In a golden age of television, you still can't polish a turd. Here are our picks for five of the year's biggest.
1. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
It seems kind of strange to say reality TV had an off year – it's like saying "pro wrestling might be running out of ideas" or "I'm concerned about the Kansas City Royals next season." But facts are facts. Even if you get a kick out of reality trash, you couldn't help but notice that last year's shows got stale while the new ones were micro-scripted and dreary. This suckumentary on the exploitorama life of a kiddie pageant queen was the worst of the worst, and I say that as somebody who gave an hour of his existence to Life's a Tripp With Bristol Palin.
2. Local on the 8s
Jeez, Weather Channel, would it kill you to give us the weather? Why do you have to mess with a classic franchise like Local on the 8s? You can't even find it in New York anymore – they've turned Local on the 8s into a Good Morning America-style national weather roundup. Given its centrality to stoner culture, this is tantamount to the paraquat sprayings of the Seventies. No more smooth jazz? No more soothing green radar splotches? Weather Channel, you are creating storm warnings all up in my area over a three-hour period!
3. Glee's anti-Britney episode
When you dis Brit, you dis yourself, fools. Glee's first Britney episode, a couple of years ago, summed up the underdog warmth and friendliness that once made this show special. They treated the girl and her music with affection – they even gave her the best line. ("Pizza with ranch dressing!") But doing an anti-Britney takedown in 2012 just seemed sour in the most pointless way, especially when it was on Fox right after The X Factor. It was a sad illustration of how fast Glee got smug with success.
4. Liz and Dick
The Snakes on a Plane of Lifetime movies – by the time it arrived, everybody was already sick of hating it.
5. Animal Practice
The new fall network sitcoms were so across-the-board terrible, it's hard to know where to start. Well, actually, it's not so hard. The one about the sex-starved veterinarian whose sidekick is a zany monkey. Yeah. That one. That was the worst. But it didn't get much better past that point. Coming in January: the one where Dane Cook plays a conservative talk-show host.