As the holiday season approaches, we naturally want to celebrate all the great TV shows we've enjoyed this year. But we also can't let the year end without calling the networks to task for some truly awful programming. It's a dirty job, but we're rolling up our sleeves and digging up the ten very worst shows to trudge their way across our flat-screens this year.
First, some dishonorable mentions: "Man Up!" (beware of any show that tries to distract you with unnecessary punctuation); "Famous Food" (we don't want Heidi Montag touching our food, thank you very much); "Last Man Standing" (if they just re-ran old "Home Improvement" episodes instead, do you think anyone would notice?); "The World According to Paris" (we want to thank the American public for rejecting this show and hopefully making Paris Hilton go away forever).
(10) "The Office"
This one hurts: NBC's workplace sitcom used to be one of the best and brightest comedies on TV. But it was already on a steady decline before Steve Carell left, and now it's completely fallen off a cliff. The once-cute Jim and Pam are now the most annoying couple on TV, James Spader is an awkward fit as the oddball CEO who inexplicably spends all his time at the Scranton branch, and making Andy the boss was a spineless excuse to recycle all the Michael Scott plots they didn't get around to using. We can't believe we're saying this, but it's time for a little downsizing at Dunder Mifflin.
(9) "Pregnant in Heels"
This Bravo reality series stars Rosie Pope, a "maternity concierge" with a weird British lisp who helps richy-rich New Yorkers prepare to have a baby. (Yes, that's apparently a job now.) Her upper-crust clientele brings new meaning to the word "insufferable"; we'll never forget the time Rosie gathered a bunch of branding experts (including a poet!) to help name a client's baby. If these people represent the 1%, count us in with Occupy Wall Street.
(8) "How to Be a Gentleman"
More like "How Did This Show Get on the Air?" Pairing a stale premise (stuffy etiquette expert gets masculinity lessons from his old high-school bully) with a limp leading man ("It's Always Sunny" supporting weirdo David Hornsby) led to one of the fall's most forgettable new shows. Wasting a talented supporting cast (Dave Foley, you deserve better) and a cushy post-"Big Bang Theory" timeslot, "Gentleman" fully earned the rather rude reception it received from viewers.
(7) "The Bachelorette"
No, we're not naïve enough to expect that all "Bachelor" relationships will continue happily ever after… but we do expect to at least be entertained while we're watching. Becoming more and more contrived each season, ABC's reality franchise hit a low point with the most recent "Bachelorette," starring Ashley Hebert, a woman so irritating that several of her suitors bailed on the show rather than risk getting stuck with her. The show tried to keep our interest by manufacturing phony contestants like masked man Jeff and the cartoonishly cruel Bentley, but we still tuned out long before the final rose.
Once upon a time, Whitney Cummings was a promising comedienne with an appealingly bawdy persona. Then that persona got smoothed out and glammed up to fit this utterly generic NBC sitcom, which stars her and Chris D'Elia as lovers who (wait for it…) aren't ready to get married! (Oooh, subversive!) Now Whitney delivers weak one-liners, parades around in embarrassingly skimpy costumes, and drags down an otherwise promising Thursday night comedy block. And God, that laugh track: We'll be hearing it in our nightmares for years to come.
(5) "Terra Nova"
We're convinced that the producers of this show just had to say "Steven Spielberg" and "dinosaurs," and Fox immediately said, "Sold! We'll figure out the rest later!" (Hey, we got fooled, too; we actually included the show in our Fall TV Editors' Picks.) Well, they never did figure out the rest: "Nova" is a joyless combination of lazy sci-fi plotting ("Oh, this timeline doesn't affect any other timelines… because we said so!"), laughable casting (does anyone seriously buy that the Zac Efron lookalike came out of his TV mom's womb?), and straight-to-DVD-quality special effects. We'd compare it to a Syfy original movie, but at least those are so bad they're good. This is just plain bad.
(4) "Charlie's Angels"
A glossy name-brand action series with beautiful women kicking butt in exotic locales: When a show like this can't find an audience, you know it must be pretty awful. Instead of embracing the cheesy camp that made the '70s original so beloved, this version of "Angels" made the mistake of going the dead-serious route, asking us to take Minka Kelly playing a bad-ass street racer (!) at face value. Needless to say, we couldn't, and these "Angels" thankfully went to TV heaven in a hurry.
(3) "The X Factor"
Congratulations, Simon: Your new show makes "American Idol" look like a humble small-town talent show. From its magical-X-hurtling-through-outer-space opening to the bombastic opera music that introduces the contestants, "Factor" is ridiculously overblown to the power of ten. Unfortunately for you, Simon, all that grandiosity is masking the fact that you haven't found a single compelling talent this season that even comes close to meriting a $5 million recording contract. "Factor" is all sizzle, no steak. Oh, and you made a 13-year-old girl collapse in tears on national TV. Bravo!
(2) "Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event"
It's time to collect some payback for the four hours of our lives we'll never get back. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries' marriage famously lasted a mere 72 days, but E!'s painfully indulgent wedding special seemed to last at least twice that long. Puffed up with overwrought drama (Kim doesn't want to change her last name! Kim disinvites Khloe!) and egregious product placement, "Fairytale Wedding" was reality TV at its absolute worst. The Brits got the royal wedding of William and Kate; what did we do to deserve this?
HBO's bro-tastic Hollywood comedy ran out of creative gas years ago, but it hung on just long enough to give us the gift of a truly terrible series finale. All the clichés came out in full force: Vince got married to a girl he just met (who couldn't stand him an episode earlier), E found out Sloan was pregnant with his baby, and Ari gave up the career he ruthlessly built up brick by brick over the entire series to (gag) spend time with his wife and kids. We'd like to think the finale was actually an elaborate satire of TV series finales, but that'd be giving the writers too much credit. Please, no "Entourage" movie; we've all suffered enough.
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