I try to be open minded, I really do. Having felt the bitter sting of judgement after confessing a love for ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, I do my best to accept everyone’s various tastes and opinions – to spare them its harsh burn.
I try. But sometimes, it’s impossible. Because sometimes, people are just too fickle. Sometimes they’re too confusing.
Sometimes, they’re just too dumb.
Nowhere is this more evident than on television and in its ratings books. The airwaves these days are inundated with programs that we’d be embarrassed to see produced if shame was something we felt anymore. They’re either ill conceived studies in poor taste or monuments barbarism and boorishness the likes of which we haven’t seen before. And yet, dreck though they may be, these appeals to humanity’s lowest common denominators draw viewers, build followings, and live on.
And while there are some that I understand - Duck Dynasty’s ”wait, these are real people?!” factor truly does make sense to me – there are others that I cannot possibly fathom.
Or at least, need help fathoming:
- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC – How in the hell is this, the highest rated late night show? 21 seasons, zero laughs, and still people watch.
- The Biggest Loser, NBC – American ratings books are being dominated by a show about obese people struggling to lose weight…Isn’t television supposed to be an escape from reality?
- Celebrity Apprentice, NBC - This show was infinitely better when it was a handful of M.B.A.’s fighting it out for a place in Empire Trump. Now we’re just seeing how far we can stretch “celebrity,” and stroking The Donald’s ego in the process. Neither of which I’m particularly interested in.
- Dancing with the Stars, ABC – Again with the stretching of “Celebrity.” But even if they got legitimate A, B, or C-Listers, why would I not just watch professionals dance? Why does Chaz Bono up the entertainment value? Has Chaz Bono ever upped the entertainment value?
- Wheel of Fortune - Easily the worst game show on television. Including all of the ones I’ve just mentioned. No you may not buy a vowel, I wish you nothing but small money.
- The Real Housewives of ____, Bravo – Without a doubt, the people featured on this show are the worst in the world. The worst. Hands down. How does anyone watch these shows without taking a baseball bat to the TV? Want an argument against Capitalism? It lets people like this get rich.
- Dance Moms/Toddlers & Tiaras, Lifetime/TLC – I lied, these are the worst people in the world. How does anyone watch these shows without calling Child Protective Services immediately after taking a baseball bat to their TV?
- 2 Broke Girls, CBS – There are many, many funny women in this world, but there’s no way that these two are included in that category.
- Elementary, CBS – I’m not one for “books,” but you have to respect the original subject matter a little bit, right? You can’t just keep the accent and change everything else, can you?
- Franklin & Bash, TNT – I like law dramas, and I like shows driven by witty banter, but you expect me to believe that Mark-Paul Gosselaar and The-Guy-From-Road-Trip are really capable of driving that car?
- Wilfred, FX – So, is that supposed to be a human representation of Elijah Wood’s dog? Or is that just a dude in a dog suit? I’m confused.
- Futurama, Fox/Comedy Central – This is still a show?! I thought it stopped making new episodes like a decade ago! How is it still drawing viewers?!
- Sullivan & Son, TBS – Even the commercials feel forced.
- Men at Work, TBS – *See immediately above*
- Cougar Town, ABC/TBS – *See immediately above* God, TBS sucks.
- Everything on ABC Family that isn’t Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family – We get it, there are weird circumstances under which suburban life is hard…Except that there aren’t.
- Everything on MTV/VH1 – Between 16 and Pregnant, Jersey Shore, Basketball Wives and the other nonsense I’m leaving out, I honestly think that the death of Western civilization will be the fault of these two networks. I miss TRL.
- Devious Maids, Lifetime – They’re kidding with this name, right? There’s not really a marketing strategist who thought that the world was ready to take Devious Maids seriously, right? RIGHT?! PLEASE, GOD, TELL ME IT’S A POORLY EXECUTED JOKE!
- WNBA Basketball, Parts Unknown – That’s a cheap-shot, but it doesn’t make it any less true. How anyone watches, I’ll never understand.
How do these shows have a following? Who actually watches them? Why? I must know. I defended Pretty Little Liars and Smash, now, someone, please, defend these.
Author: Joe Bianchino
Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_1045. Email him at Joe@noticketsports.com.