Too much quality TV got you down? All that art and introspection making you pine for the long-gone age of junk? Here’s a companion to our list of the 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time – a few of our picks for the worst. Remember: For every bad show that claws its way to the airwaves, there are hundreds of even worse ones that never made it that far. Respect!
Congratulations, Robertson family – you are officially the worst anything ever! A dipshit sitcom passed off as a reality show, with a bunch of bearded phonies stumbling over their scripted banter – like The Beverly Hillbillies with less believable facial hair. The Robertsons talked about Jesus a lot, but Jesus probably prefers Real Housewives like the rest of us.
Jeffrey Tambor is on the Top 100 list with three different classics – Arrested Development, Transparent and The Larry Sanders Show. Too bad nobody voted for The Ropers or dude could have hit for the cycle. Alas, not even us hardcore Three’s Company fans voted for this tragic spin-off – the god Norman Fell, so great as the grumpy landlord, looked miserable without any sex-crazed tenants to yell at.
A critically acclaimed cult favorite, set in an unbearably heartwarming Alaska village. Gosh, do these folks learn some lessons! An even preachier M*A*S*H rip, except full of heavy moose symbolism. For the final seasons, the guy in charge was none other than David Chase, who went on to create The Sopranos. Fact: TV is weird.
There’s good-bad TV and terrible-bad TV, but this is truly genius terrible TV – you have to see it to believe it. A musical drama where Hugh Jackman plays a beefcake casino owner dancing on the pool tables while he sings “Sympathy for the Devil.” Axed after two episodes, though unfortunately not before the scene where Melanie Griffith dons lingerie to sing “One Way or Another.”
The worst of all the nightmarishly bad shows set in the White House. (What, you don’t remember Geena Davis in Commander In Chief? Or the one where Katherine Heigl plays a rogue CIA agent?) This NBC sitcom had President Bill Pullman, four bratty kids, and First Lady Jenna Elfman, who offered quips like, “Don’t scoff – it’s not called the Oval Scoffice!”
America’s first family hit rough times after The Osbournes – this Fox variety/comedy show lasted exactly one episode, which had Ozzy doing a sexy Flashdance routine and Kelly working a drive-thru window. The climax: a surprise onstage wedding for two members of the studio audience, as Ozzy sprays the happy couple with a fire extinguisher.
The Hard Times of RJ Berger
Oh, MTV – always at it with the wacky teen-sex sitcoms! Everything about Hard Times was cheap and dated, even the racism – every time the Asian character appeared, a gong sounded. Somehow America did not go for lines like “There’s a vampire buffet in my panties.” MTV learned its lesson and went back to playing music. (Psych! Nope, just more Teen Mom.)
The Ghost Whisperer
Light a candle, please, for whatever beautiful mind came up with the pitch, “Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a psychic.” Fortunately, America’s sweetheart rebounded for the far superior Lifetime series The Client List, as a high-end handjob artist.
For the Love of Ray J
“You know I love the ladies!,” Ray J purred to the camera. Brandy’s little brother made Kim Kardashian famous, providing crucial bodily fluids for her career-making sex tape, but he had even greater humiliations in this Bachelor-style dating show. Classic moment: When he finds out a contestant named Luscious dated his friend, Ray J screams, “She smashed the homie!”
Joanie Loves Chachi
It’s tough picking the grodiest show of the 1980s – talk about low-hanging fruit – but this barely beats My Two Dads and Mama’s Family. The punch line: Some 33 years after this killed his career, Scott Baio was the biggest celebrity Trump could lure to the Republican National Convention.
Unfortunately, CBS changed the original title Yes, Another Fucking Show About Serial Killers! Pretentious as hell, with Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q. Victims: female, obviously, with the first torture murder before the opening credits.
The Pickup Artist
A douchebag in a giant fuzzy hat who asks women to call him “Mystery”? Now that’s seductive! Who better qualified to give pick-up lessons to a bunch of morose boys who really could use more useful tips like “how to cut your own food” or “how to tell mom you’re moving out of the basement.” A sad relic of the pre-Tinder era. As Denise Richards used to say, it’s complicated.