Memes have essentially grown from silly internet jokes to become a form of entertainment in their own right. They embody fans’ true opinions of a piece of pop culture and often simultaneously make harsh criticisms about the state of society or the entertainment industry as a whole.
So, naturally, some of the harshest, meanest memes out there are all about reality TV series.
Reality television may be one of the most hate-watched genres in the history of entertainment. Who hasn’t claimed to watch a trainwreck of a series just because the hot mess of a star made them feel better about their lives? Why can we not look away from society’s most fame-hungry entertainers?
Well, at least one good thing has come out of the inexplicable popularity of these often trashy, always embarrassing shows: hilarious memes.
From Janelle Evans’ missing-the-point Ke$ha fandom moment to the sad reason for all of the teen pregnancy show success to Sean Bean explaining Buddy Valastro’s love of fondant, here are the 16 Wicked Reality TV Memes That Are Too Real To Ignore.
16. 16 And Pregnant
Children becoming parents is a surprisingly lucrative genre in the reality television industry. Teen Mom had a whole bunch of spin-offs and MTV got in on the controversial action with 16 and Pregnant, a series that chronicles the experience of a young girl navigating high school and dating while being, well, 16 and pregnant.
This meme points out the sinister reality of this premise: nobody would be watching if the stars of the series had their lives under control.
This mock-up of a title card features a woman well into her 30s with a good job and a baby on the way. Honestly, without all the teenage angst and underage drama, nobody would even bother to tune in. This meme really doubles as a savage critique of both the show and societies’ voyeuristic viewing habits.
15. Jon And Kate Plus 8
Kate Gosselin has often been accused of being a terrible mother and an incredibly selfish person. Viewers consider her antics to be an attempt to seek fame, and believe that she only used her large family as a stepping stone.
Her ex-husband, Jon, has attempted to remain in show business to some degree but has largely been out of the spotlight following their bitter divorce.
This meme points out the obvious correlation between the Gosselin’s divorce and the end of the reality television series. In this photo, Kate seems to be incredibly irritated and angry with Jon, who looks utterly defeated.
14. The Bachelor
The Bachelor is one of those shows that millions of people watch, yet not one of them actually likes the stars of the show. It seems like every new season, the contending women and even the bachelor himself becomes more and more unlikeable. There may be a finite number of roses, but the drama is endless.
This meme uses the iconically feminist Ron Swanson to point out how regressive it is to have a houseful of women competing for the affections of a single man.
True, there have been bachelorette-themed spin-offs, but this is the OG and the start of it all. Honestly, male or female, the question still stands, and there will never be enough alcohol to make this experience (or the date at the end of it) worth it.
13. Ancient Aliens
Nobody really believes that the cast of Ancient Aliens is made up of actual experts. Fans would just appreciate it if they approached the show with a little bit more common sense, is all.
It seems like nothing in history is off limits to this series, which finds a way to connect Earth’s most important and influential moments to extra-terrestrial visitors.
Giorgio Tsoukalos, the main host and “expert” of the series, is most famous for his insistence that any and all historical moments were somehow linked to alien activity.
Tsoukalos and the series as a whole will occasionally pretend not to take a hard stance in favor of aliens, instead posing questions to viewers asking whether or not the evidence adds up. However, the vibe of the series and Tsoukalos’ adamant talking head sessions seem to prove which side of the coin they fall on.
12. Ghost Hunters International
You can’t really go wrong with a haunting show. Show up at an abandoned location, turn out all the lights, and constantly ask “What was that?”
The problem comes when the show’s crew travels to some far-flung location on the other side of the world and still keeps asking that question in perfect English. After all, how is the foreign language speaking specter meant to respond?
This meme examines the thoughtlessness behind this glaring mistake. Clearly, the English being spoken in each episode is meant for the viewer, not the ghost.
However, if the point of the crew’s investigation is to prove paranormal activity exists, it’s awfully important that the investigators be able to actually communicate with said ghosts. Speaking English to a foreign specter defeats the purpose.
11. Cake Boss
Sean Bean is well aware of all the memes paying homage to his ominous Lord of the Rings speech, in which his character, Boromir, warns the Fellowship that “One does not simply walk into Mordor.”
He believes that those memes will be his “unintended legacy” and he’s probably right. The “Does Not Simply” memes have truly taken on a cultural relevancy all of their own, being used to call out silliness or acts of awesomeness in everything from The Walking Dead to the boring banality of getting through math class.
This particular “Does Not Simply” meme calls out Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro for his reliance on the controversial frosting fondant. The easily moldable and durable ingredient makes for great statement pieces, allowing the baker to create interesting and complicated cakes.
10. Long Island Medium
Theresa Caputo has been accused of being a fake and a fraud many times. The “medium” has channeled the spirits of both a dead baby and a dead dog and even claimed a prophetic dream as the catalyst behind her recent divorce from her husband of 28 years.
However, some viewers aren’t here for it, causing Caputo to have her brain scanned in an attempt to prove her psychic abilities.
This meme points out the very vague questions that Caputo and others like her tend to rely on when performing a reading. These so-called psychics will often ask open-ended questions like, “Did someone in your family have an ‘M’ initial?” and then the client will often tell the psychic exactly what they need to know.
9. Teen Mom
Teen Mom‘s Janelle Evans seems to constantly be in trouble. The controversial mother and reality TV star has come under heavy fire recently with several social missteps and some major bombshells dropped.
Evans and her husband posted some distasteful photos of themselves posing with deadly guns during the Parkland shooting and Evans recently admitted to having done drugs while pregnant. However, this is hardly the teen mom’s first controversy.
During the series’ second season, Evans was supposed to get clean of her drug habit but opted for jail time instead. Unfortunately for Evans, her time in the slammer got in the way of her attending Ke$ha concert.
Evans tried to finagle her way into going to the concert in spite of her sentence, telling her probation officer that she was obsessed with the singer and had gotten feathers in her hair just for the show.
8. America’s Next Top Model
This meme takes savage jabs at not one but two different reality TV shows. Obviously, the meme is poking fun at Marey Povich’s trashy paternity specials wherein a young mother would trot out the men (or one really adamant man) who she believed to be the father of her child.
Povich would subject everyone involved to paternity tests and would then read the results on air. The host would always read the results in a similar manner, telling the guest, “You are (or are not) the father.”
Tyra Banks had a surprisingly similar approach to announcing the results of each week’s episode of America’s Next Top Model. The supermodel would give her best Resting Judge Face and stonily reveal the judges’ results to the show’s contestants.
7. Keeping Up With the Kardashians
The Kardashian/Jenner family gets a lot of hate, but nobody can deny that they are one of America’s most successful families of all time.
Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie, and Kendall all enjoy massive success as business entrepreneurs and models. The women run their own makeup companies and are bona fide producers in their own right. Not to mention the millions of dollars that they pull in thanks to their wildly popular Keeping Up With the Kardashians reality TV series.
Yet, viewers seem to watch KUWTK with an almost trainwreck-like intensity. Momager Kris is frequently criticized for what fans perceive to be a manipulative nature that preys on her daughter for more ratings and money. Also, of course, the ladies are constantly being judged for their personal choices.
6. Pawn Stars
If you know anything about Pawn Stars, you know Rick Harrison’s famous opening line. Before each episode of the series, Harrison announces to the audience, “I’m Rick Harrison, and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss. Everything in here has a story and a price. One thing I’ve learned after 21 years: you never know what is going to come through that door.”
It’s a long preamble, but it perfectly illustrates Harrison’s decades of experience in the business, as well as the unpredictable nature of the industry.
Fans latched onto Harrison’s intro, creating a graphic representation of Harrison’s Pawn Stars introduction. When put on such stark display, Harrison’s alleged lack of knowledge is painfully evident.
5. Real Housewives
The stars of the Real Housewives franchise are basically famous for their status as the glamorous and catty stay-at-home wives of rich and famous men.
Some of these ladies went on to parlay their reality TV success into other lucrative opportunities, but, of course, more than a few simply continued to stay at home, even after divorcing from the men who made them reality TV stars in the first place.
Many of these high-maintenance stars have landed high-dollar checks following their separations from their husbands, allowing them to continue to stay home.
4. Duck Dynasty
This meme is formatted like a standard “Yo Mama” joke, taking jabs at several wide-spread opinions surrounding the Duck Dynasty franchise.
Obviously, the stars of the show are well-known for their iconic beards, but that doesn’t stop some fans from feeling like these celebs dropped the ball in terms of facial hair care.
The assertion that it took two hours to watch the news program 60 Minutes, obviously an hour-long program, is a clear insult to the cast’s intelligence.
Many viewers accused the cast of being ignorant, especially after Phil Robertson’s incredibly controversial, racist remarks in the now-infamous GQ interview in 2013.
3. 19 Kids And Counting
The Duggar family has been the subject of much scrutiny and criticism over the years. The stars of 19 Kids and Counting have been bashed for what many believe to be an odd and unhealthy lifestyle — a thought that may have been proven correct after Josh Duggar’s harrowing accusations of abuse proved to be true.
The subject of this particular meme is Michelle Duggar, the original Duggar mom before her own children grew up and began starring in spin-offs following their unwieldy families.
It’s a sadly well-known fact that Jana, the 28-year-old daughter of Michelle, is more involved with raising her siblings than Michelle is herself. This meme implies that Jana’s busy mom schedule is no accident and that Michelle intentionally relies on her daughter to care for the youngest children in the house.
2. Sister Wives
Sister Wives is a series that follows Kody Brown and his multiple domestic partners. The women take turns performing household duties, caring for the Brown family’s 18 total children, and sharing their time with Brown.
The show is meant to educate the public on polygamist beliefs, but only succeeded in scandal and hardship for the family thanks to criticism (and that one catfishing incident).
Sadly, the girl in the “ermahgerd” meme suffered from her own fame in a different way. Maggie Goldenberger had no idea that she was famous after her meme went viral, as she wasn’t even in the country.
Goldenberger insisted that the image was a joke and part of a sort of cosplay photo shoot, but that didn’t stop the meme from becoming a cultural phenomenon. Goosebumps author R.L. Stine refused to have anything to do with the meme, becoming frustrated at how frequently he was asked about it.
1. Alaskan Bush People
Alaskan Bush People is a show that seems to defy any and all explanation. The reality TV series follows the Brown family, Alaskan residents living off the grid on their own terms.
The family builds their own homes (shelters may be a more accurate term) and is frequently run out of whatever area they happen to be squatting in — they don’t exactly live according to the law.
All that may sound pretty interesting but with stupid fish-punching controversies and accusations of fake storylines, viewers can easily be forgiven for wondering what exactly made this show such a long-lasting hit.
This meme asks that exact same question, with the help of Sir Patrick Stewart’s clearly frustrated and bewildered Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The answer is truly a mystery.
Do you know of any other savage reality TV show memes that fans need to see? Let us know in the comments!
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