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TWoP 10: Off-the-Beaten-Path Reality Shows Worth Watching

We had thought that we were going to spend our summer delighting in seeing Cat Deeley on a fresh program and watching Kelly Clarkson be her adorable self, but their respective new reality shows turned out to be duds. So instead we've turned our attention to some other series that may not generate quite as much buzz, but still fill our mindless summer reality needs (kinda like these shows from the dog days of winter). They all have a charm that Snooki and JWOWW's stale act severely lacks, and are a nice companion to keep us and our DVRs busy now that So You Think You Can Dance is only on one night a week.

10. RuPaul's Drag U
It's not as great as Drag Race, but any time we get to see Latrice Royale doing anything, it's a good day. Frankly, we'd watch Latrice count to 100, roll her eyes for an hour, or take a yoga class. Anything. Throw in the likes of Chad Michaels, Jujubee and Sharon Needles all helping women by making them more glam, and it's an entertaining hour.

9. Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles
Any program that wants to show us ridiculous homes is something we'll happily watch purely as property porn, but the real estate agents on this one are actually almost as interesting as the houses they are selling... well, not really, but close. They do keep us amused while we drool over gigantic custom closets and well-landscaped yards.

8. Best Sandwich in America
We like that the Man vs. Food star has put down the giant vats of fatty foods (temporarily at least) and instead is traveling across the country on a quest to find a great sandwich. And he's doing it bracket style, breaking the country down into segments with a champion for each region. And we're most happy to see the affable star get to be sweetly enthusiastic about food without having to worry about his arteries.

7. On the Fly
We also liked this show back when it was called Airline. Not much has changed in the last few years, but now this series (still focused on Southwest Airlines) is on TLC instead of A&E. There are still people being jerks and getting too drunk to fly and being combative with ticketing agents, which is enjoyable from the comfort of our homes, though we pray that the next time we head out on a trip, none of these travelers are along for the ride.

6. Push Girls
This show is probably on a network (Sundance Channel) that most viewers have never even heard of, but the series is an uplifting docudrama about women who are in wheelchairs and their various struggles and triumphs. It's a look at their daily lives, with lots of talk about dating, but without any of the hair-pulling drama of a Housewives. Inspirational and illuminating in equal measure.

5. Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition
Yes, this weight loss show is on ABC and people definitely already watch it, but it never gets nearly as much attention as The Biggest Loser, and that's too bad. The extraordinary amounts of weight being shed over a year are mindboggling, and to see the lengthy process (including excess skin removal surgery) unfold is fascinating.

4. Randy to the Rescue
Our favorite part of Say Yes to the Dress is Randy Fenoli. He's the dapper wedding dress guru, and now he's taking his show on the road. He's doing the same thing he does in the confines of Kleinfeld's, but now with head to hem (his term) makeovers. And there's a lot more of him, and less of those other consultants, which we totally support. Now if we can just get a show where he and David Tutera create ultimate weddings, our Friday nights will be fulfilled.

3. Bethenny
While Bethenny Ever After mostly makes us want to punch Jason in the face, there's something awkwardly appealing about the former RHONY star's daytime talk show. She struggles with the teleprompter and probably talks far too much about sex, but we appreciate the candid chatter, the fact that she realizes how lucky she is, how she doles out business and dating advice and her ability to make a fool out of herself while remaining appealingly watchable. And we always love a show that plies its celebrity guests with booze.

2. Food Network Star
This series has been on for a while now and was responsible for spawning the likes of Guy Fieri (thanks a lot!), but frankly, it got stale and fell off our radar. However, this season they switched things up, stole a little bit from The Voice and we're really hooked again. They put Alton, Giada and Bobby on teams and gave each captain a chance to mentor their people, leading us to seeing a lot of them as true future Food Network personalities.

1. Breaking Pointe
It's not quite the Center Stage reality show we had hoped for, but there are a lot of attractive people running around doing insane things with their bodies in a very small amount of clothing. And that's really all you need for a summer show. Throw in a little bit of competitive drama and the endlessly fascinating sight of ballerinas eating and you've got a far more compelling show than the terribly named Bunheads.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

What are people saying about your favorite shows and stars right now? Find out with Talk Without Pity, the social media site for real TV fans. See Tweets and Facebook comments in real time and add your own -- all without leaving TWoP. Join the conversation now!

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