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The List: The worst of television
The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards have come and gone. Within the context of the recent telecast highlighting the supposed best of television, we offer a list of some of the shows that offered the worst examples of the medium.
- Manimal — I’m a research scientist from 1983 fighting crime by shape shifting into animals. Watch me turn into a black panther. Now, watch me transform into an out-of-work actor after eight episodes.
- Cavemen — The most Neanderthal of ABC executives should have understood that turning an auto insurance commercial into a weekly sitcom could be risky. It took six weeks in 2007 for that lack of brilliance to hit home.
- Joanie Loves Chachi — Television viewers were smitten with Joanie and Chachi as the coosome twosome from “Happy Days,” but only gave them 17 episodes worth of love in 1982 and 1983. Even Al Molinaro’s antics could not save the pair’s show.
- Bob Patterson — Note to actors who have starred in mega-successful television shows. Save your money and stick to dinner theater … yes, we’re talking to you, Jason Alexander. ABC was quickly motivated in 2001 to cancel this show about a motivational speaker after five episodes.
- The McLean Stevenson Show — Mr. Stevenson leaving one of the best shows on television, “M.A.S.H.,” will remain as one of the great, tragic blunders of TV history. And, not surprisingly, the result was career catastrophic as this 12-episode series from 1976 can attest to.
- Pink Lady and Jeff — Hey, I got a great idea, said NBC President and CEO Fred Silverman. Let’s pair a wacky comedian known for an impression of his father with a Japanese singing duo who can’t speak English. Yes, it was a brutal five weeks for viewers in 1980.
- The Ropers — This spin-off of “Three’s Company” starred the husband and wife landlord team of Stanley and Helen Roper. It managed to last two seasons, and the blackmailing of ABC executive Fred Silverman was, apparently, not involved. Although, Ralph Ferley was often spotted near Mr. Silverman’s offices.
- The Chevy Chase Show — Producers of this train wreck of a talk show obviously took too many pratfalls on their heads while believing a guy who made part of his career sarcastically mocking humans could actually relate to any of them.
- Mr. T and Tina — Oh no, being the beloved owner of Arnold’s Drive-In on “Happy Days” was not enough for actor Pat Morita. He needed to collapse his horizons with two television bombs, “Mr. T and Tina” and then moving on to the underwhelming “Blansky’s Beauties.” Thanks goodness the Karate Kid showed up.
- My Mother the Car — We admit to never ever seeing this classic 1960s show starring Jerry Van Dyke and the voice of Ann Sothern as a deceased mother reincarnated as a 1928 Porter Touring Car, but almost every critic really hated this clunker.
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By Tom Fitton
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