At the end of the year, we all take a moment to celebrate that which has been greatest and most uplifting in human endeavor. Then we get bored of all that feel-good crap, and it’s time to bash things. Tuned Inlanders, hoist a tomato with me and toast the Worst TV Shows of 2010!
I focused here on shows that stood out for being particularly bad this calendar year–which means that I left a lot of perennial bad material out as redundant. (A good chunk of cable news, for instance, was lousy this year, was lousy last year and will contunue to be lousy next year: you can take it as a given. Jersey Shore: still Jersey Shore.)
The following are ten of my least favorite TV experiences of the past year. There are many, many more than 10 that you could add, and I invite you to do so in the comments. Now for the airing of grievances!
Surely it had to be an elaborate joke. The premise–brides-to-be battle it out for a shot at plastic surgery for their “perfect” wedding day–sounded like something someone would invent as a satire of reality TV. Instead, Bridalplasty was exactly as bad as it sounded like it would be. Credit it, at least, for truth in advertising.
Let’s be clear: I couldn’t care less about “the decision,” lowercase–LeBron James’ call to move from Cleveland to Miami was his prerogative. But turning Cleveland’s inevitable mass heartbreak into a titillating (yet tedious) entertainment, charity donations or no, was classless not just on his part but ESPN’s.
The Deep End
The only thing deep about this short-lived ABC legal drama was the waist-high pile of pretty-oversexed-lawyer cliches it forced viewers to wade through. Tina Majorino, you deserved better.
Someone decided that what erstwhile Lost fans wanted was a show with all the frustrating enigmas but none of the wit, inventiveness or memorable characters. The result: a stilted, self-serious sci-fi mystery that was puzzling without actually being interesting.
Thanks to this Starz comedy, we now know that attempted suicide is just as hilarious as you’d always suspected it was.
To be fair, The CW’s college-competitive-cheerleading drama was not as absolutely awful as other shows on this list. But it deserves recognition for taking a potentially awesome premise–Glee in college, but about the Cheerios!—and making it boring, which for a show like this is even worse than bad.
The Marriage Ref
Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy marriage advice show would be amateurishly charming, if it were charming. Between the cornball humor and the smug setup of celebrities making fun of ordinary people with marital arguments, the funniest thing about this show was that the bar was low enough at NBC to order it for a second season.
The idea–naive American middle manager is shipped to India to manage a call center–had all the makings of a, ingenious, timely sitcom about culture clashes and the new global economy. Outsourced, which decided to go the funny-accents and food-poisoning-jokes route instead, was not that comedy.
$#*! My Dad Says
A wry, crude, hilarious Twitter feed met a formulaic, crude, stale cranky-old-man sitcom in this William Shatner vehicle. The formulaic, crude, stale cranky-old-man sitcom won.
Skating With the Stars
Boredom on ice.
A note: No, I have not watched every single episode of every TV show I find to be terrible. Because life is short, and that would make me weep with regret on my deathbed. If you want to argue that, say, $#*! My Dad Says really found its creative voice in its later episodes, you go right ahead.
And for my top 10 TV shows of 2010, see here.