmmmmm… do I make homemade blackberry cobbler or my chicken parm? Considering that I only have 45 minutes it has to be the cobbler since I make my own marinara so 6 hours minimum (crock pot cooked all day) for parm. Even if the marinara is pre-cooked (and since my marinara is a signature for me, it would have to be MY pre-cooked sauce), it will still be over an hour because I slow roast garlic to make my garlic bread. The shows where chefs have time to plan and make what they want to are always my favorite because you really see them as a chef.

I’m convinced that much of the weight loss on Biggest Loser is dehydration from crying so much.
I can’t stand the show.