It’s kind of amazing that when you put a camera on some people, it brings out their very worst. You’d think that people would be on their best behavior knowing that the world is watching, but the opposite turns out to be true. In this feature, we’ll take a deep dive into the cesspool of reality television come up with 10 of the most vile, disgusting bottom-feeders to ever appear. Hold your nose; these people stink.
No. 10 - Bristol Palin
Political allegiances aside, Bristol Palin has earned a whole new level of ire with her reality show, "Life’s a Tripp." Toting her born-out-of-wedlock spawn with her to Hollywood, Bristol flees the Alaskan hinterlands to pursue fame while complaining that people won’t leave her alone. Oh, and she’s also taught her 3-year-old kid to use horrible slurs. Watching the untalented Palin vainly try to clutch at the last shreds of her 15 minutes of fame is horrible enough, but it’s even worse when you involve a child in the whole mess. Everyone involved should be ashamed.
No. 9 - Russell Hantz
When you’re on a reality-TV competition, a little nasty behavior is encouraged. You’re not there to make friends, as many have said. But sometimes, people don’t just behave nastily; they’re nasty to the core. Case in point: Russell Hantz from "Survivor: Samoa." In addition to the usual dirty politicking that characterizes the show, Hantz turned up the scumbag factor by repeatedly lying about his personal life for sympathy, even claiming (falsely) to be a Hurricane Katrina victim. In his last go-round on the show ("Survivor: Redemption Island"), Hantz claimed to be a changed man, but was eliminated before the finale, so we may never really know.
No. 8 - Angela Pham
Bravo’s new "Gallery Girls" is one of the most irresistible disasters on television, a real-life version of HBO’s "Girls" with all of the self-awareness stripped out and replaced with crushing, painful ignorance. Nearly everybody on the show comes off horribly (special mention must be given to creepy, trollish gallery owner Eli Klein), but the worst offender is probably party photographer Angela Pham. Whether it be her insistence that she would never date anybody who had an email address other than @gmail, or her absurd man-repellent wardrobe, every minute she’s on screen is cringe-worthy. In a way, you sort of feel bad for her. No human being could be that smug without heavy assistance from the editing bay.
No. 7 - Jon Gosselin
The slow-motion car crash that was "Jon & Kate Plus 8" will, in retrospect, be seen as the point at which TLC changed from “The Learning Channel” to a grotesque 24/7 freak show. And nobody came out of it looking worse than the dad, Jon Gosselin. After receiving mad cash for letting his family’s privacy be invaded for reality TV, Jon spent it all on ugly Ed Hardy T-shirts and taking his wife’s plastic surgeon’s daughter out for sex dates. He moved to NYC to pursue a party-boy lifestyle, but quickly realized that without his kids, he’s just a gross d-bag who nobody cares about. Post-divorce, Jon’s spiraled into irrelevance, and he now works installing solar panels.
No. 6 - Amber Portwood
We don’t want to come down too harshly on the girls of "Teen Mom." Having a child is tough stuff, after all, even for mature adults. But we can’t deny that many of them are serious messes. None come off quite as bad as Amber Portwood, though. After dropping out of high school, Amber’s life has been one trashy escapade after another. Her tumultuous relationship with baby-daddy Gary Shirley has resulted in multiple counts of violence, and embarrassingly, she was arrested for attacking him after cops saw footage on TV. She’s currently spending five years in prison on drug charges. Way to parent, lady. Thanks for helping, MTV.
No. 5 - Countess LuAnn de Lesseps
From the gutter to the penthouse and back to the gutter. Just about every single person on Bravo’s odious "Real Housewives" shows is horrible, but we had to choose just one, and it’s Countess LuAnn de Lesseps. What lands her on this list? Her hilarious cognitive dissonance, where she spends all day talking about how classy and elegant she is before making out with a Captain Jack Sparrow lookalike in front of TV cameras. Here’s a tip, lady: nobody on reality TV is classy. Agreeing to do a reality TV show like yours automatically makes you human garbage. Which you already were, anyway.
No. 4 - Spencer Pratt
There has been a sea change in the way America views itself in the last decade or so. Gone are the days when we could work hard and build ourselves up from nothing. Now it’s either get famous quick or die in the street like a dog. When people consider Spencer Pratt a role model, our society is on the decline. Pratt first made his debut on "The Hills," where he quickly became one of the most hated people in America with his combination of utter self-satisfaction and total lack of any redeeming qualities. A later run on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here" just cemented his position on this list.
No. 3 - Ryan Leslie
"The Real World" has often prided itself on throwing at least one total horror into the house, going all the way back to Puck on the show’s third season. But they really outdid themselves with Ryan Leslie for "Back to New Orleans." The fourth-generation hairstylist is one of the most homophobic people ever on TV, routinely losing his mind at even the vaguest implication that he might be gay. Can’t you see he’s wearing a promise ring? Never mind that he punishes a gay housemate by rubbing his cigarettes in his asscrack. That’s a totally straight bro thing to do. His behavior in the house was so offensive that he was actually evicted before the season ended.
No. 2 - Tila Tequila
Lord, has there ever been a trainwreck more severe than Tila Tequila? The model and actress epitomizes everything that’s horrible about reality TV, where a little plastic surgery and a lot less dignity is all it takes to make you famous. After becoming the most popular person on Myspace (and think about how sad that sounds now), Tequila got her own reality show on which she scandalized the squares by dating both men and women. Since then, she’s vainly clutched at tabloid fame with suicide attempts, faked pregnancies and more.
Next: 9 Celebs Who Have Fallen from Grace
No. 1 - The Situation
It’s hard to spotlight just one of the stars of "Jersey Shore" for awfulness because they’re all almost equally repugnant. However, our pick had to go to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino for combining a humungous ego, horrible fashion sense and absolutely no talent whatsoever. And yet the guido with the abs of steel made more than $5 million in 2010 from a bevy of endorsement deals, including vodka companies, Reebok shoes, a vitamin line with GNC and a ghost-written autobiography, "Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore." So really, the worst people here are all of the people paying him to do stuff. Please stop.