This one’s simple: these are the television clips and TV news stories that made us happiest about others’ misfortune over the past year.
10. Craig Ferguson: Why Everything Sucks. Ferguson used his “Late Late Show” cold open to brilliantly dismantle the 21st Century’s “deification of imbecility.” More of a “Preach on!” clip than something that causes shameful joy, but this overlooked clip represents all my hatred for America’s celebration useless fame whores.
9. Adrian Grenier Plays the Recorder. The “Entourage” lead is just as bad at music as he is at acting.
8. Impotent on National Television. Ed Swiderski (“Bring beer and condoms“) and Bachelorette Jillian Harris eventually ended up together, which was nice of her considering ABC televised his failure to perform in bed via metaphor and innuendo.
7. ‘Macho’ Cries Like a Bitch. VH1’s “From G’s to Gents” was supposed to chronicle the transformation of hardened thugs into refined gentlemen. I’m not sure if they succeeded at that, but there’s definitely video of a guy with a tattoo on his face and cornrows sobbing like a little girl.
5. Carrie Prejean Nude and Masturbating. As easy as it is to appreciate Prejean for being hot and pissing off Perez Hilton, the deposed Miss California USA’s intellectually bankrupt defense of “opposite marriage” made her a hero to the Christian right — and then came the topless pictures and homemade videos of her masturbating. Combine that with an embarrassing failure at walking off of Larry King’s show, and she got everything she deserved for not shutting up and walking away quietly.
4. ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Beats Jay Leno in the Ratings. I’m using this as a representative story for the cumulative schadenfreude for the immense and profound failure of “The Jay Leno Show” — from it getting beat by re-runs on CBS to NBC affiliates getting pissed at NBC Universal for dwindling numbers leading into the 11 o’clock news. A well-deserved failure for someone who never should have succeeded in the first place.
3. Stephen Fowler Is the Worst Man in America. Fowler, a British expatriate living in San Francisco, appeared on ABC’s “Wife Swap,” where he browbeat Gayla Long, the woman who traded places with his “life coach” wife, calling the good-hearted but simple Missouri woman fat and uneducated and reducing her to tears. For good measure, along the way he managed to insult everyone else in America who isn’t a pretentious dickbag. The resulting backlash included people targeting Fowler’s home before he apologized and said he needed counseling. Seriously, watch the video. You’ll want to murder this guy.
2.Jon Stewart Rapes Jim Cramer. This is schadenfreude in its purest and most guilt-inducing form. For everyone who got screwed by decades of Wall Street greed — and let’s face it, that’s pretty much everyone but the Wall Street big wigs — Cramer served as the fall guy for a razor-sharp Stewart acting on behalf of an angry America. It’s almost too painful to watch.
1. The Snooki Punch — What else could be #1? Up until the time that MTV teased the clip of inebriated cult hero Brad Ferro punching the Queen of Guidettes, Snooki had done nothing on “Jersey Shore” except get sloppy drunk on her first night in the house, then complain and threaten to leave because she wasn’t getting enough attention. Ferro’s Falcon Punch was catharsis for the viewer, and the animated GIF is just as hypnotic today as it was the first 10,000 times I watched it.