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The 10 Most Cringe-Worthy TV Flops

Don't forget to laugh as you marvel at the horror of these television train wrecks.

by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

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June 11, 2014 - 8:40 am
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We’ve all heard of the horrors of Cop Rock and Manimal, but after receiving a reader tip on one of their worst TV shows of all time, I did some digging and uncovered these utterly classic samples of bad television that would make great material for Joel McHale or the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

10. Bucky and Pepito (1959)

Produced by Sam Singer, “The Ed Wood of Animation,” Bucky and Pepito was a typical story of an “ambitious” white cowboy and his “lazy” (literally, they sing about it in the theme song) Mexican buddy trolling the old west on a zero budget. According to Toonopedia, “Cartoon historian Harry McCracken once said the pair ‘set a standard for awfulness that no contemporary TV cartoon has managed to surpass. They were great at what they did, which was being bad.’” Thanks to Bucky and Pepito, cartoonists have debated creating a Sam Singer Award for truly bad animation.

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All Comments   (20)
All Comments   (20)
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Fish Police
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
A buddy of mine had the comic series this was based off. I thought it was kind of amusing.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
OK, scared me for a bit - I actually remember watching most of the "bottom five." Then the top five came along, that I had never heard of.

Guess I'm only half-scarred..
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Scott Carpenter! Vive le SynchroVox!
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I unfortunately remember a show from the late 70's named "Quark", a futuristic comedy set aboard an intergalactic garbage-collecting spaceship. The ship literally opened it's shark-like mouth and ate bags of garbage floating in space. There were two identical girls named Betty who argued over which one was the original and which one was the clone, and an alien that was part human, part vegetable. Bad, bad, bad... it lasted eight episodes.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
That was awesome, not bad.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have to throw a plug in for Normal Life, a 13-episode TV wonder from 1990, starring Dweezil Zappa, Moon Unit Zappa, Josh Williams, Bess Meyer, Jim Staahl (from Mork & Mindy and Spies Like Us), Cindy Williams (from Laverne & Shirley) and Max Gail (from Barney Miller). According to Wikipedia, "This series was based on the real unconventional home life of the Zappa children and their rocker dad Frank Zappa."
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some of the shows listed above only aired a very small handful of episodes before being cancelled and were pretty awful. How about a show that got cancelled before ever airing an episode?

I was just reading about a show that had originally been bought - by Fox I think - for this fall called Hieroglyph. It was supposed to a variation on the Da Vinci books and set in Egypt. Fox apparently bought it using a new model where they didn't actually finance a pilot and then have the pilot compete against other pilots to see which was the best of the lot. However, after purchasing it, Fox was getting the scripts as they were churned out and apparently found the scripts so weak that they decided to cancel it before even attempting to air it. I'm not sure if they'd actually filmed a single episode yet.

I wonder if they'll ever air it, even just as a filler, so that we can see just how bad it really was?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Ms. Goldberg limited herself to "shows presented as fictional" and "short running."

Otherwise, just anybody could do a list of "worst shows" - just find out which MSNBC, MTV, or Fox Entertainment shows have run the longest.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can still sing the theme song to "My Mother The Car".

There are some series that go on for years and I'd call them cringe-worthy flops, but for quick flameouts I think you could mine anything NBC introduced from about 1990 to 2012, and almost everything Fox has introduced in the last two years.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 65 or so years of commercial television productions, and thousands of TV series produced to at least the pilot stage, it is both extremely hard to come up with a "bottom ten" list, and a complete waste of brain cells to do so.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
And I thought I was the only one who knew Cartoon Dump.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't be too hard on 'My Mother the Car'. It was a show before it's time. In the 80's, there was 'Knight Rider' with David Hasselhoff. 'MMTC' didn't have a hunk as the lead character, and who the hell ever heard of a 1928 Porter? I bet not a lot of people in 1928 even.

'Heil Honey, I'm Home' would probably be a big smash in Europe now, where casual (and worse) anti-semitism never seems to go out of style. Except for the husband in Nazi uniform, the show is otherwise unremarkable, with a lot of corny jokes. Think of it as the play in 'The Producers' made into a sitcom.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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