#2. Joey Greco from G4's Cheaters
Helping friends through a break-up is difficult. But helping complete strangers through a break-up is easy: you just film their loved ones cheating on them and show them the footage.
This simple formula has catapulted Joey Greco's Cheaters into godsend status among fraternity members and previously-scorned, single thirty-somethings. Each show ends with a (usually violent) confrontation between cheater and cheatee, during which Joey Greco takes the opportunity to brow-beat the accused into a frenzied, emotional meltdown.
And where advice is usually offered for the benefit of the recipient, in Joey Greco's case the advice - to have a cheating significant other followed and videotaped - is only given so that he can soak up the satisfaction of talking down to a red-handed cheater. On TV.
You can't tell, but that chair is on top of a giant pedestal, atop a high horse.
So instead of convincing the subjects of his show to talk through their issues with their significant others, Joey Greco organizes shock and awe breakups - confrontations so charged and emotional that they always end in either fist-fighting or sex.
The cheatee always walks away worse off, one more person to find that problem solving via basic cable reality show has left them sadly unfulfilled.
#1. TLC's Flip This House
In the year 2056, a sociological presentation on the greed and short-sightedness that drove the financial crisis of 2008 will probably open with an episode of Flip That House. The show follows modern-day gold prospectors buying, renovating and selling homes with turnarounds of as little as 30 days.
The show generally features houses that were successfully flipped and sold for tens of thousands of dollars in profit. Crack dens, run-down shanties, doghouses - they're all converted into McMansions in the span of 30 minutes and sold for half-a-million dollars by a sharply-dressed real estate agent who thinks it was a great idea to install granite countertops.
Each episode follows the same basic plot progression: house is bought, then house is fixed, then massive bags full of money are trucked to local bank branch. But the people flipping the houses fit one of three profiles: the young go-getter eager to get her feet wet in the "real world"; the father-son duo who rekindle their relationship over the project; and the chipper, sensible newlyweds who are renovating the house as their honeymoon.
The advice these people dispense on the show is to follow their lead to El Dorado, the city of gold. But advice is only as good as the results it achieves, and it's more profitable now to flip burgers than houses. The fact is that house flipping most likely created more divorcees than millionaires, and each episode of Flip That House is probably directly responsible for 10-20 mortgage defaults from people trying to play along at home.
House-flipping is actually slightly more complicated than this.
Holy crap, we think we owe Joey Greco up there an apology.
For more crap your television would like you to swallow whole, check out 5 Cheap Tricks TV Shows Use to Keep You Watching. Or check out As Seen on TV: The 10 Most Laughably Misleading Ads.
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