Sitting back and watching the TV is one of life’s simple pleasures. At least it is, until somebody spoils it by making a show so bad that it gnaws away at your mind and makes you want to throw something through the screen. With that in mind we bring you the worst TV shows ever made so if they’re ever repeated – you can run screaming from the living room clutching the remote control.
Straight Plan for the Gay Man
The program “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” was a smash and surprise hit. In it five gay men helped a straight man unleash his metro-sexuality; it was good humored ribbing and surprisingly well done. Then along came “Straight Plan for the Gay Man” which was designed to turn the concept on its head – 5 straight guys would bully a gay man into setting loose his inner alpha-male. It was a horrible mess of homophobic jokes and lasted for 3 episodes before they pulled the plug. 3 episodes too many in our view.
So you take one of America’s best-loved sports and try to launch a new league XFL to fill the gap in the NFL’s off season and what happens? Straight up disaster. Vince McMahon, the owner of the then WWF, lost $35 million recreating a “rules lite” version of NFL which was universally derided by the sporting press. X.F.L. was a confused mess of American football and wrestling and did neither well. Worse when it came to the TV show; they used a badly wired camera to deliver a terrible perspective and failed to ensure their microphones were shielded against background noise. An audience of 16 million dropped to 6 million a week later and just under 4 million a week after that. X.F.L. was then put of its misery at the end of the season.
Manimal is what happens when a TV executive’s ambition reaches far beyond the current state of technology. The premise, for an 80s TV show at least, wasn’t that ridiculous – it was a guy who could turn into any animal he wanted but unfortunately their special effects budget meant that all you could ever see change was his hand and he rarely changed into anything beyond 3 standard animals that they could reuse the effects for. The show also lacked a sense of humor and it goes down in history as one of the most loathed programs of all time.
Heil Honey, I’m Home
Proving that on the other side of the Atlantic they’re just as gaffe prone when it comes to making TV shows comes Heil Honey, I’m Home. It was a spoof show designed to mock American sitcoms of the 50s, 60s and 70s. The “joke” was that the husband was Adolf Hitler and the wife Eva Braun. Even funnier (not) – they lived next door to a Jewish couple. Even in pre-politically correct times this was too much for anyone’s sense of decency and the program was pulled after a single episode.
Steven Bochco has had his fair share of hits with Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser M.D., L.A. Law and NYPD Blue so what possessed him to make Cop Rock is anyone’s guess. The concept was a musical cop drama and boy did it suck. One of the (unintentionally) funniest scenes was a courtroom where the jury sing a song about the defendant’s guilt. Universally panned by critics and audiences – Cop Rock is regularly brought up when discussing the worst TV of all time.
Proving that a program can be successful and still suck like an Electrolux on full power; Hogan’s Heroes was without a doubt one of the most offensive TV shows of all time. Sure it ran for 7 years and yes, it picked up two Emmy awards but it poked fun at the Holocaust, Prisoner of War Camps and all of the horrors of World War II. Anything with a tagline that went; “If you liked World War II, you’ll love Hogan’s Heroes!” is serious trash.
The Swan personified all that’s wrong with shallow Western culture; in a way that even Jersey Shore has yet to manage. This “reality” TV show collected women that it considered to be ugly and then put them through a serious of “enhancements” including plastic surgery in order to demonstrate how much better life is when you’re beautiful. If you’re not appalled enough already; it actually lasted for two seasons before being cancelled. Josie Long suggested the show be renamed; “The bullies were right.”
M*A*S*H* is one of the most successful TV shows in history. It’s famous for having lasted longer than the war it was supposed to represent (The Korean War) and its final episode was, at the time, the most viewed episode of a comedy in history. Then it ended after 11 seasons and some bright spark decided to take its 3 least famous cast members and make a sequel. It actually made Time magazine’s rundown of the worst 100 ideas of the 20th century. That’s how bad it was.
The Jerry Springer Show
Possibly proving the concept that it’s possible to be “so bad it’s good” is The Jerry Springer Show. Boldly going where no-one should ever go – The Jerry Springer Show has brought racism, sexism, homophobia, and forms of hate previously unknown to man to American and international living rooms for years. Near universally loathed when anyone is asked about it; the show has been running for 25 years now – proving that people are fascinated by car crash TV they just don’t want to admit in public.
Who would have thought that it was possible to make a reality TV show so tasteless that nobody wanted to be on it or watch it? The folks at Fox proved it was possible when they launched Celebrity Boxing. The premise was simple – each week a bunch of former D-List celebs would batter the life out of each other in a boxing ring. Highlights included Tonya Harding smashing Paula Jones and Todd Bridges, doing what everyone has always wanted to do, punching the heck out of Vanilla Ice. Truly abysmal stuff.