Don’t light those torches and grab those pitchforks just yet: We’re not saying Glee IS the worst. When Glee is good, it’s still so, so good. But when Glee is bad … well, it’s even more painful, given how great the show has shown it can be. Cringe-worthy character departures, schizophrenic theme episodes and “Uh-what now?" Will Schuester moments become more frequent in Glee’s second season. Not knowing what to expect next can be fun--but not knowing whether what you’ll see next will make you smile or shudder is exhausting. We’re still watching and (mostly) loving Glee, but we fear for its mental state.
Bad for a Different Reason Than You Thought: Outsourced
The argument against Outsourced as a xenophobic show that consistently paints Indian people and their culture as weird, silly and crazy in order to keep its “fish out of water" storyline rolling is well-known and well-documented. It’s also not exactly false. Even though the show tries make the message “We Americans are just as crazy, if not even crazier," the jokes at the Indian characters’ expense are still there, and still more offensive, based largely on cheap and tired stereotypes. But that is not even our main beef with Outsourced, because it’s clear being racist isn’t the show’s intention. The show’s intention is to make us laugh, and therein lines the most offensive thing about Outsourced: It’s not funny. Even the jokes that aren’t based on cultural stereotypes--say, the ones about fake spiders and plastic poo--are lazy and lame wherever you’re from. There are ways to make cross-cultural humor work, and the best way would be sharp writing, which might lead us to forgive the more exaggerated portrayals of Indian culture. Unfortunately, Outsourced hasn’t earned that forgiveness yet.
Worst Excuse for a 'Lost' Replacement: Persons Unknown
Persons Unknown was meant to be the replacement for the just-ended 'Lost.' It had an ensemble cast! In a creepy, deserted town! With weird things happening! Except that the cast was made up of thoroughly unlikable and pointless characters so unlikable that you wanted them dead. The town didn't make sense. And all of the mysteries were so dull that the death of characters was preferable to figuring out the mystery. Actually, their deaths would have improved the show. On the plus side, it had the guy from Ferris Bueller in it!
Worst Waste of Funny Source Material: $#*! My Dad Says
The notion of creating a family sitcom from a Twitter feed is distasteful enough on its own--the move feels aggressively “hip," like if your Grandma started riding a fix-gear and sending you texts about how she thinks Vampire Weekend’s latest album felt uninspired. Still, CBS couldn’t have chosen a better feed for their first attempt at turning tweets into scripts: the original Twitter, scattered musings and insults of one man’s crass and hilarious father, had great writing and a charming curmudgeon of a central character built in. Unfortunately, the problem with the show began at conception, and you need look no further than its title to see that: They tried to clean it up--the language and the tone--and in doing so washed away all its redeeming aspects, and, in their place stuck William Shatner, who couldn’t right this ship if he tried, so he doesn’t. It’s terrible that this show exists, it’s troubling that it’s popular, and it’s a tragedy that it was ‘inspired’ by something so great.
The only redeeming thing about Outlaw was Jimmy Smits, and the show put his talents in such a strait jacket that no redemption ever occurred. The premise was ridiculous (a rebellious Supreme Court Justice quits in order to serve justice ... on the STREETS!) and the terrible, cliched writing never let you forget it. We barely made it through the pilot and vowed never to return again, as did the rest of America--Outlaw was canceled after a slim month on air. It’s a sad tale, but it was ultimately for the best. Jimmy, you deserve better!
When you call a show The Event it might help to let us know, at some point, what that "event" might be. A hint maybe. A plot leading in that direction. Something. The Event did not. It has, as a result, spiraled down from a promising and tense beginning into an unconnected collection of plots. And those plots seem to wander to wherever the writers thought of that week. It's not so much that 'The Event' hasn't answered our questions. It's more that The Event seems to have forgotten that there were questions in the first place.
Someone's spreading rumors about Serena on Gossip Girl! Plus, she's torn between Nate and Dan but is keeping secrets from them both! Jenny looks like a sickly blond raccoon! Chuck and Blair are scheming! Sound familiar? Uh, yeah, that's because we've been watching the exact same tired plotlines play out over and over and over again on Gossip Girl for the last four seasons. Please just put us and that poor little rabid raccoon out of our misery and end this thing already.
Worst Sophomore Slump: Life Unexpected
If we were just looking at the first season, this might be one of the best shows of the year, but the sophomore slump hit our dear LUX hard. Season 2 was messy, annoying and lost all the sincere family drama in exchange for forced tension and phony drama. LUX went from realistic to a real mess over the summer and left a sour taste in our mouths by the end of the year.
Worst Show from Someone Who Used to Have the Best Show: The Marriage Ref
Remember Seinfeld? Voted by TV Guide in 2002 as the BEST TELEVISION PROGRAM OF ALL TIME? Well, in early 2010, Jerry Seinfeld got bored of sailing his yacht made of money to secret islands, where he frequently goes on safari with animals none of us even knew existed, so he decided he wanted to make another TV show. And not just any TV show: A cheesy, celebrity-panel-hosted game show! About the yuck-yuckable ups and downs of middle-class American marriages! OK, let’s ditch the sarcasm: The Marriage Ref is a terrible, patronizing, cheesy chum-bucket of a show. It may occasionally slosh up something silly thanks to its non-famous couples and their irrational, stupid arguments. But even then, the knowledge that this unfunny pile of ham-scented idiocy came from the mind of Jerry Seinfeld makes those few rare laughs the quiet, halfhearted, head-shaking and eye-rolling kind.
When it premiered a year ago, as far as so-trashy-its-addictive reality shows go, Jersey Shore couldn’t be beat. It had all the elements we hate that we love: Drinking! Sex! Fights! Terrible decisions made by terrible, but bizarrely likable, people! All sorts of crazy catchphrases and ridiculous acronyms to repeat with your friends! It captured the culture zeitgeist in a way MTV hadn’t been able to do in years, and that was the beginning of the end: The stars became famous, over-exposed and entitled. In rushing a season 2, the network left out its essential titular character, New Jersey, and invested in another whom no one wanted back: Angelina. The drama felt too contrived (because it almost certainly was) and the guidos too self-aware, trying so obviously hard to be the same old larger-than-life party animals and drama monsters, when they used to not have to try at all. Nothing gold can stay--but with MTV in charge, it fades away even faster than usual.
Worst Way to Revitalize the Economy: The Apprentice
It was either the most pitch-perfect or most tone-deaf move to make in the wake of America’s devastating recession: Use it as a framework for a competition reality show! We’re gonna go with tone-deaf, since the ratings for the last season of The Apprentice, in which The Donald gave a bunch of recession-affected workers another shot at success, were downright dismal. What, you didn’t want to watch real people who lost their jobs, homes and businesses bicker, be berated and get the ol’ boardroom-boot from one of the richest men in America? Yeah, we don’t blame you. If Trump really wants to help revitalize the workforce, he should spend less time pointing fingers and more time writing checks. Off camera, preferably.
Season 9 was wrong for a number of reasons. On stage, the decision to bring in Tim Urban as an alternate proved disastrous as the untalented bangs-enthusiast delivered awful performances and still made it to the top 7. However, there were equally bad casting choices at the judges’ table, with the addition of Ellen DeGeneres, a perfectly funny lady who’s lack of musical knowledge only served to reinforce the notion that this is not a singing competition anymore.
Worst Representation of Women/Humanity: Bridalplasty
It's only just started, but Bridalplasty is already the worst. They've marketed it as a "guilty pleasure," which means that right from the beginning they knew it was a bad idea. And indeed, we hate ourselves for watching it. Most of the women are as ugly on the inside as they think they are on the outside, and have decided to scheme as much as possible at the outset in order to check items off their "plastic surgery wish list." The plastic surgery scenes are graphic and almost as nauseating as the contestants' "need" for a "dream wedding." In episode 2, the brides chose to send home a contestant who wanted a boob job because she had cancerous lumps taken out of both breasts. They decided getting rid of the only one of them who deserved to feel beautiful again was the best strategy. Since they’re going to hell, at least they'll look FABULOUS and EXPENSIVE on the way out!
Worst Exploitation of a Sad Statistic: Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant
If you're ever feeling ho-hum about your own life, just tune into five minutes of MTV's Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant. We get that it's supposed to educate teens about the ills of getting knocked up in high school, but don't you think the idea of landing yourself on MTV at 16 and getting paid for it sounds pretty sweet to all these teens tuning in (and if you're super-lucky, you'll graduate to Teen Mom)? Listening to the drawled out voiceover at the beginning of the show alone is enough to make you want to sterilize any teen in your vicinity: "Ah'm Chastity Marie 'n' ahm a sophomore this year. I use'ta be a cheerleader and liked going to the mall, but now all that's diff'rent cuz ah'm 16 and pregant and gonna marry my boyfrien' as soon as he gits outta jail."