The Short List Primer – 10 Greatest VH1 Reality Meltdowns



Tonight’s episode of VH1’s brief weekly countdown show The Short List (premiering at 9/8c) focuses on a subject near and dear to our hearts: meltdowns on reality TV. Although some highlights from VH1 make the cut, of course, the scope of the countdown covers the whole of reality TV. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to round up the 10 greatest VH1-only meltdowns that didn’t make the countdown. Come, take a trip with us down memory emotional-instability lane…

In no particular order, our favorites are…

Rocky’s Humdinger on I Know My Kid’s a Star

If you want to understand the irritation that comes from living with child actors and their stage moms, look no further than this extended clip from 2008’s I Know My Kid’s a Star. Breakout Rocky crumbled in advance of their “elimination friggin’ challenge today,” ranting about waking up early wake-up times to annoying showmanship (“They’ve got their kids waltzing in and out humming at 5:30 in the morning!”). Threats of assault via guns and guitars ensued. This was but one of the reasons Rocky stole that entire show — she upheld the stereotype of the stage mom who was really out for stardom herself and then justified it through her consistently amazing antics.

Second Time’s No Charm School For Gia

Once upon a time, there was a girl who got drunk and proceeded to act so outrageously that not even VH1 would continue to keep her on the air…oops, make that twice upon a time. Gia, initially infamous for the vagina-shot incident on Rock of Love Bus, found history repeating itself on Charm School with Ricki Lake, a show from which she was, again, the first person sent home. The spitting, shoe-slinging and screaming meltdown that followed encapsulated the way that reality TV can turn from funny to sad quickly and without warning.

Josh’s Excellence in Toolishness

Another first-episode eliminee, Josh (“Spray Tan Tool”) didn’t stand around the elimination chambers long enough for Jordan to tell him he was just a tool, but he did mouth off to a producer (curiously, by repeating “I love you”) and then hung around the set long enough to be screamed at by Jordan Murphy. The rare host-response meltdown: it’s beautiful when we get to witness something so rare.

Jeff Conway’s “Beknownst” Bestowal on Celebrity Rehab

Jeff Conway was also kicked off a VH1 reality show twice, which normally wouldn’t be remarkable given the way VH1 has recycled its talent over the years. The difference here? He wasn’t on an elimination-based show. He quickly went from tough patient to tough personality in the first season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, and this post-detox argument with Daniel Baldwin is what kicked it all off. Ah, the good old days of “unbeknownst” drug smuggling. (The line of the entire season, really, might have been, “It was beknownst to me at the time that I not was coming in here without any drugs on me.”)

Ice Hits Boiling Point on The Surreal Life

It’s hard to pick one Vanilla Ice meltdown from his time on the second season of The Surreal Life and spin-off The Surreal Life Fame Games. In fact, we have a video playlist that contains 10 (10!) of them. We’ll go with the one above, though, because of the impressive gravel in his tone as he hollers about their set being turned into a “whore house” as a result of some visiting strippers. And yes, that’s a pre-Rock of Love Heather Chadwell (one of the visiting strippers) looking on as he freaks out.

New York Really Works It on New York Goes to Work


It would be impossible to pick a great meltdown from New York Goes to Work. Instead, let’s consider that show one great big meltdown.

Daisy Wilts on Daisy of Love

Daisy de la Hoya’s time on Rock of Love 2 was spent so often in tears that it seemed that melting down was her medium. For example:


But we hadn’t seen anything until we watched her completely lose it after London eliminated himself from her own spin-off. She threw the chain she had intended to give him, flailed in several ways we hadn’t seen thus far (innovation for a career flailer!) and literally sniveled. London ended up rejoining the show (and winning!) but that doesn’t mean these theatrics were in vain. They were all for us, courtesy of VH1’s Queen of Misery.

Evelyn Got a P.I., You Dumb Bitch on Basketball Wives

Drink-throwing has become something of an art on VH1 — it is the way to aggressively invade someone’s physical space without getting yourself thrown off the show (although things may be changing, since Basketball Wives‘ Suzie found herself in jail after her water-flinging at the reunion). Perhaps Suzie would have done well to mix things up like Evelyn, who christened her alleged stalker Vanessa with not just a drink, but also the cup and a pen. She tossed everything but the kitchen sink (because that really would have been assault).

Leilene Is a Damn Good Screamer on Charm School

Leilene’s epic meltdown after a shoving match with Larissa found her wailing through tears, “”I am not going to have someone insult MY MOTHERING SKILLS, because I am a DAMN GOOD MOTHER!” But Saaphyri’s response after taking several beats — “Whoa. You mad, huh?” — is everything.

Kari Ann Is Kari Ann on Sober House with Dr. Drew

And what would this list be without an outburst from Sex Rehab/Sober House 2‘s Kari Ann Peniche, who didn’t spend two successive on-screen minutes being pleasant. Above is what directly led to her dismissal from the latter show. The straw that broke the camel’s back just happened to injure a camera man, a huge no-no in reality TV (see also Sebastian Bach on the most recent Celebrity Fit Club). You just don’t go after production — they hold every key to your representation and continued appearance on the show. It doesn’t take a doctor to discern that the reality star in the scene is not responding well to the genre.

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