Offensive reality TV shows that never should've aired

The reality television genre doesn't exactly have the best reputation in Hollywood—and for good reason. With shows like The Swan, Bridalplasty and Are You Hot?, reality TV has quickly become television's equivalent of garbage day. Read on to discover the shows that re-defined trashy TV.

Bridezillas (2004-Present)

Okay, fine. We'll be the first to admit that we've watched more than a handful of Bridezillas marathons while hungover on a Saturday afternoon. That's what reality TV is there for, right? But when you look past the crazy feuds and wacky on-screen drama, what you're left with is a pretty sexist show that does nothing more than reaffirm long outdated gender stereotypes. Women are crazy and emotional! Men are calm but vacant! Now, let's watch them get married. Seriously? Are we in 2015 or 1955?

Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire? (2000)

Speaking of sexist gender stereotypes: Few shows have caused more harm and damage to both women and television than Fox's jaw-droppingly bad Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, which aired in February 2000, during the peak of reality TV. The show took all the horrifying elements of a beauty pageant—yes, there was a swimsuit competition—and turned them into a dating competition special, in which 50 women from 50 states competed to marry some creepy millionaire (Rick Rockwell) live on national television. Much to the horror of everyone, Rockwell wound up marrying Darva Conger, a Nurse Anesthetist from Illinois, in front of over 20 million viewers, launching a tabloid scandal that ended with their marriage being annulled two months later and Conger posing for Playboy. As luck would have it, Fox never aired the special again.

The Swan (2004-2005)

If you thought Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? was bad, prepare to be fully disgusted by The Swan. This particular Fox reality-competition series featured two new "ugly ducklings" every week who underwent some form of plastic surgery to make themselves look "better." Then, the winner of the two would go on to compete in a beauty pageant to win the coveted title of The Swan. Disgusting, right? The only thing worse than the premise and execution of the series was the fact that it actually lasted two whole seasons—and almost got a third. To this day, The Swan remains a dent in Fox's reputation for its harsh treatment of women and ridiculous expectations of what it means to be pretty.

Bridalplasty (2010-2011)

Bridalplasty was a bit like a hodgepodge of Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? and The Swan. A bunch of crazy women with obvious insecurities competed for the chance to have their dream weddings and, yes, plastic surgery makeovers. The premise alone was enough to set the Feminist movement back about 100 years. But Bridalplasty felt especially gross because it aired almost a full decade after shows like The Swan offended viewers. By then, you'd think that networks had learned their lesson. The fact that E! was still airing this kind of garbage left a scar on the network's face that no amount of plastic surgery could ever fix.

Temptation Island (2001-2003)

Fox has aired some pretty awful reality TV shows in its time, but nothing compares to the disgusting mess that was Temptation Island. As you might guess, the show took four couples and put them on an island with a bunch of models and hunks to find out whether or not the couples would cheat on each other. Some did; some didn't. All of us at home, meanwhile, were shocked and appalled by how low a show would stoop to get people to watch. Fortunately, the gimmick was short-lived. Although Temptation Island lasted three seasons, only the first season garnered the type of ratings that would make a corporate executive drool. Perhaps there is hope for humanity after all.

Boy Meets Boy (2003)

Bravo's Boy Meets Boy, a gay twist of sorts on The Bachelor, could have been a progressive show. At the time it aired, there were few, if any, representations of gay men and women on reality television, let alone TV in general. Of course, this being reality TV, Bravo took a potentially good show and ruined it by adding a disgusting, offensive twist: some of the contestants competing to win James Getzlaff were actually straight. If James picked a gay contestant, they'd go on a fabulous vacation together; if James picked a straight dude, the straight dude would win a bucket of money and James would get his heart broken. The twist was not only a slap in the face to the LGBTQ community, it also exposed Bravo, now a very gay-friendly channel, as a network that seemed uncomfortable with homosexuality. On the bright side: Boy Meets Boy lasted only one season.

Cheaters (2000-Present)

Of all the trashy reality TV shows out there, Cheaters might just be the worst. The premise is pretty straight-forward: the show uses hidden cameras to catch cheating spouses in the act, resulting in a whole lot of Jerry Springer-esque fighting and what-have-you. Beyond the gross premise, the show has been criticized for a number of questionable moments, including one episode in which host Joey Greco was allegedly stabbed by a cheater caught in the act. We say allegedly, because Cheaters has since been accused of staging the stabbing, which gives you a nice insight into the low-level quality we're working with here. Shockingly, Cheaters is still on the air and, in a crazy twist, is hosted by Clark Gable's grandson. We'd tell you where to find it, but frankly, we just don't give a damn.

All My Babies' Mamas (2012)

You know a reality TV show is offensive when it never actually makes it to air. Such was the case for All My Babies' Mamas, which was supposed to follow the life of rapper Shawty Lo, his ten baby mamas, and their 11 children. Naturally, people threw a fit about the show and, amid heated controversy, Oxygen was forced to pull the plug before it could even test the waters. As a result, millions of brain cells were saved across America.

Are You Hot? (2003)

Are You Hot?'s sole purpose was to determine whether or not a person was physically attractive. It did so by hiring three judges to rip apart poor, innocent souls who stood before them on a stage. Among the show's most infamous judges was actor Lorenzo Lamas, who used a lazer pointer to point out each contestant's flaws. It was a ridiculous ploy on an equally ridiculous show. Thankfully, it got a cold reaction in the ratings and was canceled after just six episodes.