For years we've been conditioned to lower our TV expectations during the warmer months, seeking out shows that we would never allow to clutter our overstuffed DVRs at any other time of year. But even though it's only early June, there's already an unusually high amount of truly addictive television - shows that we should be ashamed to watch, but aren't. Here's our top ten favorite guilty viewing pleasures of the summer so far.
1. I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here
We can't stand Speidi, but their on-again, off-again, will-they-or-won't-they antics does makes for good TV, even if we feel a bit gross about admitting that. Spencer might have an over-inflated sense of self-worth (to say the least), but he's right in thinking he's the star of this show since things are about 75 percent less entertaining without him around. John Salley and his name-calling ways don't even come close to picking up the slack, though watching the pseudo-famous get nibbled on by rats and bitten by bullet ants in the name of "charity," while a person most famous for being an MTV VJ looks down his nose at them, does delight us to no end.
2. The Real Housewives of NJ
These ladies may not make us laugh out loud the way the girls from the New York installment do, but we're still hooked on the familial drama, especially after the whole revelation of Danielle's (a.k.a. Beverly's) secret past involving kidnapping, an arrest, drugs and stripping, which was all detailed nicely in a book. Caroline, who made a trip to the library to dig up this tome in order to "protect her family," just might be our new hero.
3. Real World/Road Rules Challenge
We barely even know which shows these people are from, and we barely even remember the last Road Rules, and yet, we were sucked in again by Duel 2. Maybe it's because there's always the chance of Big Easy having another near-death experience, or maybe it's because the actual challenges are so kick-ass that we secretly hope that Survivor "borrows" some of them for their next season, or maybe it's because we can't help but feel super-intelligent watching these idiots, whose entire lives revolve around this franchise, trying (and failing) to do something as simple as spelling "throne."
4. Jon & Kate Plus 8
They're the worst parents aliiiiiive! Hilarious! Honestly, we can't really explain why we're addicted to watching this family self-destruct before our very eyes, but we are. It's shameful, we're owning that, but there's no one we love screaming at through the television more than Jon and Kate Gosselin. And Kate's hair, of course, which is the eleventh nightmare character on the show.
5. The Bachelorette
Oh, Jillian. Back when you were a contestant on The Bachelor, we actually kind of liked you, as far as morons who would compete for the love of Jason Mesnick go. But now you're the Bachelorette, and that affection has gone right out the window. Now we just love watching you be tortured by these jackasses, from dealing with creepy foot fetishists to drunken Neanderthals with rage problems, to having to pretend to be really impressed by that horrible song Wes keeps singing in hopes of getting a record deal. And special props for making two of them participate in a homoerotic role-playing situation last week and allowing us to watch their little homophobic heads explode. That was good television.
6. Jesse James Is a Dead Man
We're not sure that there's anything really wrong with us for wanting to watch a man set himself on fire or do Evel Knievel-type stunts in order to be on television, but there are those out there who consider this type of programming beneath them. Those are probably the people who'd rather go see Jesse's wife in The Proposal during its opening weekend. But will Sandra nearly puke pulling 9 Gs in a fighter jet in that movie? Don't think so.
7. Daisy of Love/Charm School
We feel equally guilty about watching these VH1 shows, so we've paired them together. They are both admittedly terrible spin-offs of already horrifying series, and yet they still have season passes in our DVRs. Daisy lacks the wildly entertaining famewhores that Rock of Love Bus had, while Charm School has those entertaining famewhores (paired with the less-entertaining famewhores from Real Chance of Love) but lacks any real purpose. And all the good (read: insane) people keep quitting these shows instead of having the decency to wait to be eliminated. Still, although we tell ourselves that we'll be done with Charm School when Ashley's gone, and that we're only watching Daisy to see if she ends up alone with Ricki, we'll probably stick around to see how they finish up. The shame.
We are way too old to be so hooked on this show about fraternity parties and secret societies and teen dating drama, but we just can't help it. There's just something about the dimwitted-yet-charming Cappie and the dorky-but-intelligent Rusty that keeps us tuning into a station with "family" in the title, despite our racier tastes and better judgment.
9. Southern Belles: Louisville
It's obviously scripted and contrived, but scripted and contrived can be entertaining when it involves girls as bitchy, stereotypical (read: Shea) and trashy (read: Kellie) as these girls are.
Yes, we weren't sold on this show when it first started, but somehow watching people bounce around on enormous red balls and into pools of water, while narrowly avoiding concussions, gets funnier the more times we see it. The torturous obstacle course has only upped the insane ante this season, with more foam, more cannons and more opportunities for people to get hit in painful places for our viewing pleasure.
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