The beauty of UnREAL is that it exposes the ugly truth of "reality" TV. Behind every blow-up, catfight, relationship drama and “overnight” success story, there’s probably a producer puppeteer pulling the strings.
And we're pretty sure that was the case with these notorious "real" reality moments...
1. The Bachelor Australia: Sam Frost, will you do me the honour of faking an engagement with me?
This couldn’t have been more perfect if it was arranged by UnREAL’s Rachel Goldberg herself - an exotic beachside locale, the sun majestically setting in the background and Bachelor Blake asking blonde beauty Sam Frost to be his one and only… for about a week until he called it quits and ran off with third place getter Louise Pillidge. Sam was “devastated” and “confused”, and Blake was “heartbroken”, but the scandal gave the Bachelor producers an extra few weeks of media coverage and made Sam Frost a hero to every woman who’d ever been wronged by a commitment-phobe.
2. The Real Housewives of Melbourne: Gina Liano is everyone's Straight Talking Aunt
Australia’s contribution to the RH franchise may not have produced such epic outburts as this but sometimes it’s the quiet, catty moments wherein lies reality TV gold. (Note someone in the background saying, “We’re on camera, right?”)
3. America’s Next Top Model: Tyra Banks goes postal
There’s a moment in UnReal where a producer pulls his two black Bachelorette contestants aside and gives them a bit of a reality check (pun intended). Black people don’t win, so if they want to be remembered, they have to bring the drama. With that in mind, I give you this glorious moment of Tyra Banks-fueled batshit insanity.
4. My Kitchen Rules: Jess is literally the worst
You wouldn’t have thought it possible for someone to be more self-righteous about their eating habits than Pete Evans, but then came Jessica, a self-confessed fitness-freak and health food addict with a penchant for knee high socks and calling Manu fat. She only lasted a week because too many baddies spoil the broth and - unlike the other token bitch, Zana - Jess couldn’t actually cook.
5. MasterChef Australia: Who can conquer the croquembouche?
This bit, at the tail end of MasterChef’s maiden season, was the show’s first “holy shit” moment and the first time Australia learned to fear the name Adriano Zumbo. It was also the moment the MasterChef EP made a mental note to sign Zumbo up for the show every year for the rest of his life.
6. The Voice Australia: Karise Eden auditions
Karise Eden was a producer's wet dream: a sweet, unpretentious bogan with a tragic backstory (she’d spent her life shuffling between foster homes), and a voice that sounded like the love child of Macy Gray and Janis Joplin.
7. Big Brother Australia: Boys are horrible
Ah, 2006. It was the year when Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray, John Howard was still in office, and two morons thought it was funny to hold a lady down and flap their knob in her face on live TV (aka “turkey slap” her). While the “incident” is pretty tame by today’s standards it was enough to get the pair instantly booted off the show while crying foul about being abandoned by the producers who told them to do it in the first place… Knowing what goes on in UnREAL, this doesn’t seem out of the realms of possibility.
8. Celebrity Apprentice: You’re a pok-ah playa!
When Joan Rivers & her daughter, Melissa, agreed to go on future American president Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, you knew you’d be in for a treat, but when the Don fired Melissa over poker player Annie Duke and Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, we didn’t just get a treat, we got the whole damn candy bar.
9. Survivor: Kelly Wigglesworth gets slammed
Survivor - along with American Idol and Big Brother - pretty much ushered in the modern era of reality TV. It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years since we first watched a bunch of total strangers try to outwit, outplay and outlast each other on a “deserted” island in Borneo. Watch this clip of third place getter Susan Hawk methodically taking down her rival, Kelly Wigglesworth, and just imagine UnREAL's Quinn King watching in the control room, swilling from her scotch glass with glee…
10. Dancing with the Stars: Mark Holden brings all your clown nightmares to life
There are only two possible reasons Mark Holden was allowed to go through with this debacle:
1) The producers didn’t know he was insane, or 2) The producers knew and decided to watch him self-implode on national television. No prizes for guessing which is correct…
11. Britain’s Got Talent: Susan Boyle dreams her dream
You can’t make a best of reality TV list without mentioning Susan Boyle. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it, the look on Simon’s smug face when he realizes she’s actually amazing is a thing of beauty. Maybe he was faking it, maybe he wasn't. Either way, the producers engineered the whole thing.
12. Australia’s Next Top Model: Sarah Murdoch wishes the floor would swallow her up
Years before Steve Harvey crowned the wrong Miss Universe we had our very own right royal stuff up at the finale of Australia’s Next Top Model when Sarah Murdoch - on live TV- was told the wrong winner in her earpiece. While the situation is SUPER awkward and the producer who gave her the wrong name probably wasn’t asked to come back the next season, watching Sarah freak out and watching eventual runner-up Kelsey graciously give up her crown is pretty damn good TV.
13. The Bachelor Australia: Laurina and the dirty street pie
Sam Frost walked away with a spin-off series and a radio career, Louise walked away with the Bachelor’s heart and Laurina walked away with nothing but a #dirtystreetpie… and instant notoriety. The producers couldn't have planned a better moment (though we're sure they helped it along).
Watch UnREAL on Mondays at 8:30pm (AEDT) on SBS 2 and on SBS On Demand.
Missed the last episode? Watch it right here: