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Reality Shows Ranked by How Much They Ruin Contestant’s Lives

By Lachlan Shaw

If you live in Australia and you don’t have Netflix, Stan or Foxtel, your television viewing options are pretty limited. And I don’t mean limited in terms of quantity, as there are about three reality shows on at the same time on weeknights, but limited in terms of diversity. But if we’re being honest, there hasn’t been a scripted Australian show worth watching since ‘Ja’mie: Private School Girl’.

As any TV watcher knows, the most crucial part to a popular reality show is the casting. Depending on the kind of show they want to make, producers will cast accordingly. If the show is a fun competition designed for families, you can expect a collection of loveable weirdos and misfits. Whereas, a show filled with wine throwing, hair pulling and cheating accusations is bound to include a smorgasbord of egocentric, wannabe D-listers. 

But after the show airs and the contestants return to their off camera existences, how has their life changed, depending on the show they were just on? I’ve ranked several reality shows based on how much they would ruin your life, from least likely to most likely.

LEGO Masters

If you want your life to remain intact after being on TV, your best bet is being on LEGO Masters. The main reason is simply because it’s not really about you. It’s about the creations you build on the show. Nobody will really remember you even if you make it to the grand finale as a lot of screen time is chewed up by host Hamish Blake’s comedic banter. Your best bet at getting some air time is purposefully knocking over your half-finished project.

Source: Nine Network

The Amazing Race

If you’re not just looking for fame, this is the show where you would get the most out of your experience. It’s basically a free vacation! And similarly to LEGO Masters, as long as you’re vaguely charismatic on screen you can be cast, as everyone tunes in for the challenges, rather than the characters. You might be a small story if you and your racing partner break up for example, but other than that, you can return to your normal life reasonably scot free.

Source: CBS

Survivor

The American version Survivor has created some of the most well known contestants in reality TV history. Elisabeth Hasselbeck made a whole career out of it. The Australian version, not so much, with the exception of All Stars winner, David Genat, who went on to Celebrity Apprentice. So your chances of achieving stardom are slim but not impossible. It really depends on how nice or how ruthless you played the game that will determine how much hate you receive.

Source: Network 10

The Block

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, The Block is one of the most popular shows on television. Although advertised as being all about the work, a.k.a. The houses being renovated, it’s all about the contestants. And the money. Because the show is so popular, you are by default, very likely to gain a lot of publicity from being a contestant. While you probably won’t make interesting news, everyone who watches will know your name for a few years.

Source: Nine Network

Big Brother

Like Survivor, people can build sustainable careers from being on Big Brother… if you were on in 2003. Good thing is, nowadays there are much more interesting things to watch so you won’t make the front page. Now with social media, every decision you make in the game will be analysed and criticised by your followers. Luckily, people will eventually forget about your mistakes and you could get a hefty amount of new followers that will slowly drop off as time goes on, along with your self-esteem.

Source: Seven Network

The Voice

This is an interesting case, as ‘The Voice’ won’t necessarily ruin your life (unless you’re absolutely awful in the blind auditions), but chances are it might ruin your career. There’s never been a huge success story that started on ‘The Voice’ and even if you somehow win, you’ll be right back to where you started. Only now a few people will feel bad that you never took off, which could seriously hinder your confidence.

Source: Network Seven

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette

We’re almost nearing the end and ‘The Bachelor’ and its spin off ‘The Bachelorette’ share second place. This one is really for the losers, specifically the guy or girl who gets strung along and brutally rejected on national TV. You’ll get constant pity comments that say “You were robbed” and “he doesn’t know what he’s missing” which will honestly only make you feel worse and not want to go on a date for a very long time. If you apply for this show, whatever you do, don’t come in second place.

Source: Network 10

Married at First Sight

Of course MAFS is at the top of this list. This show has single-handedly caused more suffering for its contestants than all the others combined. It’s extremely rare to wrap the show and have everyone like you. You’ll watch it back and see what everyone on the show, including your spouse, really thought of your face, body, voice, and anything else that can be criticised. The show is also insanely popular so you’ll be constantly evading people asking you deeply intimate and personal questions for a whole year. And that’s if you don’t cheat!

Source: Nine Network

Final Ranking 

LEAST LIKELY 

LEGO Masters

The Amazing Race

Survivor 

The Block

Big Brother

The Voice

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette

Married at First Sight

MOST LIKELY 

In summary, don’t apply for a show if you’re even slightly scared the whole country will be talking negatively about you. And if you really want to be on TV, better break out those old LEGO pieces and get practicing.

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