Rating reality

By Racey Burden | Published Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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There are some reality shows that are so ingrained in American culture that I feel like I understand the gist of them even if I’ve never watched them.

I know who all the Kardashians are, for example, yet I’ve never seen an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” I get the basic premise of “Big Brother,” and I know that Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag from “The Hills” hate each other even though they used to be best friends.

This passing knowledge also extends to reality shows I used to watch but no longer keep up with, most recently demonstrated by “The Bachelorette.” I didn’t see this season, but I know Rachel chose the guy everybody seems to hate (whose name I cannot remember) over Peter, the guy everyone seems to like.

I used to watch a lot more reality television when I was a kid, keeping up with “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” pretty religiously. But even though they’re among the longest lasting, I don’t think they’re at the top of the early 2000s reality competition ladder.

10. “The Bachelor”/”The Bachelorette”

I’m putting these at the bottom of the list because the whole point of a good reality show contest is to win something and keep it – in this case, everybody’s trying to win love, and it rarely works out for any of these shows’ couples. Trista and Ryan Sutter set the bar too high, too early.

9. “American Idol”

Look, I know we all loved “American Idol” for a really long time for some reason. Paula, Randy, Simon – they were the perfect judging trio. But few of the winners actually became household names, and the best part of the show shouldn’t be watching the tryouts and mocking the people who don’t make it. Looking back on it, it honestly feels just really mean-spirited.

8. “Weakest Link”

If I could remember more about this show I might rank it higher. It always felt like a rip-off of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” to me. It did have a good tagline – who could forget “You are the weakest link. Goodbye”?

7. “Dancing With the Stars”

Like “American Idol,” it just needs to end. I enjoyed the earlier seasons, but couldn’t name a single cast member of the last one.

6. “Survivor”

I used to live for nights when “Survivor” aired. The idols! The betrayals! The crazy contests! I will always love the way they doused the tiki torches for the losers. So melodramatic.

5. “The Mole”

Anderson Cooper hosted this show, which I forgot about until just recently. But as a kid I was super into it, and it might explain why Mafia is still my favorite party game – what can I say, I enjoy a good backstabbing.

4. “Fear Factor”

It would be higher on the list, but I can never stomach watching the gross foods portion.

3. “America’s Next Top Model”

Yes, “Top Model” has the same problem as all reality shows that promise fame and fortune in a particular field – it doesn’t deliver. But it’s still worth watching for the completely insane photo shoots and even more insane drama.

2. “The Amazing Race”

I still want to be on “The Amazing Race” someday, but first I have to find a partner I wouldn’t want to kill while lost in a foreign country.

1. “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” (only the Regis Philbin version)

This show was the best. It was my go-to show when I was home sick from school. I loved trying to guess the answers. And yes, I know it started in 1999, not the 2000s, but it was late 1999. I’m still counting it.

Racey Burden is a Messenger reporter.

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