Reality television has been a cornerstone of American entertainment for the past few decades. Most millennials remember turning on MTV to watch what happened when people were chosen at random to live life isolated from their family and friends while their trials and tribulations were broadcast for the world to see. However humiliating it may be to watch, every time a new reality show crops up, the world tunes in with eyes peeled and mouth agape to see what happens. People are pushed to their limits, scramble to meet a deadline, and of course, cry, as pressure mounts--regardless of the situation. Even when it seems we’ve hit our peak with regard to what people will voluntarily experience on live TV, a new contender arises with a salacious premise and jaw-dropping reward to match.  

The genre has evolved from its Real World and Road Rules roots into competition shows with a cooking, design, or documentary-style focus. Reality TV culture has transformed from a simple voyeuristic observance into choosing a favorite competitor and rooting for them or live-tweeting the experience until their success or ultimate ousting from the series, giving us an opportunity to have a hero or villain in virtually any scenario. We still hold certain competitors, like Tiffany “New York” Pollard in high regard. Though she wasn’t the winner of Flavor of Love, she still has a place in our hearts and has been memed more than any reality TV star to date. 

As a country deeply addicted to not minding our own business, going through the dramatic and emotional process of watching a reality series to an often destructive completion is comforting and rewarding in an indescribable way. Reality TV shows crop up at an alarming rate, and since it can often be tough to pick where to start, here are the 15 best reality TV shows on Netflix.

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