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The Most Ridiculous Reality Shows You Probably Forgot About

With so many reality shows to choose from over the years, there's a good chance you missed some of these utterly ridiculous options. For those who tuned in, forgive me for making you relive all the madness.
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Reality shows are forever competing for the next “outside the box” idea. Some seemingly want to be the pioneers of doing just about anything on TV, even if being the first means being the worst. These shows are time-capsuled proof of that.

In a world of endlessly bonkers premises, here are the most ridiculous reality shows ever to make it on the air.

Mr. Personality

On Mr. Personality, one woman tries to find her perfect match in a sea of hopeful suitors. That part of the plot is pretty typical. The rest, however, is specific and strange.

the competitors on Mr Personality stand in a single file line wearing their masquerade/phantom masks
Fox

The men vying for her heart are wearing menacing “masquerade” masks that only show their lovely eyes and handsome smiles. The goal? To conceal their looks “completely” so the lucky lady must pick her dream guy based solely on personality.

Inevitably, she becomes horrified or pleasantly surprised when they take off their masks. But first, she has to accept or reject their marriage proposals with the masks on.

In a word: nightmarish. Oh, and it was inexplicably hosted by Monica Lewinsky, circa 2003.

The Swan

On this extreme makeover show, people deemed “ugly ducklings” are “transformed” into “swans.” After these vulnerable women undergo three months of identity-altering surgical overhauls, a special few are chosen to compete in a beauty pageant where one woman is declared the swan. The rest are given a televised blow to their newfound confidence.

To combat all the rightfully raised eyebrows, the series brought on a team of therapists, surgeons, and specialists to “help” contestants throughout their transformations and explain each procedure to the audience. But mostly, they seemed there to justify why what they’d done was necessary. Critics of the show remained unconvinced.

Youtube/Fox

In some cases, The Swan helped people out. For instance, one contestant came on without any teeth and left with a full set. But mostly, the show’s claims of “betterment” by way of vanity didn’t seem in the best interest of people clearly suffering from serious self-esteem issues.

Contestants weren’t allowed to see themselves for the three-month period prior to the big reveal. When the curtains opened, they were introduced to their “new” selves in the mirror. Overcome with emotion, they’d twirl and tear up, expressing how they’d been “healed.”

I hope they kept those therapists’ numbers handy.

The Pickup Artist

Hosted by “Mystery” (Erik von Markovik), this VH1 reality dating-themed show is all about wooing women. And who better to do that than a so-called expert known as “The Pickup Artist” and his two pals.

In case you missed this short-lived series, this is the person the audience is trusting to guide them.

The pickup artist smiling and wearing his infamous fluffy black hat as he dispenses advice
Youtube/Venusian Arts/Vh1

This tricky trio occasionally helped men overcome fears and hangups about women, but most of the advice, “insights,” and tactics were downright despicable. They weren’t always wrong, but they were always manipulative.

If the title didn’t make it clear enough, this isn’t a show about finding love or learning to communicate more honestly; it’s about seducing women by whatever means necessary.

According to Mystery, it is “the uterus and the uterus alone” that controls women’s thoughts, behaviors, and personalities. How does he know so much? Well, he developed a “foolproof formula” for wooing any woman on earth! He explains how it works with helpful visual aids.

And I forever cringe just thinking about it.

I Wanna Marry Harry

It’s hard to believe women who really wanted to marry Prince Harry didn’t realize this guy wasn’t actually him. Love is blind, I guess.

Gaslighting people into full-blown relationships is easier when producers do all they can to make the lie convincing, including giving the faux prince constant security detail.

On I Wanna Marry Harry, 12 regular American women are somehow manipulated into thinking they’re competing for the affections of Prince Harry. Just when you think it couldn’t get more ridiculous, the English chap pretending to be him struggles to pull it off.

Matthew Hicks discussing posing as Prince Harry
Fox

His “job” is to convince these women (that he hopes to date, no less) that he’s Prince Harry. Despite the crew’s best efforts to make this royal ruse believable, his performance couldn’t cut the Grey Poupon.

The series was canceled after four episodes. Critics said the premise was basically identical to Joe Millionaire but even more implausible.

The resemblance is passable if you squint, but Matthew Hicks forgot to study up and it showed. When asked, “Have you ever been to Vegas?,” he replied, “What makes you say that?” When asked “what’s your name?” he said, “that’s for me to know and you to find out.”

I believe you’ve been busted, your royal fakeness!

Born in the Wild

You might not remember this one because it only lasted six episodes. Once the premise was deemed too risky, they promptly pulled the plug.

On Born In the Wild, mothers took home births to the next level, having their babies in the great outdoors, with no medication, no doctors, and no time to change their minds. It’s wildly uncomfortable to watch. But on the brighter side of this idea, it’s uniquely educational.

woman goes into labor in a tent in the woods on Born in The Wild
Lifetime

While this reality show might seem more ridiculously dangerous than simply ridiculous, the question must be asked: How “natural” is it really to have a film crew document your “at one with nature” birthing experience for a reality show?