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The best, most insane reality TV show moments of all time




Reality TV: The fights! The sex! The fillers! The, um, historical impact?

Yes, while these (supposedly) unscripted primetime shows have always been the less-classy cousin of dramas and comedies, their brashness has forever cemented them in TV lore.

There have been so many wild moments: like when Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino shoved his meathead through a wall on “Jersey Shore” in 2011, or the jaw-dropping 2009 episode in which Teresa Giudice did not throw wine as expected of the “Real Housewives” — but flipped a table instead.

“Prostitution whore!” Giudice bellowed from the core of her gut. Shivers.

Before that, reality pioneer Tyra Banks wailed an Oscar-worthy monologue to “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Tiffany Richardson. “We were rooting for you, we were all rooting for you!” she screamed in 2005. You can still hear the anger and pain in Bank’s voice 16 years later.

“For Real: The Story of Reality TV,” the Andy Cohen-hosted seven-part special about the roller-coaster history of the genre, premieres on E! Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. Looking back at nearly 30 years of programs, viewers will learn the impact of “The Real World” during the AIDS epidemic and how “The Osbournes” actually paved the way for the Kardashians. 

While entertainment is at their collective core, these series have also helped open up the public dialogue about once taboo issues, such as alcoholism, addiction and mental health.

As Mariah Smith, host of the “Spectacle” podcast tracing the genre’s history, told The Post: “Reality TV is a cultural touchdown of where we are.” That said, here are the most unforgettable, life-changing and sometimes reality-shattering moments from the genre.

“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Kyle Richards reveals Kim Richards’ alcoholism in the back of a limo 

Martin Genis (from left, Adrienne Maloof and Kim Richards fight with Kyle Richards in the back of a limo.
Martin Genis (from left), Adrienne Maloof and Kim Richards during the infamous limo showdown.
Bravo TV

In 2010, Bravo fans were reintroduced to former child stars Kim and Kyle Richards. All grown up, the ingénue sisters from “Escape to Witch Mountain” (1975) and “Halloween” (1978) maintained that they were thick as thieves — even though most of their interactions were filled with tension. That all changed in the finale episode. 

“Tennessee Williams couldn’t write that speech in the back of the limo.” 

Brian Moylan, author of “The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives”

Attempting to leave a party in a limo, Kim said to Kyle, “you stole my goddamn house.”

A hurt Kyle shot back, “You are a liar and sick and an alcoholic.”

“My favorite moments in reality TV are when they can no longer keep up the facade, when whatever is boiling underneath comes up to the surface,” Brian Moylan, ghostwriter of “RHOBH” star Erika Girardi’s memoir and author of “The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives” (out May 25), told The Post. “You finally see that in this fight… All this undercurrent of stuff that you’ve been seeing between them all season finally made sense.” 

Kyle Richards yells at her sister, Kim.
Kyle Richards goes banshee at her sister, fellow former-child star Kim Richards.
Credit: Bravo TV

Kim wasn’t the only housewife to star on “Beverly Hills” with a secret. Similar conversations later went down about the abuse Taylor Armstrong was suffering from her husband Russell, a disgraced venture capitalist who died by suicide in 2011, Adrienne Maloof’s use of a surrogate and Denise Richard’s rumored affair with Brandi Glanville.

Moylan added you won’t see this sort of rawness on other docu-soaps, particularly on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” where the stars of the show are also producing it. “Nothing is getting on the show that [Kris Jenner] doesn’t want,” said Moylan. But the “RHOBH” sister fight was nothing but authentic — the Richard sisters had too much to lose.

“There’s always that conversation: ‘Is this scripted? Is this real?’” said Moylan. “When you get a moment like that, there’s no way you can make that up. Tennessee Williams couldn’t write that speech in the back of the limo.” 

Jersey Shore 

Snooki gets punched in the face at a bar 

Snooki gets punched in the face while filming "Jersey Shore."
Snooki gets punched in the face while filming “Jersey Shore.”

Though Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi became the breakout star of “Jersey Shore,” most people forget that, originally, she wasn’t a welcome member of the familia.

Our favorite Meatball (sorry Deena) — a nickname coined by cast member Ronnie — at first came on too strong to her housemates in Seaside Heights. However, that all changed after a night on the town, when a bar-goer, Brad Ferro, punched Snooki in the face. 

“[Snooki was] a little bit of an outsider,” Racquel Gates, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, who writes and teaches a course about reality TV, told The Post. “That’s the moment that locks her in and solidifies them as a family.” After the punch, the housemates banded together. “It essentially functions the same way for us as the viewers,” she added. “Now we’re locked in, because we’re protective of Snooki.” 

Though the show was meant to be about funny “guidos,” the punch, “feels really pivotal in solidifying viewer empathy with the cast,” she said. “It’s like, these are our people.” 

The Hills

Brody Jenner and Kristin Cavallari say goodbye, revealing they were on a set the whole time 

The Hills, Series Finale (S6 ep 12) -- Brody and Kristen say goodbye in front of the Hollywood sign but it's revealed to be a set.
Brody Jenner on the season finale of “The Hills.”

The series finale of “The Hills” ranks with “Lost” as one of the most controversial endings in TV history. From 2006 to 2010, fans wondered what aspects of the show were real and what were fake as Whitney Port, Lauren Conrad, Lo Bosworth, Heidi Montag and Kristin Cavallari tried to make it in LA. 

The Hills finale “is revealing the show to be fake — even though I don’t think the show was totally fake.”

Racquel Gates, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, CUNY

Wrapping up the series, the producers leaned into the rumors that that rocked fans’ worlds.

“Kristin Cavalleri says goodbye to Brody [Jenner] in front of the Hollywood sign, and then the backdrop raises, and it reveals that they’re on a set,” said Gates, who appears in “For Real.” They even filmed an “alternate ending,” in which Jenner bids adieu to Conrad instead. “It’s bringing to the foreground all the viewer conversation that had been going on for so long about ‘Is this real?’ ‘Is this phony?’” 

The professor called the moment “stunning,” adding that it’s really smart on the part of the show because they’re saying that they’re in on the joke… That if you’re speculating that we’re fake, you haven’t found out our secret.” 

It’s like “Inception” for reality TV. The Hills finale “is revealing the show to be fake,” said Gates. “Even though I don’t think the show was totally fake.”

Keeping Up With The Kardashians 

Kim Kardashian hits Khloé with her purse, Kris Jenner encourages Kim during a Playboy shoot 

Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Season 1
Kris tells Kim "You're doing amazing sweetie" during her Playboy shoot.
A star is born: Kris Jenner tells Kim she’s “doing amazing, sweetie.”
Credit: E!

Furious with her sister, Khloé, Kim barges into an apartment to physically beat her with a purse.

“‘Don’t be f–king rude’ is part of American lexicon,” argued Smith. The family quickly learned to speak in catchphrases, such as “You’re doing amazing sweetie,” when Kris cheered on Kim during her Playboy shoot, or “This is a case for the FBI,” the time Kris learned someone was trying to sell nude photos of Kourtney taken when she was a teenager. 

“Those moments have become cultural touchstones beyond the show, that people who have no awareness of what the show is, where the moment came from, these moments are still quoted, GIFed, memed, what have you,” added Smith.

Because of those one-liners, the show achieved longevity that early hits such as “Flavor of Love” didn’t — or couldn’t. Because of the “advent of social media,” the silly things that came out of the Kardashian clan’s mouths are immortalized in the way we speak, said Smith. 

Survivor: Micronesia 

An alliance convinced Erik Reichenbach to give up his immunity idol during Tribal Council and voted him out 

Parvati Shallow votes out Erik Reichenbach during Tribal Council on Season 16 of "Survivor."
Parvati Shallow votes out Erik Reichenbach during Tribal Council on Season 16 of “Survivor: Micronesia.”

Name a cunning, manipulative reality TV star who is also considered a gay icon. No, it’s not Lisa Vanderpump. It’s Parvati Shallow from “Survivor: Micronesia” according to MEL Magazine staff writer Joseph Longo, who has spent the last year bingeing (and tweeting and writing about) episodes of the long-running CBS show. Longo isn’t alone: Comedian Matt Rogers also called Shallow a “gay icon” when speaking to Entertainment Weekly.

During 2008’s Season 16, commonly known as “Fans vs. Favorites,” Parvati, along with Amanda Kimmel, Natalie Bolton and Cirie Fields, devised an ingenious plan. “As four women, they are going to convince this single man to give up his immunity necklace and vote him out, which they successfully do,” said Longo. 

Though the manipulative move speaks to the minds of all the contestants, Longo has a passion for Parvati, who would go on to win the season. “She’s like that Erika [Girardi] ‘Housewives’ quote, ‘I’m going to give the gays everything they want,’” he said. “She is sort of this vixen character, is a huge flirt and uses it knowingly, and is so flawless in it. Parvati just knows herself so well and [does] not apologize for who she is and being a woman, and being athletic too. She’s a triple threat.” 

Mama June: From Hot to Not

June Shannon refuses an intervention from her family and Honey Boo Boo takes the stage again

The Shannon Family holds an intervention for Mama June.
The Shannon Family holds an intervention for Mama June.

June Shannon, otherwise known as Mama June, otherwise known as the mom of Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, has made her way around the reality TV circuit. After her go-go juice-guzzling daughter made waves on TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras,” the family got several spinoffs. One called “Mama June: From Not to Hot” was mostly focused on Shannon’s weight loss journey and their eccentric family. That changed during Season 3, said Lauren Lazin, executive producer of “Mama June” and “For Real.”  

“She had a drug addiction and never turned the cameras off,” Lazin told The Post. “The family had an intervention that went awry. She was not responsive to it, she left [and] a few weeks later she and her boyfriend Geno got arrested.” Though it was a “dark turn” for the series, “that’s when she became incredibly relatable, because so many families are dealing with drug addiction,” said Lazin. “It was riveting and real.” 

The season also marked a full circle moment for Thompson, now 15. Returning to her “Tiaras” roots, the pageant queen appeared on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.”

“She just took over and owned the stage,” said the EP. “She had really honed her skills as a reality star that she just made such engaging television.”

Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson performs on "Dancing with the Stars: Junior" in 2018.
Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson performs on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” in 2018.
Walt Disney Television via Getty

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.


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‘Brokeback Mountain’ screenwriter Larry McMurtry dead at 84





Larry McMurtry, the prolific novelist and screenwriter who won a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award for his work, died Thursday at 84.

Amanda Lundberg, a spokesperson for the family, confirmed McMurtry’s death in an obituary published Friday by the New York Times. Lundberg did not respond to The Post’s request for confirmation.

Neither the cause of death, nor where McMurtry passed away, are known.

McMurtry was best known for his anti-Western work, or stories that focused on demythologizing the romanticism of the American West.

“I’m a critic of the myth of the cowboy,’’ the native Texan said in an 1988 interview. “I don’t feel that it’s a myth that pertains, and since it’s a part of my heritage I feel it’s a legitimate task to criticize it.’’

Often cited as his most memorable work, his coming-of-age book “The Last Picture Show” sold over 9 million copies and was adapted into a film starring Cybill Shepherd, Jeff Bridges and Cloris Leachman.

McMurtry was not only respected for his 843-page novel “Lonesome Dove,” which won him the Pulitzer and was made into a mini-series for television, but also for the screenplay for “Brokeback Mountain,” a 2005 romantic drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger. Co-written with his housemate and collaborator Diana Ossana, the pair won the Academy Award in 2006 for that film, which focused on the romantic relationship between the two men, one a ranch hand and the other a cowboy.

McMurtry co-wrote the screenplay for "Brokeback Mountain," which won him an Academy Award in 2006.
McMurtry co-wrote the screenplay for “Brokeback Mountain,” which won him an Academy Award in 2006.
©Focus Films/Courtesy Everett C

Over the course of more than 50 years, McMurtry wrote more than 30 novels, more than 30 screenplays — and published other works of memoir, history and essays. One book, “Horseman, Pass By,” was made into the film “Hud,” starring Paul Newman. The film version of his novel “Terms of Endearment” won the Best Picture Oscar in 1984.

McMurtry was born the son of a rancher in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1936. He studied at North Texas State, Rice and Stanford universities. He taught English at the university level, but ditched teaching in his younger years. For about a half-century, McMurtry was also a bookseller. His store Booked Up, in Archer City, Texas, is one of the largest in the nation, according to the Times.

Archer City, where he was raised, served as a model for the town of Thalia, which appeared in his works of fiction.

It’s not clear who survives McMurtry, but he most recently married the widow of his friend Ken Kesey, Faye, in 2011.


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Truth of Pink, Christina Aguilera ‘Lady Marmalade’ feud revealed





Gitchie-gitchie yourself a load of this juicy drama. 

Sex, divas and shade, honey! Those were the makings of music producer Missy Elliott’s masterful 2001 “Lady Marmalade” remix — which celebrates its 20th anniversary next month. 

While the Grammy Award-winning track — with lusty vocal contributions from pop powerhouse Christina Aguilera, rock ‘n’ roll fireball Pink, R&B dynamo Mya and hip-hop heroine Lil’ Kim — starts off with a sultry salute to “all the soul sistas,” the vibe between the singers was anything but sisterly. 

“I think it’s pretty public knowledge that there was tension between Christina and Pink,” Tina Landon, who served as lead choreographer on the music video for the chart-topping jam, told Cosmopolitan.  

Landon, Missy, Mya and Aguilera all recently revisited the sweet beats and sour notes of working together on the colorful collaborative piece that had almost every millennial sing-screaming “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” with the radio volume on full blast. 

“It got a little hairy at one point,” the choreographer said of the unharmonious energy between Aguilera and Pink. 

Their bad blood boiled over on March 17, 2001, during the two-day video shoot in Los Angeles. 

“They were all sitting there watching each other work. Paul Hunter, the director, was trying to give Christina direction and she couldn’t hear him,” Landon said. 

“She said, ‘What did you say?’ And Pink reiterated what Paul had said. Christina did the thing: ‘I was talking to Paul.’ I just sank down in my chair going, ‘Oh, God, please don’t let this get worse.’ And it didn’t!”

Although the dance pro remembers the on-set edginess, Pink, 41, said the beef between her and XTina ignited well before a single “Lady Marmalade” lyric was ever sung. 

“[Aguilera’s label executive] Ron Fair walked in and didn’t say hello to any of us,” Pink said of one of the formative meetings she had with her would-be collaborators. She recounted the incident during her feature on VH1’s “Behind the Music” in 2009. 

“He said, ‘What’s the high part? What’s the most singing part? Christina’s going to take that part,’ ” she recalled. 

“And I stood up and said, ‘Hi. How are you? So nice of you to introduce yourself. I’m Pink. She will not be taking that part. I think that’s what the f – – king meeting is about.”

From there, “I just became the a – – hole,” Pink added. 

Pink, Christina Aguilera and Mya celebrate their Grammy win.
Pink, Christina Aguilera and Mya celebrate their Grammy win.

But after years of exchanging thinly veiled barbs, unmistakable side-eye glares and nearly resorting to fisticuffs during a heated exchange at a club, the “So What” superstar said she’s made amends with her “Fighter” singing rival. 

“She’s so talented and, deep down, I’ve had bad days, too. She’s a really sweet person. We made up on ‘The Voice,’ ” Pink told Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live” in 2017. 

Aguilera, 40, echoed Pink’s illustration of their newfound friendship to Cosmo. 

“She’s such a powerhouse and definitely paved the way, setting the precedent of pushing back if something didn’t feel right,” she said. 

‘She’s so talented and, deep down, I’ve had bad days, too.’


Decades-old shadiness aside, Mya, 41, praised “Lady Marmalade” — a remake of Patti LaBelle’s 1974 tune — as the women’s empowerment anthem of the day. 

“It was truly about coming together, being women, being slightly over the top, expressing ourselves, and exuding our bold approach to being sexual beings,” the singer insisted. 

Producer Elliott, 49, reimagined LaBelle’s original version of the song to be used as a seductive hymn for director Baz Luhrmann’s blockbuster “Moulin Rouge!” The ornate film earned Oscar and Golden Globe accolades in 2002. 

Although La Belle, 76, gladly belted out the hit alongside Pink, Mya, Aguilera and Lil’ Kim — all of whom she lovingly refers to as her “little girls” — at the 2002 Grammys, the music legend still demands the world’s respect as the “Lady Marmalade” originator. 

“People loved it and still do today,” the Philadelphia native told Cosmo. 

“When I do it onstage, I have to say to the audience, ‘I did this 100 years ago. These little heifers, they did it 20 years ago and it’s a hit.’ I have to remind them that I did it first. Isn’t that something?”

Pink, Mya, Lil' Kim and Christina Aguilera perform with Patti LaBelle at the 2002 Grammy Awards.
Pink, Mya, Lil’ Kim and Christina Aguilera perform with Patti LaBelle at the 2002 Grammy Awards.
Getty Images


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Jay Baruchel on his starring role in sitcom ‘The Moodys’





When Jay Baruchel took his starring role in Fox sitcom “The Moodys,” he enlisted his wife’s help. 

“I got sent the script about a month before I was about to get married. If I took the gig, it would mean starting a day or two after our wedding . So of course I had to ask my — at that time — fiancee what she thought,” he said, referring to Canadian model Rebecca-Jo Dunham Baruchel, who he married in 2019. 

“We each cracked open our laptops and sat on either side of the kitchen table and read them simultaneously and were both laughing a whole bunch. That made it easy.”

Season 2 of “The Moodys” premieres Thursday, April 1 (9 p.m.). Baruchael returns as Sean Moody Jr., one of the three adult Moody children. Other members of the close yet dysfunctional family include his brother Dan (Francois Arnaud), sister Bridget (Chelsea Frei) and his cantankerous parents, Ann (Elizabeth Perkins) and Sean Sr (Denis Leary).

“We all get on like a house on fire,” he said. “[Perkins and Leary] are both just so good at what they do, it makes me better, being around them. It’s been wonderful getting to be their fake son.”

Jay Baruchel and Rebecca-Jo Dunham Baruchel at the 2020 Oscars.
Jay Baruchel and Rebecca-Jo Dunham Baruchel at the 2020 Oscars.
Getty Images

Season 1 revolved around the Moody family reuniting at Christmas when each had their own struggles and self-destructive behaviors: Dan got into a messy love triangle with his cousin’s girlfriend while Sean Jr. was still living with his parents and working at an ice rink. Bridget, meanwhile, was a high-powered lawyer who had recently cheated on her husband. 

Season 2 sees Dan continuing to have love troubles, Bridget getting divorced, parents Ann and Sean Sr. contemplating a road trip, and Sean Jr. chasing “get rich quick” schemes such as a funeral business involving fireworks (to “revolutionize the grieving industry”).

“I am incredibly fortunate that I found a career in acting, because basically if I didn’t get on TV and movies, there’s a very good chance that I am Sean Jr,” said Baruchel. “We’re wired very similarly in that we’re chronic daydreamers — as passionate about the stuff we dig as we are absolutely incapable of doing anything else, to our respective detriments. There’s a lot of me in him and vice versa. But the biggest thing is that I was lucky enough to trick people into giving me a career in movies and stuff.”

Baruchel, who grew up in Montreal and is now based in Toronto, is known for a slew of movie and TV roles, including “Knocked Up,” “Tropic Thunder,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” and “Undeclared.” As high-profile as many of his projects are, fans often approach him about one that’s much more obscure. 

Jay Baruchael returns as Sean Moody Jr. for Season 2 of “The Moodys.”
Jay Baruchael returns as Sean Moody Jr. for Season 2 of “The Moodys.”

“Actually I think the one I get recognized for the most is one a lot of people in the States have no idea was a thing. When I was 15, I co-hosted an educational show called ‘Popular Mechanics for Kids.’ It was on all the time up here [in Canada], so it’s like a whole generation of kids that ate cereal every day watching me teach them about centrifugal force. That’s probably the one I get the most love for still, to this day.”

While he was tight-lipped about Season 2 of “The Moodys,” he had a cryptic teaser. 

“It’s pretty crazy. Sean is a very ambitious lad, and he maybe doesn’t always think everything through as well as he should, so I’ll say this: there are monks involved. What would make people interested that wouldn’t give anything away? Monks.”


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