The 2010s was a great year for culture all round, and the decade provided the world with a never-ending supply of great TV shows to binge-watch. But in amongst all the gems, there are some truly terrible mistakes, that you would be forgiven for forgetting. Rather than let them rest in peace, here is a list to remind you how low the lows really were. It’s somewhat impossible to objectively rank them from best of the worst to worst, so here they are, in chronological order.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008 – 2013)
The show very quickly spiraled into unrealistic plotlines, once the writers used up all of the believable ones. The main storyline of fifteen-year-old Aimee getting pregnant at bandcamp could only be stretched so far, and writers swiftly turned to extremes such as pimps and comas to prop the series up. Although arguably still real-world experiences, the show lost touch with the reality it was portraying, and failed to resonate with its audience.
Big Bang Theory (2007 – 2019)
This one makes the list, because even though it started before the decade began, it arguably shouldn’t have made it all the way to the end of the 2010s. Although the show was massively popular in its’ prime, this is the perfect example of a show that should have stopped when it was ahead. The reinforcement of negative stereotypes takes no prisoners, and the aloof attempt at intellectual humor fails to land almost every time.
Keeping up with the Kardashians (2007 – )
It’s in 2020. The start of a new decade. The world has reached the Kardashian-saturation point. The show was undeniably fascinating when it first aired, giving the average individual an insight into the dysfunctional lives of the rich. The show has spawned countless moments that will go down in pop cultural history, for sure. But now the formula is tired, and the carefully curated storylines have lost their excitement that used to draw viewers in. Coupled with the fact that all advertised drama has played out on Instagram weeks before it airs on E! There really is no longer any reason to watch this poor excuse for reality TV.
There was something so quintessentially British about the original Skins that made it work so well. And it would appear that this is what made it so successful – transplanting the exact same premise into Baltimore just isn’t enough for a winner. The show was given the best chance of success – MTV is the only channel willing to portray the sex, drugs and bass in all of its’ glory, but it just wasn’t enough.
Work It (2012)
Airing on the cusp of an awakening of the collective social consciousness, this show was almost destined to fail. And you would be forgiven for not remembering it, as only two of the 11 episodes aired in America on ABC, before the whole thing got shelved. It’s centered around two men who pretend to be women in order to get jobs as pharmaceutical representatives, who then have to keep their identities a secret. The premise of the sitcom does create the potential to discuss discrimination in the workplace, as well as wider social injustices regarding gender, but the opportunity is missed. Instead, the show was widely deemed to be incredibly transphobic, and it actually just wasn’t funny.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012 – 2014)
It’s hard to enjoy the show, that revolves around the main protagonist Alanna Thompson (also known as Honey Boo Boo. Thompson was only six when she starred in an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras, which spawned her own series. Arguably too young to know what she was getting in to, her family have weathered their fair share of controversies. Although it’s impossible to tell whether the fame that came with the show caused the inevitable breakdown of her family or whether it would have happened in private anyway, you can’t help but feel sorry for Alanna. The series was forced to end when allegations of child molestation were brought against her mother’s partner, accusations that eventually broke the family apart.
The Show With Vinny (2013)
Who keeps giving the cast of Jersey Shore spinoff shows that nobody asked for? Vinny Guardino hosts a range of celebrity guests at his Staten Island home, and what ensues is an awkward 20 minutes of stilted “talk show reality television”. Despite the packed line up of D-list celebrities (with a few actual famous stars thrown in), nothing can save the show from Vinny’s lack of personality,
Honorable Mention: The Pauly D Project (2012)
Another failed MTV project to squeeze as much life out of the now-defunct Jersey Shore cast as possible.
Focusing on two video game developers that are forced to re-evaluate their lives when their fathers must move back in with them. The show started off poorly, and just never got better. Despite the talented cast with decent credentials, the jokes are all racist, and the bumbling father-son trope has seen better representation on countless other sitcoms.
Dr. Ken (2015 – 2017)
Dr. Ken takes pride of place as IMDB’s worst television show of the decade. Lead actor Ken Jeong is undeniably funny, and expectations were high after the Hangover franchise and his work on Community. The show was loosely based on Jeong’s own life as a physician before rising to fame through his acting and comedy. And maybe Dr. Ken would have worked, if Jeong was allowed to embody the type of character he has become known and loved for. Instead, the actor was constrained by the rules of ABC sitcoms, reducing any opportunity for the laughs that Jeong deserves. The show tries a bit too hard to push jokes that aren’t actually funny, something that becomes painfully obvious with the too-loud canned laughter.
Veronica Mars (2019)
To be clear, this is only about the season 4 reboot that aired on Hulu in 2019. The original three series were great, the movie was so-so, but the fourth season didn’t need to happen. The show relied too heavily on the nostalgia of the past series, and leaned on this too heavily, without properly developing the storyline or characters. Although there were enough fans excited to see the return of private investigator Veronica that it didn’t immediately flop, it still didn’t need to happen.
While the last decade brought some great entertainment, some TV shows such as the ones listed above were a complete disappointment. When looking for your next show to watch, you know some to stay away from!