Monday, June 16, 2008

I'll Always Love Chachi

The other day I was listening to the radio and the hosts were discussing the list of the worst TV shows ever. I'm a sucker for lists like these, so I listened to hear if any of my favorites made the list.

Here they are . . . with some commentary thrown in, of course (from The Chicago Tribune):

"You're in the Picture" (1961). Jackie Gleason appeared in a prime time quiz show, but it was so bad the quiz format was dropped after one airing and it became instead a short-lived talk show. Even Gleason knew it was bad: "I've seen bombs in my day, but this one made the H-bomb look like a 2-inch salute." Never heard of it. Maybe it was because I wasn't born. Still . . . no reruns or anything.

"Petticoat Junction" (1963-'70). Some shows from that era hold up remarkably well -- either as sweet nostalgia or entertaining camp. Not this one, set in Hooterville. Watch video
My dad LOVED this show. It was also before I was born, but being that it ran for seven years before anyone figured out it was horrible, I've seen my fair share of reruns.

"My Mother the Car" (1965-66). In it, Jerry Van Dyke's mother was reincarnated as a talking automobile, the voice supplied by Ann Sothern. Actually made it through one season. Watch video
Really? A car. Well, at least it wasn't a stove . . . wait, was I just being sexist?

"Turn-On" (1969). Illegitimate son of "Laugh-In." Lasted one episode. 1969. One episode? Did you see the title? Well, duh.

"Ernest Angley Hour" (1973-present). Broadcast from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Angley's Southern rural lisp deliveries are syndicated worldwide. While he doesn't claim to be a faith healer, his trademark palm-of-the-hand to the forehead is accompanied by his high-pitched shout "Be heeeeaaaalllled!" as the healee drops to the floor, to be caught by an assistant. Watch video
Here's the problem: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I'm from Ohio, so no angry comments please.

"B.J. and the Bear" (1979-81). Comedy/adventure about an itinerant trucker who traveled the nation's highways with his pet chimpanzee. Watch video
Anything with a chimp . . . doomed.

"When Things Were Rotten" (1975). Created by Mel Brooks. Hoo boy. Lasted a half season. Brooks used the same Robin Hood theme in the 1993 movie "Men in Tights." Clearly, better as a movie.

"Mr. T. and Tina" (1976). Starring Pat Morita (who also played Arnold on "Happy Days"). Canceled after five episodes. My husband was just telling me about this. I thought he was kidding . . .

"The Ropers" (1979-80). An entire show built around the landlords from the nearly as awful "Three's Company." I would have rather watched a spin-off with Larry. Cad that he was . . .

"Joanie Loves Chachi" (1982-83). Scott Baio's addition to "Happy Days" was a classic jump-the-shark moment; here the shark goes belly up and begins to smell. Watch video
Um, I didn't really watch this one, but I *heart* Chachi.

"Mama's Family" (1983-90). The Vickie Lawrence skit was the weak link on "The Carol Burnett Show." So, naturally, it got a weekly half-hour. Watch video
I liked it. It lasted seven years. Clearly, there were a lot of us with bad taste watching it . . .

"Manimal" (1983). NYU prof could change into any animal to help fight crimes. Show turned into a turkey. Watch video
Weird. Cool idea, but just weird for TV. Maybe movie??? Could be a pretty cool franchise. Think of all the McDonald Happy Meal toys you could create!

"Mr. Belvedere" (1985-90). Starred Bob Uecker -- need we say more? Watch video
I liked Bob Uecker. I will not apologize for that. I thought he was quirky in a gruff sort of way. I liked this show and I will NOT apologize for that!

"Small Wonder" (1985-89): Robot scientist builds robot in the shape of a 10-year-old girl, then tries to hide her amid his family. Theme-song quote: "She's fantastic/Made of plastic." Watch video
The theme song did 'em in. I swear it did.

"Life With Lucy" (1986). Lucille Ball's final, disastrous short-lived series. It lasted only a few months but still tarnished the TV icon's legacy.
Come on? Does anyone even remember this one? I was just a kid. And, quite honestly, at nearly any given hour you can find an "I Love Lucy" episode airing. So, this is just not that big a deal . . . Tarnished her legacy. I think NOT.

"Beauty and the Beast" (1987-90). The pretty gal and ugly critter didn't just love each other; they solved crimes! Too weird for me. But, I remember it had a very loyal following.

"Cop Rock" (1990). Steven Bochco, apparently bored with making legitimate cop series ("Hill Street Blues"), decided it would be fun to have cops sing, and it would be even more fun to have them performing legit, hard-core cop work while they did it. Stupid. Just plain stupid. It was like someone was playing a joke on the viewing public.

"Pink Lady and Jeff" (1980): Quite possibly the most demented variety show of all time, this bizarre offering paired two Japanese pop singers who spoke almost no English with comedian Jeff Altman. Hilarity did not ensue. Watch video
Never, ever heard of it. Thank God.

"The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage" (1991). A 17th Century pirate trans-whatevered to modern times has to save a life for every one he's taken. Which, come to think of it, is the same plot as "My Name Is Earl." Again, never heard of it. Where the heck was I?

"The Jerry Springer Show" (1991 to present). His aim is low. I accidentally watched it. It was like watching a car crash with a bunch of freaks inside. Ugly. Bad. Hard to turn away.

"Barney & Friends" (1992-present). Yes, some little kids love it. But parents helped compile this list, and it annoys the heck out of us. Watch video
"I love you . . . you love me." Whatever. If Barney is on, I get a chance to pee . . .

"Homeboys from Outer Space" (1996-97). The name was a tip-off. What the heck was this??? Not a clue. Main problem: HOMEBOYS

"The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer" (1998). A black British gentleman run out of England for cheating takes a job as a butler to Abraham Lincoln. And it was a comedy. And it made fun of slavery. Watch video
I'm laughing at the description. It was a comedy about slavery. Wow. How far we've come.

XFL (2001). NBC and Pro wrestling decide football isn't entertaining enough the way it is. They are wrong. Lame. Bad. Unwatchable. Some bored dudes clearly needing more reasons to drink beer and chill in their La-Z-Boys.

"Cavemen" (2007): We'll take this insurance commercial, see, only we'll make it 30 times as long! No, not the one with the lizard. Watch video
Horrible. I actually had to turn away out of embarrassment. For the actors.

There are 25 more here that list some pop culture faves such as Hogan's Heroes and Baywatch. I could tack on a variety of reality shows or how about those dating shows on MTV? There are just so, so many shows that just make you cringe.

I think about how years from now when I share stories of the types of shows on TV "back in the day" that J will laugh about the robot, the "Beast," the huge purple dinosaur (but I'll remind him just how much he loved him), the changing animal thingy. We'll laugh together about how if by chance other planets can pick up our TV signals, can you just imagine what those aliens must think of us? Now, that might be a cool concept for a show.

So, how about you? What are your worst show picks? Or, how about favorite shows that you think are the WORST? Doesn't matter . . . just share. This is very valuable information!

Oh, NO! He's escaping . . . Apparently there was nothin' on TV worth watching.


Anonymous said...

um, I've been trying to remember the name of 'Small Wonder' for years now. I kept explaining the concept of the show, and no one knew what I was talking about. Yay for finally knowing.

Kristen said...

Oh I so have to admit to watching Petticoat Junction. How sad is that?

I am totally embarassed that I just admitted to that.

Ai yi yi!

Head over to my blog when you get a free moment. I have something for you! :)

Great Post as always.

MommyTime said...

As a child, I loved BJ and the Bear. But then, I was 9. Most of the rest of these, I've never heard of, let alone seen -- though I will say that cops jumping out of lockers in choreographed moves is INANE! My addition to this list of truly awful-yet-compelling TV would be Fantasy Island (on after the fabulous Love Boat). A cackling dwarf and mysterious, magic Spaniard make people's creepiest fantasies come true...or is it all a dream?

Amy said...

I liked Mr.Belvedere too and Small Wonder. That sure is some list. Amazing what those people in Hollywood come up with!

Kellan said...

I hate to admit it --- but I have watched some Petticoat Junction, in my time - liked it too. And I liked Beauty and the Beast - it was sexy in a weird sicko kind of way.

Most of those other shows I never heard of. I always liked Chachi too!

Have a good Tuesday - see ya - Kellan

Karen said...

I loved Petticoat Junction! I also watched Mr. Belvedere but can't remember if I liked it or not. It must not have been that great.

Pam said...

I love that picture/caption of J!

Jennifer said...

i only remember a few of them, but thank goodness right? if they were that horrible. i know i like the small wonder show, and my brother and i used to watch the bionic woman and also spunky bruster. :) we LOVED them.
my brother always said he was going to marry spunky bruster one day. :)
we also watch the cosby show and that is all i can think of for now. ;)

i remember seeing beauty and the beast one time, but was scared of it. they lived in some cave or he lived in a cave or something.. just creepy.

great post!! :)

Jennifer said...

duh!! my favorite part of the entire post and i didn't even leave a comment about it... sorry.

that picture is sooo cute!! although we only get to see his lil' behind... great pic and good caption to go along with it. :)


Kristi said...

As much as I really can't stand Barney, it is mainly because of the lack of musical quality in the singing. They drop the ends of phrases and I don't like hearing kids to be taught to sing that way. Other than that, there are a lot worse shows ion television (i.e. teletubbies...YUCK!)

Lori said...

The only one on that list that I watched was Mama's Family. Now, my admission is that I've become hooked on "trash" tv - I don't watch regularly but if it's on, I can't look away. Examples? This is embarrassing to admit but hey they are good for laughs - Rock of Love (hilarious!), Flavor of Love (ridiculous) and the Gene Simmons one's sad, I know!

Kat said...

I'm sorry, but I LOVED BJ and the Bear! Loved it! I had SUCH a crush on the lead guy. So cute!!! Ahhh, the feathered hair!

I was totally freaked out by Small Wonder. Seriously, a little girl that is really a robot? Fa-reaky!

Kat said...

Oh, and thanks for the link! That is so cool! I'm sure it works! Music is amazing!
If these migraines don't go away I would try it! :)

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

Okay: I loved Beauty & the Beast, Mr Belvedere, Small Wonder, the Petticoat Junction reruns, & XFL.

Anonymous said...

BJ & the Bear was my favorite, favorite show...of all time!

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Who needs Jerry Springer. We just drive down to the trailer park down the road and that's all the entertainment we need.

Marmarbug said...

I remember Beauty and the Beast. Cavemen is just wrong on so many levels.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think I successfully avoided all those but Barney.

I'd rather watch J's behind scooching down the hallway!

McMommy said...

Small Wonder
Mr. Belvedere
Mama's Family

....I'm GUILTY of watching!

Loved your commentary on the shows, btw.

Anonymous said...

Were you listening to Opie and Anthony?? Because they just did this last week and I was hysterical!!!

Jennifer said...

you know all morning i have been thinking about "S"punky Bruster... duh!! and I couldn't understand what didn't seem right to me... and well DUH!!!

it is b/c it was Punky BrWEster!! duh!! i'm such a dingbat sometimes!! sorry. it had been bugging me all morning and when I realized it i had to come back and leave another comment on it.


Pregnantly Plump said...

I have to admit that I was a huge fan of "Small Wonder." I have no idea why, but I was. I liked that show.

Kori said...

I don't remember most of those shows, even though I think Iam older than you are. My anti-TV sentiments were instilled in me early one because at our house, it was NEVER off. Never. I can still sing the old Solarcaine commercial jingle from when I was a kid, and I don't recall actually ever seeing the commercial. Anyway, I cop to the Michael Jackson phase; when I went to Canada for a month the summer before 8th grade, I had a ton of money with me and I bought a Michael Jackson T-shirt. That was it. Of course, he was still young and black then, and oh-so-cute...sigh...what HAPPENED?

Don Mills Diva said...

I had completely forgotten about Petticoat Junction - I used to LOVE that show!

Unknown said...

*COUGH* I have been to a Springer show...not as a guest but as a member of the audience..... was VERY entertaining.

Family Adventure said...

Having not grown up in N America, I missed most of these shows...but there are some horrible ones on now. Nuff said :)

Love that picture...that's how I feel sometimes when trying to find something on TV that is worth watching :)

Tara R. said...

I remember a lot of these, and wish I didn't. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane...

Momisodes said...

I loved Mama's Family! In fact, I'd still watch it today :)

Springer? You are so right. Like a wreckage that you just can't help but watch sometimes.

Anonymous said...

ah, memory lane! I watched
Mama's Family
Mr. Belvedere
Small Wonder

and another fave was "My 2 dads".
Good stuff.

Now, I am in Barney hell!

Wineplz said...

LOVED LOVED LOVED Mama's Family! If I catch a rerun, I watch it now!

Also loved watching Mr. Belvedere and Small Wonder.

Unknown said...

I am going to talk about a show I didn't like...I absolutely could NOT STAND "Alf!" I guess it was popular because it was on for a while but I thought it was quite possibly the worst show EVER!

I liked Mr. Belvedere too, espeically the theme song! I can't believe I just admitted that...

Misty said...

I can't find your most recent post, so I'll comment here:

You know. I always hate those words "Look you've won, you've stopped the cycle". You know why? Because breaking the chains of abuse, the cycle that is intent on patterning on is a LIFE LONG, EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DAY effort. Some days I fall into bed and think how I fucked the day up. Some days I fall into bed because I'm proud of what I've done and given my children. Some days I fall into bed and I wonder if it's possible to be whole again. Some days I fall into bed and my whole body heaves with tears. Some days are bad for me. Some days I'm not good for the kids. It's when the GOOD out weighs the bad that I KNOW I'm progressing, making a better life for my children, and my self. Life moves on, but let me tell you, it is a LIFE LONG EFFORT.

Unknown said...

OH God! Mama's Family, Mr. Belvedere, Small Wonder LOL!!

I used to watch those religiously.

Awesome post, definitely a blast from the past!

Lindsey said...

I liked Mr. Belvedere. Scary, scary!

Love the pic of baby J crawling. So sweet!

Momo Fali said...

Cop Rock. Truly! What idiot dreamed that up?

raising4boys said...

Really cute crawling picture! I think I need more pictures like that :)

Miss said...

I was all about Small Wonder!! Also, what was that one show with the girl who could freeze time? I loved that one too. Out of this World. Thats what it was. Good times...

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