10 TV Shows That Suck Now — And Why We Can’t Stop Watching Them
Just like any relationship, the love between a man and a TV show doesn't last. It starts off all hot and heavy.
You're pulling all-nighters to mainline entire seasons on Netflix, reading fan sites when you're supposed to be working and naming pets after characters. And then things break bad. Suddenly you find yourself dreading the show every week, hoping it will match its former awesomeness. Eventually you're watching only out of stubborness and loyalty, and you feel like you're serving a prison sentence.
Here are ten shows that suck now, but we can't stop watching for one reason or another.
Proving with every new episode to be a one-and-a-half season wonder, the FX comedy is too much like its chosen subject of Fantasy Football. At first it's fascinating — worthy of obsession, analysis and endless enjoyment — before becoming a joyless ball and chain. Nick Kroll's condescending nerd act now just wears on you, the talented Mark Duplass and Paul Scheer no longer get good lines or interesting plots to play with, and poor Katie Aselton is no longer as much of a sassy beauty. Like slumping Larry Fitzgerald, 'The League' sticks in our lineup because it has too much talent and potential to easily bench. Not that the show or Fitz have done anything the past couple years to make us believe they've got anything left.
A gag-inducingly cheerful peek into post-Katrina N'Awlins, the HBO drama wants so desperately to show what a steaming cesspool the city is, but always soft-pedals, maybe because it's afraid of offending the natives. You've got to really, really, REALLY dig jazz to be able to stand the show, because maybe a third of the running time is spent on musicians who blow. Also, for an HBO show there's way too little violence or nudity. Even Girls gives us more of that. And don't forget that 'Treme' has got the world's dopiest theme song. We watch because it's made by David Simon, who made The Wire — a show that became the best thing on TV after a few dozen dull, hard-to-follow episodes. Maybe, just maybe, 'Treme' will coalesce and become watchable.
This one made vampires cool, then went overboard and made them seem as irritating as that Friday song that 13-year-old girl put out on YouTube. After doing the Twilight thing and setting up an adorable little vampire love triangle, the drama contracted syphilis and rotted from the inside out, becoming all kinds of crazy and rounding up witches, fairies, werewolves and every other magical creature, forming a secret society of stupid. What keeps us watching is the show's uncanny ability to use any and all excuses to thrust boobies in our faces. Anyone who tries to say they enjoy the show for any other reason is someone who claims to frequent porn sites for the articles.
The high school musical recruited its share of unapologetic bros who not only dug it, but put their bro-hood on the line to defend it publicly from detractors. "It's subversive!" "It's got something to say!" "The music is damn good!" And how did 'Glee' repay the love? By completely giving up and stuffing dopey After School Special plots down our throats, making us all look like idiots for falling under its spell. Even our wives long since gave up on this crap. If that's not a warning sign of suckage, we don't know what is. What keeps 'Glee' on TV is its expert ability to cast smoking hot chicks and choreograph their dance routines for maximum inner thigh exposure. Also, there's the occasional magic that, say, makes an un-listenable Taylor Swift song somehow good.
Thursday Night Football
How could more football be a bad thing? The NFL Network shows us exactly how every week, forcing a boring divisional matchup that no one else in the country cares about on bar TVs. Once a rare, end-of-season treat, the standard Thursday game makes the NFL seem as diluted as MLB, NHL or NBA. Plus we always forget that there's a Thursday game, and hence our fantasy lineups and picks leagues standings suffer. The only redeeming quality is that the game gives you one last chance to make up for your heavy betting losses from Sunday and Monday, giving you another opportunity to blow your last pennies on foolish bets with the neighborhood bookie the night before you get your next paycheck.
This show has gotten so bad that only one person on the planet can watch it without a scowl on their face. That would be Steve Carell, who is no doubt ecstatic to see the disoriented cast prove every week that Carell was the only thing that made 'The Office' worthwhile. The sitcom has fallen apart. Jim's eyebrow raises are just annoying, Pam's cutesy act is barf-worthy, Dwight's weirdness is just stupid, and don't get us started on worthless new characters like the British lady. We continue to slug it out only because producers have promised that this will, mercifully, be its final season. It just wouldn't seem right to have wasted eight years watching a show not to waste just one more to complete the whole set.
How I Met Your Mother
We feel bad even putting this one on here, because for six years it was just about the undisputedly funniest thing on network TV. It took the Friends setup, stripped it of all the pandering crud and captured all the embarrassing things that happen to you in your 20s. These days, though, the poor episodes far outnumber the good ones, it's repeating romances and other plotlines and the mystery surrounding the narrative device of how Ted met the love of his life is just damn deplorable. Three things give us enough hope to press on: Neil. Patrick. Harris. His giddy womanizer act is a tinderbox of comic bliss that can explode at any moment. But these days it usually only does in Harold & Kumar flicks.
When did 'The Simpsons' get crappy? The real question is when was it ever really good? Go back and watch the episodes that made you a lifelong fan in elementary school and their crude awfulness will ravage your brain. 'South Park,' 'Family Guy' and two renditions of 'Beavis and Butt-head have long since run laps around the show's place in the TV pantheon of witty animated satire. 'The Simpsons' has all the edge of The Flinstones. Habits formed over two-plus decades, though, die hard. Just like your morning dump, 'The Simpsons' are a part of your life. Even though it's bad, it's never outrageously wretched enough to force you to change the channel when reruns come on.
As a superhero serial killer who only unleashes his crazy on bad guys, Michael C. Hall makes for one creepy yet endearing dude. The writers took a fascinating concept and flushed it away, though, by getting timid, sticking with the same tired formula every year. If you've seen one season — in which Dexter faces off against an evil mastermind, questioning his morals and tending to his family life before winning the chess match and going in for the kill at the end — you've seen 'em all. Eventually something new will happen in this show, we tell ourselves, sticking with it, refusing to learn. Someday the show will get canceled and the writers will be forced to come up with some sort of resolution, we assure ourselves. And then we remember how Lost ended in a church and we curse the TV gods yet again.
The Walking Dead
There are infinite reasons to hate this grating drama. The whole zombie thing is as worn out as Chuck Norris gags. Each episode seems like a chapter meeting of Overactors Anonymous. And its emotional core is a vacant-eyed kid in a cowboy hat. And worst of all, people get way too excited for it, even going so far as to watch a talk show that comes on afterward in which D-list celebrities gush about their love for it. Which is all the more pathetic because the TV version of The Walking Dead is only the third best take on the material, after the stunning comic book and video game versions. The only reason to watch is to stock up on ammunition to shoot down the arguments of its zombie-like followers who won't stop nagging you to watch.