Reality Stars We Just Can't Hate

Reality television usually thrives on elevating and scrutinizing the most deplorable specimens of humanity and Real Housewivery, but every so often, a reality show highlights a person who isn't completely deplorable, and possibly even likeable. Like diamonds glinting from the bottom of the sewer that is reality television, they give us hope. Here are a few reality TV personalities who we simply cannot hate, despite our best efforts.

Chumlee, Pawn Stars

Austin "Chumlee" Russell may not be as genuinely befuddled as his on-screen persona in Pawn Stars, but his relationship with the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is real, having worked there for five years before the show started filming. While the show's scripted interactions tend to play up his dopey personality, he's actually a successful entrepreneur and appraiser in his own right. Maybe Chumlee is just the one smiling moon-face in a sea of aggressively awful co-stars, but that's good enough.

Matt Kennedy Gould, The Joe Schmo Show

Imagine a reality show that everyone in the cast knew was scripted, except for one unsuspecting victim. For Matt Gould, The Joe Schmo Show was very real. Surrounded by improv actors following a plot, Gould's genuine actions revealed that he wasn't the obnoxious fame-seeker that the producers expected, but instead the quintessential nice guy, forcing the show's writers to quickly rewrite the show based the unexpected kindness of their victim. The show also starred a pre-SNL Kristen Wiig, who sustained a real head injury during a competition against Gould...who then gave her his prize. Nice guy all around.

Morgan "Sucklord" Phillips, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist

The Sucklord was an established artist in some circles before his television appearance, though he often played his eclectic "art persona" as an unlikeable, intellectually lazy gangsta-hipster who mostly created crass pop culture parodies of action figures. Work of Art revealed Phillips to be an artist who was genuinely invested in art and the well-being of his fellow competitors, and often served as a grounded voice of reason during the intense competition. While he left the show halfway through the second season, he's the only artist in the show's two seasons that seemed like he didn't live within his own posterior.

The Tenderloins, Impractical Jokers

A hidden camera reality show starring four lifelong friends from New York, Impractical Jokers never tries to embarrass innocent bystanders, but rather humiliate the show's quartet of hosts. Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, and James Murray challenge one another to bizarre and uncomfortable feats in public, but always decline any challenge which might insult or frighten any innocent victims. They even decline at great expense to themselves, including a punishment which involved a Jaden Smith tattoo. The result is a show about four guys you'd want to be friends long as you never had to be part of their show.

Gordon Ramsay, Hell's Kitchen

Voted to be one of TV's most fearsome villains, the man behind the viewer-pleasing mask of rage has revealed himself many times to be a humble, kind guy who just happens to demand perfection with profanity and hilariously caustic insults. Though Ramsay has often antagonized vegetarians, he recanted his stance once he witnessed actual meat farming practices. And if you've ever read a Reddit AMA with the guy, you know he's a softy. A softy whom you should never, ever cross unless you want an overcooked Beef Wellington hucked at your head.

Christopher "Major Victory" Watters, Who Wants To Be A Superhero?

Possibly the dumbest and most entertaining reality show of all time, a group of weirdos in superhero costumes invented superpowers and competed under the watchful eye of Stan Lee to represent the values of their homemade heroes. While much of the show made no attempt at making sense, Major Victory was a stand-out hero, both embracing the goofiness of the show and staying positive throughout, even when competition began to get catty and occasionally un-heroic.

Judd Winick, The Real World: San Francisco

Illustrator and writer Judd Winick made no secret about his motivations for appearing on MTV's reality show: he wanted to be famous. Within months of appearing on TV, Winick's comic strip began to appear in newspapers. Winick was able to use his Real World momentum to eventually launch himself towards becoming one of comics' most well-known and successful writers. Winick also used his notoriety to continue the AIDS awareness work of Real World housemate Pedro Zamora, clearly using his powers for good.

Ozzy Osbourne, The Osbournes

By the time that The Osbournes began airing, Ozzy was already a weird husk of a man, shuffling around and mumbling through a haze of intoxication, which was in sharp contrast to his energetic and loud family, and even his past stage persona. Amid a whirlwind of ongoing jackassery, Ozzy was the oblivious calm at the eye of the storm, allowing his once-entitled kids to actually make something of themselves, if hosting stuff on TV actually counts as doing something worthwhile.

Adam Savage, Mythbusters

Adam Savage is everything that nerds could be if they stopped posting impotent, thousand-word diatribes about movie trailers on YouTube and actually got involved in making those movies awesome. Savage worked his way through a few career choices before getting involved in prop fabrication and special effects, and uses his genius to make the world a smarter place by packaging knowledge and healthy skepticism in an entertaining package. It's hard to hate someone who's actively trying to de-stupid the world.

Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter

No one's ever really calculated what percentage of Steve Irwin's viewers tuned in to learn stuff about animals versus those who were only waiting to see him get bitten by the dangerous animal du jour. But either way, Irwin's unquenchable enthusiasm for animal education kept people watching. Irwin included both his wife and young daughter while filming, once even feeding a crocodile while his infant daughter was in his arms. Today, even after Steve's untimely death, his family continues working for wildlife awareness and preservation.

The Benjamin Brothers, True Life

The unlikeliest of heroes, Brad and Kenny Benjamin are two autistic adults who struggle to function in society. MTV's True Life took a break from following abusive boyfriends and teens with budget problems to follow the brothers as they attempted to socialize and throw a party, giving viewers a brutally honest window into the condition of autism. The pair continue to work towards autism-related charities, using their moment of fame to help others. Plus, they're just so danged charming that it's about time they got their own weird show.