By Scott Sullivan
Worst of the Worst
When someone peddles “Michigan’s Best,” I cringe. By whose standards? It’s the worst kind of journalism to send feature writers who don’t know squat about food past burping statewide to stuff themselves with the “Best” Hush Puppies and so on so they can fill editorial space in eight statewide papers with nonlocal fluff and save corporate paying journalists to write real news. Why can’t I get on that expense account?
What we need is “Worst of the Worst” instead. There’s a lot to choose from. First a caveat. My lists show my age because, after absorbing enough, my brain quit. I am confident things are even worse today, but that’s for our kids to wade through.
Any list of The Worst TV Shows must start, as does Wikipedia’s, warning “this article my be too long to read and navigate comfortably.” Like “War and Peace” told not by Tolstoy but idiots.
You have to hand it to network geniuses who gave the world “If I Did It,” O.J. Simpson’s “fantasy” about how he’d have murdered his wife Ncole and her friend Ronald Goldman; “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and Geraldo Rivera’s “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults” (nothing in them). What could have possibly gone wrong with “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell,” “Rosie Live” or “Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos”?
There were so many bad sitcoms Wikipedia gives them their own category. Who, try as we might, can forget “Me and the Chimp,” “Hee Haw Honeys” and “My Mother the Car” (I can sing all the lyrics to that one’s theme song). TV Guide ranks that classic second all time behind only “The Jerry Springer Show” as most putrid.
Kids’ shows? My daughter may never recover from “Teletubbies,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Yo Gabba Gabba!” Nor forgive so-called grown-ups who put them out there.
“Celebrity Boxing” was canceled after just two episodes, but what shows they were! Danny Bonaduce beat Barry Williams, Tanya Harding hammered Paula Jones, 7’7” Manute Bol froze William (“The Refrigerator”) Perry, and Joey Buttafuocco busted up “Chyna” Laurer after Weird Al Yankovic bailed on the fight because Chyna was a girl.
Worst songs? Stinkers from my heyday: “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris (What was with the cake?), “Yummy Yummy Yummy (I Got Love in My Tummy)” by Ohio Express, “ “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka, “Feelings” by Morris Albert, “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro, “Muskrat Love” (dumbest lyrics ever, tied with every song by America), anything by Foreigner …
Rhino Records gave us four “Golden Throats” albums based on celebrities butchering all-time favorites. Think William Shatner warbling “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and Mae West loose with “Day Tripper.” Can’t wait to hear “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by Phyllis Diller or “Peace in the Valley” by Wink Martindale? This was the set for you.
Cars? Long before the first Yugo blew off the Mackinac Bridge there were AMC Gremlins and Chevy Vegas. Ford Pintos were great to help start a campfire. I had a Chevy Chevette which held up a year; alas, the Smithsonian didn’t want it. My parents had not one but two station wagons with faux-wood panels. Mom trundled my brothers and I around in, encouraging us to run, walk ride bikes and seek other healthy alternatives.
Who could forget the Amphicar, which stunk as a car and boat? Saugatuck’s Harbor Duck really floats. Not the Amphicar, which made a new art of drowning before manufacturers pulled the plug on it.
Stupid fads? I came in in the ‘50s with hula hoops, candy cigarettes and ant farms. The ‘60s brought lava lamps, mood rings and smiley faces; ‘70s streaking, pet rocks and 8-tracks; ‘80s big hair and boom boxes. I was finished.
Columnist Cory Stoppel bewails how today’s glut of tech toys distract us from nature, contemplation and our humanity. The more I think about human nature, the more it seems a Misgiving Tree growing crap we can’t wait to buy like one nonstop Twinkie.
Given that, what is wrong with accessories to mindlessness? Even more important: What do Hush Puppies grow into? Coney Dogs? Pay me to go away and I’ll see.