Where now so much of our entertainment feels orchestrated, reality television hasn’t always been so streamlined. From memorable catchphrases to touchdowns and tantrums, here are some of the moments from the annals of Australian reality TV history that live rent-free in our heads… sorted.
10. Big Brother (2006): ‘Play on Moles’
It was 2006 when a then 20-year-old personal assistant and promo model named Anna Lind-Hansen became a national treasure overnight after uttering the now infamous catchphrase of “game on molls” on Big Brother†
Anna, who said her family would describe her as “a psychotic bitch, a bimbo, a show pony, but a great friend deep down” in her home video, admitted later to forget she’d even made the comment, “I don’t even remember saying it. After I got kicked out, everyone yelled ‘moll’ and I thought I had done something absolutely terrible.”
9. Australian Survivor (2019): Family comes first… unless there are snacks
Nothing says you miss your family and carbs like sobbing into a giant pile of popcorn. That was the scene set by Australian Survivor contestant David Genat who, after living on rice and beans for weeks, relentlessly crushed a mountain of popcorn during a reward challenge while simultaneously chasing an immunity idol and a video message from his family. watched. The self-proclaimed ‘Golden God’ was sadly extinguished shortly after, but returned just one season later in 2020 for Australian Survivor: All Stars, eventually taking first place and winning a cool $500,000.
8. The Bachelorette (2019): Booting the King of Noosa
Legend has it that you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, but bachelorette Angie Kent took a different route when she kicked off the show’s “King of Noosa” Jess Glasgow in 2019.
Glasgow, who was a councilor at the time, also faced disciplinary proceedings after he was made “offensive” about women on the show pretending to lick Kent. At one point, when another contestant talked about not trying to kiss Kent, Glasgow said: “I would have just grabbed that sweetie and put one on her…I’ve kissed a lot of girls and they’ve had theirs before. head turned. I’m used to it.”
After his eviction, Glasgow apologized but refused to resign. In 2020, he failed to win reelection and lost his council seat. In 2021 Glasgow was hit with a $4,000 fine from the councilor’s conduct of business about his behavior on the show, plus an additional $1,000 to reimburse the Noosa Municipality for the costs arising from the entire incident.
Glasgow told a local newspaper he would appeal the fine and argued that he was encouraged to behave in an extroverted manner and that the show was heavily edited, saying “it’s not a realistic screenplay, it’s a managed TV performance.”
7. The Bachelor (2017): The Chocolate Bath
This moment lives rent-free in the minds of reality TV diehards. viewers of The Bachelor were perplexed and a little nauseous in 2017 when “rope access technician” Richie Strahan enjoyed a close and personal bath time with Alex Nation. Incredibly, though, producers chose to forego the traditional hot water and Radox route and instead go for rivers of melted chocolate. The moment was less picturesque fairytale, more food poisoning crime scene. Somehow, they managed to bring the two closer together, as they submerged in a giant vat that looked like feces, while Richie declared his love for Alex during the finale. Unfortunately, the couple broke up a little over a year later.
6. Dancing with the Stars (2004): Pauline Hanson
What should a politician do after his conviction has been quashed and released from prison? Go to a nationally broadcast dance floor, of course. After an 11 week stint in prison for election fraud conviction overturned on appeal in late 2003, One Nation founder Pauline Hanson took part in the first season of Dancing with the Stars in 2004. She made it to the finals somewhat unexpectedly, losing to Home & Away alum Bec Hewitt. The show’s most memorable moment came early on when hosts Daryl Somers and Sonia Kruger led the audience in a round of applause to celebrate Hanson’s acquittal and release from prison.
5. Australian Idol (2003, 2005, 2006): Weight Per Minute
One of reality television’s dark days came in the early 2000s when Australian Idol judges Ian “Dicko” Dickson and Kyle Sandilands took it upon themselves to comment on the weight of young female contestants. It started in 2003, when Dicko told a then 21-year-old contestant in season one, Paulini Curuenavuli, “You have to choose more suitable clothes or lose some pounds.” Then, in 2005, Sandilands told 20-year-old Kate DeAraugo that she had “tuckshop women’s arms.” The following year, he told then 16-year-old Jessica Mauboy to “lose the jelly belly.”
DeAraugo later revealed that she underwent “full-body” liposuction after appearing on the showwhile Curuenavuli has stated: she believes “that no one could do that today”. In 2016, Dicko told Curuenavuli that his words had been “cruel”, adding, “I was trying to be nice at the time, can you believe that, but I’m glad you started doing such great things.”
4. Big Brother (2004): ‘Free the Refugees’
History was made in 2004 when Merlin Luck used his departure from the Big Brother house to protest the Australian government’s controversial refugee policy. During his eviction, which was broadcast live across the country, the 24-year-old taped his mouth shut and held up a homemade sign that read “FREE TH REFUGEES” (an “E” had fallen off at one point).
Though the moment is now legendary, Luck was initially booed by the public when host Gretel Killeen rushed to save the situation.
Luck continued to advocate for refugee rights after the show and now works in the tech industry and is married with children. “Honestly, I’m well on my way to becoming a middle-aged business dad — in the best possible way,” he said in 2016†
3. The bachelor (2018): when the bachelor chose no one
One of the most memorable moments from The Bachelor was the breathtaking 2018 finale, when football player Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins decided to ignore the entire premise of the show and remain single. During the finale, Cummins told the final two contestants, Sophie Tieman and Brittany Hockley, that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship yet. As Hockley put it after his noncommittal breakup, “What a huge waste of time that was.” But thankfully, Cummins recently announced that he is expecting his first child with his new partner later this year.
2. Australia’s Next Top Model (2010): And the winner is…not Kelsey
What initially seemed like your run-of-the-mill finale quickly became very awkward in 2010 when Sarah Murdoch, presenter of Australia’s Next Top Model, said the wrong name.
Initially he declared Kelsey Martinovich the winner, but Murdoch was forced to come back moments later and tell the live audience that she had delivered the wrong news and that the winner was in fact Amanda Ware. Murdoch held her earpiece and clipboard and said, “This is making me a little sick… Oh my god. I don’t know what to say… This was a complete accident. I’m so sorry, it’s Amanda.’
Murdoch blames the error on a miscommunication. She left as host and executive producer the following year.
1. Big Brother (2006): The (Turkey) Clap Heard All Over the World
The Big Brother Turkey Clap is a moment that will live forever in reality TV disgrace† In the early hours of 2006, contestants Michael “John” Bric and Michael “Ashley” Cox invited Camilla Severi to their bed. She jumped in and said, “You’re not going to hit me with turkey, are you?” and “you are, liars, I’ll hurt you if you do”—before Bric held her and Cox rubbed his penis into her face.
“I got hit with turkey!” shouted Severi to the other housemates.
Shortly after the incident, Severi described it as “just messing around” to Big Brother, saying, “It was something that just happened for fun and I wasn’t offended as such, but I did think they took it a little too far.” . . But we laughed it off, and as soon as I said, ‘Enough is enough’ it stopped.”
But the incident quickly became a national firestorm. Both men were evicted almost immediately, with Cox insisting it was “just a practical joke” and Bric declaring that they “just intended to have fun with Camilla”. Producers handed over footage of the incident to Queensland Police who, after consulting with those involved, concluded that there was insufficient evidence for a criminal investigation. Prime Minister John Howard even called on Channel 10 to “take this stupid program off the air”. They didn’t, but the way the show was made changed forever.
The men later told Zoo Weekly (rest in peace) that the moment had “ruined” their lives, with Bric saying he felt the show “used and abused” them. In 2020, Severi addressed the issue again, saying, “Sometimes when people ask me about it, I say, ‘Well, it’s really interesting that this keeps following me because I didn’t do it.'”
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