My wife watches some really, REALLY terrible TV shows. And yes, that is coming from someone who now writes a weekly column (available on PWInsiderXtra.com) on how terrible pro wrestling shows are, which I watch religiously. So one could say I am completely unqualified to judge just what constitutes terrible TV. But the Nielsen people didn't seem to think so, so I'm going to tell you my expert opinion anyway. So without further ado, a bunch of crappy TV shows I really, REALLY wish my wife would watch with the sound off.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians (and all the spinoffs):
First of all, "reality" TV is just generally contrived bullshit. I find it amazing that the same people who give me shit for watching pro wrestling for being fake (when everybody knows the match outcomes are scripted and nobody is pretending differently) are the same people who are so insistent that everything they see on "reality" TV is 100% unscripted and legit. When John Cena and the Rock have their big Wrestlemania main event match, I know for a fact that the outcome of that match was determined long ago. It was a deliberate decision made to make for compelling television and to generate viewer interest in TV. Just like when Kim Kardashian got married and then got divorced right after the wedding aired on TV, it was done to make for compelling television and to generate viewer interest in TV. The only difference was, most of the fans watching that staged wedding actually thought it was real, then got really pissed off when they got divorced so soon, which made a lot of people realize it probably wasn't as real as a lot of people thought.
Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with scripted and contrived TV. A good story is a good story, no matter how you arrive at it. I just prefer if the people producing my scripted TV don't insult my intelligence by pretending that their TV show is real, when it isn't. When I watched the Lord of the Rings, I knew it wasn't something that really happened, and that's okay, because Peter Jackson didn't tell me it did. He told me that it was a good story that was written by a good writer.
Anyway, aside from the typical objections I always have to reality TV, the Kardashians and all the spinoff shows are incredibly hokey. Every show you have someone who does something quirky like buy a grand piano they can't play or trying to learn about extreme couponing, and the whole show is spent following their hijinx until the end of the show, at which point the whole family has learned a valuable lesson, and nothing about it is ever mentioned again. It's like watching "The Simpsons" acted out with real people who are hot, rich, and boring, instead of yellow, poor, and funny.
Not to mention, I can't figure out why the hell anyone would purposely watch a show so they can see rich people waste more money in a day than they will ever see in their lifetime.
American Idol (and all the knockoffs):
American Idol has been annoying the piss out of me for years and I've already complained about it more than I care to, so I thought about not even discussing it on here just for the sake of not being repetitive. But it's getting worse, and the corruption is spread to other places, so I feel I must say something.
Also, it's personal now, as the show has really, REALLY affected my image of one of my idols, Steven Tyler. Steven Tyler has had a legendary career as the frontman for what is, in my opinion, the greatest rock band of all time. Even if you disagree with the assertion that they're the greatest ever (as some people cling to the belief that The Beatles are the greatest ever), you would be hard pressed to find a greater American rock band. So for me, my image of Steven Tyler is the rock god screaming "Dude looks like a lady!" with his scarves around the microphone stand surrounded by the greatest band of all time. Only now, I see Steven Tyler on "American Idol" sitting next to Jennifer Lopez with his eyes closed looking like a woman having an orgasm listening to some nobody sing songs written by someone else. As a fan, it's extremely disappointing. It would be like watching Barry Sanders come out of retirement to play for the Chicago Bears for one game, and have seven carries for six yards. Devastating.
As far as the knockoffs, just as annoying as the original. Although echo some of my earlier comments about reality TV for the "X Factor" that had something of a scandal when it came out that the contestant they pretty much made the entire show about at the beginning had already been in the singing business and thus wasn't really what this show was marketed around. And then there's "The Voice" which is just ridiculous. And anything that puts Christina Aguilera on TV on a regular basis is nothing but a bad idea.
Teen Mom (and all the spinoffs and knockoffs):
First of all, why we give a TV show to stupid sluts who get knocked up in high school is beyond me. Second of all, the shows unfailingly end up being more about their milk-and-cookie social problems than they are the illegitimate bastard children that are supposedly the reason for them being on the show. I just don't give a shit about baby mama drama or baby daddy drama or teen angst drama or social studies homework is too hard drama. It's stupid and boring and as an adult I don't give a shit because I deal with far more complex issues every day of my life.
And then you have the sluts. Worst...actors...ever. Whenever they're doing the voiceover commentary in between scenes, they sound like they're reading off a cue card. You can tell they didn't even write what they're saying in the voiceovers because it actually sounds like it was written by someone with more than a second grade grasp of the English language. For example, let's say a slut gets in a fight with her mom. In the scene, the slut and her mom will be yelling and screaming back and forth calling each other sluts, bitches, hos, and skanks, using the about five cuss words per sentence. Then you hear the voiceover: "Sometimes, my mother and I don't see eye on eye on everything, but I'm hoping that with patience and better communication, we'll be able to work together to find some common ground." And then in the next scene they're back to calling each other skanks and bitches again. It would almost be funny if it weren't so insulting to my intelligence.
America's Next Top Model:
Besides being a showcase and reflection of one of the most shallow aspects of our culture, this show really insults everyone who doesn't look a certain way or view physical beauty by the same standards. I happen to not find extremely rail-thin women overly attractive. I just don't. I'm not saying skinny women are ugly, but I personally prefer women who look like they've had a meal in the last week and who don't look like they're going to fly away like a kite at the first heavy wind. And on this show you have a bunch of nearly identical skinny bimbos competing to be the standard of one subjective measure of beauty. And when they do have a contestant who isn't anorexic, she is constantly referred to as "plus-size." No bitch, she's not "plus-size," she's healthy. There is nothing wrong with not being the Paris Hilton model of slutty anorexia, and the fact that the modeling industry projects the image that if you don't look like a certain way, you're less attractive is extremely damaging to our culture. We talk about bullying being such a problem, but the number one reason for bullying is phsyical appearance, and if we wouldn't constantly reinforce a certain physical look, then people wouldn't feel physically inadequate or feel the need to call out the physical inadequacies in others. It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I have a hard time believing that our culture really believes that, because shows like this tell women that to be beautiful you have to starve yourself and look brain-dead. And I'm sorry, but that's just not attractive to me.
Everything on Lifetime:
The Lifetime movies wouldn't bother me so much if they weren't so repetitive. I swear if I see the Wal-Mart baby movie one more fucking time I'm going to get a lawyer.
One the other hand though, some of them are pretty funny unintentionally. Like she had on one a couple weeks ago that was all about this teenage boy and his addiction to internet porn. First of all, you show me one teenage boy who isn't addicted to internet porn and I'll show you a filthy liar. But of course in the movie they made it out to be this horrible thing where he couldn't concentrate on schoolwork or maintain social relationships because he couldn't stop trying to look at internet porn, no matter what lengths his super caring parents went to in order to free him from this horrible addiction. The kid even went so far as to steal his mom's credit card to pay for internet porn, to which I call bullshit. Every teenage kid knows there is no reason in the world to pay for internet porn because the free stuff is all over the place and titties are titties whether you paid to see them or not.