Hell hath no fury like Tyra Banks scorned
For the past few days, America has been enthralled by the tale of Ryan Stock and AmberLynn Walker, the couple who became instantly famous on America’s Got Talent when Walker shot Stock in the throat with a flaming arrow (accidentally). Stock‘s accident joins a long line of terrifying incidents captured on “reality” television. Below, some of the most heart-stopping. (We’re just excluding the low-hanging fruit of Fear Factor entirely.)
Snooki Gets Punched
The nadir of Jersey Shore‘s grip on America arguably came when the show’s diminutive mouthpiece, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, was struck in the face by a male high school teacher at a bar. Regardless of your thoughts on her, watching a moment of unmerited male-on-female violence on television was a low-water mark for the medium.
Bear Grylls Fords a Gator River
For a show predicated on the idea that its host could be killed at any moment, few episodes of Man vs. Wild seemed to have Bear Grylls as shaken up as the one where he’s forced to ford an alligator-infested river, knife in hand. Imagine how the camera guy felt.
Whalers Purposefully Sink a Ship
Most of the anti-whaling measures employed by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are non-lethal, stuff like potato guns and paint. But in one episode of Whale Wars, a Japanese whaling crew purposefully crashes into the ship the Ady Gil, damaging the nose and halting radio contact with the crew. It was later alleged that the Sea Shepherds intentionally sunk the ship to make the damage appear worse than it was, but it’s still a pretty terrifying moment to witness on the screen.
Deadliest Catch Lives up to Its Name
Deadliest Catch isn’t a sensationalist name. In the third season, viewers were treated to a rescue sequence that showed the high cost of crab fishing in Alaskan waters, as a search-and-rescue mission for a sunken ship’s four-man crew turned up one survivor, an empty survival suit and two dead crewman floating in the water. It wasn’t the only death to plague the show: Captain Phil Harris suffered a pulmonary embolism and died two weeks later in 2010, the first death portrayed on reality television.
Survivalist Bites off a Lizard’s Head
Jeff might have been Naked and Afraid, but Jeff also really hated that lizard. Still, watching a man decapitate an animal with his teeth after claiming he had a personal vendetta against it was a stark reminder that we’re all a little closer to your primal side than we’d like to admit.
Teen Mom Beats Boyfriend in Front of Daughter
No one wins here.
Mike Skupin Falls into a Fire
Skupin became the first contest to be medically evacuated from Survivor when he fell into a fire, burning his hands severely. Thirty-one million viewers were watching. Incidentally, Skupin is currently facing child pornography charges in Minnesota.
Tyra Banks Screams at Tiffany
Maaaaaybe not as scary as an alligator-infested river, but definitely more iconic and probably the most unhinged we’ve ever seen a nominal authority figure on a reality TV show. And you thought America’s Next Top Model was tame.
Jonathan Shoves Victoria
Just another gross moment of abuse captured for live television, this time on The Amazing Race. Unsurprisingly, Jonathan Baker and Victoria Fuller are now divorced.
NRA Lobbyist Shoots Elephant
We’re electing not to show this video, because it’s many orders more disturbing than watching a guy bite a small lizard’s head off. In 2013, NBC Sports Network had a show called Under Wild Skies. It was sponsored by the NRA, and consequently, on one episode, viewers were treated to an NRA lobbyist named Tony Makris shoot an elephant in the face. Makris defended his comments by invoking Hitler while claiming that the argument that it was okay to shoot small animals and not big ones was “animal racism,” and well, the show was cancelled. Let’s move on. Like, as a society.