The Best-Worst Shows I Watch: Part One

There’s a whole lot of TV out there. Not all of it can be Community, Parks and Recreation and Happy Endings. Some of it has to be Two and a Half MenReal Housewives and Small Town Security. There has to be a spectrum of quality. We, as the TV-obsessed, need to be able to rank things. Now, I realize that some people might disagree with me and say that the shows I listed may not belong where I’ve placed them on the spectrum. But it is MY spectrum, after all.

However, I am not perfect. It’s not all New Girl and Breaking Bad on my TV/computer screen. I dabble in the less-than-critically acclaimed, and I’ve decided to share with you all some of the shows that I can’t help but watch that fall on the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo end of the spectrum (I do not actually watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo; it will not be on the list). Please, hold your judgment til the end of the post … and then, feel free to proclaim it loudly.

1) The Neighbors (Wednesdays, 8:30, ABC)

Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m addicted to watching ABC’s poorly written and characterized family sit-com, The Neighbors. I’m not sure if it’s the disarming abandon with which Simon Templeman and Toks Olagundoye portray the leaders of the Zabvronians, Larry Bird and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, or that the show plays to a portion of my brain that enjoys mindless plots and fanfiction-like levels of forced hijinks, but it’s fun for me. The other characters on the show seem like puppets controlled by an absent-minded and forgetful master; the traits and knowledge of the Zabvronians fluctuates and changes on a weekly basis based on the whims of the writers; and the child actors are … well, they’re trying, I guess.

In spite of all the awful that this show radiates, I keep checking it out on Hulu week after week. (That is, after I watch Modern Family and before I watch my two favorite ABC comedies, The Middle and Suburgatory. I try to sandwich The Neighbors between quality programming). There’s just something strangely appealing about it, maybe the way it reminds me of aliens-in-suburbia stories from an earlier, “simpler” time. Maybe it’s my fascination with and fear of aliens that keeps drawing me in. Similarly to zombies, I am both intrigued by and terrified of aliens. This means I tend to gravitate toward alien comedies (Men in Black) and actively avoid alien horror (Alien). Other genres bring mixed results. I can’t make myself watch ET, but I really enjoy Independence Day … and I am totally drawn to The Neighbors.

2) America’s Next Top Model (Fridays, 8, CW and marathons on Oxygen/WE/MTV/VH1 depending on syndication rights of each season)

ANTM has been giving us access to the inner crazy of Tyra Banks since 2003. Over the past (almost) 10 years*, Tyra has shown us just what delusional women will do for a title that involves little to no actual influence, and, in later years, no actual modeling. Since the beginning, I have been watching it pretty religiously in all its manifestations: day-long marathons that drove my parents and borther crazy when I was in high school and home from college; day-long marathons that my college roommate and I used as background entertainment while we did homework, laundry and feasted on Pokey Stix from Gumby’s; weekly viewings when it aired on UPN and, now, weekly viewings on

I’ve seen it through petite seasons, all-star editions, “college” editions and good old-fashioned skinny lady editions … not to mention a season that pitched British models against American ones. Tyra has been through a slew of judges and photographers and stylists, and she’s even tried to incorporate social media into it. Not everything she tries works (Pot Ledom music videos, for instance…try and watch them all, I dare you), but darn it if she doesn’t have passion, vision and just the right level of crazy. I know that not everyone likes Tyra Banks, but I, for one, cannot get enough, and I will probably watch ANTM until Tyra is cryogenically frozen and the show goes on hiatus until the technology is available to restore her to all her live, booty-tooching glory.

I ended up writing quite a lot about each of the shows in this list, so I’m going to split this into two posts for ease of consumption. Stay tuned next week for the exciting conclusion … who knows what else I’ll love and hate?

*10 YEARS! I wonder what new word Tyra will create to help us celebrate? The deca-smize-aversary?

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