We fully understand that calling someone on a reality show “evil” is almost always a huge exaggeration. There’s no question that the pressure of competition or isolation can cause people to act in ways that aren’t themselves. We’re sure most of the people listed below are likable enough in their everyday lives – for example, the most controversial player from Survivor: Philippines has been perfectly sane since being voted off, and seems to get along now with almost everyone else from the show.
That being said, we’re not judging these folks on whether they have a loving family and don’t kick the dog. This is a television site, and we’re all about how you acted while on television. Read our list of nominees (they’re in alphabetical order), and vote in the poll.
Conda Britt, The Biggest Loser: Conda got genuine benefit out of The Biggest Loser – she dropped over 100 pounds, and had the pleasure of seeing her brother Jeremy take the Season 12 crown. But viewers of the show may have benefitted less from her presence. There were bad vibes throughout the season and no one had more to do with that than Conda, who fought with contestants and trainers alike for practically the entire 18-week slog. While she ended up not going through with the threat to quit the game like a pair of her rivals, one has to think her season-long complaining set the tone that allowed the walkout to happen.
Colton Cumbie, Survivor: One World: Every so often, you come across someone whose game is so bizarre, you have to assume their true goal is reality infamy rather than actually winning. Cumbie touched down on the island and immediately began actively working against his own tribe’s interest, to the point of insisting to his deluded followers that he wanted to go to tribal council after a win, in order to get rid of someone he disliked. He might have gone on to further infamy, had a sudden illness not taken him out of the game. At the previously mentioned tribal council, he defended himself against the charge that his dislike of tribemate Bill Posley was racially motivated by pointing to his affection for his family’s black housekeeper. I wish I was kidding.
Abi-Maria Gomes, Survivor: Philippines: We’ve all heard of “the social game” in reality TV, but Abi-Maria had an almost perfect antisocial game. She turned on her first ally with no real provocation or even game logic, and later was so annoying she drove the weaker members of what should have been the power alliance into the arms of another tribe. Further antics such as bragging about the luxury of her reward challenge prize was just icing on her bootylicious cake.
Sarah Grueneberg, Top Chef: Texas: She was excellent in the kitchen – she finished second – but even in a field where you can’t swing a frying pan without hitting an egomaniac, Grueneberg stood out for her ill temper and bullying of a mousy chef named Bev. During the season reunion, when called out by Andy Cohen for allegedly cursing at judge Emeril Lagasse after her loss in the finale, she was so weaselly she looked worse than if she had just admitted it and apologized.
Willie Hantz, Big Brother: If your last name is Wallenda, you pretty much have no choice but to walk on tightropes for a living. In the same way, as a born and bred Hantz, Willie was fated to become a reality show bad guy. He managed to make himself the house target during his early tenure as Head of Household; ended up blowing off his coach, the always likable Britney; and set about getting himself tossed from the house by picking a fight even though he hadn’t even been officially nominated yet. Will CBS finally decide it’s three strikes and you’re out with this family?
Phi Phi O’Hara, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Having an attitude is part and parcel of being a killer drag queen, so what does it mean when all the other queens are united in their hatred of you? Phi Phi looked fine and had some skills (though never as many as she believed), but she also had a knack for giving effortless offense, and her continual picking of fights with Sharon Needles (not that Sharon didn’t give as good as she got) was self-defeating, given her popularity. Hopefully a little maturity will do wonders for this one.
Nick Peterson, Bachelor Pad: Talk about coming out of one’s shell. Peterson made almost no impression on The Bachelorette in 2011, and seemed so disconnected from the Bachelor Pad drama that he wound up with partners by default. When he and Rachel Truehart won as the lesser of two evils, it was expected he would agree to split the prize money with her, but he opted for all of it while Rachel voted to share, and thus she got nothing. What he did was fully within the rules, and his defense of himself made a certain amount of sense … but man, that’s cold-blooded.
Courtney Robertson, The Bachelor: The dirty little secret about The Bachelor that no one is supposed to admit is that deep down, it’s just another competition show. Courtney’s problem, with viewers and with the other women competing for Ben Flajnik, is that she was all competition, all the time. It was striking how little she ever talked about Ben in an affectionate way, outside of the context of winning the game. The rapid demise of their relationship was what everyone expected, and what both deserved (Ben wouldn’t have been a bad addition had this list been slightly longer).
We considered adding one more person here: Alex Stein, who went on The Glass House with the stated goal of being the biggest villain in reality show history. But here’s the thing: when you’re on a show where the other players have a key role in voting you off, and you tell everyone you’re just there to cause trouble, you end up shortening your game life dramatically. Sorry, Alex: a real “biggest villain of them all” would have found a way to last longer than a week.
Who was the most evil reality show presence of 2012?
Voting is closed, stay tuned for the results in a special Reality Nation 2012 post!