26 MTV Reality Shows From the Early-2000s That You Genuinely Forgot Existed
Before reality shows had the high production values of today, there were MTV reality shows. In the golden years between 2000 and 2010, we were bombarded with wonderfully awful (and sometimes straight-up fabulous) amounts of drama with shows like Room Raiders, Next, and Date My Mom, playing on repeat. There are some that were genuinely good and impossible to forget (we're looking at you Jersey Shore, The Hills, and Catfish), and others that were so awful that they were also the best. Keep reading to relive the MTV reality show glory years.
Room Raiders (2003–2009)
MTV loved a dating show. In Room Raiders, a person searched through three contestants' bedrooms before choosing one to date based on what they found. There was often a blue light used on the bed, and it still gives me nightmares. We'd also like to remind you that an 18-year-old Zac Efron once appeared on the show dressed in a green polo shirt. Yes.
Next was yet another dating show where five singles were thrown together on a coach, and one by one, they date the same person who essentially chooses who they'd like to date. Arguably the best part of this show was that every contestant was introduced with three fun (and frankly, strange) facts about themselves at the top of each episode. Exhibit A is everyone's favorite contestant of all time, aspiring children's book author Charity, who literally fell out of the Next bus.
In each episode of Made, one teenager was paired with a "Made Coach" who would help them realize one lifelong goal. Some teens became singers. Others became athletes, dancers, skateboarders, and even a homecoming queen.
I Want a Famous Face (2004–2005)
Plastic surgery shows from the 2000s — which usually featured people who wanted to look like their favorite celebrities or whose insecurities were exploited for the sake of ratings — gave me the creeps; and I Want a Famous Face was one of the worst offenders.
Dismissed was a reality series centered around two-on-one dates (just like in The Bachelor). One person simultaneously dates two people, and together the trio go on two dates — each planned by one of the daters — and in the end, the single chooses only one person to move forward with and dismisses the other.
MTV Cribs (2000–2009)
Of course you never forgot about this one, but it deserves an honorable mention nonetheless. In a pre-Instagram era, MTV Cribs was the only real glimpse us mere mortals got into celebrities' houses. Personally, I'll never forget the Destiny's Child episode, and specifically, Beyoncé's Aladdin-themed bedroom.
Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica (2003–2005)
Does "chicken of the sea" mean anything to you? We thought so. This winning reality show starred Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, kicking off around their wedding and following them through their newlywed years, including Simpson's time filming The Dukes of Hazzard.
Date My Mom (2004–2006)
Date My Mom was another dating show and wasn't quite as weird as it sounds. One man dates three moms, chooses his favorite (usually at sunset overlooking the water), and then is forced to go on a date with her daughter. You're right, that is as weird as it sounds.
My Super Sweet 16 (2005–2011)
As the title suggests, My Super Sweet 16 followed one rich 15-year-old per episode, as they planned their incredibly over-the-top 16th birthday party. There were always celebrity performances, luxury sport cars as gifts, an elaborate invitation process, and without fail, a tantrum. This show was the original hate follow, long before Instagram even existed.
Parental Control (2007–2009)
In Parental Control, parents played matchmaker for their teenager because they hated their current partner. The teen would then go on a date with their parents' pick, while the parents watched the date go down with their kid's current partner. The teenager was then forced to choose between their original partner or not. It turns out, this was probably scripted (we know, shocking), but at the time, it was definitely presented as a reality program.
Road Rules (1995–2007)
The Real World's sister show, Road Rules, had a similar premise to the original. A group of strangers between the ages of 18 and 24 were thrown together — this time to live in an RV — and were stripped of all money and possessions and forced to complete challenges as they travelled between locations. Fun fact: Road Rules was so popular in the early 200s that it was nominated for an Emmy in 2001.
Pimp My Ride (2004–2007)
Hosted by rapper Xzibit, Pimp My Ride was a show where one person's beat-up car would be completely overhauled. In most episodes, the makeover was so ludicrously over the top, and the car had so many speakers, that the back seat would be made completely unusable. Nevertheless, it was wonderful.
Paris Hilton’s My New BFF (2008–2009)
Paris Hilton's My New BFF was a dating show with a difference: showing the star's journey to finding her new best friend. Tellingly, there were two seasons.
16 and Pregnant (2009–2014)
16 and Pregnant has quite an obvious premise (aka, it follows 16-year-olds who are pregnant) and was the show that inspired Teen Mom.
Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County (2007–2008)
Another spin-off from The Hills, Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County was a teen reality show that was essentially the same as Laguna Beach but was filmed one suburb over.
'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave (2004)
'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave followed Dave Navarro and Carmen Electra in the months leading up to their 2004 wedding. While their marriage may have only lasted until 2007, the TV show, thankfully, will live on forever in our hearts.
Meet the Barkers (2005–2006)
Meet the Barkers followed a fairly traditional reality show formula. Starring Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and his then-wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, as they navigated life in California with their two children (who were little babies at the time), Alabama and Landon.
Hasn't everyone gagged and cringed their way through an episode of Jackass?
The Osbournes (2002–2005)
One of the first reality shows that was about, well, real people, The Osbournes followed the much-loved, kooky Osbourne family as they went about their day-to-day lives.
Between Ashton Kutcher marrying Mila Kunis and starring in That '70s Show, he hosted Punk'd, a wonderful hidden camera show where he pranked celebrities. Some hot favorites are when Hilary Duff had the worst driving lesson of all time, Justin Timberlake thought his entire home and car had been repossessed, and Beyoncé thought she'd ruined Christmas for a bunch of children. Iconic.
The Ashlee Simpson Show (2004–2005)
The first season of The Ashlee Simpson Show followed (you guessed it) Ashlee Simpson as she recorded her first album, Autobiography, and fell in love for the first time with longtime friend and fellow musician Ryan Cabrera.
The City (2008–2010)
No doubt The Hills was an iconic MTV reality show (and we won't patronize you by suggesting you had forgotten about it), but you would be forgiven for allowing The City to slip your mind. The original spin-off from The Hills, this series followed California-born Whitney Port as she moved to New York City in search of love and a new career in fashion. The show also starred Olivia Palermo, who is her colleague at Diane Von Furstenberg.
The Life of Ryan (2007–2009
The Life of Ryan followed teenage pro-skateboarder, Ryan Sheckler as he navigated his growing celebrity status, while dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of his parents' recent divorce.
Double Shot At Love With the “Ikki Twins” (2008)
OK, so you might remember Flavor of Love starring Flavor Flav, but do you remember A Double Shot at Love with the Ikki Twins? Airing in 2008, this season of the wild dating show starred twins, Vikki and Rikki Mongeon. The pair are bisexual, so the season saw 12 straight men and 12 lesbian women battle it out for their love — as you can imagine, it often got awkward, and in the end, only Vikki found love. Sadly, on Aug. 4, 2010, she posted on her Myspace that she and the winner, Trevor, had split up.
Plain Jane (2010–2012)
You can think of Plain Jane as a Queer Eye-style show (minus the uplifting and positive message) that never really took off in the same way.
Singled Out (1995–1998)
Hosted by Jenny McCarthy and Chris Hardwick, Singled Out was another dating show — this time, it involved 50 singles competing for a date with one contestant.