If you grew up in the early aughts, you remember MTV in its prime—TRL, Real World/Road Rules Challenge, there were so many good ones. And yet, the network was also filled with reality shows we can't believe ever made it to air. Sure, you probably wouldn't rewatch them today (or maybe you would, no judgment), but you'll certainly have a good laugh looking back on them. Behold: The best shows on MTV that you
probably totally forgot were actual things you watched.
Making the Band was the very first installment of the successful franchise and aired for three seasons. The show centered around Sean "Diddy" Combs and a group of artists who competed to join his band. The end result was the mildly successful Danity Kane and, good news: MTV recently announced a revival of the popular show, which is set to premiere in 2020.
They were the It couple of pop, so audiences were pumped when Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson welcomed MTV cameras into their home after their 2002 wedding to capture all of their domestic bliss. The show aired for three seasons and the marriage only lasted for four years, but certain moments, like the iconic chicken vs. tuna debate, will last forever.
Before we knew Ashlee Simpson as a person in her own right, we knew of her as Jessica Simpson's cool/edgy younger sister who wore a lot of skinny scarves. That all changed when we were introduced to her world on The Ashlee Simpson Show and followed her as she recorded her first album.
Travis Barker, the drummer for Blink-182, and his then-wife Shanna Moakler challenged the idea of your wholesome, next door neighbors by actually being pretty chill...sadly they're no longer together. Call it a case of the MTV reality show curse?
America fell in love with Ozzy and his (then unknown) family over the course of five seasons on MTV. BTW, seeing Kelly as an angsty teen is amazing. This one's actually worth a rewatch.
The show followed the daughters of two successful businessmen: Ally Hilfiger (left, daughter of Tommy Hilfiger) and her best friend Jaime Gleicher (right, daughter of Leo Gleicher who started Innovation Luggage). At one point, they talk about the ethics of paying $400 for shoes or...saving a life. You know, the important stuff.
Pro skateboarder (and my old school crush, not gonna lie) Ryan Sheckler took center stage in this show that somehow lasted 3 seasons (how?). In it, he boards, takes care of his little bros, and flirts with all the girls. The best part was his monologues on life and love and happiness. So wise, that Ryan.
Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro chose a pretty confident title for their newlywed reality series on MTV, given that their marriage only lasted for two years.
The world of pranks and celebrity collided when Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd premiered in 2003. The concept was simple: An accomplice would bring their celebrity friend into a situation that was set up with undercover actors who put the stars in cringe-worthy situations. You weren't a teen in the early aughts if you didn't know the Justin Timberlake Punk'd episode by heart.
Fourteen amateur surfers, picked to live in a house, wear a ton of Roxy, and compete to get the chance to go pro. Is there anything more MTV than that?
This show was apparently so bad, you can't find *any* real video of it anymore, almost as if as a society we collectively said "nope" and moved on. It was canceled after one season, but during that season we watched as aspiring male and female models lived and worked in South Beach, Miami, Florida.
"Don't try this at home" was a catchphrase every teenage boy was quoting after the success of MTV's Jackass. Hosted by Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and Chris Pontius the show ran for 3 seasons, and resulted in countless movies.
Jackass star, Bam Margera, landed his own spin-off in 2003, but unlike the extreme stunts he performed on Jackass, the entire series was focused on him pranking his parents while he lived with them. We can't help but question why they didn't kick him out after the first episode. Instead, it lasted five (five!) seasons.
We'll never forget what the inside of 50 Cent's "East Coast Playboy Mansion" looked like back in 2007, and for that we're so grateful to MTV Cribs. The reality show where everyone from JoJo to Lil Bow Wow gave a personal tour around their luxurious mansions was a must-watch. The most interesting part? Oddly enough, their fridge.
Laguna Beach followed a group of high school juniors and seniors around their hometown of Laguna Beach, California, as they went to parties, on spring break (long live Cabo), and served up so much drama that MTV decided to follow their lead to Los Angeles with a spin-off.
After the success of Laguna Beach, MTV cameras followed Lauren Conrad as she navigated school, dating, and friendships post-high school in Los Angeles. The show was so popular, MTV brought back a reboot this year, but sadly Lauren passed on the opportunity.
A spin-off of a spin-off? Only on MTV. The City followed Whitney Port from The Hills as she navigated New York City over the course of two seasons. It was also the show that launched Olivia Palermo into notoriety and for that we are eternally grateful.
Room Raiders essentially involved being kidnapped from your house, brought to a viewing booth with two other boys or girls, and watching someone go through your room before deciding whether they wanted to go on a date with you or not. There were some questionable things found in those rooms throughout the show's eight seasons.
When Tila Tequila's show first premiered on MTV, the concept pushed the boundaries of cable television. You see, Tila Tequila was a MySpace star who was searching for love. The twist? She's bi-sexual and welcomed both men and women into the mansion.
After the success of Tila Tequila's dating show, MTV decided to double down with A Double Shot at Love, a dating show that followed a pair bi-sexual identical twins, Ricki and Vicki, on their quest to find lasting relationships. It was...messy.
My Super Sweet 16 is known for three things: Bratty teens girls, overindulgent parents, and the birthday boy or girl almost always getting a luxury car at the end of the episode. All that being said, it was one of the most entertaining shows on the network and always brought the drama.
The concept of Rob & Big sounds relatively simple: A former pro-skateboarder and his bodyguard just hanging out in Los Angeles, playing pranks and having fun. But when it premiered in 2006, it instantly took off as viewers were obsessed with their unusual lifestyle and friendship.
When Rob Dyrdek's show Ridiculousness premiered in 2011, audiences were instantly hooked on the video-viewing program. For 13 seasons, and still counting, Rob has showed us some of the most absurd videos on the internet.
Next was the most ruthless dating show on MTV in the 2000s, hands down. One lucky man or woman would get to meet a bunch of perspective dates one by one—and could yell "next" at any time to end the date and move on to the next candidate. Sometimes it would end with a couple running off into the sunset holding hands, but other times potential dates didn't even make it off of the bus before they were ousted.
Plain Jane premiered on the CW, but after not getting renewed, it made its way over to MTV for season 2. The show followed the stylish British fashionista, Louise Roe, as she transformed the life of a "plain Jane" by giving them a makeover and confidence boost.
For anyone clunking around town in a banged up car, Pimp My Ride was the ultimate goal. During each episode, a team of car experts, including mechanics and customizers, came together to give one lucky person the car of their dreams. Nothing was too extra or extreme for this show.
It was impossible not to know who Snooki or The Situation was in 2009. The reality show that followed a cast of 20-somethings while they spent the summer at the Jersey Shore became a phenomenon. It even came back in 2018 and is on season three of Jersey Shore Family Reunion.
With the success of Jersey Shore, both MTV and castmates Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWoww" Farley were eager to capitalize on their momentum. In 2012, Snooki & JWoww premiered. It followed the two roommates around their everyday life in New Jersey. The show had a solid following and lasted for four seasons.
MTV's game show-style reality series, Road Rules, brought together six attractive young people and put them in an RV together. They drove around the season's selected region and competed for money. The show was essentially The Real World meets The Amazing Race, and, really, what could be better than that?
In the early 2000s, everyone rushed home to tune into TRL. The show was a countdown of the top music videos of the day, and was hosted by VJs including Carson Daly and Vanessa Milano, as well as some of the hottest artists of the moment.