1. Kim Richards from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
In order for one to truly enjoy reality television, there has to be a total disconnect from your conscience. A lot of the things you see and hear are, quite frankly, disturbing but that’s also what makes it so appealing. These people are here to shock and disturb you as well as make you feel better about your life. This rings particularly true with Kim Richards, who is undoubtedly probably one of the #darkest reality stars to ever exist. Straight out of a movie like Sunset Boulevard or Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, the washed-up former child star slurs her way through The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with a depressing vulnerability. After spending years battling substance abuse problems, Kim appears on-screen as a haunted decrepit ghost—someone who wanders around their decaying mansion, clutching to their People’s Choice Award and a bottle of pills. We’ve heard about these kind of fallen star trainwrecks but thanks to Bravo, we get to see one in action once a week. Kim is a sad person. Most reality stars are but their hearts are so black and full of narcissism that you don’t feel so bad making fun of them. But with Kim, you can tell she’s a genuinely good person who has had the misfortune of living a rough life. That’s probably why she’s so fascinating to watch and secretly laugh at.
2. Snooki from Jersey Shore
I know Jersey Shore is super played out at this point but I will always have a half-erect penis for Snooki’s antics. What I find most endearing about this pint-size wastoid is that she’s unabashedly herself. In fact, she’s obsessed with her lifestyle choices which, in this age of cold calculation, is rare and admirable. Snooki’s awesome because she thinks she’s awesome. I honestly believe that if all of her fame went away tomorrow, she would be like “Whatevs!” and continue to fist-pump her way through life. Another great thing? Along with Jwoww, she’s a sex-positive female. She gets it in (her terminology, not mine) with no apologizes. And thank god because we have enough girl-on-girl slut-shaming on reality TV as it is.
3. Cousin Shelley from The Anna Nicole Smith Show
Cousin Shelley is an obscure reality television star. She was a bit player on The Anna Nicole Smith Show as Anna’s hick and possibly meth-addicted cousin but she managed to make an indelible impact on viewers like me. Besides puking and fighting on camera (at a Christmas party attended by Kathy Griffin, no less!) Shelley also struggled to have a complete set of teeth. Basically she was the white trash cousin from hell who deserved her own spin-off. That might not ever happen though so just tide yourself over with these videos.
4. Jamie Gleicher and Ally Hilfiger from Rich Girls
What made Rich Girls so special was that it was the first in a sub-genre of reality TV: Rich girls behaving badly. (Or, in this case, stupidly.) Because of the naievete of its stars (back in the early ’00s, people weren’t so paranoid of getting screwed over. I’m sure they just thought they could be re-edited to make themselves look better), the show ended up being pure unscripted gold. It showed teenagers puffing away on cigarettes, talking about getting laid, having emotional breakdowns at their country homes, and making references to Klonopin. (In the wise words of Ally, “That’s some strong sh-t!”) This kind of show would NEVER get made today. Aspiring reality TV stars are too savvy and self-aware now to be as honest as Ally and Jamie were. (Interesting nugget of knowledge: My friend works at Beacon’s Closet and saw Jamie Gleicher come in recently to sell her clothes. Not-so-rich girl.)
5. Kourtney Kardashian from Keeping Up With The Kardashians
Kourtney is the most underrated Kardashian, in my opinion. Kim is too boring, Khloe is too crazy, and Kourtney’s just right. I like her mostly because of the way she talks. I’m OBSESSED with her stoned Zen Valley girl drawl. It makes her sound permanently bored, even when she’s crying about her husband, Scott, or calling her sisters bitches which, incidentally, happens about every five minutes.