4 Depressing Epilogues to Popular Reality Shows
Reality shows are one of humankind's last strongholds against the invading forces of quality television. Why work hard to invent narratives that can be enjoyed for generations when you can follow the exploits of a duck-call factory and immerse yourselves in homophobia and Walmart-T-shirt-ready quips? Evolution hasn't come up with a better way to depress people than reality television yet -- luckily it's only a placeholder until cancer becomes contagious.
Despite the fact that most of these shows take the human soul and bake it into something maliciously digestible, what happened after a few of them went off the air paints a far more tragic and insane picture. Get ready for the saddest part of your day, whole Internet.
Tila Tequila Understands You, Hitler
It's hard to imagine a world without the standard set by the MTV clusterfuck of a clusterfuck A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila. Gone are the relatively harmless dating/game shows of old, where the most risque thing is a husband revealing that he might have been napping when he should have been begrudgingly washing dishes and that he surprisingly thinks about sex from time to time. Every dating show, from now until the end of forever, has to match the same level of misplaced intensity and blundering lack of respect that was displayed in A Shot at Love. When Jonathan Edwards wrote the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" sermon, he was showing real foresight for a future society that would have Tila Tequila as a benchmark in its pop culture.
"Their foot shall slide in due time ... pass the lube."
The show received a sequel, because hate conquers all, and then Tequila faded into relative obscurity for a few years. But if you've decided that your stage name is going to end with "Tequila," you've already made an unspoken pact with yourself to never settle for anything less than omnipotent misery for everyone around you. Nowadays, she posts pictures of herself and gives advice to people who have problems like cheating spouses, because when you have issues with the most intimate parts of your life, there is no one better to go to than the star of A Shot at Love II. But, before settling into being the Internet's premiere expert on what it's like to be both Tila Tequila AND have Internet access, she wrote a blog post titled "Why I Sympathize With Hitler Part 1: True History Unveiled." After defining herself as Tila "My Natural Habitat Is Thick, Cloudy Hot Tub Water" Tequila, this was her "Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time!" moment.
"I see 11 million dead people."
While she would go on to delete the post (because it's bad form to take relationship advice from a person who defends the former leader of the Nazi Party), the Internet couldn't fathom it and would scarcely let her forget it. This was the woman behind the song "I Fucked the DJ" delivering previously unknown details about the man behind one of the most pivotal moments of the 20th century. If I sent that last sentence in as a headline pitch to one of the many shitty ripoffs of The Onion prior to this whole mess happening, their single editorial note back would've read "Unbelievable. How? Also, you're a moron."
And it wasn't only some true history being unveiled. Apparently, it was enough that it would warrant more than one part. I don't know if you're aware of all the outstanding qualities of Hitler, but they don't need their own blog post, much less a series like the Hobbit trilogy. She would end up describing him as "special and sweet" and stated that he "stood up for his country in a DESPERATE TIME OF NEED." It's a view of history that has a few glaring holes in it, and I'm still patiently waiting for her sequel article, "Ed Gein Was an Amazing Tailor: Part 1 (of 8)."
"We all wear masks."
She went on to compare her own plight to that of Hitler's, and would make anti-Semitic statements about James Howe, a recently deceased director of A Shot at Love. So that she could corner the other markets necessary for her acceptance into the Legion of Doom, she also claimed that Paul Walker's death was a ritual murder and called out the Illuminati for their numerous offenses. It was like she was trying to cross every item off of some unfortunate bucket list, and each item was just "Be the worst."
Buckwild Is Simply Depressing
MTV thought it had a new Jersey Shore on its hands with Buckwild. They both followed the same business model:
Step 1: MTV posts a casting call, basically looking for people with accents who seem to lack conventional etiquette.
Step 2: MTV films them doing things that are either A) too CRAZY (or, in the case of Buckwild, too REDNECK) for normal people to undertake, or B) different from the way that we, average people who don't roll down hills while stuffed inside tractor tires, would do them. Eventually, the cast makes out with or punches each other enough for some kind of loose arc to form that the producers can manipulate into a dramatic story.
Step 3: MTV makes millions, while the cast becomes a parody of similar people who aren't the focus of a reality show. Somewhere, a mother sobs once and then explodes into dust.
It's a kinder fate than mandatory retirement.
Buckwild lasted for one season, and if you didn't know anything about literally anything in human existence, it would seem that there is nothing to do in Charleston, West Virginia, but go mudding. From the amount that the teens in Buckwild drove their vehicles through swamps of water and dirt, you'd think that they'd figured out a way for it to replace nutrients as a prime source of energy. A mudding montage was the go-to motif in Buckwild, with the overall theme being that Southern people, if given constant opportunities, will shout, "YEEEAAAAHHHHHH," regardless of context.
In the middle of filming the second season, one of the cast members, along with his uncle and a friend, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a mudding accident. It happened during a break in production, so there were no cameras there at the time.
"In lieu of flowers, please YEEEEEAHHHHHHH all the way to the cemetery. It's what they would've wanted."
And throughout the year of the show's debut, four of the main cast would go on to be arrested, due to drug possession and DUI. Even after the accident, one of the producers, J.P. Williams, wanted to restore the show by setting it in a different location with new cast members. I wish I could put myself inside the head of a man who wants to valiantly push forward with an MTV reality show even after lives have been lost, but I fear that I'd last only a few seconds before tearing out my own eyes in an attempt to finally end the curse once and for all.
But Buckwild 2: Not Like That Other Buckwild Where Someone Fucking Died Please Don't Hate Us Give Us Money Though never happened, as MTV halted Williams from trying to get the show on other networks. And while Williams was furious about being unable to continue the Buckwild legacy in the deranged fashion that he saw fit, I think we can rest with some ease in knowing that he was very, very alone in his righteous anger.
Hulk Hogan's House of Pain
Most modern reality shows are based around the idea of putting hotheaded young adults into a claustrophobic space, giving them catering and vodka, and nudging them towards confrontations with each other. Then you cut the whole thing together to the strains of the cheapest David Guetta soundalike that you can find and voila! You have The Real World: Ex-Posure, or The Real World: Ex-Tinction, or whatever title best conveys that, yes, there will be breakups, and, yes, you will be able to watch them all guiltlessly.
Considering that, Hogan Knows Best seems almost quaint. It's about a protective (and sometimes misguided) father who just wants to do his best for his family. Also, he's friends with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and he's famous for ripping off his shirt and dropping his thighs on men dressed as evil foreigners. I don't know if Hulk Hogan has ever been on anyone's list of celebrities who need a reality show, but the fact that Hogan Knows Best is something that happened adds a little bit of mystery into this too-literal world.
The Case of the Creepy Dad Buying His Daughter a Lap Dance and Loving Every Moment of It
The show was four seasons of Hulk Hogan getting angry at neighbors, distrusting his daughter's boyfriends, and trying to maintain some semblance of peace in a world that is begging to be clotheslined. It received a spinoff show, Brooke Knows Best, based around Hogan's daughter, but not because Brooke had become any sort of breakout sensation. It was because, when the show ended, Hogan's family collapsed.
First, during the shooting of Hogan Knows Best, Hogan was accused of infidelity with one of his daughter's friends. Then, after acquiring numerous speeding tickets, Hogan's son, Nick, was involved in a car crash that occurred while he was drinking and racing. The crash didn't just land Nick in jail, it also resulted in the serious injury of one of his friends. And finally -- with all of this occurring in the span of a year -- Hogan's wife, Linda, filed for divorce and began dating a 19-year-old who had been a student at Brooke and Nick's high school, which is a giant slap in the face just shy of finding out that his wife's divorce attorney is the Iron Sheik.
"We make each other humble every night."
The worst five years of Hogan's life were capped off with an explicit sex tape of him becoming available online, which when written down like that looks like a lost Cards Against Humanity round. Hogan, unlike the star of the next entry in this article, never intended for the sex tape to enter the public eye, probably because there's no way to market the synopsis "Join pro wrestling legend HULK HOGAN as he groans his way towards a Magnitude 7! The Earth trembles, and you won't enjoy it." Recently, Hogan has been able to find more personal and financial success, but, after the last half-decade of his life, something as minute as a decent parallel-parking job could've marked the beginning of an upswing for him.
Farrah Abraham: Professional WTF
There is no right reason for the show Teen Mom to exist. The most cartoonishly noble could possibly find a way to say that it illustrates the dangers of not following an abstinent lifestyle as a teen, but that's like saying that There Will Be Blood is anti-bowling. There is no message in Teen Mom, nor is there a greater purpose. It is a series of unprepared people suffering through unfortunately timed events, and, oh, look! Cameras are here. I've seen cabinets under sinks that are better child-raising environments.
A teen dad doing what's best for his child: staying the fuck away.
Teen Mom originally lasted for four seasons and was such a success that MTV created a Teen Mom 2, which also lasted for four seasons. They followed this up with Teen Mom 3, which was canceled after one season for not being Teen or Mom enough, I guess. They then brought back Teen Mom 2 for a fifth season and, in 2015, Teen Mom will also be returning for a fifth season. Immediately following that, Teen Mom 2 will return for its sixth season. If you read this paragraph backwards, you will summon the living devil.
Look at those kids' faces and tell me they don't know the Antichrist is nigh.
Farrah Abraham, who starred in the first Teen Mom series, wasn't satisfied with being the laughingstock of a nation by the time that it ended. While the other three stars from Teen Mom have seemingly been content with the most awful kind of stardom that a young woman can have, there isn't an avenue for success that Abraham hasn't blindly stumbled toward.
She began by releasing a memoir and an album, which were both called My Teenage Dream Ended. If someone you didn't like told you that a cast member of Teen Mom wrote a book, what you'd imagine is exactly what My Teenage Dream Ended turned out to be. At its best, it's a collection of words that are organized into sentences, but any literary merit that it could've achieved stops there. If you need to find a space on your shelf for it, then put it next to unPHILtered, by Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, and then set the whole thing on fire to prevent further contamination. On the same end of the spectrum is Abraham's music, in which she yells lyrics from the studio's parking lot while the producer Auto-Tunes everything to wipe away the evidence that either had been there.
For once, old people complaining new music is nothing but noise have a point.
Abraham then decided to go into porn, in an effort that was initially meant to capitalize on the growing trend of sex tapes being "leaked." To maintain absolute legitimacy, popular porn star James Deen was hired to take part in it. This would, in the formative stages, add a few extra obstacles to the willing suspension of disbelief for the audience of Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom.
The most notable of these obstacles was that a "leaked" tape would imply that Abraham, star of a successful MTV show, met with Deen and -- outside of any business relationship -- they just decided to make professional-looking porn together for the pleasure of no one else but themselves. Then, somehow, they would have to have had their privacy invaded in a way that allowed Vivid Entertainment to release the tape. To cap off a scheme that makes no sense whatsoever, Deen was told to remain quiet about the fact that it was totally planned. And Deen, being the only rationally minded person involved in the ordeal, didn't do that shit at all.
He's still a motherfucker though. Technically speaking.
Abraham would go on to insult Deen, claim that the tape was meant for her own collection, and then try to block its release because, when momentary lucidity hits you, it picks the worst fucking time. Vivid Entertainment viewed this as backstabbing them, especially after Abraham declared that she'd been drugged and raped multiple times while doing promotion for the sex tape at strip clubs and pornographic conventions. They replied to this in a way that only a vengeful, immature porn producer can and announced the release of Farrah 2: Backdoor and More. I've never seen a more stupidly conceived agenda go this awry, and the only person to come out of it unscathed was Deen, who continues to be a beloved fixture in the porn community.
Good for you, James Deen. I honestly mean that.
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For more from Daniel, check out 6 Action Stars Who Survived Shit That Would Kill Superman. And then check out 14 Reality Shows from Before the Invention of TV.
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