Trigger warning: contains problematic language around weight and appearance.
Reality TV often falls into three categories:
1: You get utterly consumed by the drama/people/storylines, you can't think of anything else and the show becomes the centre of your universe.
2: You accept that it's totally trash TV but you will devote time out of your schedule to watch it anyway.
3: You can't fathom how such a concept/idea could ever be deemed television-worthy and refuse to have anything to do with it.
Are You Hot?, an early noughties ABC reality series which was basically the equivalent format of Pop Idol but for hotness and sex appeal, takes category #3 to jaw-dropping extremes.
Hold your horses as Grazia explains the mind-blowing premise. Those exuding self-confidence in abundance would apply in a bid to become the sexiest woman or man in America. The judges, Lorenzo Lamas, Rachel Hunter and Randolph Duke, would critique three things and three things only, on a scale of one to ten: face, body and sex appeal.
Forget survival of the fittest, this was disgracefully the survival of the hottest.
Shockingly, no criticism was left unsaid and it never occurred that the feedback could be a) soul-destroying or b) unacceptable.
'Unfortunately none of you are hot enough to be on this show,' would be the remark if auditionees did not meet the unrealistic and totally abhorrent standards that the show had set.
Other horrendous examples of comments on the show include...
'I’d like to see you without that sweater on.'
'I wish your boobs were up a little more.'
'Some people should just keep their clothes on.'
'Your eyes are a little bit close set. I don’t know what you can do about that,' criticised one judge, before turning to the panel and saying, 'I don't want to send him to therapy for ten years.'
'Your face is okay but you don't have the body.'
'You need to lose about ten pounds.'
'I like it when you don't open your mouth because there's too much teeth.'
'You need to wear more makeup.'
'Your body is too thin to carry the sex appeal. Go to McDonald's and have a cheeseburger.'
This show might be almost two decades old, but it is hard to wrap your head around that TV bosses actually deemed this to be entertaining and justifiable - even back in a time when promoting body confidence and shining a light on body shaming was not as prominent as it is today. Why was watching people get critiqued within an inch of their lives ever considered to be good television?
That's the thing - it wasn't. It was cancelled after one season due to low ratings.
And since clips of Are You Hot? have been resurfacing online, people are struggling to comprehend it just as much as we are.
While someone simply branded the show - fronted by JB Roberto - 'emotional damage', others took it a step further, and rightly so.
'How gross is this?', one aggrieved TikTok user commented, 'I’m guessing this didn’t last long at all.'
Others questioned, 'Why was this even a thing?' 'Just judging looks?! Who came up with that idea?'
Thank goodness Are You Hot? didn't live up to its name in the TV listings in 2003. It most certainly wouldn't today, that's for sure.