The premiere of
Jersey Shore kicked off an era of shameless excess in reality TV, which, on MTV, was fairly tame beforehand thanks to calmer shows like The Hills and True Life. Watching the craziness of the Jersey Shore cast was a reminder that, whether you like it or not, our brains just need silly reality (or something close to it) to relax every once in a while. To celebrate the return of that special TV formula via Jersey Shore Family Vacation, we've listed 10 shows like Jersey Shore that are perfect for your reality TV binge-watching needs.
While watching women flip over tables or men get into heated arguments at clubs can be highly satisfying,
Jersey Shore also allowed for real conversations about life to thrive on TV. You can't have the drama without the heartrendingly realness, so these suggestions include both the insane and insightful in the reality TV world. One should be able to enjoy bickering housewives just as much as they love British bakeoffs, right?
With my wine in hand, I'm totally ready for a reality TV marathon of these picks, but the streaming possibilities of this genre are endless. What reality shows are your favorite guilty pleasures?
Available on Hulu
Modeled after the concepts of
The Hills and Jersey Shore (although not quite like ), Geordie Shore The Only Way Is Essex, or TOWIE, takes place in Brentwood, England, which is a prominent suburb of London.
Like with the initial reaction to
Jersey Shore, the show has received flack for its often unflattering portrayal of Essex residents, but it provides the perfect amount of voyeurism to curious fans. If reality shows focused on on-and-off-again relationships and friendship drama is your kryptonite, this British perspective of that classic recipe is for you. 02
Terrace House: Aloha State
Fuji Television & Netflix Available on Netflix
This Netflix original series is essentially a Japanese take on
Real World, which is now practically the grandparent of reality TV. Spoken in Japanese with English subtitles, the show follows six young strangers living together in a house in Hawaii. If you love the Real World concept but hate how overdramatic and produced it has become, Terrace House is a more low-key version of all the elements you can't help but love in a "strangers live together" setting. The cast also comprises of both Japanese and American natives who - gasp! - have real jobs! 03
The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Available on Hulu
Check out of
Jersey Shore's Seaside Heights and delve into the New Jersey suburbs for similar guido vibes in a drastically different setting. When it comes to picking a superior Real Housewives series, everybody has their own preferences, but nothing beats the wackiness of the New Jersey cast. Led by cast mainstay Teresa Giudice, the show's shifting group of women has made Real Housewives of New Jersey unmissable. Available on Hulu
Not all seasons of this Lifetime hit are available for streaming, but the first and best season is on Hulu, which is truly all that matters. Before
she went to jail for felony bankruptcy fraud, dance instructor Abby Lee Miller was the hilarious, highly quotable masthead of this show focusing on her young dancers and their dramatic mothers. You've probably seen all of Season 1 multiple times, but revisiting it never seems to get old. Available on Hulu
If you're that person who kicks themselves for not interfering in a stranger's questionable, possibly dangerous situation, this ABC show is for you. Veering away from the outrageous side of reality TV,
What Would You Do? has actors reenact conflicting situations in public while hidden cameras capture passerby's decisions to intervene or keep walking by. The scenarios circulate around factors such as race, religion, and gender, and there's always at least one passionate stranger who steps in to rectify the fake situation. You're guaranteed to finish an episode feeling a little bit better about humanity. 06
The Great British Baking Show
Available on Netflix
Taking a note from the kindness of
What Would You Do?, The Great British Baking Show is a perfect stress reliever. Who doesn't want to watch people bake delicious treats in a field while being extraordinarily sweet to each other? While it's a competition show, the simple look into baking distinctly English desserts is enough to keep me hooked each season. Available on Netflix
This Australian import focuses on brides determined to keep their wedding budget low, and following their quests to do so is just as addictive as any of TLC's famous wedding shows. Some final low-budget results are incredibly beautiful, while others are quite cringeworthy.
Available on Netflix & Hulu
If you like your reality TV to make you cry,
Undercover Boss is usually guilty of doing just that. On the show, a company boss goes undercover as an entry-level employee to understand the flaws in their corporation, and the interactions with other low-level workers is usually emotional and heartfelt. Watching this might be the perfect solution for someone stuck in a dull corporate job who needs a bit of mental boost every now and then. Available on Hulu
With its first four seasons on Hulu and the most recent two on Lifetime's website,
Married at First Sight is literally just what it sounds like. Two strangers are matched by a panel of sociological, sexual, and religious experts and marry each other after meeting for the first time at the altar. Only a handful of the six seasons' couples are still together today, but following each pair's journey in getting to know each other is pretty fascinating. Available on Hulu & Amazon Prime
AKA the show that blessed us with the phenomenon that was Honey Boo Boo. From crazy pageant moms to sassy four-year-old beauty queens,
Toddlers & Tiaras is reality trash at its finest. Watching it requires little thought and mental dedication, yet it still feels like a cultural lesson on the American South's pageant world. Sounds like a win to me!
With this year's TV season winding down soon, I'll definitely need to start marathoning some reality TV in the summer break. Catfights and croissants, here I come!
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