There was a lot to celebrate on TV in 2013. But we’ll get to that over the next couple of weeks. Today, let’s talk about the worst that TV had to offer this year, the moments, shows, and people that made us want to cancel our cable subscription and throw our laptops and TV sets into the same pile of twisted garbage where the world’s only copy of Work It: The Complete Series resides. It truly was the best but mostly blurst of times.
1. Lumberjack Dexter
Has any once-great show ever fallen as far as Dexter did during its final season? The short answer is, DEAR GOD NO. It was sloppy, lazy fan fiction with no consequences for Lumberjack Dexter’s sh*tty actions. He lived; Deb died. To quote Dustin, “Dexter couldn’t stick the landing. It couldn’t even find the runway. The Dexter series finale crashed and burned into a giant bowl of dicks 100 miles from the airport.” At least we got some great memes.
2. No Curb Your Enthusiasm
A year without Curb Your Enthusiasm? Prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay, pretty bad. Every season of Curb has been great, but the last two, a.k.a. the Seinfeld and New York ones, might have been the best. Larry David hasn’t committed to doing another season, but it’d be a damn shame if we don’t get to see Danny Duberstein at least one more.
There were a lot of great new shows that premiered in 2013: Rectify, Top of the Lake, The Returned, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Orphan Black, Trophy Wife, The Americans, Master of Sex, Orange Is the New Black (if that counts), The Bridge, and Broadchurch. But there was also Dads…2013 WAS THE WORST YEAR FOR TV EVER. Critics hated Dads from the get-go, when it screened at the TCAs; us normal people had to wait until September to join in on the fun. It was crass, racist, and unfunny, and that’s just the first episode. Now Dads has settled into a dull, tiring mess of cheap nothing. Martin Mull deserves better. The comedic dynamo known as Giovanni Ribisi? Eh.
4. ABC Replaces Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 with The Taste
Does it seem like forever ago that Raising Hope, Ben and Kate, New Girl, Happy Endings, and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 all aired on the same night? That’s because of all those shows, only one (New Girl) still remains in its Tuesday timeslot. The others have either been cancelled or were left to die in the used diaper pile known as “Friday night primetime lineup.” The very promising Ben and Kate barely made it into 2013, which is a damn shame, though not as egregious as ABC putting the kibosh on Happy Endings and Don’t Trust in January, and replacing them with The Taste. Happy Endings eventually reappeared on Sunday nights, then Fridays, but the damage had already been done. It was put in permanent hibernation.
5. The Man With the 132 Lb. Scrotum
Or, The Guy with the Garbage Bag Full of Leaves for Nards. When TLC lost the last shred of its credibility many years ago, it also lost its ability to shock. Until Wesley Warren and his bowling ball balls came along. Warren’s story is actually rather sad — he has scrotal lymphedema, which is a very real, very rare medical condition — but the second TLC decided on The Man With the 132 Lb. Scrotum as a title, he became less a man with sad problem than a freak show with a big ol’ sack.
6. The Sound of Music Live!
We had our fun. We made our Nazi jokes. We laughed at Vampire Bill doing his best impression of Russell Crowe as Javert. But we figured that we were the only ones doing it, that outside the very small world of Twitter, no one was actually watching and enjoying this dribble. Then the numbers came out, and now The Sound of Music Live! is the first of MANY musicals, not just NBC but on every network, probably. Serves us right for having fun.
7. GEICO Commercials Everywhere
Danger deserves a Pulitzer Prize for his work covering anthropomorphized animals this year, beginning with “50 Questions About The GEICO Commercial Where A Talking Pig Is On A Date With A Human Girl,” followed by “UPDATE: The Creepy GEICO Talking Pig Does, In Fact, Have His Driver’s License.” It ended with “The GEICO Pig Is A Homewrecker Now”…for now. I piggybacked on Danger’s beat (meaning I skinned Maxwell the Pig and wear his carcass), adding “Teachers Are Complaining That Their Students Are Quoting Geico’s ‘Hump Day’ Ad Too Much.” It was a terrible year for Geico ads, and an even worse one for animals without dignity.
8. “Fishy Fishy”
Speaking of commercials…I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so sorry.
9. Keeping Up with the Brodys
Couldn’t leave off “2013’s Most Hated TV Character.” After the events of the season two finale, it would have been so easy for Homeland to never check in with the Brodys again. Nicholas had vanished, and Jessica, Bobby Draper, er, Chris, and Dana weren’t interesting enough characters to continue to follow. And yet, the writers kept with them, especially in the first half of season three: we saw the aftermath of Dana trying to kill herself, including running away with that kid from Dexter and eventually, working at a motel. The performances were very good, but the content was dreadfully boring. Can’t wait to see how Homeland doesn’t kill Brody this season finale, too!
10. Paula Deen on Today
2013 was the year Paula Deen went from a regrettable ball of butter wearing blush to America’s Enemy #1. It should have been fun. After all, we’ve been hating on Deen for years; she’s the female Guy Fieri. But it wasn’t. It was just sad, from “Paula Deen’s Deposition: Racist Jokes, The N-Word, Dinner Parties With Slaves, And More” to “Here’s Actual Video Of Paula Deen Saying Cringeworthy Things About Black People” to “I Is What I Is, And I’m Not Changing” to, perhaps inevitably, “Paula Deen Received A 10-Minute Ovation In Her First Public Appearance Since That Whole N-Word THING.” If anything, this year’s controversy might earn her more money in the long run. Us haters already hated her, but for those who enjoy her brand, and she’s nothing if not a greasy brand, she’s a figure in EXTRA need of our love and redemption. Paula is now free to go on pricey speaking tours about the mistakes she’s made and how you shouldn’t make them, and afterwards, she can make everyone a nice, big plate of Ultimate Fantasy Deep-Fried Cheesecake. She’s the American dream.
11. Andy Bernard
There were times during the final season of The Office where it was impossible to remember Andy not as a shallow monster, but as the goofy guy who serenaded Pam with “Rainbow Connection,” the Cornell graduate who couldn’t remember the lyrics to the Kit Kat jingle, the video game fanatic who scolded Jim’s Call of Duty abilities. He was so awful in season nine, and not in the way the writers intended him to be. We were supposed to feel bad for the guy who lost everything after his three-month boat vacation, but the sympathy never came; the hate did, for a cruel villain. People who don’t treat Erin well deserve the worst. I wanted to kill him for real.
12. Fox News’s 2013, In One Screencap
Runner-up selection: “Fox News Hit A New Low While Interviewing Muslim Scholar Reza Aslan About Jesus.”
13. That Time Alex Trebek Did “Gangnam Style” on Jeopardy
14. Low Winter Sun
It seems silly in retrospect to be so mad at AMC for placing a “next week on” promo for Breaking Bad during the first commercial break for their new show, Low Winter Sun. Until you recall said first commercial break didn’t occur until 15-20 minutes into the bleak pilot of a dreary show that never evolved beyond its “Good Man, Cop Killer” premise. Low Winter Sun was hated even before it had the chance to be good; luckily, it WASN’T good, so everything worked out well. Except for AMC, which said goodbye to their hopeful “next Breaking Bad” after only one season.
15. DAMMIT JERRY.
This GIF still haunts my nightmares. Classic Jerry/Gary/Larry.