Look, we here in the MTV Newsroom aren’t necessarily bad people. But when news broke that “American Idol” frontrunner/comb-over king David Cook had been rushed to the hospital following last night’s show, our first thoughts weren’t “Boy, we hope he’s okay,” they were more along the lines of “Wow, I wonder what color ambulance he was loaded into?”
After all, we’ve been watching this crap for more than 15 years now (ever since Eric Nies bump-and-grinded his way into our hearts and loins on the first season of “The Real World“) and over that time, we’ve seen more than our fair share of buxom blondes and beefy dudes being strapped to gurneys or whisked away by paramedics. In fact, a ride in an ambulance is sort of like a rite of passage for many of our favorite Reality TV stars.
So, in honor of David Cook’s hospital trip (watch that blood pressure!) we’ve compiled a list of our favorite E.R. All-Stars: those brave (and often, drunk) men and women who’ve risen above the blur of bodily harm, black outs and blood to earn a place in the Reality TV Pantheon. Our list, after the jump.
Ruthie Alcaide, “The Real World: Hawaii” – She wasn’t the first RW-er to get dangerously bombed during an episode of the show (that achievement goes to Season Two’s Dominic Griffin, whose face-plant on a Mexican beach was a landmark of on-air intoxication), but Ruthie was certainly the most persistent. And creative. On the season’s first episode, she gets hammered before heading out with her roommates, gets booted from a bar, tries to fight a bouncer and then blacks out. Concerned, her roomies strip her and shove her into a cold shower in an attempt to revive her. When she starts having seizures, paramedics are called to the scene, and she is taken to the emergency room. Rather than learn her lesson, Alcaide only takes her game to another level in subsequent episodes (tossing drinking glasses, driving drunk) before finally checking into rehab. ALL IN ONE SEASON.
Neil Forrester, “The Real World: London” – For the first half of the RW’s fourth season, Forrester was nothing more than the brooding, spiky-haired, sorta-Goth, British intellect/cyber-punk that your girlfriend probably wanted to sleep with. But in one fabulously gory/hilarious moment, he ascended to “Real World” Immortality. During a gig by his performance-art band Unilever, Forrester attempted to kiss a male heckler in the crowd, only to have half his tongue bitten off. The resulting carnage — and subsequent episodes featuring him flashing his gauze-wrapped tongue — also changed him into a sympathetic character, which probably only made your girlfriend want to sleep with him even more.
Marie Osmond, “Dancing With The Stars” – When she wasn’t hawking porcelain dolls or breeding, Osmond was grabbing headlines thanks to her spur-of-the-moment fainting spell on the last season of “Dancing With The Stars.” After sorta samba-ing across the stage, a gassed Osmond was listening to judges’ critiques when she dropped like a sack of potatoes. She regained consciousness (reportedly uttering “Oh Crap”) and was spared the judges’ wrath and made it to the “Stars” finale, where she placed third.
Michael Skupin, “Survivor: The Australian Outback” – Sort of the Michael Jordan of Reality TV calamity, Skupin fell face-first into a fire on the season’s 17th Day, sustaining second- and third-degree burns and earning himself the distinction of being the first “Survivor” contestant to ever be airlifted out of the show due to a medical emergency. Also like Jordan, he’s turned his, uh, accomplishments into a thriving mini-empire, hawking fireproof hats and “Burning Faith” T-shirts through his official Web site. Classy.
Rebecca Epley, “America’s Next Top Model” – It wasn’t just that she fainted. It was that she did it so dramatically. And with such stunning comedic timing. During judgment on an episode of “ANTM’s” fourth cycle, Epley — who, we are told has “a pre-existing condition where she collapses” — rolled her eyes back in her head, wobbled slightly, then hit the ground like she’d caught an uppercut. And for extra impact, she did this seconds after one judge was telling her she “needed to work on her presence.” As Epley was being take away in an ambulance, Tyra, being the kind soul she is, made the entire situation about herself (“How many people were scared?” she asked the remaining models. “I was really, really scared,”) and decided to continue on with judgment.
Christina Christian, “American Idol” – Cook wasn’t the first “Idol” contestant to log some time in the emergency room. W-a-a-y back in Season One (aka “The Dunkleman Era”), Christian collapsed and, well, let’s let MTV News’ “Idol Expert,” Jim Cantiello take it from here: “she was rushed to the hospital after one performance show due to ’exhaustion’ (or maybe ’dehydration?’) [note: it was a combination of dehydration and “sinusitis”]. And then the next night on the results show — while she was still in the hospital — she was voted off! CONSPIRACY!!”
Lisa Andreone, “The Biggest Loser” – During the first season of “Loser,” Andreone was faced with the task of climbing 74 flights of stairs, something I’m pretty sure even I couldn’t do. By the 19th floor, she was bent over and attempting to crawl up the stairs. By the 34th floor, she had erupted into a meltdown of epic proportions, moaning and wailing and turning beet red. Paramedics are called in, and despite Andreone’s best “I gotta go on for the team” pleas, she’s taken to the hospital. Her team ends up losing the challenge, missing out on the grand prize: a helicopter ride above the city. Oh, and comedian Caroline Rhea was there, too. Every bit as depressing and WTF as you’d imagine an overweight woman nearly killing herself for a helicopter ride would be, only somehow more so.
Bevin Powers, “The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman” – She was the rugged-yet-beautiful contestant who proudly showed off her scars to Bachelor Andrew Baldwin (her physical ones; her emotional trauma is kept hidden away in very dark places), and then ended up fracturing her ankle during some overly-aggressive obstacle course work during “Bachelor Boot Camp.” Luckily, Baldwin — who is both an officer in the Navy and a doctor — was there to stabilize her injury and give her a rose (Awwww). Powers rode his sympathy all the way to the series finale, where she was dumped in favor another less-clumsy (yet equally sad) contestant. No pain, no gain. Or, you know, not.