The Best-Worst Shows I Watch: Part Two

And without further ado, the continuation of my best-worst list: 

3) Smash (Returning Monday, February 4 at 10 to NBC)

Smash is a bit more popular than The Neighbors and ANTM, but it’s been panned by quite a few critics for some poor characterization and inconsistent storytelling. It managed to bank quite the talented cast (though many, many, many people love to hate on Katharine McPhee, I think she’s just fine, even if Megan Hilty can act circles around her), and it’s got a great premise that allows it to logically break into song (having a semi-logical premise is a must for a TV musical and the lack-there-of was the nail in the coffin for Cop Rock).

In spite of the drama with Julia’s adoption and affair that was overwrought and, let’s face it, boring, I still tune in week after week. I love watching Christain Borle do his thing as Tom, and I love the songs. I also love the romance between Angelica Houston’s Eileen and Thorsten Kaye’s scruffy bartender, Nick. (Why is it that TV shows keep naming bartenders Nick? Is that just considered the best name for the profession?)

I also appreciate that the show is taking steps to improve before the next season. They got rid of the insufferable Ellis and Dev (THANK YOU, Producers!), and they’re bringing in the big guns: Jennifer Hudson (losing American Idol was the best thing that ever happened to her, and if you doubt that for a second, just take a look at her Golden Globe and Oscar) and Sean Hayes (when he’s reunited with Debra Messing, it’ll be magic, I tell ya, MAGIC). Who knows, maybe next year, I’ll be able to move this from the bad end of the spectrum! But, until then, Julia’s personal life will keep Smash nestled between Partners and The New Normal in the wasted potential section.

4) Four Weddings (Thursdays, 9, and marathons alternating Sundays on TLC)

If I’m being completely honest, there  probably could have been a lot more TLC shows on this list, but Four Weddings is, by far, the one I enjoy watching the most. The premise is pretty simple: four brides who live in the same area attend each other’s weddings and score the events on a system that keeps them from inflating their own scores. The bride with the most points wins a dream honeymoon. The other brides are left sad and vacation-less. For anyone unfamiliar with Four Weddingshere’s a sample.

I love attending weddings. I love dancing to DJs or bands, I love cake in all its forms, and I love all the love in the air. So, when there’s a TV show that allows me to “attend” multiple weddings over the course of an hour, I’m all in.  What makes the show bad, those of you who also love weddings ask? Well, like all TLC reality shows, it’s inherently catty; I mean, the show is intentionally set up to bring out the shallow critic in all of the brides (“Oh my gosh, can you believe she wore Chuck Taylors instead of heels?!” “Who has FAKE flowers?!”) Not to mention the sound effects to “help” you understand when a situation is awkward, awesome or awful. How else would I understand that one of the guest brides is creeped-out by the decorations without public domain organ music blaring?

Honestly, that’s the worst part of Four Weddings; all the public domain music they use to not only score the show, but to cover up the expensive, licensed music the band or DJ plays at the reception. They have maybe two “hip hop” songs they play over and over again, though my favorite public domain music is the wanna-be Marvin Gaye music for the “sultry” bride. In spite of the audio, the cattiness and the narrator, I still love watching it and guessing which bride will win (Hint: 9 times out of 10, it’s the bride with the most liquor and the biggest budget).

5) House Hunters/House Hunters International (All Times, HGTV … turn on your TV, I bet it’s on.)

Okay, some of you are probably thinking, “But I LOVE House Hunters!” and “House Hunters is pretty well done!” Well, if you didn’t know already, let me tell you, it’s also a LIE, which moves it to the bad end of the TV spectrum, even if it would probably fall in the middle otherwise. House Hunters is faked. When they start filming, the couple has already selected their home and is probably in the process of either moving in or dotting the i’s on the paperwork. So, when the film crew shows up, they scramble to find two random homes to tour and have irrelevant opinions about.

Since I made this discovery, watching the show has turned into a game of “guess which houses were the randos.” The viewing experience becomes an analysis of the house hunters’ reactions and comments. Which ones seem forced or fake? When does it look like they had to do that take 18 million times? When do they seem the most excited? Do their outfits hint to weather or not they’re actually purchasing this home? It becomes a mystery show, and I’m the detective. Oh, and from time to time, Michael Ian Black live tweets House Hunters, and it makes the experience that much more fun and hilarious. So, yes, House Hunters is a horrible lie, and one of the reasons reality TV is hardly real, but it is one of reality TV’s programming standards: fast, cheap and easy. For those reasons, I proudly love and hate watching it.


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