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Bad Episodes of Good Shows Volume 2

Updated on September 11, 2015

Many moons ago, I wrote an article on episodes I hated from shows I like. There were requests to do more since different people like different shows. Not to mention, new bad episodes were made after the original article was written. Though for reference of what made the original cut, here's the original article:

Beavis and Butt-head “Blood Drive” – Almost any of the truly early episodes of Beavis and Butt-head would have been ripe candidates for this list. Early episodes of Beavis and Butt-head were everything the show’s harshest critics have accused it of being – crudely animated and mean-spirited. Seriously there is a scene in this episode where the dimwitted duo are supposed to be walking down the sidewalk, but the close-up makes it look as if they are gliding. I singled this out just because it is a unique example of how the first episode can also be a show’s worst. I also don’t feel guilt about denigrating this episode. Mike Judge himself has acknowledged the low quality of earlier episodes – hence why so few of them are on the “Best of” DVDs. In a day and age where viewers are becoming less patient, it stands as a testament to a time when a show could grow from this rough sketch to its later brilliance.

He's a lumberjack, and he's not okay
He's a lumberjack, and he's not okay | Source

Dexter “Remember the Monsters?” And in stark contrast, we have a show where the LAST episode is its worst! This episode has become such a butt-monkey for its terribleness, but it lives up to that reputation. On paper, the episode may not have been bad – serial killer Dexter is trying to escape with his family in the midst of a hurricane, a bunch of pandemonium gets in the way. After Debra has been shot, Dexter tries to rescue her. Somehow sneaking into a hospital, Dexter steals Debra as she’s dying and sacrifices him and her to the hurricane, hoping to redeem himself for everyone who has died because of him. Whether it was 100% realistic or not, Dexter was at least grounded in the real world so this all-too ostentatious scene would have been bad enough. However, the final scene taints it further. Despite being swept away by a hurricane, Dexter not only survived, but made it to Alaska where he became a lumberjack – leaping from tree to tree as… Oh, a Monty Python reference would have actually IMPROVED this farce! Forget the implausibility, someone really wanted to have their cake and eat it too with this ending! Was Dexter supposed to sacrifice himself for redemption or was he still supposed to remain a psycho on the loose?

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air “Someday, Your Prince Will be in Effect” In a day and age of rising production values, quality over quantity and easy access of older episodes, clip shows seem to be going the way of the dodo – and good riddance. Very few shows did them right (The Critic, The Simpsons, Cheers), but they were mostly bad. So, why is this one singled out? As bad as clip shows usually were, there was a time when they were often necessary: shows had limited budgets, they had to meat episode quotas, and there was a time when catching up on old episodes was not easy. What makes this episode hard to forgive is the fact that it was THE EIGHTH EPISODE! Also, you know how can tell an episode is a clip show within the first few minutes because of the weak framing devices? This episode doesn’t even go all the way as it lures us into thinking it will be a fun Halloween episode. Then smack dab in the middle, we get the framing device and the flashbacks to few episodes up to that point. Then it goes back to being a Halloween episode! Not to mention, a lot of this episode has a bunch of B-plots that are more gimmick than anything else. This episode is just difficult to watch because the tone and style is all over the place. If you want some Fresh Prince around Halloween, watch the fourth season’s “Hex and the Single Guy.”

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It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6” Staying fresh after nine seasons cannot be easy. The ninth season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was overall good. There were flashes of brilliance, and there were many episodes with a “been-there-done-that” feel to it. Treading familiar territory is bad enough, but this episode was an outright clone! Seriously, we’ve already seen the gang make Lethal Weapon 6! Don’t believe me? For the THIRD time they have retreaded the joke about Mac and Dennis switching roles! The first time they brought it up, it was kind of funny to imagine it. The second time it was funny to see it. But after the third time, it’s definitely not the charm. There were some jokes that work – such as Dennis playing a sax solo instead of wedding vows and the cheap production of special effects that could not be created. But overall, this episode was basically built around one joke that we have already seen. After the ninth season, the cast and crew took a season off to prepare for the tenth season, and it paid off with a much funnier product.

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The Simpsons “Bart-Mangled Banner” Look, I’m not here to get into a political debate, I’m here to talk about TV episodes. Not really taking a political stance is appropriate because this episode satirizes jingoism and tries to be patriotic – while failing at both. In this episode, the Simpson brood becomes social pariahs after Bart mistakenly “moons” the American flag. This leads to ham-fisted social commentary such as Mayor Quimby renaming Springfield Libertyville and the Simpsons being arrested under the Government Knows Best Act (That about summarizes how subtle the humor in this episode is). After escaping prison, the Simpsons move to France… where yeah, this episode goes from let’s laugh at ourselves to let’s laugh at France. This actually could have worked as it seems like the writers were going for the moral that America has its faults, but it is still a good place to live (a very good moral I might add). Instead it comes off like the writers lost their cool about critiquing America (which they were not doing particularly well anyway). While a GOOD episode such as “The Cartridge Family” actually succeeded in providing both sides of a political argument, “Bart-Mangled Banner” feels like it is trying to have it both ways – lambasting the dark side of patriotism while not trying to look TOO unpatriotic themselves. If you want funny post-9/11 humor, watch anything by Parker and Stone from that era – whether it be “Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants” or Team America: World Police.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation “Sub Rosa” – In part 1 of this series, another TNG episode made the cut – “The Outrageous Okana”. That episode fell on its face because it was bad comedy. You know what else leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths? Bad horror. The episode focuses on Beverly Crusher – who was likable, but separating her from the crew and the Enterprise was not a good idea. The romance scenes between Crusher and Ronin are dull and slow-paced. The scenes that try to be scary fall flat. This episode is competently made which means this episode can’t even be enjoyed on a so-bad-it’s-good level. Unless you’re a completionist, this is episode is skippable.

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