Sometimes a show is so bad
that it just won’t go away. The Jerry Springer Show, for example,
has been on for 17 seasons — truly a source of pride for American television.
But some shows are subject to mercy killing much more quickly, like
Viva Laughlin, canceled after two episodes. Many TV watchers, including
AfterEllen.com’s own Sarah Warn, called Viva Laughlin the worst show in the history of television. Was it? Chicago Tribune responded
with its list of the "Top 25 Worst TV
But, of course, I beg to differ. Take Petticoat Junction, for
Granted, the only thing I actually
remember from the show is the cutest little dog ever (the original
Benji) running beside the Cannonball Express as it rolled down the
tracks to the junction. But I can sing the theme song by heart, so it’s definitely part
of my psyche. And, face it, how can a show centered on a single mom
and her three gorgeous daughters possibly be one of TV’s worst shows?
The Tribune also lists
Mama’s Family. Now, first of all, this show was based on characters
developed on The Carol Burnett Show. Anything with the slightest
relationship to Carol Burnett is automatically disqualified from
"worst" anything. Take a look at this outtake clip from a
sketch with Mama and Eunice.
"Riding the cotton pony?"
You won’t hear that in a Tampax commercial. Mama’s Family wasn’t
the best thing on television. But it certainly wasn’t the worst.
I’m with the Trib on
Manimal. Simon MacCorkindale, best known for his U.K. series,
Casualty, played a professor who could turn into any animal he wanted
and used his ability to help the NYPD fight crime. Yes, really. It was
every bit as bad as it sounds.
Even though Barney and Friends
has been a good source of work for many of my friends, the show surely
earned its place among the worst on the basis of its music alone. "I
Love You" haunts me to this day. Now that I’ve mentioned it, it
will haunt you, too.
What’s missing from the list?
Some really bad sequels. AfterMASH
comes to mind. M*A*S*H ended brilliantly — and should have rested
in peace. And remember The Brady Bunch Variety Hour? I hope not.
One of the strangest bad shows
I remember was Woops, from the early days of Fox. Two boys accidentally
set off a nuclear missile that hits Russia, triggering the destruction
of the world. A laugh riot, right? This show was so bad that even the
presence of a hobo couldn’t redeem it. The one funny thing I remember
is that one of the main characters survived because he was in a Volvo.
Not until I looked up the show on IMDb did I realize one of my favorite character
actresses, Megan Fay, was in Woops. I forgive you, Megan.
All time worst show? I give
that dubious honor to She’s the Sheriff — bad theme song, dumb
premise and weak acting. Suzanne Somers is funnier talking about
bioidentical hormones than she ever was in this role. In this screen
cap, Jim the mechanic is saying, "That car ain’t no lemon, it’s
a whole fruit basket." Comedy gold.
What do you think of the
Tribune‘s list? What shouldn’t be on the list and
what did they miss? And what, in your opinion, is the worst show in
the history of television?