A Controversial Reality TV Theory: Season 3 is Always the Best

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Contestant Elena Slivnyak's designs are modeled at the Project Runway finale fashion show during Fashion Week on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images)
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Contestant Elena Slivnyak's designs are modeled at the Project Runway finale fashion show during Fashion Week on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images)

If you watch a lot of reality TV, an interesting trend starts to emerge. More often than not, the third season of a reality show is the best season in the show's whole run. By the third season, a show has usually worked out some of the kinks it had in the first season and has really hit its stride.

While this theory doesn't hold true for every reality TV show, it does tend to be true for a great number of reality TV franchises. From fashion competitions to cooking programs, all of these reality TV shows peaked in their third season.

"Project Runway"

Sometimes, a show just gets lucky with its cast chemistry. The third season of "Project Runway" had amazing synergy between the contestants. The intense feud between Jeffrey and Angela made for some amazing moments, and there was plenty of humor to be had with contestants like Vincent, Malan, and Bradley. And to top it all off, this season featured the epic disqualification of Keith Michael, the infamous cheating designer.

Toss in a surprise pregnancy, an over-the-top pageant wear designer, and some of the show's best challenges, and this season of "Project Runway" was practically perfect.

"Top Chef"

While Season 8 (the all-star season) of "Top Chef" was pretty entertaining, Season 3 was a more evenly enjoyable season overall. Set in Miami, the cast featured hot-headed Howie, charming C.J., talented Tre, the underdog Dale, and the mechanically precise Hung. Not only were there tons of great moments between the contestants, but the challenges were incredibly memorable.

Who could forget Howie's hideous mushroom canapes from the yacht party or the brutal two-night Restaurant Wars challenge featuring Madonna's brother? TV fans loved this cast, so it's no coincidence that Season 3 spawned tons of careers. Brian Malarky went on to judge "The Taste," and C.J. was so popular that the producers brought him back as a contestant in Season 10.

"The Surreal Life"

In the third season of "The Surreal Life," the housemates included Charo, Dave Coulier, Flavor Flav, and Brigitte Nielsen. Charo's infectious energy and barely comprehensible rants were comedy gold, but it was the tempestuous, strange relationship between Flavor Flav and Brigitte that really got fans invested in the show.

Not only was Season 3 highly entertaining, but it spawned a spinoff centered around Flav and Brigitte: "Strange Love." That, in turn, spawned "Flavor of Love," which spawned tons of other spinoffs.

"Masterchef"

Two words: Christine Ha. Season 3 of the U.S. version of "Masterchef" saw blind contestant Christine Ha overcome the odds and win the title of Masterchef. Seeing Ha navigate the dangers of a kitchen with poise and intelligence was truly inspirational, and the upcoming fourth season of "Masterchef" will be hard-pressed to top last season's amazing story.
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