It may not be Thursday but the throwbacks are rolling in thick and fast today, as we count down 10 iconic TV shows that no longer grace our screens but live on in our heads rent free. Before the shiny days of Selling Sunset and KUWTK, life was a little simpler, with entertainment coming in the form of pimped cars, punk’d celebrities and lavish 16th birthday parties. Oh how times have changed. Keep reading to see if your favourite 90s or early 2000s show is on the list, and can we all agree a petition is needed immediately to bring back The Simple Life? Paris and Nicole, we miss you…
If you were ever off sick from school in the 2000s, chances are your days lounging in front of the tele with a portion of chicken soup were spent bingeing episodes of Wife Swap, and quite honestly the combination couldn’t be beaten. First broadcast in 2003 and airing for 7 years before returning for a one-off episode in 2017, Wife Swap was created for Channel 4 and followed two families- mostly of different lifestyles and social classes- who would swap wives and mothers for a two week period. During the first part of the experiment, wives would have to strictly follow the rules set out in the manual of their new homes, taking on the exact roles, responsibilities and commitments of the OG wife. Then comes the rule change ceremony. During week two, wives are allowed to establish their own rules- of which their new families must obey- and if the arguments hadn’t already begun, expect them to explode from here on out.
As the two weeks conclude, the original couples are reunited and both husband and wife pairs meet to discuss the experience- insults, jabs, snide remarks and all. In some rare cases, the couples were grateful for the lessons they learnt from each other’s relationships, children and lifestyles, and wholesome results were reaped by all- we love it when a plan comes together! A mixture of drama, emotion, and good old fashion shouting as a form of entertainment,Wife Swap may no longer be on our screens, but the memories of the pure chaos it created will live on forever.
Can’t decide on having kids or not? Watch a couple of episodes of Supernanny and get back to us. The British reality show aired from 2004-2008 and followed the work of children’s behaviour expert and all round TV legend, Jo Frost, whose stern tone and naughty step sanctions were enough to drive fear into the unruliest of children. The programme aired on Channel 4 and its success saw the release of follow-up show Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance which later ran from 2010 to 2012- one to seek out on YouTube for those who can’t get enough of Jo’s strict ways.
Looking for the creme de la creme of parenting nightmares (sorry to the ma’s and pa’s involved)? Try Googling the Tsironis family (season 2, episode 10), the Newton family (season 2, episode 18) and the Daniels family (season 4, episode 7) to delve into the fiery encounters of Supernanny and her tiny nemeses at their best. Do throwbacks get better? We think not.
A true blast from the past if there ever was one, may we kindly remind you of the one, the only:Footballers Wive$. Gracing our screens from January 2002 to April of 2006 (quite frankly not long enough), the British drama followed the lives, players and wives of fictional Premier League football club Earls Park F.C.
The show first focused on three main couples, enter Ian and Donna Walmsley, Jason and Tanya Turner and Chardonnay Lane and Kyle Pascoe, but from the third series the storyline turned to document the love triangle between Tanya Turner, Amber Gates and Conrad Gates- unrivalled drama. Fame, fortune and football were at the centre of the young couples’ worlds, and when staying in the spotlight is the goal, there’s little they wouldn’t do to keep at the top of their game, both on and off the pitch.
Ready to revive your love for Earls Park? You can watch the whole thing via BritBox and lap up the best of early 00s drama.
The Simple Life
American television peaked with The Simple Life and we won’t hear otherwise. The series aired from December 2003 to August 2007 and followed socialites and all round icons Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, as they struggled to do manual, low-paying jobs such as housekeeping, farm work and serving meals in fast-food restaurants. The show was said to be born out of a challenge from Fox Television’s Chairman, Sandy Grushow, to find a new and exciting way to produce comedies in a non-traditional format, and boy oh boy did they hit the jackpot when creating The Simple Life.
The show pulled in an incredible 13 million viewers a week at its peak, with some of its most hilarious scenes including Paris cooking bacon with an iron, the pair giving people the middle finger whilst dressed as a sonic mascot, and finally Nicole dropping and vacuuming someone’s ashes from the floor. Eek. There were no shortage of laughs and “loves it” moments from this short but sweet series that we frankly wish we could have lived on forever.
My Super Sweet 16
My Super Sweet 16 was an American reality TV series that followed the lives of teenagers across the US, Canada and the UK as they prepared to throw lavish, excessive and expensive coming-of-age parties as part of their 16th birthday celebrations. The show aired on MTV from January 2005 to September 2017, with the iconic opening theme song “Sweet Sixteen” sung by Hilary Duff. Apologies in advance as this bop will likely be stuck in your head for the next 24 hours straight.
Scandalous, shocking and filled with endless ‘did that really just happen?’ moments, My Sweet 16 will go down in television history as a format that cannot be topped, from the girl who arrived to her party in a coffin (you okay, sis?) to Pharrell Williams casually performing at another, legend has it MTV views have been down ever since the show ended. All that’s really left to say is, may we all channel the same OTT party planning energy for every future birthday to come. Gold throne arrival, anyone?
Pimp My Ride
Star eye emojis everywhere, let us not forget the iconic Pimp My Ride. The US series was produced by MTV and hosted by rapper Xzibit and ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2007. If you were living under a rock during this time or are too Gen Z to recall, each episode followed the journey of taking a seriously lacklustre car and restoring, customising and allround transforming it from functional to downright ridiculous (but kind of badass).
Whilst sometimes questionable in their design, each car was kindly ‘pimped’ to the personalities and needs of its owner, for example one avid badminton player had a badminton net installed in the back of his Caravan, and a surfer got a clothes dryer in the back of his Volkswagen- cute! Everything from paintwork, accessories, tires, rims, electronics, and mechanical work was considered to make each car the best it could possibly be, with seemingly no expense spared in bringing the wildest and wackiest of creations to life in the name of creating the perfect car.
If you fancy a road trip down memory lane, episodes of note include the functional and fashionable pool table truck of season 3 (episode 25), the one and only van with a hot tub for relaxation on the road (season 3, episode 1), and of course theToyota RAV4 (season 6) with a chocolate foundation in the back, naturally. Anyone fancy switching up their Fiat 500 for something a little more interesting?
“Hey MTV and welcome to my crib!” If you ever fancied a peek inside the world of the rich and famous, MTV Cribs was the show for you. First airing in September 2000, the show featured tours of the homes of over 185 celebrities including musicians, actors, and athletes over the course of its 13 seasons, including names such as Naomi Campbell, Pamela Anderson, Ludacris and The Osbournes.
The most watched episode though? It comes as no surprise that top of the list is the special one-hour episode showcasing the inside of Mariah Carey’s New York penthouse. From describing her shimmering golden sofa as the more ‘serious’ part of her home, to hopping on the Stairmaster in heels against a panoramic New York backdrop, the episode was and remains a true inspiration to all. Who needs Architectural Digest anyway?
In 2021 it was announced the show was BACK, premiering in August of last year and featuring the homes of Martha Stewart, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Snooki, and other stars. May MTV Cribs never die!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Considered part of a wave of 90s media featuring strong female leads (we love to see it), Buffy The Vampire Slayer was an American supernatural drama series (based on the 1992 film of the same name, FYI) that has gone down in history as one of the best of its time. Premiering in 1997 and coming to an end in 2003, the series follows Buffy Summers, the latest in a line of young women known as “Vampire Slayers” chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons and other forces of darkness. Despite desperately hoping for a more normal life, Buffy embraces her fate as the series progresses and steps into her power as the strong female protagonist that no doubt inspired young women everywhere during this era.
Episodes reached between four and six million views on original airing, and between Buffy’s yk2 grunge style (baby tees and all) to the iconic soundtrack album that followed, there are endless memorable moments that make this throwback one we wish had never ended.
A pay rise please for whoever was working across MTV’s show in the 90s and 2000s, we give you yet another memorable classic: Made. The self-improvement reality TV series followed teens with a serious goal in mind- to be “made” into everything from singers, athletes and dancers to skateboarders.
The hopeful cast were joined by a “Made Coach”, an expert in their chosen field, with the aim of helping them attain their goals over the course of several weeks. Over the course of 15 seasons and 280 episodes, some serious transformations were undergone, and whilst we’re unsure if any of them did ever ‘make’ it, the journey to watching them try was as wholesome as it comes!
Created by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, Punk’d was an American hidden camera show that pranked celebrities in some of the most weird and wonderful ways. The show’s first prank? Aiming high, the team first punk’d Hollywood legend Justin Timberlake, where he was led to believe that government agents were seizing his home and valuables because of unpaid income taxes. The moment was so memorable within popular culture in fact that it was ranked #3 on Time Magazine’s list of Epic Moments in Reality TV History- high praise indeed!
Other iconic moments include Taylor Swift thinking she caused a wedding party to have to jump ship after setting off fireworks with pal Justin Bieber that caused a beachside explosion, to Zac Efron being framed for robbing a store whilst shopping with HSM costar Ashley Tisdale. Punk’d was the dictionary definition of chaotic energy and we can’t help but love it more because of it.