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We all have our guilty pleasures, and reality TV is certainly one of them. Before the Kardashians, a whole different world of reality TV existed.

The mid-2000s, or what I like to call the golden years of reality TV, is one filled with shows we loved to hate and hated to love.

In honor of #ThrowbackThursday, we compiled a list of the reality TV shows we miss the most from that magical time.

Making the Band 

This show was one of the OGs of MTV. Talent searches were conducted across the country, and our boy Diddy ultimately decided who would be in the band. Making the Band 2 brought us “Da Band,” but Making the Band 3 was where it really got good. Choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson whipped the girls, who would eventually become Danity Kane, into shape in a way that was not only frightening at times, but also entertaining. And then, Diddy went on to Making the Band 4, where he ultimately created Day 26. Um, Donnie Klang? Swoon. And how cute was it when Q and Dawn staring dating? I can go on and on.

Laguna Beach/The Hills/The City

And so began our obsession with Orange County, L.C., Stephennnn, Whitney, and Olivia Palermo in all her perfect bitchiness. From the Hilary Duff theme song, to Kristin Cav’s black choker necklace and Brody Freakin’ Jenner, we loved everything about these super scripted reality shows following super rich kids in the O.C., Hollywood, and NYC.

Flavor of Love

FLAAVOR FLAAAAAV! This Bachelor-esque show revolved around Public Enemy‘s Flavor Flav finding ~love~. Twenty very respectable ladies were given nicknames and lived together in a mansion. Flav rocked out with his clock out while the women competed for one-on-one dates with him. Things got ratchet, to say the least.

If you ask me, the real star of this show was Tiffany Pollard, better known as New York. While she ended up being the runner-up, she did get a great spin-off, I Love New York. Watch the clip above to see one of the most memorable moments of Flavor of Love, when Pumpkin spits on her.

 The Girls Next Door

Finally, we got a glimpse into the life of the man, the myth, the legend, Hugh Hefner. The first five seasons of the show chronicled the lives of Hef and his three main girlfriends, Holly MadisonBridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson.

We got a glimpse into a fantasy world by seeing the awesome events held at the Playboy mansion, as well as see what kind of trouble the playmates got into. Holly, Bridget, and Kendra eventually all went on to star in their own shows, but they’ll always be The Girls Next Door in our hearts.

Run’s House

This show was an instant classic. Rev Run of Run-D.M.C. and his family captured our hearts with all their shenanigans, but also showed some of their most touching moments.

Vanessa and Angela Simmons provided the sass, while Rev’s wife Justine was just the sweetest woman ever. Some of the most memorable moments on the show were created by his sons Russy and Diggy, especially Russy’s cute little temper tantrums.

Each show ended with Rev Run sitting in a bubble bath, surrounded by candles, dropping knowledge about life and distributing it via his Blackberry, as seen above. How G is that?

Rob & Big

Professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and his bodyguard Christopher “Big Black” Boykin were the perfect combination of ebony and ivory. The show followed a day in the life of the dynamic duo, which was always filled with laughs and random adventures like beating world records and messing with Rob’s mom.

Rob’s cousin, Christopher “Drama” Pfaff, was also on the show, totally becoming every teenage girl’s crush. No? Just me? Well, OK.

The show came to an end when Big’s longtime girlfriend became pregnant and he wanted to focus on becoming a father. Needless to say, everyone was sad. But, like a gift from the reality TV gods, Fantasy Factory premiered as a spin-off that was filled with even more crazy adventures than Rob & Big.

Growing Up Gotti

This show is a MAJOR #tbt. The show gave us a peek into the life of the late NYC mafia head honcho John Gotti‘s daughter, Victoria Gotti, and her three sons CarmineJohn, and Frank.

The same way girls chose their favorite Backstreet Boy, girls chose their favorite Gotti.

This show was groundbreaking, because it introduced America to the charm of the East Coast Guido. We may or may not have this show to thank for fads like fist-pumping, blow outs, and Jersey Shore.


Punk’d was the perfect fusion of reality and comedy. Dad-to-be Ashton Kutcher played pranks on celebrities all around Hollywood, staging elaborate scenarios with hidden cameras.

Ashton would start the show by naming his victim and the scenario. Once the prank reached its height and it seemed like the celebrity was about to lose it, he and the camera crews would run out and everyone had a good laugh.

At the end of each segment, the celebrity would say their name and “I just got Punk’d.” There was something really satisfying about seeing celebrities humbled by embarrassment.

The shows first, and perhaps most memorable prank, was played on Justin Timberlake, who was made to believe the government was seizing his home. He cried. Talk about epic.

Room Raiders

This show epitomized the dating competition reality show genre that was popular as ever in the mid-2000s.

Three men or women were “kidnapped” from their homes and thrown into the back of a van equipped with a television set. The three would then watch their potential date raid through their bedrooms with a “spy kit,” which included white gloves, tweezers, and a black light. They would then choose a date based solely on the items in their rooms.

At the end of the raids, the three had the opportunity to raid the date’s room until he or she got home. Then, contestants are eliminated until only one remains to go on the date. It was invasive, petty, and harsh, which is exactly why we liked it.

They even had celebrity guests sometimes. Watch Michelle Rodriguez‘s boo, Zac Efron, be hilariously awkward in 2005 in the video above.

Pimp My Ride

The list of good things to say about this show is endless. It began by young people in California showing off their horrible, beat up, broken cars to try to convince MTV to “pimp” their car.

Xzibit would then show up at their houses, take a look at the car, crack some one-liners, and then tell the person their car would be pimped.

X brought the car to West Coast Customs, where the crew would completely remodel it, inside and out. The funny and eclectic crew would incorporate special features tailored to the participant’s interests.

The best part was that usually the car-owners were really good, hardworking people who just could not afford a new car.

Watch the catchy intro and remember the beauty that was Pimp My Ride.

Honorable mentions:

Living Lohan starring Lindsay Lohan and her momager Dina Lohan

The Simple Life with Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton

Life of Ryan starring Ryan Sheckler

For the Love of Ray J – where Ray J tried to find love after the infamous Kim Kardashian sex tape scandal

Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane starring model and entrepreneur Kimora Lee Simmons

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