Ashley Hopkins, Culture and Business Editor |
What I thought was just a quarantine phase seems to have lasted much, much longer. Reality TV has become a guilty pleasure that I can’t seem to quit– it’s absolutely addicting, and once you start, there’s no going back. You become invested in the drama, the scripted interactions, and the cringe-worthy moments that make it hard to watch. Here are my top reality TV picks:
6: Love Island
Love Island was one of the first reality shows that blew up on TikTok, and it could be argued that it was the inspiration for many of the insane reality shows that Netflix has today. All three seasons have had very entertaining casts. The show is very lighthearted for the most part and is pretty entertaining. This was one of those shows where I would throw it on just to have something playing in the background. Overall, it doesn’t require much attention, and it’s a classic reality show if you’re looking for a place to start.
5: Too Hot To Handle
Like love island, Too Hot To Handle also has a group of attractive singles stuck on a tropical island together. The goal of the show is for contestants to form real connections instead of sexual interactions that they’re used to. They are watched by a little robot called Lana that deducts money from the cash prize for every sexual mistake. Because of the cash prize, contestants who have restrained themselves from doing anything sexual obviously get mad at the people who mess up– and things can get pretty heated. THTH also has three seasons and is a little more entertaining than Love Island. I also recommend this if you’re looking for a place to start.
4: The Ultimatum
Netflix’s newest reality show really leaves you thinking, “what would I do in this situation?” Six couples go onto the show, with one of the people in each relationship issuing an “ultimatum”: they either have to decide to get married after the experiment or walk away from each other once and for all. The couples “break up” for three weeks and date other people from the other couples on the show (right in front of their previous partners, may I add). At the end of the dating portion, they must choose the person that they want to do a “trial marriage” with for three weeks before returning to the partner they came within another three-week trial marriage to see if they want to work out their issues. By the end of the show, the couples must decide if they want to leave and marry the person they came with, part ways, or start a new relationship with the person that they lived with during the three-week trial marriage. The Ultimatum was not only full of cringe-worthy moments but toxicity as well (which is a must for a good reality show). At some points in the show, I wanted to grab some of the contestants and tell them, “Run! It’s not worth it!” While the show gets a little slow and repetitive in the middle, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen right up until the very end.
3: Love is Blind
Another TikTok sensation: Love is Blind. Singles go on the show and go on a series of blind dates, ultimately getting engaged without even seeing the person they choose beforehand. This was another show that was full of toxicity and drama, and like the Ultimatum, I had no idea what the outcome would be until the very end. A lot of the show has to do with people working through their personal issues and the issues they have when it comes to being in a relationship. Love is Blind also has a “trial marriage” period where the couples live together before meeting each other at the alter and deciding if they will tie the knot, but the couples don’t know what each other’s decision will be up until the wedding ceremony. This being a reality show, of course, some people get left at the altar. Both seasons are super entertaining and have a great cast full of people that you root for… and others not so much.
2: Selling Sunsets
Selling sunsets is not only full of girl drama and catfights but celebrity appearances and jaw-dropping multi-million-dollar mansions as well. Through all the seasons, viewers become connected to the casts and their stories. This was one show where I found myself hating someone one minute, and then sympathizing with them the next. While there is lots of petty drama, I have a ton of admiration for these bad-ass women; they work super hard to sell these incredible mansions. This show always kept me engaged because it has individual plot lines. For example, one of the women will be working on selling a mansion, and then we will switch over to the storyline of another woman who is having problems balancing her relationship and work. Besides all of the drama, seeing what kinds of mansions are out there very interesting. The fourth season was just dropped on Netflix, and I’m sure it will live up to the past three seasons.
1: The Bachelor Franchise
I have been watching The Bachelor franchise for as long as I can remember, and I look forward to each of the three versions every year (I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to make it onto the show one day). Each year, a new man and woman are named the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, and 32 contestants compete to win their hearts. I go absolutely crazy when I watch this show– I mean screaming at the TV and all. Some Bachelors and Bachelorettes are more likable than others, but no matter what, every season is full of twists, drama, heartbreak, and heartwarming moments. The Bachelor franchise has definitely changed over the course of its history in terms of representation, with Matt James being the first black Bachelor in The Bachelor history just a few seasons ago. The franchise is also coming out with a senior’s edition where seniors can have their shot at finding love. I love seeing the dresses that the women wear to the cocktail parties, as the fashion does not fall short when they are competing for the heart of the Bachelor. The franchise has a cult following and is hugely successful after being on the air for 20 years, and each year it just gets crazier and crazier. Next season of The Bachelorette, for example, will have two Bachelorettes for the first time. It will be interesting to see how that dynamic will play out over the course of the show that airs in July of 2022. If I had to recommend one reality show, it would be this one. Both men and women seem to end up liking it no matter how much you try to hate it!