Explainer: Top 10 reality TV meltdowns
With the season finale of "Project Runway" upon us, we are still feeling for Michael Costello after his crying episode last week. And what we're feeling is a mixture of shame (for enjoying it so much) and relief (that he was voted off so we won't have to deal with an even bigger meltdown on the finale).
His particular level of breakdown got us thinking about all of those who came before him. So we combed through the annals (read: our memories) of reality TV to come up with this list of the biggest babies' worst fits.
10. 'Boy Meets Boy'
When Bravo aired this iffy dating show in 2003 — a gay "Bachelor" in which some of the contestants were actually straight and competing for $25,000 — we knew it was mean. We mistakenly thought it was mean to James, the show's love-seeking contestant.
But when the twist was revealed, James remained cool, collected and logical. It was his BFF and adviser, Andra, who broke down crying, dropping F-bombs and blaming herself for falling for all of these guys and shoving them down James' throat.
(On a positive note: James ultimately chose one of the gay contestants, Wes.)
9. 'Jersey Shore' season 2 finale
We all know Pauly D's the nice one who never gets mad or involves himself in the drama, right? So there was a certain amount of satisfaction for viewers when Snooki — always smack in the middle of the drama — lied right to JWoww's face for no reason at all (except maybe she wanted Jenni to hate everyone else and love only her). Then JWoww confronted the house, which imploded.
It all ended with Snooki's hissyfit tantrum, in which she told JWoww it was HER fault the house turned against Snooks. Um, OK. Or maybe it was the lying? Whatever caused it, we wouldn't have changed a thing.
Check out the fight on MTV.com, starting at the 26-minute mark.
8. 'Celebrity Apprentice 2'
OK, so there weren't actually a whole lot of tears shed, but when Donald Trump fired Melissa Rivers and she stormed out in a huff, she couldn't have been more of a baby. She told people repeatedly how very much she was NOT going to do an interview, and then she ran around calling people names.
It was hard to imagine anyone being more of a whiner about losing a game, but then Melissa's mom, Joan — who was safe from getting fired — stormed out of the suite and quit right along with her daughter.
7. 'Big Brother 11'
America breathed a collective sigh of relief when favorite (though God knows why) Jesse was flipped out of the "Big Brother" house by Jeff's superpower: the coup d'etat. It was such a relief not to have to see his face — or his T-shirts, or his lack of a T-shirt — ever again.
Little did we know that the harem of ladies he left behind would have this kind of a bawl-baby reaction to the whole thing, or we might have wanted him to stay. Nah. It was worth the tearful worshipfest to not have to see him on our TVs three times a week.
6. 'The Amazing Race 15'
Of all of the scary obstacles people had overcome throughout 14 previous seasons — sky-diving, bungee-jumping, eating live octopus — it was a relatively tame-looking water slide that did in Mika and Canaan, when Mika absolutely would not go down it.
But it wasn't the refusal to go down the slide that audiences will marvel at and anthropologists will study to figure out our species: It was the fit she threw in the refusal, whining and crying as if she'd been asked to do something difficult — or at least something that wouldn't have been so much fun.
5. 'The Biggest Loser 7'
He wasn't even a contestant on the show, but Max Morelli had the most tearful moment in its history when he and his mom went to visit his dad and brother, Ron and Mike, on makeover day. The moment poor 17-year-old Max (who weighed in at 400 pounds at the time) saw his trimmer brother, he was a snotty, sniveling mess. It would have been hilarious if it hadn't been so darn sad.
Since he was under 18, Max wasn't allowed to go on the show with his 18-year-old brother and his dad, so he was stuck at home watching them slim down while he stayed the same. When he told his mom that he's the only fat one in the family now, it broke our hearts. (Thankfully, Max got to go to the "Biggest Loser" resort after the show and reportedly lost upward of 100 pounds.)
4. 'Project Runway 8'
Michael Costello's crying fit after he was eliminated in the first part of this season's finale might have been sad if it hadn't been so embarrassing. It was hard to muster any sympathy for someone who was so clearly fishing for it, overdoing it with the devastation his family would feel at his "loss." (And come on. Once you've made it to the top four, I think you'll do just fine).
The always-blunt Gretchen was the only one not in tears, and she looked as uncomfortable as she felt. She later expressed her concern for him and her desire for him to work through these issues with his family. We couldn't agree more!
3. 'Tool Academy'
You don't even have to watch "Tool Academy" (we don't, but we sure love the fun Joel McHale pokes at it on "The Soup") to know the legend of Angelo. He was one of the tools on this disturbing relationship fixer (or breaker).
What made Angelo different than the many losers who came before him on "Tool Academy" was how he went from swaggering as he bragged about cheating on his girlfriend to crying, "You complete me!" when confronted. The juxtaposition was horrifyingly, wonderfully sad.
2. 'I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!'
Most of us have heard of Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag — or "Speidi," as "The Hills" stars are more commonly known — but only a lonely few of us sat at home and watched the trainwreck that trapped them in the Costa Rican jungle with other C-list celebrities to eat bugs and sleep on the ground for charity.
On the first day of this live show, Speidi had their first meltdown — involving something about someone removing the labels Speidi had put on Heidi's dry shampoo. They left, they came back, they were baptized in the river by Stephen Baldwin, they left again for good, but none of their meltdowns ever topped that first heartfelt sobfest when they realized they weren't in "The Hills" anymore, and even spray-on shampoo couldn't protect them.
1. 'The Amazing Race 3'
It's been years since Zach dragged Flo around the world and helped her become the first woman to win this spectacular competitive reality show and the $1 million prize, but we'll never forget her breakdown in Vietnam. She cried, she threw things, she quit, she screamed, she paced. She did everything, everything, everything except to help Zach with any portion of the leg of the race.
It was a testament to Zach's enduring patience that they not only finished the leg and made it to the final three, but that they went on to win. No one's ever deserved the $1 million more — or had a partner who deserved it less.
DeAnn Welker has to give dishonorable mentions to "Hell's Kitchen," "America's Next Top Model" and "The Bachelor" for having too many screaming fits to narrow for a list such as this one. Each of them could fill out a top ten list all by itself.
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