Is TV the greatest invention ever made by mankind or a hideous curse sent to make us all stupider? If we take a look at some of the most stupid TV shows that ever existed then the answer might seem obvious.
I’m going to try very hard not to mention Booby Ewing coming back to life in the shower. Ok, so maybe not too hard. This show was a lost cause even before the ridiculous resurrection of Bobby but that plot twist remains the single most ridiculous thing to have ever appeared on my TV screen. Apart from that, this was just an everyday show about evil oil barons, rampant shoulder pads and other stuff I can’t remember.
From a glitzy, dazzling American soap to a humble British one; the only thing these shows have in common is the fact that they are both mind numbingly terrible. Most people’s abiding memory of Crossroads is of the achingly stupid Benny. The rest of the show’s 24-year run was a haze of excruciating dialogue, awful plots and wooden acting. 24 years! How we suffered back in those days.
The Dukes of Hazzard
I’m sorry. I really am. I know that you loved this show but it was just awful. For a start, it was just the most ridiculously contrived thing ever. If you thought that the Duke Boys’ wacky car stunts were the best thing about it then you are probably right, but only because the rest of it was so bad. Bo and Luke have some sort of fuzzily improbable probation terms that means that they either can’t leave Hazzard Country or else they can leave as long as they come back with a certain number of hours. Can you imagine being trapped in such a terrible place, with unbelievably bungling cops all around you and such frankly dangerous driving conditions on the roads?
What can I say about Baywatch that hasn’t already been said? Well, I could say that it is a cultural treasure packed with gripping dialogue and almost no gratuitous bikini shots at all. Sadly, I’d be hopelessly wrong. Incredibly, this frankly awful and stupid TV show was once one of the most popular shows in the entire known universe. Try watching an old episode now and see how quickly you lose faith in human intelligence.
Big Brother (and Every Other Reality Show)
I know that there is a world of lame reality shows out there but I have managed to avoid most of them in a way not unlike the way in which one steers clear of highly contagious diseases. I know, for example, of a simple-minded and desperately shallow family called the Kardashians. I also know that there are reality shows involving singers, people desperate to get married and all sorts of other flotsam and jetsam of televisual nonentities. However, ever since I spent an hour watching the very first series of Big Brother I vowed to avoid reality shows until I draw my last breath.
George & Mildred
As I grew up in the UK I am as used to pathetic sitcoms as I am to soggy, insipid biscuits and overly milky tea. This means that I could really have chosen any one from a long list of unfunny TV disasters. I only chose this unholy calamity because it was the first name to spring to mind that made me remember long, dark nights watching a TV screen and wondering why I had absolutely no urge to laugh at something that was (at least theoretically) a comedy.