Tanner Stransky
July 06, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Ah, summer — the season of sun, sand, and shame-inducing reality shows. Our Self-Loathing Meter tells you just how embarrassed you should be for sitting through TV’s four worst (or is it best?) offenders.


Sunset Tan
The mischief on this reality series, set at L.A.’s tanning parlor to the stars, is as fake as a Mystic Tan. Still, all the ridiculousness is irresistible — in one episode, the Olly Girls (Molly and Holly) spray-tan a corpse. In a semirelated event, a pre-breakdown Britney Spears pays a visit and tells the staff she wants to go ”dark.”

The Next Best Thing: Who Is the Greatest Celebrity Impersonator
Come for the Cher drag queens who sing ”If I Could Turn Back Time” and the Sinatra wannabes who butcher ”New York, New York,” but stay for the woman perfectly snarling ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” Roseanne Barr-style.

Age of Love
Cougars (older women) and kittens (younger women) battle over Aussie tennis star Mark Philippoussis. If his chiseled body doesn’t do it for you, the desperation will: The cougars want their youth back and the kittens (should) want their dignity back. Philippoussis, meanwhile, practices his backhand(ed compliments).

Pirate Master
Mark Burnett’s sad, sad mash-up of Survivor and Pirates of the Caribbean was shipwrecked two seconds after it set sail. A partial list of things we’d toss overboard: contestants who slip into pirate accents, the ridiculous captain’s uniform, and anyone who says ”Chest of Zanzibar” without breaking into hysterics.


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