Happy Birthday MTV: Top Five MTV Reality Shows
MTV is officially old -- the company turns 30 (ew) on Monday. For the anniversary of first (and most popular) music television channel in the U.S., we're counting down the Top Five MTV reality shows after the jump.
5. My Super Sweet 16
My Super Sweet 16 is the perfect marriage of everything one could want in reality television -- the opportunity to gawk at the absurdly wealthy and to laugh at their crocodile tears when the four-tier cake they wanted wasn't the *right* shade of pink. The show has been so successful and prolific that the franchise expanded to include party-throwers aged 13-24 and numerous celebrities have had their parties featured -- Bow Wow, Sean Kingston, Chris Brown, Aly and AJ (even Rihanna made a guest appearance).
4. Laguna Beach and The Hills
No reality round-up is complete without a trip to Orange County, and Laguna Beach, along with subsequent spin-off The Hills, can be (rightfully) credited with starting the fascination. Laguna Beach follows a group of O.C. high school students throughout their dramas and heartbreak, while The Hills follows Laguna Beach star Lauren Conrad as she moves to Los Angeles to start a new life. The unusual narrative-like structure of both shows inspired many similar programs, and it's is also responsible for launching the career of several celebrities, including fashion-darling Lauren Conrad, unrecognizable plastic barbie Heidi Montag and super-douche Spencer Pratt.
3. 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom
America loves abusing its youth -- as much as we enjoy watching swotty teens navigate the perils of choosing an absurdly extravagant party dress, we equally relish watching them wipe their bastard baby's puke off their shirt. Why? For the difference in extremes -- something Teen Mom executive producer and show creator Lauren Dolgen is well acquainted with. The show's pilot held the highest ever premiere viewership (over 2.1 million people tuned in), until Skins stole the crown, raking in 3.26 million viewers. Teen Mom follows four of the girls from 16 and Pregnant as they attempt to balance new motherhood with a teen's lifestyle.
2. The Real World
As the longest-running program in MTV history (since 1992) and one of the most debaucherous, The Real World may not be the paragon of reality show programming, but it's definitely a classic. Though the season-by-season rotating cast is virtually forgettable and its authenticity is questionable, the show's 28 seasons (so far) is a testament to the power of "real life" depictions of drug, alcohol and friendship abuse.
1. Jersey Shore
Nothing can outshine (or out-sleaze) the guidos and guidettes of New Jersey. The pioneers of GTL (the gym, tan, laundry regimen), Jersey Shore revitalized reality television with its alcohol-fueled fights and hookups -- earning the entire cast a six-figure salary for their fourth season. Jersey Shore is also responsible for introducing the world to the infamous jerk The Situation and fiesty oompa loompa Snooki. "I'm a f--cking good person," Snooki says as she gets arrested for the first time -- though that may be debatable, there's no denying that she's good television.