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Between trying to remember what happened during the last episode of your favorite shows and trying to remember what’s otherwise going on in your real life, your brain might not have had enough room to remember some reality shows of the past. Surely, you might not have even been born yet – and if you weren’t – strap on in because some of the shows from the early 2000’s were the definition of ‘throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks’. Executives used to be clamoring for the next new idea and somehow some of these ideas got funding. From disastrous to highly criticized, let’s take a look at what we’ve forgotten for better or for worse.

The Best: Kid Nation

Let’s start this off with a show that if you haven’t seen – you maybe, probably should. Kid Nation answered the ‘Lord of the Flies’ question of, what would a civilization designed by children look like? As it turns out when you put a group of (40) 8-15 year olds together, there becomes a middle school level of drama, which wasn’t enough to incentivize networks for a second season. Of course, the strongest kids become the leaders, there’s a lot of crying, and everyone was motivated by cash prizes up to $50,000 for their involvement but not to the competitiveness an adult would be.

Whenever their are kids involved, things get interesting with critics. Sponsors had started to drop out of the show, news reports about the ethicality of the show were put into question – even before the show aired. The real life children missed an entire month of schooling to be casted on the show and critics wondered if children should ever be situationally placed in a predicament like Kid Nation.

The setting on the ‘ruins of Bonanza City, New Mexico’ did make for a show that was interesting though. Viewers came to appreciate the children’s work ethics and ability to thrive in an environment with minimal adult supervision (even if the cast and crew of adults sat just feet off camera). While it’s hard to hate children the show did have some fan favorites and it’s been interesting to hear about their experiences years later, like one cast member recounted in a Reddit AMA.

Kid Nation highlights

If you’re inclined you can watch Kid Nation on Vudu or catch some of the highlights across Youtube.

The Worst: Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?

Is there anything that says more about a show than the result being a marriage annulment less than 2 weeks after the prize winning proposal? For the 22 million viewers who tuned into Fox’s 2000 flub, Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? Most of the satisfaction had to come after the fact, where countless things we’re uncovered about the ‘Multi-Millionaire’ Rick Rockwell.

The premise isn’t anything modern viewers would be unfamiliar with either; 50 women competing to marry a masked millionaire for the opportunity to get married. It was presented in a single 2 hour special, where the entirety of the competition and wedding happened. Some will say it inspired shows like the Bachelor – and while you can see the resemblance between women competing for one man, the similarities dwindle from there.

First off, there was a ‘lucky’ winner, Darva Conger. Her winnings included the marriage, a diamond ring, and over $100,000 in prizes. Which would be great if it didn’t include the marriage, since it was revealed the crew behind the show barely did any research on their millionaire. As it turns out Rick Rockwell’s wealth was wildly exaggerated. While Rick’s net worth is still a controversy (Fox cites that he was worth $2,000,000), but his backstory isn’t. Rick had been charged with domestic abuse and had restraining orders put against him – and his last name was fraudulent.

Immediately following the show, Darva Conger regretted her decision to marry him and filed for an annulment. She did manage to sell the assets she had won on the show and with that FOX cancelled any hope of another season or even a rerun.

The You’ve Never Heard of This: Best Funeral Ever

There’s a lot of reality television that gets a ‘pass’ despite it’s abhorrent behavior. If viewers are willing to look past an ugly premise for the sake of entertainment and keep ratings high, networks will keep the show. Unfortunately for some executives, there’s a line. Best Funeral Ever found out the hard way what people could and couldn’t stomach.

It could have been the name, Best Funeral Ever, that did them in. It’s hard to celebrate funerals – even if it’s what the families in the show wanted. While the show had a limited 8 episode run before being cancelled, the episodes themselves had no ill intent. Following a funeral home that specialized in celebrative sendoffs, the show may have been too crass for audiences. When you’re watching a casket being sent down a bowling lane as if it were a bowling ball, you do have to wonder where your priorities in life are at after all.

- A word from our sposor -


Reality TV Shows You Forgot Existed (For Better or Worse)