The Only Way is Essex
THE original of the British 'dramality' programmes: that is, it shows "real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way". It made a name for Lauren Goodger (above). About to return for its fourth series with a cast that is almost entirely different from Series 1. Lines you're most likely to hear: "Bless her, she's really young and sweet and orange!" and "I'm actually trained in vajazzling".
It first screened on MTV in 2009, and is now in its fifth series, featuring the lives of eight young Italian-American housemates as they spend their summer sharing a house at the upmarket New Jersey coastal resort of Jersey Shore. The show has introduced several entirely new words to the American vocabulary, including 'smushing' and 'grenade'. The best known cast members are Nicole Polizzi (aka Snooki, above) and Pauly D. Most likely to hear: "Gym, Tan, Laundry. You have to stay fresh to death."
Real Housewives of New Jersey
Featuring the intertwined lives of five Italian-American housewives in New Jersey, including shopaholic Teresa Giudice (right), do-gooder Jacqueline Laurita and big momma Caroline Manzo. It kicked off in 2009 on the Bravo network, and the fourth season has just been aired. Most likely to hear: "If you're gonna mess with my family, you're messin' with me" and "Everyone likes to have nice things, but I'm not one to brag about it."
The grandaddy of all the 'dramality' shows, The Hills -- which is set in LA -- ran from 2006 to 2010. It was originally conceived as a show about the life of Laguna Beach star, Lauren Conrad (above), and her friends, including Whitney Port and Heidi Montag.