As 2009 comes to a close, it's important to remember it all - lest we forget. While other outlets sift through the best and brightest moments of the decade, we here at the SF Weekly would like to pay homage to the most bizarre phenomenon of our time, reality television (as we might have some experience with the subject).
Note: The Osbournes are way too mainstream for this list. These shows make The Apprentice look normal. You want to compete for a job to work for a landlord? Really? Alas, let's start the countdown.
1. Extreme Makeover
Extreme Makeover is a show so creepy they had to launch a sequel (Extreme Makeover "Home Edition") to help us forget its grizzly premise. Extreme Makeover took ugly people, and sliced them and diced them and then showed the nation how much better life is with silicon breasts and cleft-less chins. Glad ABC decided giving someone a new kitchen was a better idea then giving them a new face. (ABC, 2002)
2. 16 & Pregnant
16 & Pregnant is a far cry (as in crying baby) away from the spoiled melodrama of MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen" starlets. The theme song should be a cover of Beyonce's hit song "if you love me then you better put a ring on it" only the lyrics should be changed to "if you love me then you better put a ring IN it" and we'll throw in a Nuvaring product placement too. Perhaps, former Disney star Jamie Lynn Spears will be slated to do the celebrity spin-off. (MTV, 2009).
3. Average Joe
Originally named "The Biggest Loser," Average Joe took 20 extreme nerds and one slamming hot girl and played the real life TV version of Beauty and the Beast. Then hot guys were introduced and the average Joes were now competing with stud muffins. The show was supposed to prove that beauty is only skin deep, but two seasons later the babe still chose the hottie and the average Joe was left to go back to dating Battlestar Galactica style. In the guise of fairness, producers went as far as to take a jilted Joe (Adam Mesh) and make him the star (I mean help him find love). Who did he choose? The hottie. Sigh. (NBC, 2003)
4. Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
Any show involving Dr. Drew as a therapist should be banned. Maybe Dr. Drew simply confused the Hippocratic Oath with the Hypocrite's Oath. No better way to get your victims (er patients) to open up then to give them a safe place to talk like national television. No surprise, Dr. Drew is on the cover of his new book about narcissism.
5. My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé
Elementary school teacher Randi Coy was plucked from obscurity and picked to be on a reality television show, and told she would win $250,000 if she could convince her family that she really wanted to marry a big fat obnoxious groom. At the alter, right before the "I do's" when Randi's family was looking on with horror, the jig was revealed. The reason this show was so fascinating to watch was because Randi's family was horrified, and even once the truth was revealed (somehow landing them double the prize money) the family was humiliated, pissed off, and not laughing. The big fat obnoxious fiancé was an actor and for screwing with the personal lives of strangers he got what was coming to him -- a recurring role in Grey's Anatomy. Reality TV it will do wonders for your karma. (Fox, 2003-2004)