The Most Entertaining Reality Dating Shows of the 2000s

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Rock of Love

Bret Michaels
Poison frontman Bret Michaels. Mychal Watts / Stringer

The 2000s were truly the heyday of over-the-top dating shows, but few could compete with the heavily tattooed, tequila-swilling, fight-prone cast of 'Rock of Love.' The show, which ran for three seasons between 2007 and 2009, followed Poison frontman Bret Michaels as he searched for love, one exotic dancer at a time. While Michaels eventually cast aside the partiers in favor of "good girls" every season — including the season that inexplicably took place on a bus — it was still riveting to see what offense the proudly inebriated contestants on this VH1 would be kicked off for each week. 

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Farmer Wants a Wife

Matt Neustadt
Farmer Wants a Wife star Matt Neustadt. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

This CW reality dating series, which shared the title of its UK predecessor, managed to make quite the impression on reality tv fans during its eight-episode run back in 2008. While watching women perform farming competitions in the hopes that they would get to live the 'Little House on the Prairie' lifestyle full-time didn't seem to draw enough viewers for a second stateside season, it was good clean fun while it lasted. Fortunately, anyone who misses the US version can catch the reboot Australian reboot to get their fix. 

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Gay, Straight or Taken?

Gay, Straight or Taken
Gay, Straight or Taken. YouTube/Lifetime

The only thing worse than a blind date is three blind dates, followed by a series of infuriating guessing games, but that's what made 'Gay, Straight, or Taken' so fun to watch. On each episode, a woman would go on dates with three men, only to discover that one was in a relationship with a woman, one was gay, and one was straight and single. If she could figure out which guy fell into which category, she and her potential paramour would win a romantic vacation together. While the show's title was a bit of a misnomer (many of the gay guys were also taken), and many of the women based their guesses on offensive stereotypes, the show's bizarre premise still managed to make it one of the most addictive shows of its time.

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MTV's Next
MTV's Next. MTV

 MTV's 'Next' had a pretty long shelf life, as far as dating shows go. This unique dating competition combined blind dates, RV travel, dollar bills, and, more often than not, confessions of very personal facts to virtual strangers. On each episode, a guy or gal would be setup with an RV full of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, who would earn a dollar for each minute their date lasted. The show's other participants would offer snide commentary while watching the date's progress from the RV, and would take over the date if the person before them was "nexted." Was it cruel? Sure. Was it entertaining? Very much so. 

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Dating in the Dark

Jeff Michaels
Dating in the Dark Star Jeff Michaels. Brian Putnam/FilmMagic

Superficial judgments may be the foundation for most reality competitions, but 'Dating in the Dark' tried to get its contestants to form a real connection — until the end of the show, when they got to judge one another's looks, as well. After getting to know each other in a pitch black setting, the show's contestants would finally get to catch a glimpse of who they'd been talking to and decide whether or not to join them on the balcony of the house, indicating that they were interested in a relationship. While some contestants were left out in the cold, a lucky few got to enjoy a date in the light of day. 

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Date My Mom

Date My Mom Logo
Logo from MTV's Date My Mom. YouTube/MTV

Most of us love our moms and want to see them happy. For two years, MTV decided to run with this premise, bringing the masses 'Date My Mom,' a bizarre, yet highly watchable show in which three mothers would go on dates with a potential suitor for their kid, extolling their child's virtues as they enjoyed romantic afternoons with the guys or gals they were trying to win over for their offspring. Eventually, the suitor would pick one of the moms' kids to go on a date with. Like they say, mother knows best when it comes to dating complete strangers.  

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A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila

Tila Tequila
Tila Tequila. Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Tila Tequila parlayed her popularity on MySpace into a full-blown reality career, which came in the form of her MTV dating show, 'A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila.' While much of the show's format was similar to other dating shows, with contestants attempting to win challenges in the hopes of winning over Tila, there was one twist: instead of just a pool of guys to choose from, Tila, who is openly bisexual, also had a stable of ladies to pick from as well. Tila eventually chose contestant Bobby Banhart, but the two split shortly after filming wrapped.

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Flavor of Love

Flavor Flav
Flavor Flav. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Prior to 'Flavor of Love,' the idea of Public Enemy's Flavor Flav being fought over by a group of young women would have seemed unlikely, but if the show taught us anything, it's that there is truly a lid for every pot in this world. While the show only lasted for three seasons, the series produced a number of memorable cast members. In fact, contestant New York (real name Tiffany Pollard) was such a big hit that her spin-off, 'I Love New York,' paved the way for two contestants from that show, Real and Chance, to get their own spin-off, 'A Real Chance at Love.' Flavor Flav: America's surprising job creator. 

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Mr. Personality

Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky. Karwai Tang/WireImage

Much like 'Dating in the Dark,' 'Mr. Personality' relied on a contestant's willingness to date someone they hadn't seen. However, unlike 'Dating in the Dark,' the titular character in this show was wearing a terrifying, face-obscuring mask. Seriously. While FOX may have thought that the show's host, Monica Lewinsky, would have drawn a wide audience, the show was little more than a highly entertaining flop and was canceled after just five episodes. 

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Joe Millionaire

Evan Marriott
'Joe Millionaire' star Evan Marriott. Michael Caulfield Archive/WireImage

Evan Marriott had everything women on a reality competition could hope to find in a potential stranger they were expected to date on TV, from his charming personality to his movie star good looks. What he lacked, however, was the millions of dollars the women on the show were led to believe he possessed. At the end of the series, Marriott revealed that he was actually a construction worker and not the heir to a wealthy family. Luckily, the woman he'd chosen, Zora Andrich, didn't seem to mind a bit, and the pair got to split a million dollars in prize money.