The best reality TV shows ever

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Last week, we were genuinely excited to report that an Australian company now offers guided tours to Jersey Shore, promising to create a real life experience just like that of MTV’s famous Guidos and Guidettes. In honour of this historic milestone for the popularity of reality television, we decided to wade through all the trash, drama and hilarity of years worth of programming and determine ten of the best reality shows ever. High-brow editorial ahead!

10. Punk’d

Okay, so Aston Kutcher may have been really irritating in it and the series definitely got shitter over time, but there’s a certain Schadenfreude to watching celebrities get wound up. Plus, when you compare Punk’d to the current crop of MTV reality – like the new series I Just Want My Pants Back – a shot of Justin Bieber getting punched looks like pretty unbeatable programming.

9. Man vs Wild

Man vs Wild isn’t actually that amazing a show, but the countless memes it’s spawned are. It's a solid formula: “Camera is recording. Better drink my own piss”. “Out of piss. Better drink camera man’s piss”. “This meme is dead. Better drink my own piss”. Still, the Bear Grylls-stranded-in-wild concept proved successful enough to spawn seven seasons, so it must have been doing something right.

8. Man vs Food

Man vs Food, on the other hand, is completely awesome in its own right. The series follows food enthusiast Adam Richman as he takes on various famous “big food” offerings around the United States. A 86 kilogram hamburger, a 4.5kg steak and a 12 egg omelette are just some of the foods consumed by Richman over the course of the series. Inspiring stuff.

7. Masterchef

While Man vs Food does a great job of inspiring viewers to chow down on some near-suicidal, artery-clogging delights, at the other end of the table Masterchef does its bit to jazz up the eating habits of everyday Australians. While there’s plenty of room on this list for vapid and just plain idiotic reality shows, Masterchef earns its place here because the contestants are actually skilled, work hard and do things that most people couldn't, rather than just look pretty/debase themselves on camera/drink piss. It’s also worth watching for George’s terrible puns alone.

6. America’s Next Top Model

Not to be confused with the underwhelming Australian spin-off, America’s Next Top Model earns its inclusion on this list purely for the below moment (from about 1.40) and the brilliant Family Guy parody in inspired. Viewing as compelling as it is vapid!

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