There is overwhelming and resounding evidence that alcohol is a depressant, but for the few hours of dissociating and repeating the same story a dozen times in the name of “fun”, billions of people will gladly continue to trade their tomorrow’s healthy checkup, and avoiding the painful process of retracing last night’s steps for a moonlit night. We know full well it’s bad for us, but what little self-discipline we possess just isn’t enough to counter our temptation to push back a few shots of tequila. Like alcohol, we also live knowing that binge-watching reality TV has very little benefit. It’s fast food television, it tickles our taste buds before invariably leading to self-loathing and the toxicity of comparison, which, as Roosevelt wisely put it, is the thief of joy.
Yet, like alcohol, reality TV is a so-called guilty pleasure. It’s junk television designed for the very needs of entertainment and, in some cases, shock factor. Essentially, no reality TV show is “good art,” and trying to separate the terrible from the not-so-terrible is like picking from the best of a bad bunch. The best reality shows are the ones we love to hate, so here are some of the most entertaining UK reality shows…
seven embarrassing bodies
The focus of embarrassing bodies concerns people too embarrassed to consult a doctor about (largely) superficial ailments; instead, they choose to expose themselves to doctors on national television in front of the world. From skin tags and warts to STDs, rashes and rectal exams, patients face all the problems. While it’s important to treat these things with sensitivity, the show is a reminder that you could always be worse off, and by that I mean having a micro penis…
6 The only way is Essex
The only way is Essex (Where TOWIEas it is commonly abbreviated), is essentially Made in Chelsea for the new rich. The show looks at the love lives, businesses and spray tanning of young people in their twenties in Essex County, just north east of London. It’s a program that features a shocking taste in just about everything; think, hot pink hummers, botched plastic surgery, and Oompa-Loompa fake tans.
If Adam and Eve were replaced by Barbie and Ken, TOWIE is probably what the world would look like. The show’s impact on society even led to a new word being added to the dictionary “Vajazzle”… if you’re going to Google, it’s probably best if you know how to delete your search history first .
5 geordie coast
MTV geordie coast is a version of the equally trashy American reality show jerseyshore. The English version is just grayer, more extravagant and a bit more eventful; it is also the only English reality show that requires subtitles for other English speakers to understand. Located in Newcastle, in the North East of England, geordie coast documents the lives of eight post-teen Geordies in a roommate as they party, fall in love and fight. From “Wye Aye”, “Radgy” and “Gadgee” to “Proper Mint” and “Neckin on”, the Geordie dialect is a language unto itself, and it is perhaps somewhat more understandable that translation is often required.
4 Made in Chelsea
Essentially, Made in Chelsea is “Following the Royals” because there really have been more or less tenuous ties with cast members and the British Royal Family over its 11-year run. The show, which is set in the affluent South West London neighborhood of Kensington and Chelsea, features a group of twenty-somethings driving around in their convertible sports cars, taking weekend trips to the country mansions of “Maman et Papa”, sunbathing on the beaches of Saint-Tropez and partying in chalets in the French Alps.
It’s a social experiment gone wrong…the social elite kids go wild on their own TV show. The love, drama and an unfathomable amount of bitch has unfolded before our eyes over the past decade, it feels like Gossip Girl was semi-real and the Upper East-Siders moved into Victorian mansions in London’s Royal Borough sporting awkwardly chic English accents. Watching this show is like having a very depressing but fascinating look at capitalism.
3 The apprentice
Another show in a format sold worldwide. Led by Lord Alan Sugar and his two sidekicks Claude and Karen, it offers an aspiring entrepreneur an investment of £250,000 and the chance to become his business partner. all in front, The apprentice offers the opportunity for talented business people to acquire a life-changing sum of money to start a potentially successful career in business.
However, it is increasingly true that the candidates involved have little business acumen and are rather incompetent in their chosen field. Harsh as it is, it is particularly entertaining to watch often arrogant, self-conscious individuals squirm and capitulate at the hands of some of Britain’s best business minds. The show is a reminder that our inner schadenfreude is alive and well.
2 The dragon’s lair
Originally from Japan, The dragon’s lairWhere shark tank as it is known in the United States, is a business reality show where entrepreneurs and inventors pitch their businesses, products and ideas to a group of wealthy investors (Dragons) in hopes of securing investment for part of their businesses. Great Britain The dragon’s lair has discovered some real entrepreneurial geniuses over the years, including the Rasta Levi Roots, the creator of Reggae Reggae Sauce. Although there are many success stories, the Dragons have fished out infamous grills for those who dare enter their lair unprepared and without the proper information.
1 the island of love
the island of love achieved worldwide success, thanks in part to the sale of its format in 13 countries, including America and Australia. Primarily, the show features handsome bachelors in a luxury vacation villa where they make it their mission to find love; once “paired”, partners are frequently tested through unique new additions.
After eight weeks, the pairings are tapered off, with winners claiming £50,000 and a ton of fast fashion, charcoal teeth whitening endorsements. First aired in 2015, the series has just concluded its eighth season. Although it’s mostly full of halfwits, there’s a real public pull to the show, and the chills, spills, and love triangles have the agony aunt in all of us firmly drawn to it.