February 23, 2006

Sleep Deprivation, And Bad TV

Sleep, she is an elusive mistress. Screaming baby? Not so elusive. Quite easy to find in the dark. The past two nights have not been good. And yet, I don't have any right to complain since Beth has gotten the worst of it, what with me having to get up early and work, bringing home the proverbial bacon (not the literal bacon though - we're vegetarians). There also seems to be a bizarre phenomenon at play, what I'm calling the Rude Cactus Law of Sleep Deprivation. It goes something like this - total amounts and quality of sleep are inversely proportionate to the importance of the following day. Therefore, if you're like me and have meetings all day - 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 to be precise (and no, I'm not making that up or exaggerating for the internetwebosphere) you'll get absolutely no sleep whatsoever.

[Insert your own witty segue here]

I underestimated you all yesterday. I was convinced that my What's Happening reference would fly over your heads, not because you're not all bright, cultured people but because, well, it was a pretty dumb show (that I'll admit I loved) from the 70's and not all of you were alive then. But I was wrong. Whilst reading your comments, I started thinking about bad TV. So, here's my question for you today - what's the worst television show that ever aired? Admittedly, this can be broken down in to two categories:

1. The Guilty Pleasure This is a show that's bad, but bad in a really good way, a show that really sucked but was totally watchable and entertaining as hell.

2. My Eyes! My Eyes!. No redeeming value whatsoever. Shows in which the suckage wasn't remotely entertaining even in a trainwreck kinda way. Shows for which the producers should thank their lucky (although admittedly c-list) stars that they didn't produce them behind the Iron Curtain lest they be hauled into a backlot and shot.

So, what do you think?

Posted by Chris at February 23, 2006 7:47 AM

Small Wonder has to be on the list. Robot girl lives in a cabinet? Freaky. Though I did see her as the grand marshal of a parade in California back in 1985...

Posted by: Nicole at February 23, 2006 7:59 AM

Fish - ya know I got rhymes like Abe Vigoda

Mr. T and Tina

The Ropers

Not one of them a guilty pleasure - all involved parties should have been placed in witness protection

Posted by: Mr. Big Dubya at February 23, 2006 8:16 AM

I gotta vote for Knots Landing. I was a lurker with that one!!!

Posted by: Dawn at February 23, 2006 8:34 AM

For my vote for "My eyes!" I'd have to go the children's show route and say the Doodlebops on the Disney Channel. I've seriously considered canceling our cable so there is no chance my daughter will ever turn it on again.

Guilty Pleasure? Um, I'd have to go with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was a total Buffy addict.

Posted by: fauve at February 23, 2006 8:37 AM

This is more of a "you wish it was entertaining and bad but really it was just unwatchably bad" show, but the ALF talkshow from last year.


Posted by: Sarah at February 23, 2006 8:41 AM

I've got some good ones.

#1. Joe Millionaire. That Evan guy was a tool. The show sucked (pun intended) and I just couldn't change the channel. If it was on...the channel surfing stopped and I tuned in. What was I thinking? The Bachelor girls were much hotter...but I wanted to watch this moron in action.

#2. I'd like to see someone top this one. "The Greatest American Hero" circa 1981. How this show lasted 3+ seasons is beyond me? I thought it was just plain dumb, and I was 6. At that age you love anything on TV that moves. This guy could fly. DUMB. Back to Dukes of Hazzard.

Here was a summary of the show straight from IMDb:
"A pair of strangers, liberal high-school teacher Ralph Hinkley and right-wing FBI agent Bill Maxwell, have a close encounter in the Southern California desert one night with "little green men", who give our heroes a red superhero suit. The suit works only for Ralph, and the two, accompanied by Ralph's cute lawyer girlfriend Pam, reluctantly team up to battle criminals. Problems ensue when Ralph loses the suit's instruction book, so he had to master the suit's powers on his own."

Even the theme song was terrible. It was one of those that would get stuck in your head for DAYS! I can recall it now...great..."Believe it or not I'm walkin' on air..."
Join me in head replay for the day here:

I think this was a common theme for almost any 80s show. To have a catch get stuck in your head theme song. I think it was some sort of 80s subliminal messaging. (Someone needs to check into this.) Family Ties, Growing Pains, Facts of Life, and the list goes on...Miami Vice (at least it was kinda cool and had no words so you didn't have replay going in your head all day.)

Looking further into this show...it was nominated for 4 Emmys and a Writer's Guild Award. Geesh!

I could have written this show. At age 7!

Posted by: Jay Wilkins at February 23, 2006 8:59 AM

To be fair, I am unashamed of my questionable taste in movies, and I usually find television very irritating. My favorite guilty pleasure television is "Reno 911" on Comedy Central - I gave up cable and pine for the next season to come out on DVD. I think the cast of Reno presents some of the best (and most entertaining) acting since David Suchet was Hercule Poirot in the "Mystery!" series on PBS.

Posted by: Betti at February 23, 2006 9:01 AM

I have many guilty pleasures, but one of the worst was the MASH spinoff they did. God.

Posted by: jen at February 23, 2006 9:11 AM

Oh, and that was not a guilty pleasure. It was my eyes, my eyes!

Posted by: jen at February 23, 2006 9:12 AM

Guilty Pleasure--"My Name is Earl"

My eyes, my eyes--"Joanie Loves Chachi"

Posted by: Krush at February 23, 2006 9:20 AM

My best AND worst from back in the day was "The A-Team". I loved it when it was on in the 80's, but if you watch a rerun the episodes don't even make sense.

I think the worst thing we watched recently on tv was "Blow Out" the Bravo reality show about Jonathan Antin's new hair salon. I am so ashamed.

Posted by: Sarah at February 23, 2006 9:20 AM

Guilty Pleasure show would have to be Saved by the Bell. Come on. You know you watch it when you find it.

Worst show ever aired would have to be any of those love/marriage themed reality shows. Joe Millionaire, The Bachelor/ette, Who Wants to Marry my next door neighbor's crippled ferret?, etc.....

Posted by: donna at February 23, 2006 9:20 AM

wow, can not believe I am about to confess this, I totally loved Man from Atlantis, Alf and The Greatest American Hero TV shows and I have even scanned TV Land to see if they might be shown in reruns. They are silly, but very watchable.

The worst is Temptation Island. Bad and wrong at the same time, glad it got cancelled.

Posted by: linda at February 23, 2006 9:29 AM

The current worst show on TV (in my opinion, of course) is The War at Home. I can't believe Fox airs that crap. I felt that way too about Married with Children, but whatever. Most reality shows are guilty pleasures, especially those like America's Next Top Model which I can't seem to tear my eyes away from, or the Sureal Life.

Posted by: Jessie at February 23, 2006 9:55 AM

Guilty Pleasures: A-Team and Three's Company, Celebrity Fit Club

My Eyes!: Wife Swap

Posted by: Melissa at February 23, 2006 9:56 AM

My guilty pleasure is Survivor. I have watched it religiously since season 1. And even worse, I bought the All-Star season on DVD.

The worst show is a tie between Jerry Springer and that show where Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone's vault and there was nothing in it. That was just cringe worthy.

Posted by: Pinky at February 23, 2006 10:09 AM

Remember Fantasy Island?

Posted by: Queen of Ass at February 23, 2006 10:10 AM

guilty pleasure: Dance 360, amature breakdancing competition. This pleasure was so guilty that I watched it on the sly and hid it from my wife for weeks. I will also watch anything on the food network involving the words barbeque or cook-off.

my eyes: divorce court or the View.

Posted by: gabe at February 23, 2006 10:22 AM

Guilty Pleasure: "Misfits of Science" You don't hear Courtney Cox reminiscing about that in interviews. Also, "Max Headroom"

My Eyes, My Eyes!: "Crossing Over with John Edward"

Posted by: CroutonBoy at February 23, 2006 10:38 AM

Guilty Pleasure: America's Funniest Home Videos. Horrible when Bob Saget was the host but better now with that other guy. I dont get to watch it that often, but the videos make me laugh so hard.

My eyes: Its not a show, but the infomertial for Girls Gone Wild. Comedy Central runs it all the time and its an instant channel change.

Posted by: Nik at February 23, 2006 10:40 AM

I think I'm going to take the fifth on this one because I have weird TV tastes. I watch the History Channel & SciFi only, with the exception of Desperate Housewives, which may fall under category #1 for shallow entertainment value. :)

Posted by: Kestrel at February 23, 2006 10:40 AM

The Flavor of Love on VH1. My eyes, my eyes, oh it BUUURNS!! Although it IS a trainwreck...

Guilty Pleasure. Dog the Bounty Hunter. Theres a moral there. Don't skip out on your bail with a big scary man and his equally scary bounty hunting family. They will find you.

Posted by: Amy at February 23, 2006 10:45 AM

i don't watch TV much (except Sesame Street, but hey, that's a classic) so my knowledge of shows to choose from is limited, but mine are...

Guilty Pleasure: Real World. A bunch of hot morons trying to live together and work. 'Nuff said.

My Eyes! My Eyes!: 24. Can't stand it. Don't know why. (Maybe the incessant beeping??)

Posted by: brianna at February 23, 2006 10:52 AM

Guilty Pleasure - CHiPs - DUH!! Can you say tight pants? Blindingly brilliant smile?? Inane pickup lines?? Made me sad that I didn't even have a drivers license yet, much less live anywhere NEAR the CHi!!!

My eyes! My eyes! - That nanny show!! I mean COME ON!! How can those people actually be allowed to continue being PARENTS!!!!!

My eyes My eyes Honorable mention: Ripley's Believe it or Not! - AKA A full hour of 'You're an IDIOT!!!'

Posted by: Deepblue at February 23, 2006 10:54 AM

Everybody's taking all the good (bad!) ones! Wahhh!

Ok, guilty pleasure: The Love Boat. I can (and will) sing the theme song to this day. The lecherous but kind hearted doctor, the befuddled father of a captain, Gopher, the future politician and all around screw-up. Sigh. I love that show. (note: there is no sarcasm or irony in the previous paragraph)

My eye! My Eyes! : Ooh, that's a good one, because there are so many. Ooh! I got it! Starman. With Robert Hayes. Based on the movie with Jeff Bridges, which was equally bad.

Posted by: Contary at February 23, 2006 11:03 AM

Oh oh oh!! Guilty Pleasure #2 (How could I have forgotten THIS??) Fear Factor... But not just ANY fear factor (oh no no) the MISS USA edition!! What can beat beauty queens eating slimy stuff in the spirit of 'You B*t***s are going DOWN!!'??? Am I right? Am I??

Posted by: Deepblue at February 23, 2006 11:22 AM

Transformers, The Ewoks, Droids and the Voltron cartoons were all horrible monstrosities of television.

My dad still has all the Buck Rodgers on Beta. Scary, isn't it?

My Eyes and Guilty Pleasure all wrapped up into one: Pee Wee's Playhouse. Mmmmm....

Posted by: shannon at February 23, 2006 11:23 AM

Guilty Pleasure: Pee-Wee's Playhouse. You simply can't top Cowboy Curtis for ironic viewing pleasure.

My eyes! My Eyes1: Manimal. An shambling abdomination of 80s television. Everytime I think about I go into convulsions. You simply can't get much worse than this.

Posted by: Phat Daddy at February 23, 2006 11:42 AM

Every. Fucking. Reality. TV. Show. GAH!

But the worst? Temptation Island, Wife Swap, Date My Mom, Who Wants to Marry My Dad and Who's Your Daddy.

And THAT is why I've almost given up on network TV.

Posted by: Pammer at February 23, 2006 11:43 AM

1. One Tree Hill

2. 7th Heaven

Posted by: Polichick at February 23, 2006 11:51 AM

Silver Spoons- Made me want to hurl
Punky Brewster- Someone should have been fired

The list could go on and on but why torment myself dredging up these old memories that are best forgotten.

Posted by: Jeff A at February 23, 2006 12:07 PM

Guilty Pleasure: Melrose Place
My eyes! My eyes!: Charles in Charge

eh? do you agree? ;)

Posted by: Sarcomical at February 23, 2006 12:11 PM

Guilty pleasure: The Facts of Life. It's part of the free On-Demand (I first typed On-Damned- what a slip!) on my cable and I've been watching a whole lot of it.

My, Eyes!: Full House. I don't know why, but I find myself stopping and watching it instead of flipping past it when I'm channel surfing.

Posted by: MamaKaren at February 23, 2006 12:15 PM

Guilty pleasure... Years ago I loved Saved by the Bell (back when I was a teen)NOw... Wife Swap

Stinky tv. Alot of what is on now. I dispise Jerry Springer.

Posted by: Lisa B at February 23, 2006 12:33 PM

GUILTY PLEASURE: Santa Barbara, the now-defunct soap. There will never, ever be another Keith & Gina.

MY EYES!: Oobi. ::shudder::

Posted by: Stacy at February 23, 2006 12:37 PM

Reading others' comments got me thinking...

Guilty Pleasure: The first season or so of Temptation Island--that was some good $hit!! Before the days of Tivo, we even videotaped it!!

My Eyes! My Eyes!: Really. The Flavor of Love. My husband watches this and I swear I lose braincells every time I hear Flava Flav say, "You Know What Time it Is!"

Posted by: Liz at February 23, 2006 1:05 PM

Really? are you a vegetarian?

Posted by: Ava at February 23, 2006 1:10 PM

Guilty Pleasure: The Amazing Race. And I feel so bad about watching it, as I am the first one to say I can't stand reality TV. Another one I loved even though it was so bad was Mutant X. I don't think they play it anymore.

My Eyes! My Eyes!: Survivor - I can't stand to watch people starve themselves on purpose. A million dollars is not worth that. Also Desperate Housewives, I just don't get it.

Posted by: Melissa at February 23, 2006 1:29 PM

1) Current programming? The Biggest Loser. 80's vintage guilty pleasures that I'd probably still watch if I had access to TVLand? Too many to list.

2) Wife Swap, definitely. I'd never seen it, but I was flipping through channels last week and caught the last few minutes of one, with a biiiig crazy lady raving about stars and tarot cards and how we're all going to hell (except her, 'cause she's a warrior).

Posted by: Kate at February 23, 2006 1:30 PM

I have cut down drastically on my TV viewing. All reality shows are now out the door except for The Amazing Race because the wife likes that one.

The absolute worst show ever on television is American Idol. Bar none. C'mon people! It's just Star Search with a narrower focus and without Ed McMahon (which is a good thing I suppose).

In terms of an older show that was bad, several years back, my wife and I were at Universal Studios in Hollywood and they wanted people to be part of the 'live studio audience' for a taping of a show called "It's like ... you know". I think this show lasted parts of two seasons. It starred Jennifer Grey (after her nose job) and I remember it also had that bald guy who has since shown up on The West Wing and Sex and the City among other shows. It was about two New York guys who end up in California and are trying to adjust to life in LA. It was horrible. So horrible in fact that the entire busload of people pleaded with the bus driver to get us out of there after about 3 hours of this drivel. And to top it all off? They cancelled it soon afterwards so this episode never even aired. But I learned a very important lesson that day - never ever be part of a "live studio audience' ever again, no matter what the show.

Posted by: Mike at February 23, 2006 1:43 PM

1) one tree hill. dawson's creek. gilmore girls. (pretty much all the crap on the wb...can't...turn...away...)

2) gonna go with the ashlee simpson show. sheesh. talk about bad tv. spin-offs in general, too. and ferris bueller the tv show??? yikes!

Posted by: ali at February 23, 2006 1:52 PM

Did anyone mention the Dukes of Hazzard? I so had a crush on those Duke brothers...every now and then I catch it when I'm flipping channels and watch for a few minutes....

Posted by: MelissaSunshine at February 23, 2006 1:55 PM

Guilty Pleasure: Dawson's Creek (or anything else on the WB)

My Eyes My Eyes - Why is Jerry Springer still on the air? And how many times do we have to see a midget jump INTO a wedding cake?

Posted by: laura at February 23, 2006 2:07 PM

Ok, this is one of the first times I've really read through all the comments, and I'm on the floor laughing here.

Totally agree with the dude who cited Joe Millionare. Why I watched, I know not. (Actually I do--it was right after Boston Public and I was at first lazy, then oddly addicted.) I mean come on, the guy worked construction and compared his work with the dirt to Michelangelo. I'm not kidding here.

Also: 90210! Like every 20-something, I watched that show and thought it was, like, brilliant (until Brandon left, then I pretty much lost interest). But to watch reruns? PAINFUL. It's like watching a dramatic glacier eke slowly across the ocean. And the clothes, oh, the clothes. High-waisted pants. Floofy hair. Flowered dresses.

Though when they finally release the seasons on DVD? They. will. kill. The amount of money that crappy show will gross will be truly disturbing.

All that, and yet I know it shows in reruns at 5. :D

Posted by: susannah at February 23, 2006 2:22 PM

I am loving reading the comments. I can't believe that Dance 360 was mentioned. My husband and I found that show (it was on at like 2 am) and began to TiVo it. We LOVED it. But I don't think it's on anymore.

Oh my gosh...I'm going to be reading these comments all day long.

(and I had a creepy dream about you last night. I was walking out of my house and realized you lived across the street from me. I saw you leaving your house in the morning for work and was scared you would see me. I was afraid you would think I was some crazy internet stalker, but really I was just your neighbor. Don't worry-I live in Seattle. So we aren't really neighbors!)

Posted by: Isabel at February 23, 2006 2:26 PM

Worst - there are so many. Nancy Grace? O'Reilly? 700 Club?

Guilty pleasures - Battlestar Galactica - I won't admit to my husband I'm beginning to like it.

Posted by: ann adams at February 23, 2006 2:40 PM

guilty pleasure? macgyver. a lot of people seem to think it was only watchable when it first aired or when you were a young child, but having watched the first two season with my brother this past summer, i have to disagree. and a small part of me still wants to marry angus macgyver. also, martha stewart anything. such a damned guilty pleasure.

stab my eyes out? fear factor. reality tv in general doesn't bother me. i mean, there's rarely anything redeeming in it, but at least if you flick on survivor or the amazing race you might catch some awesome scenery or something. but eating bugs for money? what the shit is that?

Posted by: meg at February 23, 2006 3:55 PM

Seriously, you think you're sleep deprived now? hehehe... I honestly can't think straight... when my mind settles, I'll have to write this all down, but for now... i feel like I'm in a dream world. Guilty Pleasure? I own the first five seasons of Friends on DVD... and I'm working on getting the last 5... *sigh* Good show, but still... feel guilty for having all those seasons...
Worst? Anything on Fox News

Posted by: Corinne at February 23, 2006 6:20 PM

How about H.R. Pufnstuf. Man I loved that show. For the life of me I don't remember why.

Posted by: Lori at February 23, 2006 10:27 PM