This year was a bonanza of controversy, meltdowns, and redemption in the ubiquitous and perhaps, at times, most reviled genres in TV: REALITY!
There were reunions and marriages that should’ve never been, drunks and alien punks, intellectually inept headbangers, and even hooker babies for us to gawk, ridicule, and shame!
Before we make your heads explode, check out our hot 20 of 2011:
1. “Bachelor Pad”: The Jake Pavelka vs. Vienna Girardi post break-up showdown.
It was one of the most cringe-worthy reunions in recent reality TV: two fame whores who had the worst televised break-up in “Bachelor” history back together under one roof, battling for money, but essentially, battling against each other and their past unresolved issues. With the addition of Vienna’s new boy toy (but soon-to-be ex) Kasey Kahl on the show, it was like watching “The Young and the Restless: The Musical.”
2. “Toddlers and Tiaras”: The case of Dolly Parton and Pretty Woman get-ups.
As if putting a 10-lb. wig and tons of make-up on your toddler and forcing her to act like a little adult in front of an audience isn’t already ridiculously scary, the moment that a mom decides it’s cute to insert breast and butt implants or dress her little one up like a hooker means she’s straddling a fine line between distaste and Morally Disturbing Bananaville.
3. “The Voice”: Judges sing medley of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”
Never mind their Queen medley, judges Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Cee-Lo Green brought the house down with their tight rendition of “Crazy.”
4. “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Season 1: Kyle Armstrong outs sister Kim’s alcoholism in hellish catfight limo scene.
Throughout the first season, the sisterly tension between “self-designated mom” Kyle and loopy older sis Kim came to a climax when the two got into an epic tussle in a limo, with Adrienne Maloof and the Vanderpumps’ strange bud Martin along for the bumpy ride. Once Kim accuses Kyle and her hubby Mauricio of stealing her house in Palm Springs, Kyle loses it and lets the world know she’s sick of covering for her frail older sis’ love for the Grey Goose. Thanks to Adrienne and Martin, Kyle does not end up killing Kim-Doll.
5. “American Idol”: Judges Save Casey Abrams from elimination.
Barely getting into his rendition of Ray Charles’ “I Don’t Need No Doctor” in order to keep his spot on the show, judges Randy “Dawg” Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler interrupted him and pulled out their only save card for the season. After freaking out, cussing, and kowtowing to his saviors, the fan fave gratefully accepted his once-in-a-lifetime moment.
6. “Biggest Loser” Season 11: Contestant Ken disses new trainer Cara Castronuova.
Before Anna Kournikova and Dolvett Quince, new trainers Cara Castronuova and Brett Hoebel had heaps of pressure to prove that they could compete with mainstay yellers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels. Unfortunately, for Cara, Ken from Team Brown burst out in fits saying he thought she was the Biggest Loser—with her unchallenging workouts! Daunted but not TKO’d, the boxing champion from New York got right back into his face and made him regret his words…but the two newbie trainers got yanked out anyway by season’s end.
7. “Bachelorette”: Ashley Hebert rejects Ben Flajnik’s marriage proposal.
With all the confidence in the world that she’d say “yes,” hair-o-rific winemaker Benbo got on one knee with his chosen Neil Lane diamond and asked Ashley to be his reality TV wife for all of eternity. Once Ash rejected him for J.P. Rosenbaum, Ben stormed off feeling like a fool and refused to be consoled by his whiny, bang-pulling would-be bride.
8. “Real Housewives of New Jersey” Reunion: Teresa Giudice Becomes the new Danielle Staubgoblin.
How sad but completely inevitable to watch a Jersey house divided, thanks to the incorrigible Teresa G., whose narcissistic ways led to every single member cast member labeling her unequivocally certifiable. The two-part reunion erupted with dirty accusations of: cookbook Italian “jokes” gone wrong, sisterly issues between Caroline and Dina Manzo, jealousy between sisters-in-law Melissa Gorga and Tre, and worst of all, lots of “youse guys” footage. (Oh yeah, and Jacqueline Laurita didn’t even show up because of her rumored stripper past spread by Teresa.)
9. “Jersey Shore” in Italy: The Situation bangs his head against a cement wall.
The Sammi Giancola-induced tension between trouble-making Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Ron Ortiz-Magro went embarrassingly ballistic when Sitichie tried to scare the irate Xenedrine Pumper by acting hysterical. Howling and looking crazy-eyed, the Pretty Boy swung around the room like an ape and slammed his head against a cement wall—not knowing it was cement. Needless to say, his crazy eyes went cross-eyed and he was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a mild concussion and was also given a neck brace.
10. “DWTS”: Maks Chmerkovskiy blows up at judges, declares it’s his show.
Bruised egos abounded when judge Len Goodman berated Maks and partner Hope Solo‘s rumba. Maks bit back at the Brit saying the old fart should retire from the business and haughtily retorted “This is my show!” when judge Carrie Ann Inaba scolded him for being disrespectful.
11. “Survivor – Redemption Island”: Boston Rob Mariano finally wins his million on the fourth try.
The ever popular Boston Rob was to “Survivor” as Martin Scorsese was to the Oscars—he could never snag the prize no matter what his strategy. But finally, after multiple attempts of island hopping, he finally found redemption on his fourth attempt. Wicked good times.
12. Kim Kardashian’s Four-Hour Fairytale Faux Wedding TV event.
The elements of ridonculosity surrounding Kim’s televised wedding was thicker and wider than her behind. Apparently, the reality star put more effort and detail into her fairytale endorsement-bonanza wedding than she did on the relationship. Never mind her very brief courtship with mouthy Kris Humphries, never mind the two didn’t know where they were going to live nor how they were going to deal with their professional goals.
13. “Project Runway” Season 9: Josh McKinley Goes Ballistic on Bert Keeter.
Put two sensitive alpha divas on the same design team, force them to work together under intense pressure, and the one with the mommy issues will break first. And that’s what happened when Bully Josh had a skirt-raising meltdown on a grumbling Bert, who decided not to retaliate this time but simply allow Josh to paint himself a tantrum-tastic fool.
14. “Millionaire Matchmaker”: Patti Stanger blasts gays and Jews on “Watch What Happens Live.”
Openly gay Jewish host Andy Cohen should have declared the always brazen Stanger-Stinger “Jackhole of the Week” when she decreed gay men and promiscuity are essentially synonyms and that all Jewish men are cotton pickin’ liars. After the media and gay rights orgs blasted her for her untoward comments, she offered a public mea culpa but then quickly went back to her big mouth, hot shot ways by congratulating herself for prompting the spread of gay marriage all over the world.
15. “Survivor – South Pacific”: The challenge of ripping a part a roasted pig.
Perhaps one of the grossest and degrading challenges in the show’s history, contestants had to tear up a roasted pig—using only their mouths.
16. “Today Show”: The Duggar Family announces they’re expecting their 20th child.
Despite having major complications with their 19th baby, the Duggars happily announced that Mama Michelle, 45, is expecting their 20th little one next April. (UPDATE: Shortly after the news, the family announced that Michelle had miscarried.)
17. “DWTS”: Iraq war vet and burn survivor J.R. Martinez gets longest standing ovation in show’s history.
There was not a dry eye in the house when J.R. danced the rumba to Tim McGraw‘s “If You’re Reading This” with partner Karina Smirnoff and dedicated his performance to all the fallen heroes who served in Iraq. The war vet, who was burned on 40 percent of his body from a Humvee accident in Iraq, went on to become this season’s “DWTS” champion.
18. “Sister Wives”: The birth of No. 17.
Controversial alleged bigamist and amazeballs pro-creator Kody Brown was delighted to see his face staring back at him when fourth wife Robyn gave birth to their first son—and his 17th child. We congratulate Kody and the rest of his ginormous fam on the unprecedented child tax credits they will be receiving this year.
19. “Celebrity Apprentice”: Meatloaf’s explosive tirade on Gary Busey.
And he would do anything for charity…but he won’t do that—no, no! He. won’t. do. that.
No surprise that the eccentric Gary Busey was getting on everyone’s nerves with his half-sane thoughts and various self-promoting agendas, but Meatloaf took his anger to an operatic level when he believed that Gary was being subversive by stealing his art utensils during an art challenge. Although we felt our TV screens almost crack from Meatloaf’s bellows, we were too busy praying that the explosive musician was wearing his big boy diapers in case of an accident.
20. “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Season 2 Opener: Russell Armstrong’s suicide.
It was the most tragic and controversial moment ever experienced on the “Real Housewives” franchise—and arguably in recent reality TV. Partly out of a semblance of respect but mostly as a justifiable excuse to move forward with its sophomore season, Bravo opens the show up with the ladies of the Hills—sans Taylor Armstrong—huddled in a room solemnly discussing their thoughts and reactions to the suicide of Russell Armstrong. (Russell was known to have publicly blamed the show for its contribution of tearing a part his marriage with Tay, who filed for divorce just weeks before his death.) The inadequate group discussion lasted but a few minutes—with only Kyle Richards shedding a tear.