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20 Shining Moments: Part 2 - December 9

Last week, we discussed the Top 10 Game Show Moments of the Studio Era. Almost immediately, I started to receive e-mails from you guys on what stuff should have gotten in – or at least an honorable mention. I expect even more e-mail when we get to (in my opinion) the Top Ten Reality Moments of all time.

10. Erin Brodie chooses money, For Love or Money – Forget the second season, where everything looked more set up than the presents under the Christmas tree. Though the signs were certainly there that Erin would take the cash, everyone expected Erin to select Rob, the guy who picked her. Wrong. Erin took the one million dollars, leaving Rob at the altar. In the second season, Erin doubles the amount to two million, but not without everything looking, shall we say…all gift wrapped.

9. The Ballad of Corey Clark, American Idol 2 – Of course, we all know what happened this past season between Corey and Paula. I’m not talking about that moment. I am talking instead about the moment that Corey got thrown off American Idol 2, sending the competition in chaos and leaving the recappers wondering what in the world Idol was going to do so that they don’t lose a week. Fortunately, they chose wisely and gave everyone a free pass, but that too caused controversy when the Chaos Theory struck, and sent home popular contestant Rickey ‘Hercules’ Smith the next week.

8. The Donald fires everyone, Apprentice 4 – The first time that the Donald fired more than one person at a time, it was during the Apprentice 2. People were surprised (including myself), but you figured that he had to do that, because you had to cut enough people to fit a show like this into 13 episodes. You also had a feeling that multiple eliminations were coming as for the first time in the show’s history, a team actually caused a company to LOSE money during a sales task. No one saw this coming, however – the Donald took the 4 people who returned to the Board Room and fired ALL of them. That not only sent a shock to the remaining contestants, but also jolted the ratings, as that move alone may have revived this season of the Apprentice.

7. Bai Ling and the wonder stool, But Can They Sing? – Notice that this list is labeled Top Reality Moments – not necessarily good or bad. It’s true that William Hung was pretty awful, but Bai Ling not only ran circles around him, but her performances were on the border of porno material. The coup de gras was her song ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’, when she stripped down to a biker chick outfit and humped a stool like she was hearing William Hung sing in the background ‘She Bangs’. That was quite possibly the worst performance ever in the history of musical reality contests.

6. No one wins, Married By America Finale – The show that easily goes down as one of the worst reality shows EVER (and one of the only ones to be banned in almost half of the country) gives us the over the top finale as the couples that YOU, America, vote for all break up right before the wedding. Instead of a happy marriage promised by Fox, we get two couples splitting, one bride left at the altar, one drunken row turned into a near-brawl, no $500,000 grand prize awarded, a complete waste of time for the past 6 hours of my life and one of the biggest clusterbombs in the history of television.

5. Omarosa, The Apprentice – Omarosa has to go down as one of the most diabolical manipulative women to ever be on a reality show. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t on a show like Survivor, but The Apprentice, a show where you actually had to try to get along with people. She was drama for every bit of the journey though, all the way to the last episode, where she barges in crying to The Donald while he’s in the middle of his deliberations. Like Richard Hatch made Survivor what it was, Omarosa made The Apprentice what it was.

4. The rejected, The Bachelor, Finale – Let’s go alllll the way back to the first Bachelor. It’s not who Alex Michel picked (Amanda Marsh), it’s who he DIDN’T pick – Trista Rehn, who winds up shattered like church glass all over the limousine floor. The public outcry from that one moment led to Trista spearheading her own Bachelor experience, and the rest, which included a wedding on television and appearances on Dancing With the Stars and Fear Factor (among other shows) as they say, is history.

3. A real proposal, Survivor All-Stars – The biggest reality show proposal, ironically, didn’t happen on a love show. It happened on the finale of Survivor All-Stars where Rob Mariano proposed to Amber Brkich. She accepted, and not only was a couple created, so was a cash cow for CBS, as they solidified the Amazing Race series and became the second reality couple to be married on live television (the aforementioned Trista and her found beau Ryan Sutter being the first).

2. Playing with knives, Big Brother 2 – When Justin Sebik held the knife to the throat of Krista Stegall, Justin made history as the first American contestant thrown off of a reality game show. The shockwaves were felt as this not only was something that people talked about for months, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to much stronger background checks on reality shows.

1. Final episode, Survivor Borneo – Not only do we get the Infamous ‘Snakes and Rats’ speech from Susan Hawk, we also get one of the highest rated shows in the past 10 years. This was the episode that put reality shows on the map to stay, not just because of Susan’s venom, but because this was the first time that ‘good’ does not win. Indeed, it’s Richard Hatch’s game play that comes through, and it was just the icing on the cake for Survivor, the show that launched a thousand clones and created a new genre.

And there you have it – the 10 unforgettable reality show moments. Please send in your opinions on this list, and next week, I will the top moments from you guys that should have been on either list – but weren’t.

Gordon Pepper welcomes all top 10 lists at


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