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The Best Reality Shows You've Probably Never Watched

Police Women of Broward County Who knows, though, maybe you have watched them, and maybe you also enjoy them as fiercely as I do, but these are not the reality shows you'll find listed in the Twitter trending topics or on Facebook status updates, oh no, and I also don't think TMZ has ever gotten a crotch shot of one of these show's stars, but there's this: they're far more enjoyable than any episode of the The Hills. Even that one episode where Spencer was a douche.

1. The Police Women of Broward County. So, there's this county in Florida where the residents apparently like to sleep with hookers and do drugs, and the police like to prevent them from doing these things. You'd think this would make for some really ridiculous, eye-rolling television -- and it does! -- but it's also entertaining and good and ... uh, DVR-worthy, I have to admit. There's also this: I could never, ever be a cop because each time some low-life is put in handcuffs and starts spewing off some random excuse about how the cocaine may have been in his pocket but, see, these aren't his jeans, he just found them, you see, and I'm all, "Well, I guess that's possible. I mean, maybe this person just has really shitty luck." Yeah, if I was a police woman in Broward (or any) county, no one would ever be arrested.

Ed_Begley 2. Living with Ed. If you know me, and you've ever wondered what it's like in my home, you should watch this show. It's about the very green, very earth-friendly actor Ed Begley (I remember him from Lifetime's "Diary of a Sex Addict" but you probably remember him from other things) and his desire to live simply and responsibly in Hollywood and his wife's desire to just have a kitchen large enough to make a souffle.They banter and disagree and frustrate the ever-loving hell out of one another, but they make it work. What sets it apart from other reality shows, though, are Ed's clothes. He wears ratty shorts and dirty t-shirts and awful, horrible sneakers. No scripted, over-produced reality show's wardrobe department would allow such clothes if the show wasn't about more than shiny celebrities. At one point, Ed stands outside the bathroom with a stopwatch while his wife, Rachelle, is taking a shower. He is timing her! Taking a shower! And you don't know if you'd rather reach through the screen and knock him upside the head or pat him on the back for being so passionate about the environment. (It's usually the former, though, definitely.)

Guiliana and Bill Rancic 3.Giuliana & Bill. So, I think Giuliana (DePandi) Rancic is on the E! channel, and I think Bill Rancic was on The Apprentice's first season, but the fact that they're sort of second-half-of-the-alphabet celebs makes me like the show even more. She's spoiled and he's a workaholic but they're still more aww-worthy than, say, ANY OTHER REALITY COUPLE. (Although, yeah, recently the bar has been set as high as your average blade of grass.) Giuliana spent one episode at a spa/cleansing weekend, and she turns to her assistant, Matt, and says, "I'm just a simple girl at heart." He pauses and responds, "You drive a Range Rover. That's not simple." Oh, how I laughed.

4. Storm Chasers. HOO BOY, this show is crazy. We all know there are actual people who get in actual vehicles and seek out actual TORNADOES but this is a show devoted to these crazies. And there is no doubt they're insane. They are not just hanging out in the rain, no! These are category-five, will-rip-trees-and-your-house-out-of-the-ground tornadoes. This activity sounds about as fun to me as ... wait, yeah, nothing, but somehow you cannot stop watching this show. They go all over the Midwest and their windshields sometimes shatter and then they have to lay in ditches other times, but they always get these ridiculously awesome shots of storms. Ridiculously awesome because I'm on MY COUCH. You can't stop watching, partly because it really is cool and partly because you know they're not going to die or you wouldn't be watching the show. I'm all for a cliffhanger, but when was the last time you watched an intense reality show where all the people died?

What I really love about these shows is that most of them (save for Giuliana and Bill) my husband will watch with me. (Hey, he may have been the one to actually discover The Police Women of Broward County.) Once we put the kid to bed each night and get to be adults and not just "please-eat-your-peas" mom and dad, it's nice to hang out together, no matter what that consists of. And sometimes that consists of white-knuckling through an episode of Storm Chasers together. So, yeah, these shows are all post-baby's-bedtime time approved!

So, what reality show do you love that no one else has heard of? And don't say The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins, because, come on, we're all watching that shit. Tanya looks like she'd be fun at parties.

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I watch Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock on TRU TV and um, it's kind of fantastic.


There was an awesome home renovation reality show on about 4 years ago, but I can never remember the name. It was only one season and my husband and I were so hooked! Each contestant couple was given a home in the same neighborhood to renovate room by room. Each week, they'd redo one room and get graded on it. The winner actually got to keep their renovated house.

Argh, what was the name of that show!! Open House? Home Works? Gah!


Hubby remembered: it was called House Rules on TBS. Way back in 2003. Thank goodness...now I'll sleep tonight instead of obsessing over my lost memory.

My favorite current reality show I'd never admit to liking? High School Reunion on TV Land. It's evil.


Parking Wars on A&E. Genius.


Paranormal State representin'. I've spouted my love of that show in these hallowed halls many moons ago when I was a guest author.

And I'd start listing listing all my favourite Canadian reality shows but I'm afraid I'd bore the other commenters (but since you asked: Battle of the Blades, 'Til Debt do us Part, Realtor vs Realtor, The Week the Women Went, oh man, Canada has a whole channel dedicated to unknown reality programming)


PBS did a series of historic-reenactment-ish reality shows years ago. Families were put into typical life situations of various time periods just to learn what life was like then. There was a Pioneer House, a Victorian House, a Colonial House. Really interesting stuff. It was always really cool to see the people re-enter modern life after spending months in the past. The colonial people (I think), were nearly stunned at the size of a basic hotel room after living in small cabins and could not believe just how dirty they were.

cindy w

1. Clean House on the Style Network. Hosted by Niecy Nash of Reno 911. WIN.

2. Ruby (also on the Style Network). The 2nd season just ended, but seriously, I'm not sure if there was ever an episode of that show that didn't make me cry.

3. Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, but only the BBC America version. The Fox version is a little too campy, and all about "OMG look how disgustingly filthy this kitchen is." The BBC version is much more mellow and is more about him helping these restaurant owners find a niche and work on a business plan that will help them to be successful.


The season is over now, but I watched LA Ink on TLC. You know? The one about the tattoo parlor that only hires a*holes?


I love Ice Road Truckers. I don't know what it is about that show...but it is riveting.


Oh YES, Pioneer House etc. A friend tried to get me into Manor House, a BBC one, but that didn't really take.


I love Guilana and Bill. They crack me up. Like the episode where they spent millions on furniture to furnish a house he sold the next episode. Yeah, normal people totally do that.

Sprite's Keeper

Here's what I don't understand about Police Women of Broward County. The producers see fit to offer these women's names and actual locations of where they live, like a front entrance view of their homes. Being from that area, I knew immediately the name of the apartment complex where one of the detectives lives. Seeing as these women work in law enforcement and know the dangers of overexposure, didn't anyone think of that before they said, "Sure! Bring in the crane and do a dramatic overview of my house and all the key entrances!" ? Major fail there.


We watch storm chasers and police women of broward county in my house all the time. They are ggggrrreat!


The Principal's Office. Hilarious what kids will say and think they can get away with it.

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