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Bad TV: Eight Cringeworthy Programs
Television at its worst
These are the TV shows that even as a young boy, I remember trying to watch them and shuddering in disgust.
It was all I could do to not throw things at the screen whenever this dreck was on the air; terrible music, stupid scripts, pathetic acting, and bad production values best describe these travesties.
If fraternities and sororities in college are looking for new ways to haze their pledges, they ought to lock them in a room and force them to watch a 24-hour marathon of these so-called "programs"; its what I would have done if I were a pledgemaster.
Before I list these embarrassments to the television medium, let me give a friendly words of caution: If you ever come across these "shows" on Nick At Nite's TV Land or some other cable channel, I strongly suggest that you run screaming in the opposite direction...
Pink Lady and Jeff
This pathetically horrible excuse for a variety show featuring a Japanese pop duo and a not-funny comedian was thankfully pulled after six episodes in the summer of 1980.
Although they were nothing but a producer's compilation that mostly sang remakes of established hits, "Mie" and Kei" were big stars in Japan. It was NBC that came up with the genius idea of bringing them to America and featuring them in a series.
There were just a couple of problems, however: Mie and Kei spoke no English, so they had to learn their lines word for word, and the comedy skits absolutely sucked - "Cheap Shot Magazine"?! Jeff Altman (the comedian) getting forced into a jacuzzi at the end of every show?
I could have written better scripts than that, and I was only 13 years old at the time! Heck, my (then) four-year-old cousin could have come up with better ideas!!
I sincerely hope the guy at NBC who came up with the idea for this mess was fired and blacklisted forever for unleashing this swill onto the public.
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
When I was going on ten years old, I remember getting excited when it was announced the Bradys, those 70s TV icons, were returning to the small screen for an hour-long show.
Having been a fan of that bunch - especially that Brady babe Maureen McCormick (also known as Marcia) - I was looking forward to this show.
Then it came on the air and I realized what a fool I was.
This drivel was so stupidly garbage-laden, it was named the fourth worst program of all time by TV Guide, lasting nine episodes, which was eight too many.
Eve Plumb, who as the original Jan wisely stayed away from this crap, should have gone to the studio and smacked around her Fake Jan counterpart, Geri Reischl, for her portrayal of the middle Brady daughter as such wimpy, whiny wuss - on the air; that would've made for some. good TV.
And let's not forget to mention the disgustingly asinine scripts that the Brady clan did, the disco songs they butchered, and those cheesy Ice Vanity bimbettes who skated around smiling like brainless idiots while they insulted the pop stars of the day with their versions of their hits.
Sid and Marty Krofft, the H.R. Pufnstuf creators who were responsible for this pollution, should have been thrown in jail for poisoning the American public with this so-called "show".
Barney and Friends
I'm well aware that this giant brontosaurus has his core group of fans, toddlers and their parents who adore him because of his personality and the way he warbles "I Love You" a billion times an episode.
However, to me and countless others this Great Purple Satan is not only a puerile piece of poop, he's also a vicious insult of the highest order to all the great children's educational programs of public television's past, classics like The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and especially Sesame Street.
Let's face it people, when you compare that abomination to Big Bird, Easy Reader - played by the great Morgan Freeman - and one of the nicest guys in TV history in Mr. Fred Rogers, there is absolutely no contest.
To put it another way, this "program" made TV Guide's list of all-time worst shows; that is saying something.
One critic righteously slammed it for "...not recognizing (the) existence of unpleasant realities", meaning that pre-schoolers are intelligent enough to learn about things like when a loved one dies; the way that Sesame Street dealt with Mr. Hooper - the candy store owner's - death in 1979 is a pristine example of this.
If the folks on that legendary road could do it, that big purple blob could have had an episode dealing with a best friend moving away or something of that nature, but nooo.
Everything that jelly-belly does is so sickeningly sweet I wouldn't be surprised if kids became diabetic from it.
This rewording of their signature song best describes how I feel about that muppet:
I hate you, You hate me,
Let's hang Barney from a tree,
With a great big rope and a noose around his neck,
I'm so glad that Barney's dead!
A final note to parents on this: Please DO NOT allow your young-uns to view this crap. Unless there's an episode where Barney gets beat up, tarred and feathered, or beheaded, have them watch Sesame Street, which is a much better show, instead.
Donny and Marie
During my elementary school days, this show featuring two of the Osmond family's younger siblings was a huge hit on ABC; many of my friends and classmates watched it.
I was not one of them.
Even at nine years old, I remember thinking how embarrassingly stupid and saccharine the skits and that "I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock and roll" ditty was; I thought that Donny was as much rock and roll as Pat Boone and Perry Como combined.
And that's putting it politely.
The funny thing about my view of this program is the fact that I now respect those two as people and as singers. It's just that this variety production that was on the air from 1976 to 1979 absolutely and positively stunk.
And I imagine that quite a few others shared my sentiment about this dreck.
Their biggest crime, what condemns Donny and Marie to this list, is that it begat The Brady Bunch Hour, that drivel being conceived when a group of Bradys guested on this show and did stupid things that should have been put on the cutting room floor, taken a match to it, and burned to a crisp.
When I first saw these big-time wannabes rip off - very badly I may add - top ten songs in the mid-1980s, making poison garbage out of hits like Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" Madonna's "Into The Groove". it was a miracle that I didn't smash my TV set against the wall.
This cheap knockoff of The Monkees was that bad.
This stupid trash's biggest claim to fame is that big names like Mario Lopez (Slater from Saved By The Bell), Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas - she was Stacy Ferguson back then - got their start in this drivel.
Don't even get me started on Martika and her one-hit blunder "Toy Soldiers".
I wonder if Lopez, Hewitt, and Fergie look back on those days and go, "What the hell was I thinking?!" If that was the case, I wouldn't have been surprised in the least.
The instrument playing in the background was of course faked; no realistic substance allowed by the producers, folks. The guy who started Milli Vanilli likely got the idea to have that group lip-synch their songs to voices that were not theirs from this "program".
And the worst part about this smelly crap? It lasted nine years.
Let's be blunt here - this prison sentence of a show sucked due to...
BAD dance numbers,
and TERRIBLE singing.
That pretty much sums it up.
Making The Band
I am not now, never have been nor ever will be, a fan of boy bands.
In fact, I've always loathed producer's compilations - I refuse to call them bands - like N' Suck, I mean N' Sync, Bad Stink Dorks, I mean Backstreet Boys, and .38 Special, I mean 98 Degrees.
So when I saw that the Svengali responsible for that noise pollution, Lou Pearlman, created a reality show in 2000 to put together another bunch of no-talent little boys with no substance, I very nearly bawled out of frustration and dread.
I was not disappointed, as two words best described the program's first effort: O-Town, or as I prefer to call them, "Blow-Town", because they absolutely blew and made my ears hurt with the noise they made.
They were so bad, a pre-school chorus could have outdid them.
Incredibly, not only did that "show" get renewed for a second season, it actually got worse as P. Diddy, or whatever the hell he calls himself these days - the most arrogant and egotistical person in all of entertainment - took over.
His first group, Danity Kane, was nothing special to speak of, just a bunch of scantily-clad little girls prancing around, and he was an abusive bastard to his second compilation, Da Band, making them walk three hours in New York City at 3:00 in the morning to get him some cheesecake.
Why did they not tell him to get his own damn cheesecake is beyond me; it's what I would have done, as well as tell him where he can put his blessed dessert.
I hope that people will see why I hated this show after writing this; any boss who treats his employees the way that Diddy did on that show must be avoided like the H1N1 virus.
Like Donny and Marie, I recall watching this longtime series as a three-year old and thinking how lame the folks on it were.
This was a musical variety show that stereotyped country music in a big way, the Amos and Andy of that genre, complete with shoeless hillbillies doing pig calls and singing that horrible "Where, Where Are You Tonight?", plucking on the old banjo and acting (if you could call it that) in skits that looked liked a five-year old in special education wrote them.
You would think that the country-western community would want to put together something more classy and dignified to show their music to the world, but they were apparently uninterested in that.
Many legends appeared on this show, from Loretta Lynn to Tammy Wynette to the Oak Ridge Boys to Dolly Parton; being that it was the only program tailored to their genre, I suppose they had no choice.
What was particularly amazing about Hee Haw was that it was on the air for 23 years; it was cancelled by CBS in 1971 and became a big hit in syndication.
If the producers couldn't change that show to give it, and country music, the dignity that it deserved, perhaps it should have stayed cancelled.
Sha Na Na
Being that this was a hit during my tween days in the 1970s, I remember this variety program well.
Featuring a 1950s nostalgia group that sang hits from that early rock and roll era, they actually had some credibility; they even played Woodstock in 1969. BUT...
That credibility was pulverized with this show.
This half-hour syndication completely blew, as the jokes and skits that the band and their co-stars did were pathetic and lame. Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, one of the lead singers, was especially embarrassing every time he flexed his stick figure arms like he was Hulk Hogan.
The stupidity of this swill can be best illustrated this way:
During one of their skits, Bowzer commented to someone that Sha Na Na was planning to make a sequel to Saturday Night Fever, which was a huge smash at the time. He said that it was to be called "Sunday Morning Rash".
That, in my opinion, was the worst joke in the history of television.
And should make crystal clear why this series was so bad.
I realize that quite a few people enjoyed these air wave pollutants. Any offense hat I may have caused in listing and bashing these so-called shows was unintentional. However...
This list of embarrassments to the medium is purely one person's opinion - mine.
If I was a courtroom judge, they are certainly what I would make folks watch in a locked room and wanted a unique way to sentence them for their crimes, but I also know that some of these programs had - and still has - fans who remember them fondly.
To them I say, "You have your opinion, and I have mine. Let's respectfully agree to disagree, and leave it at that."
In the meantime, I pledge that these pieces of smelly garbage will never, ever see my picture tube, lest such tube gets broken by those humiliating embarrassments to entertainment.