Four More Trashy UK Reality Shows for New 'Love Island' Fans to Binge

From urinating in a suitcase to zooming in on people's exposed junk, UK reality TV is truly gold.
Alex Zaragoza
Brooklyn, US
July 11, 2019, 11:00am
Credit: MTV

When Love Island became a sensation in the U.K. after its 2015 premiere, it added to the country's impeccable body of trash reality TV. Featuring horny men and women with often incomprehensible accents picked to live in a house in Mallorca, the show finds out what happens when people stop being polite and start swapping partners in an effort to win thousands of British pounds. The series has earned fans across the pond thanks to its ridiculous moments, like Omar from season one going on a health code-violating dinner date wearing nothing but an apron; or season two housemate Hayley wondering aloud what Brexit is; or a group of Islanders from the current season revealing they didn't know Edinburgh was in Scotland. It's called Love Island, not Genius Island; it's also called amazing television.


American viewers can now enjoy the U.K. hit on Hulu, and an American version of the series just premiered on CBS on Tuesday. But Love Island is far from the only U.K. reality TV hit that deserves your hours of slack-jawed captivation; there are many more daft, lip-pumped, spiky-haired dummies that the U.K. has to offer reality TV obsessives that you can watch here in the U.S., too.

If you liked The Hills but wished it was trashier, try The Only Way Is Essex

The Only Way Is Essex, which debuted in 2010, follows the lives of hot people from the infamous Northeast London county of Essex, full of supposedly skanky "Essex girls" and tough, working-class "Essex boys." The reality soap opera was meant to be a sort of U.K. version of The Hills, following the love lives, fights, and scandals of a bunch of fake-tanned, chest-puffing Brits as they hang out at pubs, clubs, nail salons, and the occasional garden. But it's more ridiculous and in on the joke than its Laguna Beach counterpart when it comes to its portrayal of these nincompoops with their massive hair extensions, over-plumped lips, and upturned collars as, well, sexy, heavily fake-tanned dingleberries. The repetitive pronouncement of the name Lauren as "LAH-ren;" cast members' refusal to be "mugged off" by anyone, introduction of vajazzling into Essex culture; and the big, brassy blonde Gemma Collins calling it as she sees it make the show a wildly entertaining viewing experience.

How to watch it: Hulu

If you liked The Hills but wish it was dumber, go with Made in Chelsea

Made in Chelsea aimed to cash in on the The Only Way is Essex wave, but instead of following hot, clueless ding dongs in Essex, it follows the socialites and wannabes in London's affluent area of Chelsea as they date each other or don't date each other, and deal with the drama that ensues as they live sumptuously glamorous lives. This series is far less ridiculous than TOWIE, shot and semi-scripted more similarly to The Hills, and even co-stars former Hills sidekick (and estranged sister to Spencer Pratt) Stephanie Pratt, who now sports a mysterious, Madonna-esque semi-British accent. The posh brats (one of whom is named Binky Felstead!) use their hushed fancy voices to confront each other ("I don't like people like you flirting with my boyfriend"), fancifully trim their hedges in white trousers, or say things like "Unless you have a family tiara, you don't wear one." The show is almost relaxing because zero thought is needed to watch, and cast member Mark-Francis Vandelli delivers biting, snobby one-liners that are TV gold. It's like warm bathwater for your brain.

How to watch it: Hayu

If you abide by Jersey Shore's t-shirt time , but wish the trashiness was turned up to 40, watch Geordie Shore

Geordie Shore is a gorgeous and obscenely nutty mess. The show is the U.K.'s reworking of Jersey Shore, and, like the reality gold that inspired it, features a group of wild partying freaks as they live in a house, only instead of Jersey, they're in Newcastle in Northern England. Google "Geordie Shore shocking moments" and what will greet you upon that search is some of the most questionable behavior perpetuated by wasted twentysomethings you'll ever see. There's Aaron Chalmers pissing in his own suitcase after a rager; Sophie Kasaei farting during sex (which her partner says "fucking stinks of eggs"); an on-camera butthole bleaching; and Sam Gowland proposing to take the "next step" with his girlfriend Chloe Ferry, which she thought meant a marriage proposal but—plot twist—was actually a proposal for anal sex. The show is absolutely bonkers, and makes Snooki and DJ Pauly D look like Sunday school teachers.

How to watch it: Not available to stream, but seasons and episodes can be purchased on Amazon Prime, or watched with an MTV Hits subscription on Prime.

If you want something like nothing you've ever witnessed on TV before, prepare for Naked Attraction

The Brits love a dating show, but Naked Attraction takes it 500 steps further. There's is no way to explain this colossally mad and problematic show concisely, but here it goes: A fully dressed person must select a possible match from a group of six naked people, who are slowly revealed from their feet up to their face via slowly rising, multi-colored panels. The dressed person inspects each part of their bodies—including their uncensored penises, breasts, butts, and vaginas, which are zoomed in on and critiqued—to determine who they want to move forward with, eliminating one person per round. The chooser comments on even their most private parts, noting a circumcised penis or the perkiness of a pair of breasts, as they decide who to kick off based on their weird knees or genitals that don't meet their standards. When it's down to two nudies, the chooser appears completely naked (again, on national network television, and they've done it for four seasons!), and picks one person for a (public, clothed) date. This is mind-blowing, completely unfathomable television that may make you question humanity. Proceed with caution.

How to watch it: There are clips available on the show's official YouTube channel and really that's all you need.

Alex Zaragoza is the senior culture writer at VICE and can watch this mess for hours on end. Follow her on Twitter.