5. Sorority Life/Fraternity Life
Two different shows, technically, Sorority Life and Fraternity Life followed groups of students pledging greek organizations at various universities. The shows were a fun look at college life, particularly if you spent most of your own time in college studying and going to bed early to prepare for class at 8 the next morning. This show gave you the chance to party, drink and hook up vicariously through other college students.
I can’t say I’ve seen many episodes of this one, because I swear every time I saw it on TV it was the same damn episode – but what an episode it was! Each hour focused on two young offenders, following them through their (re-enacted) arrest through life in juvenile detention, and finally, their hearing in front of a judge. A really cool “Scared Straight” concept. Unfortunately, it only lasted 8 episodes.
3. Taking the Stage
Another short-lived series for MTV. This one was the reality TV show version of “Fame”, following a group of students at an Ohio performing arts high school. The show changed dramatically going into its second season – new cast members, new interview styles, new episode format – and was soon erased from the schedule. One cast member, hip-hop dancer Tyler Nelson, was in the straight-to-DVD film Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming. As you may imagine, the film lacks the magic of the original.
2. The Hills
Perhaps the most popular MTV reality show ever – until those darn kids from the Shore rolled up! The show lasted 6 “slightly scripted” seasons and produced a number of stars – Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari, Whitney Port and the notorious Justin Bobby.
1. Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County
What show could top the glory of The Hills? Why, only its predecessor, the show that spawned it. Move over, The O.C! Laguna Beach was arguably the Beverly Hills: 90210 for those attending high school during its run from 2004-2006. Across the country, teenage girls began siding with “Team Lauren” or “Team Kristin”, using the word “dunzo” in everday conversation, and wishing their own boyfriends could be as perfectly sun-kissed as that of the show’s male lead, Stephen.