In the world of television, a unique genre draws us in with its over-the-top drama, outrageous storylines, and characters that are anything but ordinary. These are the shows we categorize as “trashy,” but in the most endearing way possible.
From reality TV competitions where contestants vie for love or money to scripted series with improbable twists, these shows embody the saying “truth is stranger than fiction.” Here are the 15 current trashiest TV shows that, despite their exaggerated plots and larger-than-life characters, we just can’t help but love.
This reality TV show gathers a group of single “Islanders” who are looking for love. The daily drama and constant coupling-up are addicting. According to Statista, the show’s British version reached a peak audience of approximately 3.8 million viewers in 2019.
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette
No trashy TV list would be complete without these long-running staples. As Chris Harrison famously quotes, each season promises “the most dramatic season ever,” and it delivers.
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
The revival of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” this show capitalizes on the viewer’s nostalgia for the original while throwing in new antics of the crew. The show has an IMDb rating of 6.8, with over 2,000 reviews.
90 Day Fiancé
This series follows couples who have applied for or received a K-1 visa and, therefore, have 90 days to decide to marry before the visa expires. As per a Newsweek report, over 14 million viewers watched the premiere of the show’s seventh season.
“The Real Housewives” Series
These shows provide a peek into the lavish lifestyles of wealthy women across various cities across the globe. According to a 2020 Nielsen report, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” was the most-watched cable TV show among African-American audiences.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
The ultimate guilty pleasure, this show tracks the lives of the Kardashian-Jenner clan. According to a Hollywood Reporter piece, the show has generated over $10 billion in revenue since its inception.
Following the competitive dance circuit and the drama among the dancers and their mothers, this show has produced stars like Maddie Ziegler. According to TV Series Finale, the show reached over 1.3 million viewers in its eighth season.
Catfish: The TV Show
This series explores the truths and lies of online dating, often with shocking results. According to a 2019 MTV press release, the show has reached over 1.8 million viewers.
A spin-off of “16 and Pregnant”, this show follows the lives of young mothers. According to a Forbes article, the show has helped decrease teen pregnancy rates by nearly 6%.
A show about plastic surgeries gone wrong, this series is a mix of schadenfreude and horror. As per a Deadline article, the show has seen a viewership increase of 5% in the 18-49 demographic.
Ex on the Beach
This MTV show brings singles and their exes together in a tropical location, promising drama and unexpected twists.
According to The Guardian, Netflix’s reality show about high-end residential properties in Los Angeles has become a sleeper hit during the pandemic.
Too Hot to Handle
This Netflix reality game show involves a group of hot singles who must abstain from physical intimacy to win a cash prize.
A unique social media competition where players can be anyone they want to be. According to a Variety report, the show is among the top 10 most-watched Netflix shows in its first month.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness
This docu-series about the eccentric Joe Exotic and his private zoo of wild cats drew an audience of 34.3 million within the first ten days of its Netflix release, as reported by Nielsen.
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