TV Guide Names 'Jerry Springer' Worst Show of All Time
July 12, 2002 10:31 PM   Subscribe

TV Guide Names 'Jerry Springer' Worst Show of All Time Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! What are some of your least favorites?
posted by BarneyFifesBullet (43 comments total)
Jenny Jones. Aren't they both filmed in the same building? They should have tied. :)
posted by gummi at 10:40 PM on July 12, 2002

That show is the ugliest, most awful thing ever.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:49 PM on July 12, 2002

Anyone remember the Cindy Margolis Show? Worst. Show. Ever.
I mean, what was that supposed to be?
posted by Newbornstranger at 10:53 PM on July 12, 2002

Some show with a guy named Dick Dietrich. I vaguely remember it... maybe it was a nightmare, but whatever it was, it was muy horrible.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:55 PM on July 12, 2002

Does anyone remember an 80's Knight Rider ripoff called Automan? And also some TV show and/or movie with a guy driving a bright yellow sports car with what appeared to be a phoenix painted on the exterior? These are just flashes in my brain right now...the memories...

Also: Manimal.
posted by Succa at 11:01 PM on July 12, 2002

I'm with Jenny Jones as the worst show, the only show that has directly resulted in a homicide. (Sure there was a Springer homicide, but that was between guests with a pre-existing conflict).

And every American Fawlty Towers remake, and 'Homeboys in Outer Space'.

I'm surprised 'Amos and Andy' didn't make the list.
posted by bobo123 at 11:28 PM on July 12, 2002

Any show that NBC put between Friends and Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure that Union Square was written by some sort of sitcom generating computer.
posted by Gary at 11:29 PM on July 12, 2002

I dunno. I never watched the worst ones long enough to decide if they're the worst ever.

Have Carrot Top and Pauly Shore done some sort of collaboration? That would get my vote.
posted by nath at 11:34 PM on July 12, 2002

Any show that NBC put between Friends and Seinfeld.

C'mon, The Single Guy was good.
posted by bobo123 at 11:35 PM on July 12, 2002

aw come on....amos and andy is brilliant stuff.
posted by billybob at 11:44 PM on July 12, 2002

C'mon, The Single Guy was good.

It wasn't too bad, but it got old really fast. Same thing goes for Just Shoot Me. The real problem with the timeslot is that they kept putting bland, uncreative sitcoms between two really successful sitcoms. At least when Fox had to fill the Sunday 8:30 timeslot (between The Simpsons and Married With Children), they took risks. So many of the shows were still terrible, but at least they were creative (Woops!, Get a Life and Herman's Head come to mind, though I kind of liked Herman's Head).
posted by Gary at 11:46 PM on July 12, 2002

Amos and Andy was a subject of great controversy in the Civil Rights era but it was well written and acted and has strong and loval following still.

Cop Rock was so grandiosely awful that it deserves a cult.
posted by y2karl at 11:48 PM on July 12, 2002

I remember Automan, the hypbrid ripoff of the Knight Rider and Tron.
posted by Modem Ovary at 11:49 PM on July 12, 2002

I think the self-righteous, condescending and woefully misguided Ricki Lake was actually harmful to the minds of her viewers in a way that the hilariously stupid Jenny Jones and the sometimes insightful Jerry Springer couldn't begin to touch. I'd name her show the worst of all time, if not for the inexplicable existence of Seventh Heaven.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 11:53 PM on July 12, 2002

Some show with a guy named Dick Dietrich.

You must be thinking of Night Stand, the fake talk show hosted by Dick Dietrick who was played by Timothy Stack. IIRC, I really thought the show was hilarious.
posted by gyc at 12:07 AM on July 13, 2002

Any group of people who label "Seinfeld" as the greatest TV show of all time are obviously drooling idiots- or grad students who wrote way too much significance into Seinfeld, which was nothing more than a sometimes-funny light comedy.

Springer is garbage, but doesn't really pretend to be anything else. I'd rather have a colonoscopy than watch a full episode, but, on the other hand, I don't really find it any more offensive than anything else.

A truly criminal and immoral show is Crossing Over with John Edward, a two-bit charlatan who milks the emotions of the grief-stricken for entertainment and profit. Grosses me out.
posted by evanizer at 12:16 AM on July 13, 2002

I'd have to pick "Full House" as the worst show of all time. The only show where I wanted to kill every single solitary character. I actually liked *Kimmy* the most, and aways hoped for a very special episode where she got tired of the verbal abuse and opened fire on the Tanners with a shotgun.

Unfortunately, the girl I babysat for at the time adored the show. I must have sinned greatly in a past life.
posted by Windigo at 12:27 AM on July 13, 2002

The Trouble With Tracy (scroll down on last one). However, it's Canadian so probably doesn't count. (Though it did take place in NY.) eesh it was awful.
posted by dobbs at 12:44 AM on July 13, 2002

Chevy Chase's Talk Show
posted by poodlemouthe at 1:00 AM on July 13, 2002

If you think Jerry Springer is the worst show on television you are not awake RIGHT NOW or have the television off... The 'Cops' style reenactment show I have on at this moment totally SUCKS! There are thousands of nameless crappy shows all over the dial at 3 to 6 am.

and some not so nameless, Dr. Laura?
posted by darkpony at 1:44 AM on July 13, 2002

I've seen only two of the bottom 50, but I can aver that The Trouble With Tracy was really bad, though almost charmingly bad. I only saw it when I stayed home sick from school and ate Kraft Dinner lunches, so you can see that it must have been a Canadian plot of some sort.
posted by pracowity at 1:52 AM on July 13, 2002

Woops made the list. A show from Fox's weird period of trying basically any idea writers could come up with. If I remember correctly, the basic idea was that there was a atomic war (aerial incident for the Neil Postman fans) and the 6 remaining people on earth all ended in a farmhouse. There was a thanksgiving episode where a giant turkey attacked the farm only to choke on the rain.

Funny that I remember that show, but not much about my last year in college.

Personally, I never thought "Hogan's Heroes" was that bad, and "Desmond Pfeiffer" should get extra points for inspiring a chain of fast food joints in "The Clerks" cartoon.

Springer topping the list is just wrong though. NBC's latest gameshow "Dog Eat Dog: Celebrity edition featuring Kato, Darva Conger, etc." is far worse than any episode of Springer's show which is the television equal to picking up a stone to watch the insects underneath. It tries to entertain, and succeeds for the people that watch it. Something many television shows strive for and miss the mark.
posted by drezdn at 2:26 AM on July 13, 2002

Touched By An Angel.

(and Night Stand rocked!)
posted by rushmc at 3:40 AM on July 13, 2002

An American show called "Temptation Island" premiered last night in Japan. That was pretty lame, although it probably couldn't be the worst ever. If they are gonna make a "reality" show, they should have at least one part that doesn't look coached. Too much money at stake, I guess.
We also got our first episode of the Osbourne's this week, which seemed to be all about their mistreated dogs messing the carpets and floors.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:52 AM on July 13, 2002

A tie:
Fox's "Hannity & Colmes", and of course Bill O'Reilly
posted by matteo at 5:45 AM on July 13, 2002

WTF? How dare they include "The Ropers" on their list of 50 worst shows?!? Being a spin-off of "Three's Company" should automatically prevent it from being named such. Norman Fell--sheer hilarity! Don't suppose there are any other MeFi's out there who think "Three's Company" got a bum rap, and consider it a truly classic TV show...?

And I remember "Automan" from reruns on (geek alert) Sci-Fi channel. Automan was basically a computer who could assume human form in order to assist his human cop partner solve crimes using his computer-generated powers. Sorta like "$6 Million Dollar Man" without the love. Uh...and speaking of the Bionic Man, maybe it ranked at #51 on the list, eh? (chuckle)
posted by davidmsc at 6:14 AM on July 13, 2002

Hey, don't mess with Steve Austin....
posted by rushmc at 6:37 AM on July 13, 2002

Jerry Springer is a guilty pleasure because it operates on the same psychological desire as any classic freak show, only on TV instead of in RL. I think that the reason it's called bad TV is because it doesn't have any moral value, just purely entertainment through exploitation. Is that so bad?
posted by zegooober at 7:14 AM on July 13, 2002

Three's Company must be the longest-running show with the fewest merits.
posted by datawrangler at 8:09 AM on July 13, 2002

But Norman Fell was a comedy genius--surely we can all agree on that--not to mention the pinpoint comedic timing and sheer physical mastery of each Suzanne Sommers' jiggle.;)

Rush Limbaugh's show was on about as long as Cop Rock, and, purely as tv, sucked enough to make this list.
posted by y2karl at 8:40 AM on July 13, 2002

America's Funniest Home Videos.

Kill Bob Sagat.
posted by oh posey at 10:14 AM on July 13, 2002

When Good Shows Go Bad.
posted by vbfg at 10:33 AM on July 13, 2002

self-righteous, condescending and woefully misguided Ricki Lake was actually harmful

Exactly. Which made it watchable. She tried so hard to stress she was down with today's youth yet, if Ricki's staff was hip to today's youth like they claimed, they would have censored the poor cuckold on the show about pregnant girls with new boyfriends who shouted, "Nobody nut on my baby's head."
posted by yerfatma at 10:35 AM on July 13, 2002

I heard Jerry Springer talking on the radio the other day and he said, "My show is the worst show out there. I know it's bad. But if it keeps making money and people will watch it, we'll keep it going." I have to agree with his sentiment. It's an awful show, but if it's keeping him and his staff paid, that is no bad thing.

I was surprised to see The Chevy Chase Show on there, I didn't realise he did a show, I'd love to see that. Chevy Chase is a comic genius.

And, of course, Tom Green. Great show, but also a very bad show. I think some shows can straddle both classifications!

The Brady Bunch Hour was a great cultural phenomenon. Remember that big spoof they did of it in The Simpsons? Pure gold.

My suggestion for shows that should be in the list... Jackass (for the same reason Tom Green is there), Celebrity Deathmatch, Beavis and Butthead, Sifl and Olly, and The Osbournes. All MTV shows, go figure!
posted by wackybrit at 11:58 AM on July 13, 2002

rushmc. You stole my show;)

Touched By An Angel has got to be the most disgusting, condescending piece of fluff television ever. Tune in at the 50 minute mark to catch the angel's morality lecture and you've seen every episode. Bleech!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:05 PM on July 13, 2002

Chevy Chase is a comic genius. If you saw that show, you'd change your mind!

Alright, Woops! #43. I remember that era of Sunday night Fox... man, there was some bad stuff then. Similarly, I can't remember what it was called, but there was a Married With Children spin-off that was on Fox for a couple episodes on Sundays. It featured the now Friends' Joey Trebbiani, aka. Matt LeBlanc... it was really bad.

The second season of the US's Men Behaving Badly was horrendously, horrendous. First season had it's moments... but then all the talent left.
posted by mkn at 12:11 PM on July 13, 2002

Have you seen America's Funniest Videos recently? Saget's gone. Now they have that guy who emcee's the new Hollywood Squares, and with this new guy it's almost tolerable, because that guy's tongue in cheek humor isn't quite as grating as Saget. Like Springer, the new AFV knows what it is and doesn't pretend. It knows it's bad.

I guess it all comes down to whether a show knows it's bad. Or whether a show intends to be good and fails rather than intending to be bad and succeeding.

Springer's actually the best of the worst and this says some terrible things about the Modern Human Condition. Springer is the benchmark from which all bad television of the past is measured. Pretty much everything listed above by all of you counts as below Springer. Manimal. Woops. Herman's Head. Touched By An Angel. Crossing Over. Night Stand. Jenny Jones. Montel. God the list could go on forever. It's all worse than Springer. You're all absolutely right. In fact I'd go out on a limb and say Springer is the 50/50 point. There are as many bad shows in the history of television as there are good ones, and Springer is right smack dab in the center of the fray.

To be fair, I like some of the shows listed among the worst, but I enjoy them in the same way I enjoy my personal collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. I still wish they'd done Plan Nine From Outer Space, but that was far too easy a target. Also to be fair, Oprah Winfrey is bad television, but it's bad feel good television. Even I find myself sucked up in that one, especially on Tuesdays. Dr. Phil is getting his own show, which is bad before it even starts but I'll probably watch it.

As far as really REALLY bad televsion goes, Under One Roof is in my opinion the sign of the apocalypse for 'reality television.' Well actually, it's the sign that reality television has always been dead, but now it's stinking up the joint. Fifth Wheel, Blind Date, RendeView, The Bachelor... Springer actually looks good compared to 90% of the crap out there. Sheena, Lost World, Beastmaster, Relic Hunter... Come on! Use your imagination! Rescue 911. Maximum Exposure. Anything that pretends to be a Cops ripoff. There's some show produced here in Texas which is basically a private investigator with a bunch of cameraguys chasing after people who have been two-timing their main squeeze. That one's so bad I've removed the title of that show from my memory. Unfortunately the mental scars are still there.

Even Seinfeld, which I adored, was purposefully a bad show. It was a parody of the situation comedy formula, and was by design intended to be bad because Seinfeld's team of ingenious crackpot writers were sandblasting the entire sitcom genre. Seinfeld is a New York Friar's Roast of the sitcom.

Seinfeld claimed to be nothing more than a show about nothing. It did what it set out to do, but it didn't pretend to be great, and that's why it is so great. In comparison, Friends is a show about nothing, but it doesn't KNOW it's a show about nothing, which is why ultimately Friends doesn't hold a candle to Seinfeld. In contrast to Friends, Hogan's Heroes was a fun sendup of the very stupidity of war. Decades later, it's still funny. Stupid, but funny, so in my opinion it doesn't belong on the list. It's somewhere between Springer and Seinfeld. HH doesn't deserve to be on any best or worst list. It's simply there. Kinda like MASH but without the self-referential holier-than-thou attitude that cursed MASH in its latter seasons.

Springer the worst? If only we could be so lucky. If Springer was the ultimate worst ever, television would actually be pretty good. I mean what do you guys want? Twenty four hours of Masterpiece Theater? Personally if we could get 24 hours of nothing but Whose Line Is It Anyway? I'd be happy. However the british version was better than the ABC censored version. Even though some of the same guys are regulars in both. Whose Line is funny as hell, and a great concept that puts any corporate massaged sitcom to shame.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2002

As a public service, Zach's best to worst measuring stick for American Television.

100.0 The Honeymooners
99.9 Seinfeld

99.8 - 75.2 ...whatever you personally feel is the best ever.

75.1 Whose Line Is It Anyway? (American version)
75.0 Hogan's Heroes
74.9 MASH

74.8 - 50.2 ...whatever you personally feel is okay.

50.1 Oprah Winfrey
50.0 Jerry Springer
49.9 Montel Williams

49.8 - 25.2 ...whatever you personally feel sucks.

25.1 The Osbournes
25.0 America's Funniest Home Videos
24.9 Manimal

24.8 - 00.1 ...whatever causes internal hemmoraging.

00.0 Normal Life
posted by ZachsMind at 1:16 PM on July 13, 2002

Hey Zach, what up? Clearly the very worst show was "The Galloping Gourmet": Drunk cooking, guests like Tiny Tim, sexism and really terrible cooking.
posted by Mack Twain at 1:21 PM on July 13, 2002

"Hey Zach, what up?"

Not much. ...Galloping Gourmet? I'd give that a 00.2

Have you ever seen "Normal Life"? It lasted one episode. Featuring Moon Unit Zappa. Max Gail was the dad.. sorta. It was terrible. It took the sitcom formula and did nothing remarkable with it. It was kinda like watching someone take a strand of spaghetti from a halfcooked pot and throwing it at the wall to see if it would stick.

Even Emeril was better than Normal Life. ...ah hell. I gotta go do laundry. Y'all have fun. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2002

Evanizer: Hell yeah! "Crossing Over" offends on so very many levels that it takes the prize.

I liked Manimal.........but then again, I hated Seinfeld with an unreasoning loathing, so what do I know.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:28 PM on July 13, 2002

hmmm... i really loved watching "hogan's heroes" as a kid, but i guess it got on the list for being rather unkind towards nazis...? if so, too bad for the nazis. jeez.

"the trouble with tracy" is where my junior high friends got the idea to nickname me "trouble" (an appropriate choice then and now, which explains why they still use it)... i thought the show was pretty funny, largely because of how terrible it was. i loved how the mistakes were rarely edited out. to me it fell in the "plan 9 from outerspace" category; being so terrible it was entertaining for that reason alone.
posted by t r a c y at 5:36 AM on July 14, 2002

television - drug of the nation, feeding ignorance and bleeding radiation.

2, 7, 5, 4, 8 she watched she said
All added up to zero
And nothing in her head

when the world is no longer watching, stay faithful to your drug - durutti column

enough good music about bad television, or something. it really is so much easier to list the good shows. there haven't been enough 'fox force five'-like decisions made by the accountants. creativity is not a safe bet, perhaps.
posted by asok at 4:42 AM on July 16, 2002

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