We miss the reality TV shows of the early 2000s!

Often when times are tough, our minds return to peaceful and comforting memories. Maybe it remembers Nana’s crochet blanket, maybe it reminds of a loving family vacation. For some of us, it’s about revisiting the dawn of reality TV, aka, early America’s Next Top Model. WE WERE ALL ROOTED FOR YOU, HOW DARE YOU! Studies (my personal studies) have shown that the old favorites of the watch binge are serotonin at this stage, occupying our minds for brief moments and providing a buffer for whatever unpleasantness we may feel. So let’s get busy.

Currently, Bravo has cornered the reality TV market because real housewives blossomed into a whole thing. But Bravo certainly didn’t start out with a client list of criminals, alcoholics, and people you wouldn’t want your kids to see. According to Wikipedia, “the channel originally focused on fine art and film-related programming.” I think we can all agree that he strayed very, very far from the original concept.

If you want to talk about “early” reality TV, you have to look beyond Bravo and go back to the old days. Like MTV in the good old days – it was a music channel! MTV has always had an interest in the game thanks to The real world series, but in 2002 everything changed when Ozzy Osbourne and his family have signed on for a show. The Osbournes (2002-2005) was a glorious portrayal of an insanely famous legend and his family walking around without glam, fully committed to the F-word, and giving real insight into what their lives were like. Sharon Osbourne throwing a ham in someone’s yard lives rent-free in my brain forever.

MTV also featured Gen X and Elder Millennials at Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. From 2003 to 2005, we watched these two crazy kids navigate marriage and the brutal world of having Joe Simpson as a father the music industry. Whereas by Jessica Simpson career soaring, poor Nick Lachey was often left doing manual labor around their Calabasas home or singing backup on one of Jessica’s albums. Priceless stuff, highly recommend.

Bravo woke up around 2003 and blessed us with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. A jaw-dropping group of gay men using their industrial powers and turning wild, straight men into people you would date in public. Whereas Carson Kressley might be the most famous spawn from the original show, he gave Extreme Makeover: Home Edition but with people, compassion and concrete results.

If you legitimately need to block the world, find The Anna Nicole Show. It originally aired on E! and was… a journey. From 2002 to 2004, viewers were held captive by Anna and her incredibly bizarre antics. I dare say that television hasn’t been the same since this show started. Go ahead and layer up Being Bobby Brown, which appeared in 2005 on Bravo. BOBBBBAAAY! Bobby Brown and Queen Whitney Houston NEVER should have agreed to do this show. There are lessons to be learned from the content of this program, IYKYK.

The A&E channel, which is supposed to be Arts and Entertainment, was less arts-focused when it introduced Grow Gotti. In 2004, we learned Victoria Gotti liked to wear white and super long hair extensions. Speaking in a monotonous voice was preferred and the downfall of society was seen on the faces of her three boys. Ah, we were so innocent back then.

Obviously, we can’t cover ALL of the early 2000s in one article, but it’s a good start. At least we have the ability to watch old favorites while hiding under a blanket.


[Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo]