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The Best Reality TV Moments Of The 2010s


The reality television landscape of the early 2000s looked much different than the fare of the 1990s, particularly when shows like “The Osbournes,” “Girl Next Door,” the “Real Housewives” and, crucially, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” exploded onto the scene. Don’t forget the creatively named celebrity dating shows like “Rock of Love,” “A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila,” and “Flavor of Love.” From “Making the Band,” to “America’s Next Top Model” to “American Idol,” the reality competition genre evolved as well.

After the premiere of “Jersey Shore” (and “Teen Mom”) in 2009, audiences in the 2010s seemed to acclimate to the polarizing industry—the constant stream of five-alarm fires accessible to cable subscribers at any given moment has a numbing effect. That doesn’t mean the entertainment value lessened even a skosh. From “Love & Hip Hop” to “Dance Moms” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” to “Duck Dynasty” and “Chrisley Knows Best,” the 2010s were an embarrassment of riches for viewers who can’t help but be amused by trashy TV. (To be fair, not all of it is trashy. Read Camille Paglia on “The Real Housewives.”)

Bravo and E! continued to thrive alongside network mainstays like “Big Brother,” “The Bachelor,” and “Survivor.” “American Idol” briefly faded from existence, only to be resurrected by ABC. It was a big decade for the genre, one that will surely be studied for generations to come. There wasn’t a whole lot to love about “Honey Boo Boo,” for instance, but it hauled in viewers, and that’s something we just can’t ignore.

It’s in that spirit I bring you a list of the best reality television moments from each year of the decade. I couldn’t keep myself to one winner for most years, so please forgive the surplus.


The infamous ‘Jersey Shore’ note

Alexis Neiers Calls Nancy Jo on ‘Pretty Wild’

The Scary Island breakdown on ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’


‘Where’s the beach?’ from ‘Jersey Shore’

Nancy Grace has a wardrobe malfunction on ‘Dancing With The Stars’


Joan Rivers gets high on ‘Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?’


All of ‘What Would Ryan Lochte Do?’ (JEAH!)

All of ‘Buckwild’

The Todd Kraines saga on ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’


Aviva Drescher throws her prosthetic leg on ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’

The fight that got Porsha arrested on  ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’


Kenya Moore’s performance of ‘Gone With the Wind Fabulous’ on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ produces an historical .gif of future first son Donald Trump Jr.

The fake cancer drama on ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’

(As an aside, this season of RHOC included footage of Vicki learning that her mother had passed away, which I think is the single most powerful moment in the history of reality TV.)


The time Katy Perry was not in a secret, multiyear relationship with a ‘Catfish’ contestant

When Big Ang needed a Bloody Mary on ‘Mob Wives’

The time it was definitely ‘about Tom’ on ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’

Cardi B on ‘Love & Hip Hop’


Corinne Olympios’ stint on ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelor in Paradise’


When it was NOT about the pasta on ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Jay Cutler’s deer cam on ‘Very Cavallari’


The ‘Dance Moms’ crew chases Abby Lee Miller through the streets of New York City

Patricia Altschul’s butler serves her some backseat McDonald’s on ‘Southern Charm’

This very effective airport freshening up on ’90 Day Fiance’