Let’s face it – we watch reality shows to make us feel better about our own lives. Watching any of these shows makes our friendships, marriages, and even our cooking seem superior. But there are some people who are so loathsome that watching them is often not even worth it, despite the smug sense it gives us. Here are the five most annoying – and feel free to comment on our webpage, hudsonreporter.com, to vote on yours.
5. Robert Irvine, “Dinner, Impossible,” “Worst Cooks in America.” He’s not just irritating because of the controversy over whether he inflated his resume. Somewhere along the line, producers of food-based reality shows must have decided that a certain type of yelling makes a show more interesting. There’s a particular voice inflection and enunciation perfected by Irvine on “Dinner: Impossible” (a misnamed show, because he easily gets any ingredient he asks for) in which he speaks every sentence as if he’s totally exasperated by some cooking emergency. “I needed to find ten dinner rolls to feed five people!” he laments, revealing a true human struggle. Buddy Valastro on “Cake Boss” must have been taught to do the same thing and has the potential to be just as irritating: “I had to bake six cannolis by 6 p.m. and feed three people!” Emergency! How much whining can someone watch?
Mitigating factor: He’s apparently planning to marry a female wrestler.
4. Patti Stanger, “Millionaire Matchmaker.” There is some good in Patti Stranger, particularly when she tells off men in their fifties who express a desire to only date women in their twenties – especially when those men aren’t so attractive themselves. It’s fun to see them get their comeuppance. However, Patti is a hypocrite. She holds casting calls for women, herds them past her assistants, and tells them they need to change their hair or shoes if they want to come to her mixer to meet a man. But who are her assistants sitting right next to her? Two uber-pierced and tattooed twentysomethings who have freakish weird hair and dress. In her world, those two would have been told to clean up and look like Yuppies – but look, they found each other despite looking crazy! Perhaps they are the real hypocrites, as they sit by her side and let Patty judge others.
Mitigating factor: As we said, she tells off superficial men. It’s hard to be a single woman in the city.
3. Scott Disick, “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” Disick is the boyfriend of Kourtney Kardashian, father of her children, and a rich brat who pays too much attention to his impeccable suits he seemingly wears every time he leaves the house. At a Kardashian birthday party, he was shown stuffing a hundred dollar bill into a waiter’s mouth because the guy wouldn’t serve him liquor. Not only is this unsanitary, it shows a contempt for someone poorer than him. As far as we can tell, he never apologized for this behavior. To be fair, Scott is in his mid-twenties and seems to be growing up a little on each episode. He also cried when he had to say goodbye to Baby Mason before leaving to work on his issues for a while. Unlike the worst-ever boyfriend ever on reality TV, Spencer Pratt from “The Hills,” who seemed pathologically controlling, there’s hope for Scott. If you set aside his spoiled beginnings, crude comments, and drinking issues, a good dad and a decent guy is starting to emerge.
Mitigating factor: Seemed to be growing up a lot in the latest reality show. But he also seemed to be getting much more boring.
2. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, “American Pickers.” These guys go across the country looking to buy and sell cool old antiques and knickknacks. However, sometimes they seem like they take advantage of older people by coaxing them into selling off their memories. The two of them will act really excited about something they find in someone’s garage, and then offer the person twenty-five bucks. Cheap! At least Rick Harrison on “Pawn Stars” offers sellers a fair price and seems intelligent. Mike and Frank come off as exploitative. And we cringe every time we hear them pronounce an item as “killer.” Is that how people talk in Iowa?
Mitigating factor: The show is interesting because of what they find, although the tin signs, oil cans, and bicycle wheels are getting a little old. Also mitigating is their receptionist, Danielle, who keeps them in line.
1. Les Gold, “Hard Core Pawn.” This man is worse than everyone on the list put together. Perhaps he should actually win “Most Annoying Person in America.” His show is about his pawn shop in Detroit that buys from the poorest, most down-and-out people you’ve ever seen. The shop has purchased gold teeth and prosthetic limbs from really desperate customers. Les Gold, the proprietor, never resists the opportunity to tell off a potential customer or exacerbate a conflict, instead of calming it down like anyone over the age of twelve learns to do. He loves it when a customer gets exacerbated over being offered a low price, because he believes it gives him justification to insult and irritate that person. Often, those people are desperate or mentally ill and don’t need their buttons pressed.
With his giant bodyguards around, Les can say what he wants. He should remember that by the end of the night, he’ll still be wealthy and they’ll still be poor. He has jewelry dripping from his ears and neck, which further cements his image as a rich guy taking advantage of the poor. His dopey son, Seth, appears to be following in his footsteps.
Mitigating factor: His daughter, Ashley, has a better temperament. Hopefully she’ll stay with the store and make sure it’s not run entirely by Seth. Also, Les is kind of doing a dangerous job, so I guess he takes his licks.
Piggy Rabinowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Reality TV” in the subject head if you are responding to this piece.