The Low-Budget Cable Series More Successful Than Every Sci-Fi Show In History

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Statistically, if you’re reading a Giant Freakin Robot article, you have a passing interest in science fiction, fantasy, comic books, superheroes, or any other niche genre classification that falls under those umbrellas. No matter what genre show is your favorite, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to The Mandalorian, Game of Thrones to The Boys, it pales in comparison to the unstoppable juggernaut that is Ridiculousness.

MTV’s low-budget internet clip show has outlasted everything you love, made more money than entire franchises, and is still going strong after a dozen years.

Nothing Can Stop Ridiculousness

On August 29, 2011, the MTV audience was introduced to a new show featuring some of the channel’s most familiar faces, Chanel West Coast and Rob Drydek, from Rob’s Fantasy Factory, joined by producer Steelo Brim; they formed the core of Ridiculousness. They weren’t the stars of course, as that distinction went to the numerous viral clips that they would play throughout each episode for a live studio audience. Mocking and celebrating the clips in turn, the show was America’s Funniest Home Videos for the internet era.

A Network Saving Hit With A Nearly Non-Existent Budget

A smash hit right out of the gate, the debut airing of Ridiculousness had over three million viewers. Not bad for a show that puts a season together for under less than half an episode of Game of Thrones. Presenting curated clips in fun categories like “Dropping Dimes,” “Ghost Holes,” and “Scorpion,” there’s nothing about the basic nature of the show that can’t be replicated with a smartphone, an internet connection, and the ability to swipe.

Celebrities Sat On the Couch

That is underselling the genius of Rob Drydek’s grand design. Ridiculousness comes alive thanks to the rapport between the hosts and the frequent celebrity guests, who, unlike most cable reality television, were major names. Appearing on the big red couch are Kobe Bryant, Machine Gun Kelly, Mark Cuban, Snoop Dogg, Lacey Chabert, Kevin Hart, Dominic Monaghan, and the list goes on.

Over 1,000 Episodes Have Aired

The majority of guests are musicians and social media influencers who appeal to tweens and teens, which is why more people have watched clips and episodes of Ridiculousness than every single episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Today, 13 years after the first episode aired, the show is a shadow of its former self, with ratings hanging out at around 500,000 viewers each episode, going as low as 20,000, but with over 1,000 episodes in the bank, live ratings matter less and less.

Evergreen Background Noise Is Gold To Networks

Turn on MTV or MTV2 at any time of the day, and odds are good, you’ll come across an episode of Ridiculousness. The series is mostly evergreen (even after Chanel West Coast left the show), letting viewers watch just one episode, bail, and catch another one a month later, and because it’s only a clip show, there are no dynamic storylines or characters to keep track of. It’s the ultimate in mindless television, peak reality TV, and nothing will ever come close to touching its success.

Sci-Fi Has Been Exiled To Streaming Services

Modern sci-fi shows were shunted from network television, where, thanks to Lost, they thrived 20 years ago, to streaming services. Now instead of stumbling across an episode while channel-surfing, fans have to subscribe to specific services to catch 3 Body Problem, Silo, Outer Range, or The Mandalorian. None of those shows are mindless, background noise level shows either, which is why none of them will…and this hurts to say…be as successful as Ridiculousness.

Genre TV is Expensive But Couches Are Cheap

Older Star Trek shows, such as The Next Generation, had higher ratings, but no scripted series can compete with Ridiculousness in terms of output and consistency. It’s a fact of life as a fan of science fiction and fantasy that to the entertainment industry, we’re second-class citizens. For every great show, like Fallout, 10 reality TV shows get comparable, or even better, ratings.

The next time you wonder why we’re not getting more Game of Thrones spin-offs or why Star Trek shows keep getting canceled, remember that genre television is expensive to produce.

Ridiculousness rips videos off the internet, so why would a studio want to spend millions to be yelled at online when they decide to, say, introduce a new weapon to Star Wars or give a D-list character like Moonknight his own series? Money’s the answer because no matter how great a sci-fi show is, it’s expensive, and red couches are cheap.

You can catch Ridiculousness streaming on the home of Star Trek, Paramount+.