I've watched (nearly) every reality television show that's aired at least once. This is a fact that I'm not necessarily proud of, but it does equip me with a certain knowledge that most people (thankfully) do not possess. So when Target launched a nail polish line, Defy & Inspire, with shade names paying tribute to this out-of-control genre, I couldn't help but ruminate on all the missed opportunities. The usual suspects are covered: The Bachelor, The Real Housewives, Laguna Beach, The Hills, The Real World (here's a list of every shade). I took it upon myself to create a few for them, plucked randomly from my "non-fiction program" (as I like to call them)-battered mind.
The Polish Name: Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time
The Inspo: The best contestant ever to appear on Brett Michael's Vh1 series Rock of Love (which is saying a lot, considering all of the gems that appeared on the 3-season run, available on Amazon, P.S.) showed up on the first episode of the first season in 2007. Despite being rejected before even entering the house, fiery redhead Tiffany refused to leave (to the dismay of bouncer Big John). Brett let her stay. So she continued to drink, get in fights, and slur over and over again "Don't threaten me with a good time," before eventually getting the boot. I now say this phrase at least once a day. She didn't rock Brett's world, but she certainly rocked ours, the viewers.
The Shade: A dusty pink, like a magenta pink bandage dress that's faded after it's been sidelined, getting splashed with one too many shots of Tequila.
The Polish Name: El Dangeroso
The Inspo: Bands on the Run might be the least sleazy of the reality shows aired on Vh1 (it even earned an Emmy nomination). It featured aspiring music groups on a cross-country race to fame. During the first season in 2001, a Texas-bred band named Flickerstick won the competition (beating out a band with the most awful name ever, Soulcracker), despite the antics of their turbulent yet mesmerizing guitarist Rex Ewing, who—for some reason—called himself El Dangeroso. That isn't a word in any language, btw.
The Shade: Matte black, the color of a pair of Dickie’s cargo pants that haven’t been washed in months.
The Polish Name: I Got Eaten by Fire Ants
The Inspo: There are plenty of polishes alluding to The Bachelor in the Defy & Inspire line, but none seem to reference the amazing spin-off that is Bachelor in Paradise. The only contestant to appear on both seasons of the show, Clare, is a portrait of strength and resilience. She doesn’t find a match with any of the men (who would?) during her all-expenses paid beach vacations, but during the second season in 2015, the producers would have us a believe she found a true confidant in a raccoon, an adorable creature she complains to about the drama, and about getting bitten by fire ants, leaving her legs red and swollen.
The Shade: Vibrant scarlet, the kind of red you’ll never see in a final rose—only in island-inflicted bug bites.
The Polish Name: 2 Drink Maximum
The Inspo: Patti Stanger, star of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker, which has aired since 2008, has many mandates for members of her club, including no redheads and no sex before monogamy (not sure which is more important to her). But her most frequently uttered line at the club mixers, where her dolled-up recruits meet someone who's supposedly strapped with cash, is “two drink maximum.” Unsurprisingly, this rule is broken at many mixers and on many one-on-one dates—thus, quality television.
The Shade: Sparkling honey, the hue of too many champagne wishes and caviar dreams.