originally published November 1, 2012
Sometimes there’s nothing more fun than laughing at someone else’s complete and total failure. Until you realize that quite often those people got paid for their failures. In the case of these terrible television shows – all plucked from that fetid, rotting tree known as reality TV – the producers, directors, schmuck-wranglers and crud-packagers all walked away with a paycheck. Hell, even the networks that aired these messes collected their advertising revenue.
In the end, the only one who came away from these shows with a loss was the once-pure integrity of our collective culture.
Perhaps nothing better embodies the depths from which our society may never be saved than its obsession with the goings-on of the rich and famous. The E! network, which could arguably be prosecuted for crimes against humanity for its Kardashian-infused acts of loathsome malice, gave us Celebrities Uncensored in 2003. This televised urine stain was a half-hour of paparazzi footage, featuring popular stars in restaurants, shopping, or otherwise trying live their lives like the human beings most of them actually are. One sentence in the article about this show really stands out:
“Paris Hilton was first brought to the public’s attention by this show.”
For that I say the fires of Hell are too good for executive producer E.L. Woody and his minions of pure evil.
Fortunately, some of the A-listers who were negatively portrayed on Celebrities Uncensored started to boycott the E! network’s other red carpet shows. Getting elbowed out of the entertainment industry would have left the channel with nothing more than “Where Is Todd Bridges Today?”-type shows, so they axed this monstrosity and started doing what they were meant to do: kiss stars’ asses.
This seems like a reasonable premise. Find some anonymous internet commenters who spew (sometimes legitimate) vitriol about a celebrity, then haul that celebrity over to confront that person. Watch the magic ensue.
H8R lasted for four episodes on the CW last year. Hosted by former Saved By The Bell actor and guy-who-played-Greg-Louganis-in-a-TV-movie Mario Lopez, this beacon of good taste may have failed because of the celebrities it chose to feature. Only one actual professional performer appeared (Eva Longoria). The rest of the ‘celebrities’ constitute a mosaic of Who-Gives-A-Shit, including the Miz (a wrestler of some kind), Maksim Chmerkovskiy (a dancer in need of a new stage-name) and the guy who invented Girls Gone Wild.
I admit, there`s a part of me that wants to see how Snooki and Kim Kardashian defended themselves. Neither of them can make any claim to an actual talent worthy of their celebrity. That said, I doubt the producers of H8R sought out the most erudite and well-spoken detractors. No doubt Kim was told by her internet foe that she “wasn’t all that” or something.
The episode they taped but never aired featured Levi Johnston, baby-daddy to Bristol Palin and otherwise unnecessary celebrity. I kind of wish the CW had held out on cancelling the show until after they`d booked Mel Gibson. Ideally the ‘H8R’ in that confrontation would have been a representative from the Jewish Defense League. That would have been great television.
Remember back in the 70s and early 80s when stars used to perform circus acts in prime-time television? If you don’t, then yeah, that was a thing. CBS tried to recreate that magic in 2008 with Secret Talents Of The Stars, a show in which celebrities could amaze their audiences with tremendous skills no one knew they possessed.
Like George Takei singing country music.
Don’t get me wrong – George Takei is probably the greatest thing to happen to Facebook, and one of the most likable and genuinely funny celebrities on the planet. But this was not good. I only wish I could find a video of the performance. What’s worse is that Gavin Polone, a respectable TV and movie producer but quite likely an immense dick-hole, told George he looked like a character out of Brokeback Mountain, clearly meaning to deride George’s performance with a jab at his sexuality. The show was yanked after one episode.
Here are some of the acts they had planned but we never got to see:
- Danny Bonaduce riding a unicycle.
- Ben Stein dancing the jitterbug.
- Malcolm-Jamal “Theo Huxtable” Warner playing an original hip-hop song on the bass guitar.
In a way, it’s kind of too bad this show didn’t make it.
Of all the shows which have… oh fuck it. This show isn’t even good enough to appear on a list of the ‘worst’. Everyone involved with bringing this show into existence deserves to get space-herpes.
Perhaps you’ve heard about those contests in which a group of people place their hands on a vehicle, then the last one left touching it wins the thing. This was employed as a plot device on My Name Is Earl and That 70s Show. Over in England, producers Glenn Barden and Dave Hills thought it would make for riveting television in 2001.
Touch The Truck. That was the show. A bunch of people literally standing (or possibly sitting) with their hands placed on a non-moving vehicle. Needless to say, the show only aired once.
It took over 81 hours for a winner to be declared. Jerry Middleton announced upon his victory that he planned to sell the vehicle to fund his own political party. And he did, earning 54 whole votes in his riding in the 2001 election. Wow. I think if he ran for office, even Survivor winner Richard Hatch would get more than 54 votes.
Welcome To The Neighborhood – and wow, I wish I was making this up – was a reality show in which the prize was a luxury home in an expensive Austin, Texas neighborhood. The aspiring residents were to be judged by their neighbors: three white conservative families.
The seven competing families included a black family, a Hispanic family, a Native American / Pagan family, a Korean family, Republicans with tattoos, white people with a stripper mother, and a gay couple with an adopted black child. Since the gist of the show was to showcase with whom the three judging families were willing to share a zip code, they may as well have titled this thing Look How Craptastically Awful White Conservatives Are.
One of the judges claimed he “would not tolerate a homosexual” on his block. The Christian groups who spend their days campaigning that Seth McFarlane is personally responsible for the erosion of all American values actually protested this show, claiming conservatives might come off looking biased. Take that thought for a spin around the block a few times.
Ultimately, ABC opted not to air the show, though the Fox Reality Channel made a bid for it. Despite the entire season having been filmed, no episodes have ever seen the light of day.
Oh, and the judges awarded the house to the homosexuals with the black kid. So maybe there’s hope for the conservative south.
Check back with me after Tuesday’s election.