Television’s a funny thing, isn’t it? It can motivate, inspire, teach, entertain, and infuriate. Trends will come and go, but one thing is certain: We love bad TV.

Now, everyone’s version of bad TV is different. We have our guilty pleasures. We admire trainwrecks of all shapes and sizes.  And, I don’t know about you, but I’m shamefully proud of my picks.

Days of Our Lives The nearest and dearest unbearably good series for me is Days. Can you believe this show is still on? Growing up my mom at home, we, ahem, were both able to keep up with the Bradys, DiMeras, and Kiriakises. Through disappearances, near-drownings, demon possessions, fires, shipwrecks, imprisonments, disguises, real babies, fake babies, kidnapping plots, weddings, affairs, divorces, and reunions, we’ve seen it all. And that’s not to mention the real deaths, fake deaths, live burials, and returns from beyond the grave. And the cast, miraculously, just seems to keep getting younger. You can keep up with the (exhausting) storyline, or play “Guess Who’s Wearing Hair Extensions?”. Either way, it’s time well spent (I say, with a nearly straight face). And, remember, even if you have a, say, ten- or fifteen-year hiatus, you can be assured to be caught up within a week.

COPS I’m so, so guilty of this one. When Fox TV burst on the scene in the late ’80’s, with unforgettable hits like Married…With Children and The Simpsons, this middle-schooler was in her naughty bliss. Language, cleavage, belching? It was a far cry from The Cosby Show. When COPS debuted in 1989, with its timeless theme song, I was immediately in love. It was a world I’d never seen or experienced, with swearing and running and beer. I couldn’t look away. I’d turn the TV from my room (the one with the dials and knobs) towards the kitchen during dinner so I wouldn’t miss it. And, you know what? When I find it on now, I watch it. Yes, sirree. Because what could be better, more uplifting entertainment, than a toothless man in a wifebeater, actually beating his wife? Nothing, my friends. I guarantee it.

Image cropped from original on Flickr. Origina...

Family Feud Family Feud’s been on the air forever. And I’m ashamed to say that, just like during my childhood, when I see that it’s on, I stop and watch. Initially, what drew me in was the host, Richard Dawson, that smarmy bastard who tongue-kissed all the female contestants. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that they liked it. I loved yelling out answers, and dreamed that someday, my family could be on there as well. I lost interest for a few years, but, through the addition of the famously mustachioed Steve Harvey, that place ain’t been nothin’ but a party! One afternoon this spring, after I had finished some spring cleaning, I turned the TV on for some noise. Family Feud, I thought to myself, Mindless. Perfect. I was sweeping the family room floor when I heard Harvey pose this challenge to the contestants during the ‘Double’ round: “Name a furry animal that looks like it crawled up on top of Donald Trump’s head and died.”  And this, folks, is why I can’t quit.

Chopped This Food Network classic is designed to test the mettle of even the most decorated chef. And it does. With mystery ingredients like yak’s lungs, pencil shavings, and crocodile tears, advanced cooking skills are pushed to their very limits. And watching the chef-judges taste it all is an equally delectable treat. “You know, the Starlight Mints really give the puréed Bonsai a bright flavor, and the communion wafer-crusted sea urchin was divine, but the Nerf ball gastrique really missed the mark.” I love cooking – don’t get me wrong – and I especially love food, but guys? Get over yourselves.

DaVinci’s Demons DaVinci’s Demons on Starz is my newest guilty pleasure. Truth be told, it’s awful, with a capital BAD, historically inaccurate, and full of gratuitous everything, but the guy who plays DaVinci is just so hot, I can’t stop watching. You know, really hot, exactly the way you’d expect a fifteenth-century Renaissance man to look – chiseled features, tightly groomed five o’clock shadow, sparkling white teeth, and a haircut just like Gil’s from the Bubble Guppies. Sure, the first episode had nudity, flying, drug use, pyrotechnics, and rough sex, but, what am I? A prude? I pushed onward throughout the season, through time travel, more bare penises than I’d ever seen at once, torture, impromptu autopsies, and Vlad Dracula himself, and, truth be told, I’m a might sad when the seasons end. I sometimes even shed a tear. And the next season? Sign me up! I’m too far in to crawl out now.

So, this is my list, my shame. I’ve exorcised my TV demons, though I can’t say I’ll never watch them again. Because of course I will.

So, what’s your poison?



  1. Oh DOOL… how I still love thee! I get sucked back in every so often (the past few months being another one of those times). And let’s be honest… every time I go back to watching it, only about 1/8 of the content has changed! When did Will find out he was gay?!? :o)

  2. COPS. Yes. My husband hates it. As a paramedic he’s like, I don’t want to see this mess when I’m not at work. I am always amazed and like, are people really like that? He confirms it every time, shaking his head as he leaves the room. Ha!

  3. I watch DOOL each summer (one of the perks of being a teacher) and find it hilarious that I can go ten months without seeing an episode but know EXACTLY who everyone is and what the biggest story lines are within minutes.

    I also love that the babies everyone pushes out never need attention – and over a single school year they suddenly become college students ready to have babies of their own.

    And yet the adults never seem to age.

    Are you kidding me, Kate?
    You’ve looked the same for the past decade.

    Even with the blue hair streaks 🙂

    p.s. My guilty pleasures: Toddlers & Tiaras, The Long Island Medium, and Real Housewives of wherever. I know. I hate myself a little bit, too.

  4. OMG DOOL. I’m not sure if Kristen Alfonso is human…she does not age. It’s scary. And I think I might just have to check out DaVinci’s Demons…sounds like a perfect way to spend some rainy nits this summer! My whole family loves chopped…did you see the one where the chef spilled the boiling water and her arm and KEPT COOKING? I would have been crying like a baby, pouring a glass of wine and dialing the phone for take out. Love it!

  5. Definitely Chopped – I am so hooked on that one and I totally agree with you about Dawson and Harvey. I also remember watching the soaps with my mom but they were all on CBS…Y&R, As The World Turns, etc…now I need to check out hot Mr. Dool, woohoo! Thanks for such a fun post!

  6. I don’t watch much TV but when I do, sadly it’s something on Nickleodeon or Disney. iCarly anyone? How about SpongeBob? Jessie? Good Luck Charlie? I know them all and I am ashamed to say I know all the characters as well! Okay, there is a method to my madness–Jerry Trainor is a hottie! lol

  7. Hm.. well, the only one that springs to mind is The Tudors or yesteryear. If you’d like to see history interpreted fairly liberally- there you go. But I also watch Grimm (which is almost embarrassing) and…of all time? I need to get back to you. I watch some pretty awful stuff.

    And ps- I really hope your FB reader who commented on this post REALLY sees my episode. Oy vey. Talk about hoping we ended up on the cutting room floor.

  8. So true about DAYS. I used to watch in junior high. I can still turn it on now and follow the story lines. The cooking shows confuse me because I want to be a good cook and i’m not, so I’m usually lost when they start talking about the burst of flavors. I want a show where they pop these chefs in my house and cook with the crap I have laying around. That would impress me.
    As for my own bad TV. We have a Bachelor/Bachelorette problem around here. Oh, and I love watch Toddlers and Tiaras. The parents and their issues are too much!

  9. I love Steve Harvey as the Feud host. He keeps me laughing! Passions was a guilty pleasure until I realized how awful the acting and story lines. But I will forever love the Lopez-Fitzgerald family!!

  10. Ok, I hate all of these shows but I will say that when I first read Chopped, I thought it said CHAPPED and was very quickly imagining what that show might be all about????

  11. House Crashers (DIY channel) and Take Home Chef (TLC).

    I now walk around in a state of constantly expecting an easy-on-the-eyes stranger to ask me if he could follow me home to fix and/or cook things.

  12. Family Feud is my weakness! I love Steve Harvey. The other guy was a little too touchy feely for my taste.

  13. I actually love chopped, and wouldn’t call it bad TV. However, I have my own share of garbage I watch. Might I suggest Bridezillas? Our of control brides cursing and crying in equal measure. Yes. I love watching this show with my wife and some bourbon. Amazing!

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