Photo Credit: John Lamparski/WireImage
Among shows that force you to consider the downward trajectory of human civilization as we know it, VH1's Couples Therapy has always been prominent. In a nutshell, this relationship counseling series provides a TV home for played-out reality stars, washed-up actors, models and rappers, extending their public exposure for another eight weeks as they air their romantic laundry. How did Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchinson seize the public's imagination a few years back? You can thank Couples Therapy and its celebrity couples counselor, Dr. Jenn Berman, for broadcasting their May-December mess of a romance. They recently split, by the way. (We'll give you a moment to recover from the shock of this news.)
Season 4 of the series (which is set to air in January 2014) stands to be especially depressing, based on the roster of stars announced on Tuesday. Topping the sad list is Farrah Abraham, the Teen Mom-turned-porn star. Back in April, Radar reported that Abraham offered a male acquaintance money to appear on the show with her, acting as her boyfriend. That didn't happen, but apparently, it didn't have to. The show's need for interesting train wrecks (and Abraham's need for money, or… further notoriety?) has led to her inclusion in the cast anyway, despite the inconvenient fact that she's not part of a couple. So there's that.
There's also Taylor Armstrong, formerly of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, whose marital troubles with her abusive first husband (followed by his all-too-real suicide) drove the plot of that show's third season. She and her new beau, John Bluher, are among the "four and a half couples who are facing very complicated issues never before discussed on the show," according to the series' website. Yes, come to think of it, Armstrong probably has brought some baggage to her new relationship.
So has Jon Gosselin, no doubt. Oh, it's true: The hen-pecked (and reportedly deadbeat) dad of Jon & Kate Plus 8 has a new girlfriend. Liz Jannetta, a 20-something, divorced mother of three, works in IT, just like Jon. Do they have real relationship problems, or is Jon just trying to get back on TV? Both options are sad to think about.
Next up are -- you guessed it -- more reality stars: Sara Bettencourt and Whitney Mixter from Showtime's The Real L Word. The third season finale of that series showcased the couple's wedding. This show will presumably air their squabbles.
Ghostface Killah, a rapper and member of Wu-Tang Clan, is the one cast member who seemingly doesn't need reality TV exposure (and certainly not this low-brow variety). Within the music business, he's well respected and critically acclaimed. Perhaps girlfriend Kelsey Nykole wanted to be on TV? Or maybe this show conveys some kind of twisted prestige among rappers, since other popular hip-hop stars like DMX and Chingy have also participated?
Whatever their reasons, the participants will earn some fast cash and get to see themselves on TV, again. What more could they want out of life?
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an iVillage contributing writer. Follow her on Google+.