The Hills

Dear MTV, Please Bring Back Early-2000s Reality TV

Fine, I’ll admit it! I am exhausted from sorting out the impenetrable plots of murder mysteries and docudramas packed with scandal. I've had enough of watching all the bad in the world. And after a long day of work, I'm in no mood to follow a plot-heavy show.


What I really want is to kick back, relax, and watch mindless entertainment. Thanks to the resurgence of Y2K fashion this year, I've been yearning to go back to my roots…I’m talking about the kind of trashy reality television that only the early 2000s could manifest.

There's nothing more satisfying and utterly delicious than watching a group of people act like heathens in front of a camera just for the sake of good TV. In the early 2000s, if there was a camera, anyone would do anything to become famous.

They'd say anything, do anything, and manufacture dramatized situations simply for the sake of viewership. And we ate it up. And let’s be frank: they just don’t make them like they used to.

Compared to what we grew up with, the current slate of reality TV is lame. These days, people try their hand at earning fame through Instagram and TikTok. But in the heyday of reality TV, you had to get off your ass and work. Read: be on TV.

There was a plethora of shows to choose from. It wasn’t just The Kardashians and a smattering of overproduced beachside dating shows. There was Say Yes To The Dress, The Hills, My Super Sweet 16, Four Weddings, and more!

And yes, I’m a fan of Love Island and Love is Blind, but they’re not the same. I miss following a bunch of rabid 20-somethings around who didn’t care how the public perceived them. Most reality TV contestants nowadays use their shows as a stepping stone into the Influencer Worldboring. I miss when there were zero stakes.

The cast of Jersey Shore got into multiple fistfights every season. The children on My Super Sweet 16 were openly entitled and outwardly rude. Everyone in every show would say the most outrageous statements that you wouldn’t dare whisper on national television.

These days, it’s all about image. The Kardashians use their Hulu show to give you a peek into their lives. But much of this is simply to promote their brands and or deal with scandals we've known about for months. And Love Island members were all fighting for a Princess Polly endorsement from day one.

Bring me back to the “anything goes” mentality of the early 2000s. I miss watching out-of-touch heiresses like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie try out mundane, “poor” tasks like going to a grocery store or working in a restaurant. Take me back to the simpler times of The Simple Life.

My recent aching for this niche genre of reality cinema started when I stumbled across seasons 4 and 6 of My Super Sweet 16 on Hulu and was hooked. Then I turned to old episodes of Jersey Shore. Who knows what mind-numbing show is next?

And while I get my Sweet Sixteen fix on Paramount Plus, I am openly encouraging TLC and MTV to go back to producing raw reality television. I want the cast to not have any hopes or dreams for their careers and put their all into these shows.

There’s never a bad time to recap my favorite moments from the most iconic reality TV shows. So here we go:

Jersey Shore


When Ron and Sam got into a fight because Ron made fun of Sam’s big toe. Iconic, ridiculous, and just amazing.

The Simple Life


When Paris Hilton doesn’t know what Walmart is and asks if it is the place that sells “wall stuff.” I’d like to see Ryan Murphy write a better line.

My Super Sweet 16

MTV

When Darnell brought RIHANNA to his sweet 16 as his date?! Absurd behavior but if you’ve gotta bring a date…may as well be her.

The Hills


The endless drama between Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag fed my soul…even if most of the show was fake. I don’t care. They sold me.

So, if you’re missing the inane drama from the early 2000s, join me in watching some of the greats on Paramount Plus or Hulu.

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