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Readers cringe at‘Swan’ reveals, Aiken performance

Readers share their top cringeworthy and pride-inducing reality show moments. Also: The Kathy Hilton reality show; alleged "Real World" rape.
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Now it's your turn.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Andy Dehnart shared the reality TV moments that made them cringe as well as the ones that made them proud.

Here are our readers' versions of those moments:

"My biggest cringeworthy moment was on the first season of 'The Swan.' Pick any episode when the newly remodeled woman stood in front of the heavy velvet curtain waiting to see her ‘new and improved’ self for the first time. The music was dramatic, the camera always seemed to capture the clenched hand and then when you felt like screaming ‘For God's sake get on with it!’ — It would be THE BIG REVEAL — the curtain would slowly be pulled back and the woman would look at herself, burst into tears, crumble to the ground in a heap and say ‘I'm so beautiful.’ It was horrible and wonderful at the same time! I haven't missed a show since."    —Michelle

"Most cringeworthy Moment in my years as a die-hard reality TV addict: Billie Jean ('Married by America') in her post-ceremony breakdown, after her @#$@ "fiance" admitted he wasn't going to say his vows and marry her (surprising absolutely no one who had watched him use her for the past few episodes). [Billie Jean was] crying hysterically in the closet that he had made a fool of her, while her sister and little niece tried unsuccessfully to comfort her. She really, really thought they were going to get married. As shortsighted of her as that was, it was truly a moment in which I was angry at Fox for putting people through this in the name of ratings, advertising, and ultimately, yet more cash. I felt guilty for having tuned in."    —Anonymous

"One of the most captivating moments, IMO, was when Marcellas [from 'Big Brother 3'] verbally destroyed his 'friend' Amy on national TV. Up until that point, Marcellas had started making snide remarks about her, but that had to be the turning point in their relationship. It was unnecessarily cruel and without a doubt, one of those situations you wish you'd never witnessed. I do know that they are no longer 'friends.' "    —Elaine

"Clay Aiken's singing and 'dancing' of 'Grease’ [on 'American Idol']. Many of his cheesily delivered performances had me giggling at my TV screen, but 'Grease' had me rolling."    —Nancy

"l would have to nominate Rupert Boneham's ‘l was a fat kid' speech from 'Survivor' as a great (and unscripted) moment in reality TV. l wonder how many kids who suffered Rupert's plight realized that they too could grow up just to be like this lovable, gentle giant, and that they way things are today, aren't necessarily the way they will be in the future."    —Michael

"My favorite came on ‘Fear Factor.’ It was an episode where the contestants were parent/child teams. ... During this episode, each team member had to cross a swaying beam and grab flags along the way. One of the teams was a father-daughter pair and while the dad didn’t do very well, the little girl was amazing. While she was on the beam, the wind kicked up and she was unable to reach the flags. She stood under every flag with her arm in the air waiting for it to come into her reach. By the time she was done, she had been on that beam for 30 minutes in a strong wind but she got all the flags! ...  My kids saw that episode and to this day will comment on how she hung in there till she got the job done."    —Brian

"One of the best shows I have ever seen on prime time TV was Nov. 7's ‘Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition’ with from Michigan. That was an absolutely awe-inspiring 2 hours of reality TV and it was absolutely, unbelievably heartwarming to see what the EM:HM did for that family.  That was truly the best bit of reality programming I have ever seen."  —Fred

"My favorite hope-inducing moment was finding out what a truly great guy Matt from 'Joe Schmo' really was. What a fine example for us all!"    —Don

Q: Will Paris Hilton’s mother still have a reality show about exposing the under-privileged to high society? When and where will it air?     —CJ, Cincinnati

A: Not only is Kathy Hilton , but that series will be devoted to producing more Paris Hiltons — as if one isn’t enough for the world to handle. When casting the series a few months ago, NBC said the show would feature Kathy “conducting a search for candidates to be taken under her wing in a new American fairytale where candidates will encounter the New York high-life and be introduced to culture, style, business and life’s virtues.” Contestants will live at the Hiltons’ Waldorf-Astoria in New York, and the winner gets “a residence at one of New York City’s most exclusive addresses.” It’s probably a safe bet that the training won’t include lessons in how to produce your own sex tapes and then, when they’re released to the public, use the ensuing publicity to your advantage.

While the code-name for the series was the cryptic “The Hilton Project,” it will apparently be called “The Good Life,” an obvious, unoriginal twist on “The Simple Life,” the title of Kathy’s daughter’s FOX series. While the show has already taped, there’s no airdate set right now.    —A.D.

Q: Try as I might, I cannot stop watching “The Real World.” I remember hearing that during the filming of “The Real World San Diego,” a friend of one of the cast members allegedly raped a girl who was intoxicated. Were criminal charges ever filed?    —Stephen, Miami

A: No. , there was not enough evidence to go forward with the 22-year-old woman's charges. She claimed the assault happened in the house's guest bedroom, which was shown fairly prominently at various times throughout the season, when  cast members Brad and Charlie each spent time there with their respective girlfriends. Neither the accuser nor the accused were members of the "Real World" cast, (although the man was reportedly a friend of cast member Randy), and the incident was not dealt with at all during any of the episodes.

The Smoking Gun has the used by the San Diego police. Apparently police seized MTV's camera footage from the house, which makes it seem all the more odd that there wasn't enough evidence. Either the attack didn't happen, or it did and the cameras somehow missed it, or they caught some of it but what was depicted wasn't clearly an assault.

San Diego was an exceptionally bizarre season. In addition to the alleged assault, cast members Robin and Brad both spent time in jail during the season; Brad for mouthing off to cops, Robin (a woman) for punching and scratching a male U.S. Marine. So far, the current Philadelphia cast has managed to stay out from behind bars, although before joining the show, Landon from the Philly cast was in trouble for     —G.F.C.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is's Television Editor. Andy Dehnart is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality-TV news.