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2005: Boob tube at its worst


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I can honestly say I never watched any of them! :D


Developing a list of the best television programming during the past 12 months is a daunting task. Assembling a lineup of the worst TV programs of 2005, is even more Herculean. So many choices, so few slots ...

It's a sin, for example, that certain awful TV shows should escape the end-of-year tally unscathed simply because there are other, worse contenders beneath them at the bottom of the barrel.

So let's take a moment, to recall, and recoil at, the runaway egotism of Bravo's "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" and NBC's "Hit Me Baby, One More Time." And at the scripted ineptitude of two Fox shows: the unfunny sitcom "The War at Home" and the unwatchable comedy-drama "Head Cases." And at the ambitious failure of HBO's "The Comeback," and the unambitious failure of NBC's "10.5: Apocalypse."

And, of course, a special nod to ABC's "Welcome to the Neighborhood," a reality series considered so bad by its own network, that it was canceled before it premiered. Only TV critics, provided with preview tapes, got to watch "Welcome to the Neighborhood." Take my word for it, though - every one of the shows listed below, in my Bottom 10 TV Shows of 2005, were much, much worse. They're listed alphabetically, but by sweet coincidence, the show I consider worst of all comes at the very end.

Bottom of the list, bottom of the barrel.

"Bad Girl's Guide," UPN. Jenny McCarthy stars in a comedy that I awarded no stars when it premiered. I predicted failure, but that wasn't difficult. The failure was evident in every frame and lame joke.

"Battle of the Network Reality Stars," Bravo. The original "Battle of the Network Stars," from the 1970s, was a blast. This updated version was a bomb because it had no stars. 'Reality Stars' is an oxymoron. And the people gathered here to compete - well, let's just say they made the roommates on "The Surreal Life" look like diners at the Algonquin Round Table.

"Britney & Kevin: Chaotic," UPN. Someday, if not already, Britney Spears will look at this personally approved reality series of hers and ask herself what anyone who saw it was wondering: "What sort of white-trash idiot is this?" She may never have the emotional distance or intelligence required, though, to realize that question applies not only to her hanger-on Kevin, but to herself as well.

"But Can They Sing?," VH1. No. Morgan Fairchild strutting to "These Boots Are Made for Walking" had a certain train-wreck fascination, but Bai Ling in anything was an attention-starved horror to behold: all costumes, no talent and her wardrobe was even scantier than her vocal range. Bye, Ling.

"Intervention," A&E. This series took people in deep emotional pain and at very vulnerable times in their lives, and abused them for the sake of alleged entertainment. Just ask Vanessa Marquez, the "ER" actress profiled and taken advantage of in the pilot. Unforgivably exploitive.

"The Law Firm," NBC. What was David E. Kelley thinking in putting his name to this dull, poorly structured, horribly cast reality series? Clearly, he wasn't thinking at all, and was spending all his time on the infinitely superior "Boston Legal." This should have been thrown out of court. Almost immediately, NBC dumped it onto Bravo.

"Martha Behind Bars," CBS. How bad was this second Martha Stewart biopic starring Cybill Shepherd? Much worse than the first, which is bad enough. And even worse than either of the real Stewart's two new shows from 2005, which is unthinkable.

"The Real Gilligan's Island," TBS. The first edition of this putrid reality-competition series made my Bottom 10 list last year. The 2005 edition was even worse, making it the only show to make the Bottom 10 two years in a row. Quite an achievement: a monument to terrible TV.

"Who's Your Daddy?," Fox. When this series premiered, offering a grown adopted woman the chance to identify her biological father from a group of candidates, I called it "a horrible, repellant, indefensible television show." If anything, I was too kind. It was one of the last of the mean-spirited reality shows.

"The Will," CBS. CBS unveiled this series the first week of January, and yanked it after a single telecast. As a result, we never did learn which of Bill Long's family members and hangers-on impressed him enough to win the ranch he was offering as this reality show's prize. To viewers, though, the only impressive thing here was the utter inhumanity of the entire enterprise. I called it "the worst show of the year," and added: "Granted, the year is only six days old at this point - but for the next 359 days, it'll be the low point to beat."

It was - and it wasn't beaten all year. On TV, where there's a "Will," there's no worse way.

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