Following The Short List’s 10 Greatest Reality TV Meltdowns (and our own sub-list of the 10 Greatest VH1 Reality Meltdowns), here’s yet another list of 10 reality meltdowns we can’t get enough of (each and every one of these clips holds up as well as it did when it first aired). We could seriously count these down all day…
The God Warrior on Trading Spouses
Whereas ABC’s long-running Wife Swap franchise has mainly steered clear of controversy since its launch back in 2004 (Balloon Boy notwithstanding), Fox’s Trading Spouses was seemingly engineered to be controversial from the very first day it was greenlit. While the show earned a certain amount of notoriety in Hollywood circles after being sued by the creators of Wife Swap for plagiarizing their concept, the show’s most famous moment came in November 2005 with an episode featuring Marguerite “God Warrior” Perrin. The dogmatic Christian traveled to a home whose spiritual beliefs would probably be generously described as New Age, which set the stage for one helluva meltdown. You see, Perrin believed that her host family AND the camera crew of Spouses were being controlled by “dark-sided” forces, which led to a hissy fit of legendary proportions (one, mind you, that concluded with Perrin ripping up the check for $50,000 that her family received from Fox for their participation). Slagkicks! –Mark Graham
Janice Dickinson on Finland’s Next Top Model
(Lots of NSFW language in the clip above.)
Janice Dickinson’s road to Celebrity Rehab took a downhill drop when she appeared last year on an episode of Finland’s Next Top Model. The self-anointed world’s first supermodel went in as a mentor and came out looking demented. She urged the aspiring Finnish models to be “respectful always,” and then (inadvertently?) tested their limits. She slurred incoherently, referred to one of them as “such a sloven little girl,” warned another not to get snippy, and called a third “ugly” (but she was just kidding!). The highlight involved her falling down the stairs (duh — the highlight of any show is when someone falls down the stairs) and then, as the shaken-up models came to her aid she screamed, “F*** you all!” and “Do something, you stupid models! Call the f***ing ambulance!” It says a lot that the plentiful commentary from the girls and the on-screen text being all in Finnish barely matters — Janice’s rage is strong enough to cross cultures. When she readdressed the girls later, she was calmer, admitting that her behavior was a result of an alcohol-pill combo and then she t0ld a charming story of doing the same thing on a Valentino runway and landing in Sofia Loren’s lap. Giggling ensued. Just more evidence that Janice’s career is one big redemption arc. Celebrity Rehab 4 can’t come fast enough. — Rich Juzwiak
Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model
I don’t know if it had anything to do with that flaming red weave she rocked during Cycle 4 of America’s Next Top Model, but Tyra has never been this much of a hot head (before or since). In the clip above, the native of the infamous Inglewood, California, got all Westt-Siddeeeee on ANTM contestant Tiffany’s ass. She she verbally ripped the aspiring model a new one, while simultaneously throwing a complete temper tantrum because Tiffany chose to laugh about her elimination (instead of crying about it, and accepting her reality show elimination for the tragedy that it was). Did Tyra not remember that she was on TV? Or was she all too aware? We’ll never know. Tiffany better be glad that Mama Tyra didn’t have a belt in hand, because it looked like she was about ready to give her a good spanking. The cameras would have loved her for that. — Christina Charlery
Bikini Corrie on Paris Hilton’s My New BFF
(Meltdown starts at 1:49 in the clip above.)
All you need to know about anything is in Bikini Corrie’s speech, in which she begged to stay on the first season of Paris Hilton’s My New BFF: “I mean, Paris, I plead to you, that you more know so much than anybody else what it’s like to have people see something of value and worth and hate you because you’re beautiful and you didn’t ask for it. I did not ask for this! It was given to me. I used to come home and cry in high school and say, ‘Mom, I don’t want to be pretty anymore.’ And she’d be like, ‘You stop it.’ Heavy is the head the wears the crown. And, like, you were born into it. I was born the way I am, like…People call me ‘Bikini Corrie’ back home, because I have earned it! And it’s not being cocky, I earned it.” The awesome thing? It worked. Her nickname isn’t the only thing she earned. — Rich Juzwiak
Tami on The Real World
It may be unkind to mock Tami’s reaction to David’s infamous blanket-pulling in the second season of The Real World (it ultimately led to his dismissal from the show). Maybe she was being dramatic, but it’s just as possible that it reminded her of an actually traumatic past experience. A trigger is a trigger. So instead of giggling at her reaction for giggling’s sake, let’s celebrate it for its singularity. Meltdowns are a Real World staple: think New York’s Kevin ranting at Becky and calling her a racist (“Race plus power equals racism! Think about it!”), San Francisco’s Pedro whining about Puck putting his finger in his peanut butter (not a euphemism), Steven’s gay-panic slap for Irene, Denver’s Brooke snapping after being called “ugly,” Miami’s Dan getting all up in Melissa’s face after she opened his mail and on and on and on. None of them, however, spawned a phrase as memorable as Tami’s shriek of, “It wasn’t. Not. Funny!” Tami’s recording career never took off (“I’m a slave, I’m a slave, I’m a slave for your lovin’…”), and really, how could it compete with a refrain this catchy? — Rich Juzwiak
Curtis on Wife Swap
Curtis, the tiny little bacon-lover that could, perfected his tantrum skills on Wife Swap, on which he ranted against his reality-surrogate mom and “smart little girl” Joy who threatened to take away all his family’s junk food. [Ed. Note: Kudos, Joy.] For all his squealing and huffing there’s something kind of lovable about Curtis, and one can’t help but feeling a little warm and fuzzy as he furrows his brown and scratchs his Dumb and Dumber hair cut in anger. Because really, is there anything cuter than a chubby Southern kid in a vintage stripped shirt packing his miniature suitcase in protest of being denied the very food that is responsible for that plump n’ precious face? We thought not. Curtis, the sorry people of America thank you for your service in protecting our junk food. — Kate Spencer
Tanisha on Bad Girls Club
This Bad Girls Club meltdown taught us that when sweet, innocent Tanisha wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, she turns into a pan-banging, obnoxious, freestyle rapper. Unfortunately, for the rest of the Bad Girls, there was no snooze button on Tanisha, and her very own rendition of steel pan drumming while screaming “GET THE F*** UP!” wasn’t so pleasing to their sleep schedule. Their loss of sleep is our gain. What happens when a group of self-proclaimed bad asses get woken up before noon, you ask? We get a hair-pulling, fingernail-scratching good time. — Christina Charlery
Teresa on The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Why do people tune in to any of the editions of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise? It’s certainly not to see how “real” “housewives” (two terms that make us giggle) behave out in the wild. Rather, it’s to see women from varied socioeconomic stratas lose their temper, scream at each other in various regional accents, and catfight to the breaka breaka dawn. Viewers of the first season of this franchise’s Jersey edition sure got their money’s worth when Teresa learned during the course of a group dinner that Danielle was arrested in the 1980s for being a mob moll. Or, as Teresa put it, being a PROSTITUTION WHORE! As you might recall, table flipping ensued. –Mark Graham
Heidi Montag on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Why NBC decided to revive the I’m A Celebrity franchise in 2009 that ABC had left for dead way back in 2003 is anybody’s guess. However, their decision to cast Hills anti-heroes Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag was the show’s one stroke of inspiration. Sadly, the two quickly realized that jungle life wasn’t for them and made a spectacle of themselves (not to mention a mockery of the series) by leaving the show, coming back, then leaving again all within a 4-day timeframe. However, during their short time in the jungle, viewers were lucky enough to see Heidi (who hadn’t yet made the transformation to a Jocelyn Wildenstein-like creature) break down into a teary mess after she woke up covered in bug bites and learned that her cast members borrowed her dry shampoo. Boo freaking hoo! –Mark Graham
Tyra Sanchez on RuPaul’s Drag Race
The crowning of Tyra Sanchez as America’s next drag superstar on Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race was a controversial one — many viewers (and fellow contestant Raven) felt that Ru had selected a glamor-queen clone of himself, in the process overlooking Tyra’s shortcomings in charisma and versatility. But even the staunchest critic has to give it up for the sheer entertainment value of Tyra’s hyperventilating, on-the-floor, wig-disposing reaction, which made the entire ordeal of a reality competition infinitely more surreal. (And as Tyra told us, this isn’t the first time she did that — she spreads surrealism at every competition she wins.) Anyone who thought Tyra couldn’t put on a show was, it turns out, sadly mistaken. Our favorite thing about this meltdown?
Why, the amazing gifs it produced, of course! At the end of the day, gifs are all that ever matters, really.