March 28, 2013


Giving viewers the finger every week, all season long. CLICK to visit GLEE online.

Picking the worst scripted shows on TV seemed like a far less interesting task than knocking off some of the most wildly overrated and “why is this show still on?” veterans. So, that’s why you won’t see crap on this list like SMASH, WHITNEY, SULLIVAN & SON, THE NEIGHBORS, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, 1600 PENN, CHICAGO FIRE, THE MINDY PROJECT or countless other outright duds.

Instead, here are ten scripted series (from broadcast and basic cable networks only) that need to be taken down a few pegs or taken off the air entirely. The list is presented in alphabetical order.

Sister of Perpetual Over Acting. CLICK to visit AMERICAN HORROR STORY online.

No one loves this overly violent, overwrought mess more than series creator Ryan Murphy. Murphy, an egomaniac who never misses an opportunity to let us know how fab he is, has created a repellant vision of horror that’s the TV equivalent of a bowl of steaming viscera. 

There’s a sequence in season one during which former cast member Connie Britton is coerced into eating raw organs. Its uncomfortable to watch because she looks so uncomfortable performing the scene. You can almost hear her thinking “I didn’t sign on for this” as she chomps a slice of brain.

Of course, Britton was smart and fled to the more fertile ground of NASHVILLE. Yeah, yeah Jessica Lange is great but even she has devolved into a scenery chewing harpy. That has less to do with her talent and everything to do with Murphy’s limited writing ability.

I officially became an enemy of the show after witnessing the hate crime that was the murder of the gay couple in season one. Played by Zachary Quinto and Teddy Sears, the scene was one of the most needlessly vicious on-screen deaths I’ve seen on TV. If it was any other show, GLAAD would have been pissing vinegar but apparently it’s OK to overkill homosexual characters if a gay guy is running the show. I don’t agree.

If you're crappy and you know it, clap your hands! CLICK to visit COMMUNITY online.

COMMUNITY is one of those shows that thinks its ten times funnier than it is. With the exception of the lovely and talented Alison Brie, every cast member on this grating sit-com makes me want to punch the screen. The fact that someone thought uber-prick Joel McHale was a smart choice to lead a series should give some insight into why NBC is such a mess. Somehow, the combination of network desperation, a minority of clueless critics and an audience numbering in the tens keeps COMMUNITY on the air.

Feel like throwing something at this show? Me too! CLICK to visit GLEE online.

This was a hard one for me because I count myself among the original Gleeks.

GLEE (also from Ryan Murphy) has always been a rather sloppy and erratic affair but that used to be part of its unique charm. Even when it faltered, for the first couple of seasons it at least, the show knew it’s limits. That’s no longer the case. GLEE has devolved into a crowded, bombastic mess that continues to ignore talented cast members while shoving annoying recurring characters like Unique down our throats. 

For every bit of good the show does on one front, it continues to revel in gross stereotyping on so many others. It’s taken preaching to the choir to a whole new level.

Christine Baranski looks shocked when what she though was a petrified object suddenly starts speaking. CLICK to visit THE GOOD WIFE online.

It’s wonderful to see Michael J. Fox back on television. I just wish it wasn’t in this maudlin tripe. Again, you have a generally talented cast doing the bidding of writers who never met a line of dialogue they didn’t want to beat you over the head with. I’ll watch Christine Baranski and Josh Charles read cereal box instructions but having to weed through the histrionics of a heavily mummified Julianna Margulies is a task I’m not up to. If, however, THE WALKING DEAD ever needs an actress who comes make-up ready, they can start with her.

We've overstayed our welcome. Cheers! CLICK to visit HIMYM online.

File this under “when good shows go bad and won’t go away.” 

Clearly CBS has a major case of separation anxiety here. How else to explain the continued existence of a series that should have ended two seasons ago.

The cast is either going through the motions and earning a paycheck or, in the case of Josh Radnor and Alyson Hannigan, finding new ways to turn once beloved characters into shrill annoyances. The fact that CBS wants to beat this dead horse for another season is just sad.

Not as much of a loser as Romney but close. CLICK to visit LAST MAN STANDING online.

What used to be a perfectly harmless and mildly amusing comedy came back this season as a political screed and a platform for Republican actor Tim Allen to bash Obama. I have no problem with a show that takes a political stand, even one that runs contrary to my own views. However, when the writing quality sits somewhere between WHO’S THE BOSS? and FULL HOUSE, I’m not sure topical humor is the smartest path to take. I’ve gotten over the pointless re-cast of one of the daughters and Nancy Travis still rocks but this is a show that is quickly wearing out its welcome.

Yes, honey, my teeth do look freakishly white. That's because I'm GAAAAAAAY! CLICK to visit THE NEW NORMAL online.

This show isn’t just gay, it’s wicked gay. It’s a mincing, lisping, limp wristed queer fest that never met a stereotype it didn’t want to adorn in rainbow flags and sparkly drag. It’s another “gift” from the mind of Ryan Murphy and it’s the single best example of everything he does wrong. Gross stereotyping? Check! Self-impressed and wholly unaware of how unfunny it is? Check! Tone-deaf and excessively, repulsively, cloyingly annoying? BIG check!

While Murphy may have given birth to this hell spawn, he is aided and abetted by several of the cast members, most notably Ellen Barkin, NeNe Leakes and Andrew Rannells

Rannells plays a character so cloying that to call his depiction of a gay guy “flaming” would be like calling Mount Everest tall. Leakes continues to wield her extremely limited talents like a sledge hammer and extend her already overly extended 15 minutes of fame. Then there’s Ellen Barkin, an actress with some of the worst comic timing on television. The fact the she is saddled with dialogue so racist Archie Bunker would file a civil rights suit against her, doesn’t help.

MODERN FAMILY has covered this territory for several seasons to much better effect. NBC late to the game with second-tier crap? No shock there.

Someone should be burned at the stake. CLICK to visit REVOLUTION online.

Stunningly unsavvy programmer NBC mothballed this major disappointment for months before dragging it back out for another go-round. Let’s just say absence has not made my heart grow fonder for REVOLUTION.

Everything that was wrong with the show from day one is back and more cloying than ever. It still looks cheap, is incredibly sloppy with its own mythology (seriously, how do they make such great looking clothes?) and lead Tracy Spiridakos is truly one of the least gifted actors to ever be cast in a JJ Abrams series. She makes Anna Torv look like Meryl Streep.

I know NBC has to keep this creaky ship afloat to save face but on any other network it would have already been cancelled. A mercy killing is in order here.

When bad shows happen to good actors. CLICK to visit SCANDAL online.
Put away your claws, ladies I don’t care how hardcore addicted you are to SCANDAL. The show is an over-the-top train wreck that makes my guy eyes bleed. Now, with that said, I think Kerry Washington is major talent and one of the few redeeming things in this tawdry soap. She definitely deserves better material.

Created by Shonda Rhimes, Her Royal Blackness has given us yet another bizarre workplace drama. Question: why does a show written by a powerful black woman have such a low opinion of the powerful black woman at the center of the show?As written, Washington’s character isn’t just driven and eccentric, she is a bat-crap-crazy wackadoo in desperate need of a cold shower and a padded room.

I’d love a great network drama with a predominantly non-white cast. I just hope to God it doesn’t come from the mind of Shonda Rhimes. Plus, I still haven’t forgiven Rhimes for her wholly unprofessional public berating of the ABC Family series BUNHEADS.

Food poisoning, CBS style. CLICK to visit 2 BROKE GIRLS online.

Apparently racial stereotyping is alive and well on broadcast TV these days and it’s played for yuk yuks. Like so many other entries on this list, cheap jokes and poorly written humor are the order of the day. 2 BROKE GIRLS ups the ante because it’s not enough to be crass. No, instead, this crap on a cracker also excels at being vulgar, rude, vile and exceedingly ugly.

Speaking of, is it ever possible for lead Kat Dennings to not look like she just woke up from a heroin fix? It should come as no surprise that comedy hag Whitney Cummings is behind this show. At least she’s consistent, being equally untalented behind the camera as she is in front of it.