20 Most Appalling TV Shows Ever

  1. Fox's ''Moment of Truth'' inspires a look back at new lows in broadcasting -- vote for how shameful they actually were. (Also: Aren't you glad the writers' strike is over?)
    By Annie Barrett | Feb 14, 2008



    Moment of Truth (Fox, 2008)
    Fools sit in a hot seat (that should really be animated according to how much sweating/fidgeting is going on) and take way too long to answer increasingly ''scandalous'' questions about their usually uninteresting personal lives. It'd be easier for host Mark L. Walberg to just ask everyone, ''Are you a total $$$$ing idiot who will do anything for cash?'' But 1,000 consecutive contestants truthfully answering ''Hell yes!'' would make this crapfest even more tiresome than it already is. That sentence was... ... ... ... ... ...true.





    Jail (My 9 Network, 2008)
    It's no surprise that the creator of an original new-low show, Fox's COPS, is behind this series, which this season included ''exclusive footage'' of O.J. Simpson doing time after his 2007 armed-robbery arrest. As a cute TV touch, O.J.'s placed in room #32 — widely considered the NFL MVP of Clark County Detention Center Holding Cells.





    Kid Nation (CBS, 2007)
    Hey, let's exploit children! Forty kids, aged 8-15, attempt to form a functioning society on a glorified movie set in Bonanza City, New Mexico. At least the casting was apt: Nearly all of the kids — excuse me, ''pioneers'' — had very early in life developed the typical reality-TV-star trait of being really annoying. I'd honestly rather watch a live-action version of the hit 1985 floppy-disk game The Oregon Trail.





    Hey Paula! (Bravo, 2007)
    This completely unnecessary series, centered around a pop stars with a lot to say but only .1 percent of it coherent, only made Paula Abdul look exactly how viewers — like our poor TV Watch-ers Josh Wolk and Michael Slezak — felt after watching it: stupid, crazy, and sad.

    (Britney and Kevin: Chaotic was listed here, too, but out of respect for her and in light of what's going on, I'm not including it in the list. I edited the description to reflect the omission)





    The Anna Nicole Smith Show (E!, 2002)
    Here we had the same ''Follow That Loon'' concept as Hey Paula!, but with less talent and more poodle-on-furniture humping. Producers went out of their way to make Smith — who at the time was overweight, broke, and often slurry — seem as pathetic as possible. In the wake of Smith's 2007 death, recalling the lavish TV attention heaped onto her troubled life is more than a bit eerie.
     
    Moment Of Truth.jpg Jail.jpg Kid Nation.jpg The Anna Nicole Smith Show.jpg
  2. The Swan (Fox, 2004) / I Want a Famous Face (MTV, 2004)
    Contestants on The Swan endured multiple plastic surgeries for the chance to win a beauty pageant that basically judged which plastic surgery had turned out the least wonky...I mean, ''best.'' Famous Face wannabes went under the knife to acquire the features of their fave celebs, including Britney Spears (pictured) and — no joke — Dustin Diamond. People: The Ugly Duckling is a fairy tale. It's not self-improvement if your goal is to become a different person.





    Temptation Island (Fox, 2001)
    Four unmarried couples (who couldn't have been that into each other if they agreed to do this) visit a Caribbean island to have their loyalty tested by ''The Singles,'' a.k.a. hot bodies of the opposite sex. Mark L. Walberg, clearly the poster boy for Great Moments in New Lows, hosted the series with a straight face. Bonus (negative?) points: It spawned foreign versions with lots more nudity and, indirectly, a dud called Love Cruise: The Maiden Voyage, which could have had potential if it had been sci-fi.





    Cheaters (Syndicated, 2000)
    People cheat on their lovers; other people catch them on camera. Since the show's syndicated, it's actually kind of hilarious to find out which parking lots, forest reserves, and health-code-violating bars in your geographical vicinity all the cheaters prefer while attempting to cheat. But when a camera crew jumps out of a tree and actually lands on the cheaters (it's happened! Check the Northwest Indiana listings), a little part of your soul shuts down forever. Then, inexplicably, you giggle. See? New low!





    Flavor of Love, Flavor of Love 2, Flavor of Love 3, I Love New York, and I Love New York 2 (VH1, 2006-present)
    Stare at the mere titles long enough and you'll feel culture disintegrate within your brain like sand pouring through a timepiece necklace. (Not sure what that meant; I just want one of those damn clocks to break.) What does it say when a network rewards its craziest, most obnoxious reality-show contestant (and her mom) with a reality series of her own? I believe it says — to quote New York — ''Do I look like I give a f---? 'Cause I don't.''






    Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!, 2007) / The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen, 2006)
    An official list of reasons — even stupid ones — for either of these shows to exist: 1.
     
    The Swan, I Want A Famous Face.jpg Temptation Island.jpg Cheaters.jpg Flavor Of Love, et al.jpg Keeping Up With The Kardashians, et all.jpg
  3. Shows centered around the concept of ''millionaires''
    On Fox's 2000 one-night special Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? (right), Darva Conger beat out 49 pageant contestants to wed Rick Rockwell — whom she'd never met — on the spot. Contestants on Joe Millionaire (2003, also on Fox, of course) thought they were pretending to fall in love with a millionaire dullard, but it turned out he was just a dullard...with a construction gig and a short-lived underwear-modeling career. Score? $1 million to the first person who cleans up my vomit.





    Wife Swap (ABC, 2004) and its carbon copy, Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy (Fox, 2004)
    Two wives switch houses, boss around the other's family for a few days, ruin everything, fall into mind-numbing despair, and then return home. It wouldn't seem so horrid if ABC didn't insist on such extreme pairings — like a multimillionaire New York heiress with a rural New Jersey brood (pictured), or a gun-toting conservative with the anti-NRA/animal rights activist. This doesn't make ''good TV,'' it just makes ''me uncomfortable.''





    Chains of Love (UPN, 2001)
    Look at the picture.





    Big Brother (CBS) / The Real World (MTV)
    Throw a bunch of people into a house and what will happen? At first, not much. But both long-running shows became a lot sleazier with age as their ''stars'' realized that footage of them lounging around spread-eagle in their bathing suits could potentially make them a teensy bit famous. At least with Big Brother, there's prize money at stake. The drunks on The Real World just act that way for free.





    The Simple Life (Fox, 2003-2005 and E!, 2005-2007)
    The basic message of paris hilton and Nicole Richie's televised road trip, to me, was ''Do poor people suck or what?'' No. You two suck. Now don't fill up on gas, and drive home.
     
    ''Millionaire'' Shows.jpg Wife Swap, et al.jpg Chains Of Love.jpg Big Brother, The Real World.jpg The Simple Life.jpg
  4. My Super Sweet 16 (MTV, 2005)
    People on TV are usually beautiful, talented, or have lots of money. MTV's disgusting 15-year-old brats who treat their parents, friends, and the occasional hired troupe of little people like garbage while planning the party of their dreams? They're the ones with lots of money — and the most jarring part of the show is that they've deluded themselves into thinking their parents' wealth means that they're sexy.





    Actually, speaking of MTV...
    The following additional charges have been leveled against MTV:
    A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila
    Date My Mom
    Next
    Room Raiders
    Damage Control
    Every Other Show on This Channel
    Didn't This Channel Used to Play Music Videos?





    The Littlest Groom (Fox miniseries, 2004) / Age of Love (ABC, 2007)
    The Littlest Groom followed little person Glen Foster on a quest for true love, first with12 little women and then — avalanche alert! — with a few average-size women thrown into the mix to help Foster ''decide whether height should determine whether or not you find someone attractive.'' Switch out ''age'' with ''height'' in that last sentence, and you have the basic premise of Age of Love. Would anyone care to cringe?





    The Bachelor (ABC, 2002-present)
    This thing's been around so long it sort of seems like the outdated, slightly sweaty, definitely panting grandpa of slimy TV. Forget the morally objectionable concept of dating 25 women at once, and let's just focus on how absolutely vile it is to have to watch the same dude make out with different people over...and over...and over. And...tongue. And...I'm flipping the channel.
    (Oh no! Not a Rock of Love rerun! Extreme close-ups of Bret Michaels' greasy-tongue Olympics are even worse!)





    The Jerry Springer Show (Syndicated, 1991)
    Without the trash-tastic, often topless brawls that Jerry encouraged on his set, would TV have been inspired to achieve Great Moments in New Lows in the first place? Let me take a spin on Maury Povich's fail-proof Wheel of Paternity to seek out the answer. In the meantime, take another tequila shot from the mansion's bathtub, and go on a date with this 3-foot-tall plastic surgeon I found on a remote island hanging out with Mark L. Walberg. He could be a millionaire!
     
    My Super Sweet 16.jpg Speaking Of Which . . ..jpg The Littlest Groom, et al.jpg The Bachelor.jpg The Jerry Springer Show.jpg
  5. You know, there's... not really anything that needs to be said in reply to this. Who could argue?
     
  6. I have to admit, I love to watch some of these. It's the perfect way to reassure yourself that your own life is pretty freakin' good! Cheaters is one of those things I'll watch any time it's on and I can't sleep!
     
  7. This was hilarious :biggrin:

    But Big Brother is my favorite show.
     
  8. These shows make me feel good about myself. I do admit, flavor of love is very entertaining sometimes. And come on, cheaters was awesome!
     
  9. Uhhhh... I watch some of these LOL! :roflmfao: But at least I accept the fact that trash tv entertains me!
     
  10. I admit I watch some of the shows on MTV. :p
     
  11. As much as I agree with all the choices on this list, I will admit to watching some of them . . . .

    I watch Trading Spouses / Wife Swap. I also remember watching Temptation Island with my roommates in college.

    I have watched The Swan and I Want A Famous Face.


    Flava of Love, I Love New York, Charm School . . . . . all of that.


    At the same time, I love watching Joel McHale make fun of them week after week.
     
  12. They should have waited a couple of months to publish this list - Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant and My Fair Brady (as much as I can't help but watch on Sunday am) should have been included! Talk about appalling!
     
  13. I LOVE the Swan !!
     
  14. That list looks a lot like the directory of my Tivoid...

    Um, I missed Chaotic and the Jessica Simpson one. Are they on DVD?
     
  15. I kick myself in the bottom if I EVER watch more than 5 minutes a week of that channel.